So you’re new to campus, you’ve just registered for classes and you’ve already bought your textbooks? Good job so far! But what the heck is this University Studies thing you keep hearing about? Does it even apply to you?
University Studies (UNST) is a four-year 45-credit general education program that is required of all undergraduate PSU students, with the exception of those enrolled in Liberal Studies or the Honors Program. The program is designed to provide interdisciplinary learning opportunities for students pursuing degrees at PSU.
It can be an annoying requirement for sure, especially if you are not aware of it when you first begin at PSU. However, if you plan accordingly, you can take one or two University Studies courses a term and finish the requirement pretty easily and, who knows, you might even have fun taking classes outside of your major.
Freshman Inquiry (15 credits):
Freshman Inquiry courses are interactive and theme-based and explore a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Each student creates an electronic portfolio that allows them to reflect on the material they learn during their first year of college.
FRINQ is made up of a year-long 100-level class with two mentored inquiry. Most classes start in fall quarter, but some also start in winter.
Sophomore Inquiry & Junior Cluster (24 credits):
Your Sophomore Inquiry is linked to your Junior Cluster. You’ll take classes that are thematically linked, and they act as a gateway for the corresponding cluster. There are 15 groups to choose from. You will chose three as a sophomore and narrow it down to one as a junior. You will only be able to get credit for your Junior Cluster if all the classes are taken from the same cluster.
SINQ is three 4-credit 200-level classes with one mentored inquiry. There are three 4-credit 300-level cluster courses that will fit a single theme.
Senior Capstone (6 credits):
The senior capstone is designed to take students out of the classroom to learn through community involvement. You will still be required to attend class (although times and lengths will vary). You will work closely with students from various majors and backgrounds to find solutions to important issues and become engaged in your community.
The senior capstone is one 6-credit 421-level class that combines class time with community involvement.
If you are new to PSU but transferring from another 4-year university or community college, it is important to talk to your advisor because you may be exempt from one (or more) of the UNST requirements depending on how many credits you are transferring with.
More information can be found here.