Academic Catalog 2021-2022

Slippery Rock University

Rock Studies Program

The Rock

At the foundational level, The Rock, students will complete five courses:

  • University Seminar is the most unique course in this section of the program. This class will teach students to consider learning to be more than just information to be used on an exam. Seminars are discussion-based and focus on specific interdisciplinary topics. The course encourages students to be intellectually curious and requires them to think critically and creatively. It will introduce students to questions that do not have ready-made answers and that require a range of knowledge and skills to address.
  • Critical Writing teaches students the essential elements and tools of excellent writing and how to write for a wide variety of audiences.
  • Critical Reading develops on lessons learned in Critical Writing and provides ways to gather meaning from texts in many genres and contexts.
  • Quantitative Reasoning introduces mathematics and numeracy skills which can applied to personal life and careers.
  • Civil Discourse teaches ways to present ideas, thoughts, and opinions to others in a courteous, respectful, and persuasive manner.

All courses in The Rock are graded A-B-C-NC. Students may not withdraw from these courses after the drop/add period has ended.

University Seminar

The University Seminar serves as the entry point to Rock Studies because it introduces students to the practice of integrating their learning. It will consider questions that do not have ready answers, and that therefore require students to synthesize a range of knowledge and to use a variety of skills. The course will set students along the path to becoming engaged with issues and scholarship important to a 21st century education while they learn about themselves and their places in the world.

Several dozen different topics are offered, but in all of them students work on complex topics with professors who will ask you to be intellectually curious, to think critically and creatively, and to strive for academic excellence.

This requirement should be taken Fall term of a student's first year. Students not able to register for the course in the Fall semester must take the course in the Spring semester of the first year.

SUBJ 139University Seminar3

*Note this course is offered in multiple subject areas, but cannot be taken in a student's first major subject area.

Critical Writing

Critical Writing asks students to write, revise, and edit prose using the conventions of standard written English. Students will develop arguments and locate and evaluate independent research to write those arguments.

ENGL 102Critical Writing3

Critical Reading

Critical Reading refines and extends student understanding of the rhetorical principles introduced in Critical Writing, applying them to the comprehension and analysis of complex texts. Texts to be considered will be drawn from a variety of media, genres, historical periods, and cultures. Students will examine the methods authors use in developing and expressing ideas to meet the needs of particular audiences and historical moments. Keys to critical reading include extracting implied meanings; analyzing purpose, tone, and style; and assessing causal factors and rhetorical effects.

ENGL 104Critical Reading3

Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative Reasoning includes study of mathematical and statistical techniques and logical reasoning. Students will learn how to understand, interpret, and analyze mathematical models such as formulas, graphs, tables, and schematics, how to communicate using them, and to use arithmetical, algebraic, and analytic methods to solve problems and interpret results within authentic contexts and everyday life situations.

MATH 117Quantitative Reasoning3

*Note that some majors may have substituted a higher-level math course to replace MATH 117. If so, this will appear on the major's curriculum guide.

Civil Discourse

Civil Discourse teaches the theory and practice of how to promote shared understanding and the common good through civil discourse, by developing and presenting oral messages. Students will be expected to develop an understanding of the principles and practices of public speechmaking that constitute civil discourse, how the First Amendment enables it, its history and role in problem-solving, and the influence of mediated discourse on democracy. 

COMM 200Civil Discourse: Theory & Practice3
PHIL 110Ethics and Civil Discourse3
POLS 235Civil Discourse and Democracy3

Integrated Inquiry

The next part of the program, Integrated Inquiry, will develop students’ ability to integrate learning that began in University Seminar and the other courses in The Rock. Students will be introduced to different ways to interpret the world through five categories of courses:

  • Creative and Aesthetic Inquiry
  • Social Sciences Inquiry
  • Humanities Inquiry
  • Physical Sciences Inquiry
  • Natural Sciences Inquiry

Each of the domains above provides an array of knowledge and skills. By completing these courses, students will gain the confidence to approach subjects from a variety of angles and to experience different subject areas through different lenses of inquiry.

Note that currently one course (up to four credits) from Integrated Inquiry or a Thematic Thread may be used towards your first major. Beginning in Summer/Fall 2022, Inquiry courses will be unique to the Integrated Inquiry category and will not be eligible to be used towards a major.

Creative and Aesthetic Inquiry

Courses in this Domain introduce students not only to artists and their creations, but also to history, cultures, values, technique, imagination, creativity, and the relevant social issues that they express. They also develop creative and aesthetic abilities. Students will gain an understanding of the creative process and how to analyze and interpret message and meaning in works of art. While the arts can bring us pleasure, they can also serve to enlighten and illuminate critical issues, lead to personal discoveries, and foster innovation in all fields. Students will learn to think critically about the arts, develop an appreciation for artistic creations, and by viewing live performances and exhibitions, become engaged audience members.

ART 225Overview of Western Art3
DANC 100Dance: Art and Culture3
MUSI 101Exploring Music3
THEA 141Art of the Theatre3

Humanities Inquiry

Courses in this Domain teach methods of analysis characteristic of philosophy, literature, history, cultural studies, and language studies. Crucial to this kind of analysis is learning about how identities are formed, be they individual, cultural, historical, or otherwise. How does using this kind of analysis, these courses ask, help us to understand the social, institutional, political, and economic systems that shape us and the world we live in?

ARAB 215Topics in Arabic Culture3
ENGL 214Introduction to Film Analysis3
ENGL 220Introduction to Literary and Cultural Studies3
FREN 215Topics in French and Francophone Culture3
GNDR 115Introduction to Gender Studies3
HIST 140Spotlight on the Past3
JAPN 215Topics in Japanese Culture3
MODL 105Introduction to Asian Civilizations3
PHIL 101Philosophical Inquiry3
PHIL 123Ethics3
PHIL 140World Religions3
PHIL 163Philosophy in Literature3
SPAN 215Topics in Hispanic Culture3

Social Science Inquiry

Courses in this Domain teach theories and models of human behavior in diverse social, political, and economic environments. Concurrently, they teach how to apply basic social scientific thinking skills needed to analyze complex and persistent public problems. By teaching this connection between learning and application, courses in the Social Science Domain provide a foundation for an informed and engaged citizenry who can contribute to the public good within their communities.

COMM 110Communication Concepts3
COMM 263Mass Media and Society3
CPSC 102Collaborative Information Technology and Society3
CRIM 120Crime: Why Do We Do It?3
CSS 100Modern Security3
ECON 201Principles of Macroeconomics3
ECON 202Principles of Microeconomics3
GES 100Discover Geography3
INDP 201Principles of Sociology3
INDP 202Introduction to Anthropology3
NLPA 120Civic Engagement and Community Decision-Making3
PE 232Physical Activity and Wellbeing in Society3
POLS 101American National Government3
POLS 103International Relations3
PSYC 105Introduction to Psychology3

Natural Sciences Inquiry

This Domain teaches skills and knowledge common to Biology and Chemistry. This course is designed to promote scientific literacy and an understanding of the scientific process through the lens of biology and chemistry. Students will learn how to apply scientific reasoning and content knowledge to address contemporary challenges in the field of science. Examples of such issues include genetically-modified organisms (GMO's), disease and treatment, and impacts of climate change on daily life.

SCI 101Science of Life3

*Note that some majors may have substituted a higher-level Biology or Chemistry course to replace SCI 101. If so, this will appear on the major's curriculum guide.

Physical Sciences Inquiry

This Domain teaches skills and knowledge common to Geology and Physics. This course is designed to promote scientific literacy and an understanding of the scientific process through the lens of physics and geology. Students will learn how to apply scientific reasoning and content knowledge to address contemporary challenges in the field of science.

SCI 102Understanding the Physical World3

*Note that some majors may have substituted a higher-level Physics or Geology course to replace SCI 102.If so, this will appear on the major's curriculum guide.

Thematic Threads

The final part of the program is Thematic Threads. To complete a thread, students will complete four courses centered around a multi-disciplinary theme, issue, or question. As students move through the courses in a thread, they will broaden their knowledge about the thread’s theme, and utilize higher order thinking skills to engage with the subject matter. A thread is the fullest expression of integrative learning, the core of the Rock Studies program.

Thread Requirements

What are the requirements to complete a Thread?

This section of the program requires 12 credits, typically four courses, within the Thread that the student has chosen. Each Thread has one or more Gateway courses which will serve as an entry point to the Thread. Additionally, each Thread includes Focused courses across eight topical categories. Students are required to complete one Gateway course and three Focused courses (from three different categories and three different departments) in their chosen Thread. Two of the four courses completed in a Thread must be 300- or 400-level courses.

Can courses in a Thread overlap with courses in a major? 

One course from either Integrated Inquiry or Thematic Threads may come from a student's first academic major area (prefix). This can assist with integration between Rock Studies and a student's academic major. (This sharing is sometimes called "double dipping.") For example: an Exploratory major might take "ECON 202 Principles of Microeconomics" for their Social Science Inquiry course and then decide to become and Economics major, in which the course is required. This course will only count once towards the 120 credits required for graduation, but will fulfill a requirement in the Rock Studies program and the Economics major.

Students may use Threads courses towards second majors, minors, or certificates.

Declaring a Thread

When and how is a Thread chosen? 

Students should declare a thread after completing their Rock and Inquiry courses (if possible), typically when they have completed around 45 credits.

To declare a thread, students need to complete the online Thread Declaration and Change Form. After this form is submitted, Academic Records will add the associated Thread requirements to the student's Rock Audit (available via MySRU). While a student does not need an Adviser's signature to sign up for a Thread, it is strongly recommended that a student discuss any Thread declarations or changes with their Academic Adviser.

May I switch to another Thread? 

A student may switch to a different thread or add a second thread by submitting a new form. Note, though, that courses in one thread may not appear in another, and that not all of a thread's courses may be available every term. Ensure that you can finish your Thread before your desired graduation date.

Category Descriptions

Each course in a thread is assigned to one of eight "Categories," defined below. These provide a way to gather courses based on similar content, academic discipline, or theme. In an effort to ensure that students get a broad education, students can take a maximum of two courses from any one Category in their chosen Thread. Any one thread might not include all eight.

  • The Arts: Courses in this Category encourage students to create and interpret images, ideas, words, expressions, or performances. They can illuminate critical issues, lead to personal discovery, and foster creativity and innovation in all fields.
  • Culture, Discourse, and Ideas: Courses in this Category explore ways of thinking about our diverse histories, values, ideas, words, and inspirations. These courses pose fundamental questions about the past, present, and future that ask us who we are and what our lives should mean.
  • Science, Technology, and Mathematics: Courses in this Category use axiomatic systems and knowledge of the physical and material world gained through observation, experimentation, and quantitative thought. Students will learn how these disciplines let us model and apply this understanding to contemporary challenges.
  • Society and Institutions: Courses in this Category study how relationships among people create social networks and institutions that reflect their values and desires.
  • Self-Care and Well-Being: Courses in this Category concern choices, decisions, or activities that we make deliberately to enhance our mental, emotional, and physical health. Students will learn knowledge, skills, and values associated with building healthy lives for themselves and in their communities and will therefore need to understand the impact their life choices make upon others.
  • Global Learning and Diversity: Courses in this Category present students with critical analyses of and engagement with global perspectives. Courses explore how different identities, cultures, and societies confront and resolve issues that affect them.
  • Civic Knowledge and Engagement: Courses in this Category prepare graduates for their public lives as citizens, members of communities, and professionals. Students learn how actions and responsibilities as members of communities and institutions influence the lives of others in the public sphere.
  • Ethical Reasoning: Courses in this Category require students to be able to assess and consider their own values and the social contexts of problems, recognize ethical issues in a variety of settings, and think about how different ethical perspectives might be applied to moral dilemmas.

Available Threads

Important Information

Policy and Procedure Notes:

  • Students must earn a total of 42 credits in Rock Studies.
  • Students exempted from any Rock Studies category must still earn a total of 42 credits in Rock Studies.
  • Students may use 4 credits from their first major's subject area (prefix) in the Rock Studies Program. 
  • Students may use Rock Studies courses to complete a second major, minor, or certificate.  
  • Pass/No Credit courses may not be used to satisfy any Rock Studies Requirement.
  • Students who withdraw from the university and return are responsible for the Rock Studies requirements in effect the time of their return.
  • A Liberal Studies course cannot substitute for a Rock Studies Requirement unless it has been approved by the Rock Studies Program Committee.

Graduation Requirements:

  • All undergraduate degree programs require a minimum of 120 credits.
  • Thirty of the final 60 credits prior to graduation must be earned at SRU. In addition, individual departments may establish residency requirements for their majors and minors.  Students should check with their academic adviser to determine the requirements for the academic program.
  • Students must complete a minimum of 42 credits of Rock Studies Coursework.
  • Students must complete 48 credits of upper-level coursework.  Thirty-nine of the 48 credits must be at the 300 level or higher, the additional 9 credits may include 100 or 200 level courses requiring a 3 credit prerequisite.  At least 24 of the 48 credits must be completed at SRU.
  • Bachelor or Arts degrees require language proficiency at the 103 class level.  Exemption by placement or examination is offered.
  • Beginning with May 2021 graduates, students must complete at least 45 undergraduate credits at SRU to be considered for Latin Honors at the point of graduation.
  • Students who wish to earn two degrees must complete 150 credits, all requirements for both degrees, and meet the language requirement if one of the degrees is a BA.  Students only need to meet the Rock Studies requirement for the first degree/major.

Transfer Students:

  • New transfer students follow the Rock Studies Program requirements beginning in Fall 2021.
  • Transfer courses valued as a percentage: 2.33, 2.5, etc. may be used to meet requirements, however, students must still earn a total of 42 Rock Studies credits.
  • Students transferring 24 or more credits are exempt from University Seminar.

Computer Competency:

All students at SRU must demonstrate computer competency through one of the following methods:

  • Equivalent transfer coursework or successfully complete one of the following courses at SRU:
  • Pass the SRU Computer Competency Exam - CPSC 099

Beginning Algebra (ESAP 110):

All students must demonstrate  competency through MATH SAT or ACT scores.  If competency is not met, students must complete Beginning Algebra and complete 123 credits for graduation.

Readmitted Students:

  • Students readmitted to the university follow the Rock Studies Program requirements.
  • Students with at least 24 or more credits are exempt from University Seminar.