The campus-wide general education program (known as the Dearborn Discovery Core) at the University of Michigan-Dearborn is designed to complement work in a student's chosen area of study. These classes serve as a means of discovery for students, providing a foundation for learning, connecting to potential new areas of interest and building tools for success in whatever field a student pursues. Learning outcomes are guided by the qualities every student should develop as they move toward graduating with a University of Michigan-Dearborn degree. The six goals for undergraduate student learning and experiences at UM-Dearborn are:
Core Knowledge, Communication, Cultural Understanding, Critical and Creative Thinking, Collaboration, and Citizenship
The Dearborn Discovery Core (DDC) requirements incorporate the six goals for undergraduate student learning and experience to help ensure that students master the tools and techniques necessary to succeed in college and throughout their lives and careers. The Dearborn Discovery Core is divided into three sections in order to accomplish the six goals for undergraduate student learning: Foundational Studies, Areas of Inquiry, and Capstone Experience.
Below, you will find the lists for the courses that are included in the DDC. DDC 1.0 is for freshmen who started in Fall 2015 through Summer 2021, or transfer students who attend UM-Dearborn prior to Fall 2023. DDC 2.0 is for incoming freshmen in Fall 2021 and afterwards, and transfer students who start in Fall 2023 and on.
DDC Categories & Goals
Foundational Studies [15 credits]
Writing and Communication [6 credits]
Develop the fundamentals of expressing yourself in writing and speaking, including the effective communication of a research-based argument.
- Students are able to compose, revise, edit, and present their own writing for clarity and fluency of expression.
- Students are able to demonstrate how to prepare and adapt written and oral communication to the needs of multiple audiences across different genres in professional, academic, and interpersonal contexts.
- Students are able to demonstrate an understanding of academic integrity and use research skills, including critically evaluating information, writing from sources, and accurately citing work.
Upper-Level Writing Intensive Course [3 upper-level credits]
Critically engage with advanced content material by intensively practicing the writing conventions of a particular discipline.
- Students are able to demonstrate advanced competency by writing for a specific audience.
- Students are able to effectively respond to and incorporate feedback.
- Students are able to effectively evaluate and use research methods, sources or technology appropriate to the field in their writing.
- Students are able to demonstrate in their writing critical inquiry and thinking to synthesize disciplinary ideas or create a new work or perspective.
Quantitative Thinking and Problem Solving [3 credits]
Develop your math, logical reasoning, data analysis, and problem-solving abilities.
- Students are able to interpret information provided in mathematical form (e.g. with functions, equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, words, geometric figures).
- Students are able to represent information/data in mathematical form as appropriate (e.g. with functions, equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, words, geometric figures).
- Students are able to carry out mathematical (e.g. algebraic, geometric, logical statistical) procedures flexibly, accurately, and efficiently to solve problems.
- Students are able to accurately employ logical or quantitative reasoning (e.g. analyzing evidence, detecting fallacies, drawing a valid conclusion) and to explain their reasoning.
Critical and Creative Thinking [3 credits]
Formulate questions and articulate problems; gather and interpret material toward reasoned conclusions; work within alternative methods and perspectives; and communicate effectively with others in solving complex problems.
1. Students are able to identify, summarize, and understand the problem, question, and/or issue.
2. Students are able to identify, locate, and critically or creatively evaluate evidence using appropriate sources or technology.
3. Students are able to consider and interpret alternative perspectives to support analysis.
4. Students are able to develop and communicate conclusions and implications by synthesizing technical, esthetic, conceptual knowledge or supporting evidence.
Areas of Inquiry [28 credits] & Capstone Experience [3 credits]
Natural Sciences [7 credits with a lab]
Understand the basic concepts in the physical and natural sciences while also developing the ability to explain the relationship of evidence, assumptions, method, and theory in scientific analysis.
- Students are able to demonstrate an understanding of the core concepts and vocabulary relevant to a particular area of the natural sciences.
- Students are able to use model-based thinking to explain a complex system in a simplified manner.
- Students are able to formulate questions to guide scientific investigations.
- Students are able to evaluate scientific explanations or conclusions within the natural sciences.
- Students are able to create or follow a plan to answer a scientific question, enact the plan by collecting data, and analyze and interpret the data with respect to the question (lab courses only).
Social and Behavioral Analysis [9 credits]
Understand the fundamental concepts and theories of a field in the social or behavioral sciences while also learning how those concepts affect human behavior and societal change.
- Students are able to demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental concepts of a specific discipline in the behavioral or social sciences.
- Students are able to demonstrate understanding of methods, models, or theories that produce knowledge in a specific field in the behavioral or social sciences.
- Students are able to apply disciplinary knowledge in the behavioral or social sciences to explain people’s actions, perceptions, values, and/or their impact on contemporary or historical issues.
Humanities and the Arts [6 credits]
The humanities and the arts can be described as the study of how people process and document the human experience. As humans we use philosophy, literature, religion, art, music, theatre, film, media studies, history and language to understand, record, and analyze our world.
- Students are able to demonstrate foundational knowledge of a specific subject area in the humanities and arts, including the use of specialized vocabulary.
- Students are able to define and analyze the form, structure, and content of selected texts or works of art, either through critical analysis or creative production.
- Students are able to demonstrate the ability for the close reading, interpretation, and contextualization of primary sources in relation to their production and reception.
Intersections [6 upper-level credits]
Understand plural societies and cultural differences, as well as synthesize multiple sources of information across disciplinary and experiential learning to develop new insights and creative problem-solving approaches.
- Students are able to describe how ways of knowing and creating knowledge differ across disciplines and cultures.
- Students are able to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and attributes needed to understand diverse local or global contexts.
- Students are able to critically evaluate the narratives, values, artifacts, processes, technologies or structures that may create a just and sustainable society.
- Students are able to creatively integrate theory and practice from across disciplines or from experiences outside of the classroom to address complex questions.
Capstone Experience [3 credits]
Engage in a culminating experience in which you apply knowledge to a research or experiential project that requires you to think critically and creatively and communicate your results in research products or reflective writings.
- Students are able to identify, obtain, research, and describe major issues associated with a specific topic of inquiry.
- Students are able to identify and discuss critical questions leading to a deeper engagement in the study of a specific topic of inquiry or technology.
- Students are able to apply knowledge, skills and abilities in the creation, execution, and reflection on a concrete project or experience informed by a specific topic of inquiry.
DDC Application Forms
Visit this page for information about the DDC course application process and to access the course application forms.