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Texas Core Curriculum

Texas Core Curriculum at UH

Although the courses included in the Texas Core Curriculum (TCC) may vary by institution, every Texas higher education institution's core curriculum must include the following Foundational Component Areas and semester credit hours (UH required courses are on the right):

Code Component Area Required Credit Hours UH Courses
10 Communication 6 ENGL 1301 & ENGL 1302
20 Mathematics 3 Core List
30 Life & Physical Sciences 6 Core List
40 Language, Philosophy, & Culture 3 Core List
50 Creative Arts 3 Core List
60 American History 6 HIST 1301 & HIST 1302
70 Government/Political Sciences 6 GOVT 2305 & GOVT 2306
80 Social/Behavioral Sciences 3 Core List
90 Component Area Option 6 MATH Reasoning: Core List
Writing in the Discipline: Core List

The UH list of Core Curriculum courses is available in the Undergraduate Catalog.

The Component Area Option (CAO), also known as the Institutionally Designated Option, address exemplary educational objectives not covered in the preceding broad discipline categories. Such courses may include computer literacy, kinesiology, health/wellness, interdisciplinary or linked courses, or other courses that address a specific institutional role and mission.

At UH, the CAO include an additional mathematics reasoning course that build students’ skills in mathematical and logical thinking, including approved courses in mathematics, logic, computer science, and statistics and a writing intensive course called Writing in the Discipline (WID).

The objective of a writing in the disciplines component of the core curriculum is to enable the student to communicate effectively in clear and correct prose in a style appropriate to the subject, occasion, and audience.

Please note, the writing intensive courses require substantial writing (at least 3000 words, including at least one piece of work done outside of class and returned to the student prior to the end of the term with the instructor’s written evaluation of grammar, style, and content), so please plan your semester accordingly. Time management is crucial when taking this course.

History of the Texas Core Curriculum

Information obtained from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's Elements of Core Curriculum Report and other sources.

In 1987, the 70th Texas Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 2183, which established the first core curriculum with a general intent to ensure quality in higher education. The legislation provided for the adoption and evaluation of general education core curricula by Texas public colleges and universities.

Since 1987, every student who received a baccalaureate degree from a Texas public institution of higher education, regardless of the student's academic discipline or major has been required to complete the state's general education core curriculum.

Senate Bill (SB) 148, passed by the 75th Texas Legislature in January 1997, repealed previous legislation concerning either lower-division transfer or core curriculum and sought to resolve concerns regarding the transfer of lower-division course credit among Texas public colleges and universities, while maintaining the core curriculum as one of the fundamental components of a high-quality undergraduate educational experience. More recent sessions of the Texas Legislature have fine-tuned the existing laws regarding core curriculum, but the essentials of the statutes have not changed since 1997.

Senate Bill (SB)148 also required the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to adopt rules that include "a statement of the content, component areas, and objectives of the core curriculum," which each institution is to fulfill by its own selection of specific courses.

In October 2011, The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) approved changes to the rules that affect the core curriculum, and those changes required each institution to update its core, with the new core fully implemented starting fall of 2014.

Prior to 2014, the core curriculum ranged from 42 to 48 credit hours, depending on the college or university. Each Core Curriculum was divided into 8 or 9 categories that were common across the state. This was a huge problem for transfer students because if they finished a 42-credit Core and transfer to a college or university that has, for example, a 47-credit Core, they would be required to complete those additional 5 credits hours to be core complete at the new institution.

Starting in fall 2014, the Texas Core Curriculum (TCC) is a 42 Semester Credit Hour (SCH) core curriculum for all undergraduate students in Texas public higher education. Each institution selects the specific courses it will offer to fulfill that framework of the TCC in a way that takes into account the individual role and mission of the institution. The TCC implementation at each institution must receive approval from the Coordinating Board and institutions must evaluate the effectiveness of their TCC at regular intervals.

One of the most important provisions of the TCC is that it allows students who successfully complete a 42 semester credit hour (SCH) core curriculum at one institution to transfer the entire set of completed courses to another public Texas higher education institution without having to repeat any core courses. Students who transfer without completing the entire 42-SCH core curriculum also receive credit for each of the core courses they successfully complete.

Students have flexibility to choose courses from an institution's core curriculum. However, that flexibility may be limited by the student's major. For example, most science majors have prescribed math and science requirements as part of their degree program requirements. Students should always consult with an academic advisor or counselor at their institution to determine what courses they should take.