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

Inquiry in the Social Sciences [SSCI]

Course designator within the area of Inquiry: Ways of Knowing

Inquiry in the Social Sciences teaches students how social sciences apply empirical principles and methods to understand human beings as social agents in cultural, group, and individual contexts.

Required Elements for all SSCI Courses

SSCI courses are required to:

  • Meet the basic requirements for all UCORE courses: written communication, critical and creative thinking, information literacy, and assessment / evidence of student progress toward learning goals.
  • Meet requirements for UCORE inquiry courses.
  • Introduce key concepts or major critical paradigms in the social sciences.
  • Enable students to learn and apply methods of inquiry appropriate to the discipline.
  • Have students identify, understand and use relevant source material, such as demographic, polling, or census material.
  • Help students learn how to evaluate empirical research and conceptual theories.
  • Have students communicate their findings in written form; oral or multi-modal forms are also encouraged.
  • Develop students’ quantitative reasoning skills through work evaluated for the final grade by methods such as: 
    • Explaining information presented in mathematical forms (e.g., equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, and words).
    • Converting relevant information into various mathematical forms (e.g., equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, and words).
    • Understanding and applying quantitative principles and methods in the solution of problems.
    • Making judgments and drawing appropriate conclusions based on the quantitative analysis of data, while recognizing the limits of this analysis.
    • Identifying and evaluating important assumptions in estimation, modeling, and data analysis.
    • Expressing quantitative evidence in support of an argument or project, or other work product.

Also, the UCORE committee suggests that SSCI courses analyze current issues through the lens of social science discipline(s).

Required Learning Outcomes Grid

Whether submitting a course for the first time or resubmitting an updated course as part of the UCORE committee’s periodic re-review, faculty should submit a completed SSCI Learning Outcomes Grid embedded in the course syllabus in order to demonstrate clearly the relationship among WSU/UCORE learning goals, UCORE category designation learning outcomes, course learning outcomes, assignments, and assessment of student learning. Consult the sample ROOT syllabus with embedded learning outcomes grid as a model.