Through the Baccalaureate Core at Oregon State University, students explore knowledge in many fields across the university and learn to think critically about significant issues--locally, nationally, and globally.  Students will learn how knowledge is made in fields from science and mathematics to the arts, geography and political science.  While courses in the major provide expertise in a specific field of study, courses in the Bacc Core offer students a broad sense of what it means to be an educated person and to be well equipped for the challenges of the workplace, citizenship, and constructing a life with meaning. 


In the Skills categories, students will gain knowledge and practice in foundational areas of education:

  • Writing I (WR 121) introduces students to academic writing and improves their ability to understand audiences, craft evidence-based arguments, locate, evaluate, and use valuable sources, and write using Standard Written English. 
  • Writing II  gives students the opportunity to improve their written communication skills through courses that focus on specific types of writing that might interest students and improve their success in the future:  professional writing (for example technical or business writing, argumentation), creative writing (fiction, poetry), craft (improving style and grammar), and writing for the public (critical reviewing, science writing, food writing).  Note that certain majors may require a particular WR II course. 
  • Speech gives students important experience in oral communication that will enhance their ability to speak in their major field, in interpersonal interactions, and in the world.  Students can select public speaking, argument and critical discourse, or interpersonal communication.  As is the case with WRII, major sometimes require a particular speech course.
  • Mathematics gives students the opportunity to understand, manipulate, and use mathematical information as it impacts their daily life.  In these skills courses students will apply mathematical principles numerically, graphically, symbolically, and in narrative form.  
  • Fitness gives students knowledge and practice for a life of wellness and positive health decision-making.


In the Perspectives categories, students engage learning and critical thinking across a broad spectrum of academic areas: the biological and physical sciences, literature and the arts, the social sciences, and the humanities, among others.  Each Perspectives category offers many course options, so this is a place where students can really shape their own OSU education and follow their true interests. See the Bacc Core Playlists for some ideas of ways to mold the Bacc Core to individual needs and interests.  

  • Biological and Physical Sciences prepare all students—whether in technical or non-technical fields—to understand and employ the methods of scientific inquiry and comprehend the role of science in today’s society.
  • Study of Cultural Diversity gives students knowledge and competencies for living and working in a multi-cultural society, functioning in a global economy, and understanding the broad diversity of human experience. 
  • Study of Literature and the Arts gives students the ability to recognize artistic methods by which pattern and meaning are found in human experience and to critique those methods. Through literature and the arts, students engage their own and other cultures, examine their values, and discover sources of lifelong pleasure.
  • Through Social Processes and Institutions students gain knowledge of how human beings are inevitably social. The social sciences study social institutions and processes as well as human behaviors and values in contemporary society.
  • Western Culture forms the foundation of contemporary U.S. society in institutional, social, and cultural aspects. Understanding Western culture, its origins, and its evolution enables students to develop greater awareness of America’s past, present, and future.


Synthesis courses teach students to address contemporary issues using a multi-disciplinary approach, thus engaging the world’s problems with the complexity they require.  Synthesis courses are upper division and are best taken after students complete their Skills  and Perspectives courses. 

  • Courses in Contemporary Global Issues enable students to study how social, economic, political, environmental, and other issues and problems originating in one part of the world may have far-reaching ramifications in other locations. Students in CGI courses employ both global and multidisciplinary perspectives to the study of  global issues.
  • Courses in Science, Technology, and Society engage students in a   multi-disciplinary study of the interaction of science and technology with society. Students gain understanding of the political and economic dimensions of scientific or technological change, the nature of the scientific enterprise, and the complexity of major revolutions in science and technology. 

Difference, Power, and Discrimination

Through courses in Difference, Power, and Discrimination, students gain understanding of how the unequal distribution of social, economic, and political power in the United States and in other countries is sustained through a variety of individual beliefs and institutional practices. Students explore the complexity of structures, systems, and ideologies that sustain discrimination and the unequal distribution of power and resources in US society in order to enhance democratic participation from the OSU campus to American society and beyond.

Writing Intensive Courses (WIC)

In order to have a successful professional future, students must learn to write clearly and convincingly as members of the field or fields in which they have chosen to major.  Writing Intensive courses, which are taken in the major or as designated by the major, introduce students to the genres, purposes, audiences, content, and conventions of writing in the major.  Through inquiry-based writing in the discipline, students gain understanding and knowledge of disciplinary methods, evidence, concepts, and forms of communication.  Students are encouraged to complete Writing I and Writing II requirements before enrolling in their WIC course during the junior or senior year.