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Washington State University
UCORE: University Common Requirements Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement

Inquiry in the Physical Sciences

Course designation within the area of Inquiry: Ways of Knowing

Science is an approach to asking and answering questions about the natural world that values empirical observation as a key foundation for developing theories that explain observations. It helps us make sense of the physical processes that underlie the world around us. Inquiries that use a scientific framework draw upon empirical observations (including experimentation), draw logical conclusions supported by the evidence, and articulate evidence-based arguments to advance those conclusions. For conclusions to be accepted, they must be corroborated by others and make accurate predictions. And yet, scientific inquiry is an ongoing cycle, constantly developing more useful, accurate and comprehensive models and methods.

To fulfill part of the UCORE Inquiry: Ways of Knowing requirements, students choose one course (3 credits) in Biological Science [BSCI] and one course (3 credits) in Physical Science [PSCI] such that either the BSCI course or the PSCI course has a 1 lab credit. Courses that fulfill the lab requirement are marked with a (L). College of Arts and Sciences students take one additional credit of Lab (L).

Student Learning Outcomes

Students, regardless of major, who successfully complete a [PSCI] course should be able to:

  • Draw conclusions based on scientific methods or evidence, as appropriate to course level (scientific literacy).
  • Apply quantitative methods and principles to solve scientific problems or explain scientific observations (quantitative reasoning).
  • Identify how science informs societal developments and issues (critical thinking).
  • Evaluate scientific claims or information based on the sources and the methods used to generate it, as appropriate to course level (information literacy).
  • Communicate effectively scientific information or findings in written forms appropriate to the discipline (written communication).
  • Understand fundamental knowledge and concepts in biological or physical science (breadth of learning).

Revised outcomes approved Spring 2022.

⇒ View approved PSCI courses

For Faculty

Learning Outcomes Grid

Whether submitting a new course for approval for the first time or submitting an updated course as part of UCORE’s renewal process, faculty should submit a completed PSCI Learning Outcomes Grid along with the course syllabus and supporting assignment prompts/activity descriptions. This grid should clearly demonstrate the relationship among UCORE designator learning outcomes, course learning outcomes, and activities and assignments that support those outcomes.

Propose or renew a PSCI course