Our Courses

The Department of Focused Inquiry's core course offerings are made up of UNIV 111, UNIV 112 and UNIV 200. These courses are about asking questions. Good questions. Thoughtful questions. Probing questions. And all kinds of questions: What is the meaning of justice? Are pharmaceutical companies responsible for the opioid epidemic? Why is there a decline in the global birth rate? What is the cultural function of cosplay?

All Focused Inquiry courses involve the five core skill areas of Focused Inquiry and your General Education studies here at VCU:

  • Communicative Fluency
  • Ethical Reasoning
  • Global and Cultural Responsiveness
  • Information Literacy
  • Problem Solving (Critical and Creative)

UNIV 111

Students can expect opportunities to practice in writing, critical thinking, oral presentation, collaborative learning, information retrieval and evaluation and social and civic responsibilities. All sections of UNIV 111 incorporate common reading materials and course activities. UNIV 111 builds the foundational skills essential for success in both your chosen field of study at VCU and in your profession.

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UNIV 112

Students continue to build the skills introduced in UNIV 111 through expository essays, argument and contextual analysis. Each section of UNIV 112 focuses on writing in a variety of genres, framing writing according to both purpose and audience and identifying academically valid sources. Students must earn a minimum grade of C to receive credit for this course

UNIV 200

Students apply writing and research skills to real-world situations through the lens of critical literacies. Each section of UNIV 200 challenges students to thoughtfully engage with contemporary issues through inquiry-based research skills, communication of argument and research across media. This course represents the culmination of foundational ConnectED competencies developed in UNIV 111 and UNIV 112.

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UNIV 299

Each section in this interdisciplinary course will focus on a particular "big question" that has intrigued thinkers throughout time and across cultures. As students move from personal to global — and from theoretical to practical — investigations of the question, they will come to understand inquiry as a complex cycle of questioning, gathering, examining, interpreting, comparing, analyzing and evaluating, with important application to decision-making and problem-solving in the real world.

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