The Core Curriculum


The Core Curriculum lays the foundation for a liberal education, giving students the academic footing they need to succeed in their disciplinary courses. Components of the Core are dictated by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and feature six defined Core Objectives:

  • critical thinking (CT)
  • communication (COM)
  • empirical and quantitative reasoning (EQS)
  • teamwork (TW)
  • personal responsibility (PR)
  • social responsibility (SR)

The THECB then categorizes core courses around traditional disciplinary lines called Foundational Component Areas (FCA) including:

  • communication
  • mathematics
  • life and physical sciences
  • language, philosophy, and culture
  • creative arts
  • American history
  • government/political science
  • social and behavioral sciences.

Each FCA is defined and is tied to particular core objectives according to the state (see page 5 here.)

In addition to FCAs, THECB requires students complete a Component Area Option (CAO). There are two types of CAO options: CAO-A and CAO-B. CAO exists to allow faculty to have more flexibility in their courses. While FCA has required core objectives, CAO-B is not as prescribed.

  • CAO-A courses look just like FCA courses, but notification is required to THECB if UNTD wishes to have a class under both a FCA category and a CAO-A category.
  • CAO-B courses look similar to FCA courses but they allow for a little more flexibility in terms of the faculty member deciding the core objectives to include in the class. The benefit of CAO-B courses is that the faculty member has the ability to design the course a little more freely. The CAO-B course must still be aligned with a discipline: communication; creative arts; language, philosophy, and culture; life and physical sciences; mathematics; American history; government/political science; or social and behavioral sciences. The CAO-B course must still also include three core objectives. Two of those must be critical thinking and communication. The other one may be decided by the faculty member. 

Students must take 36-hours in FCAs plus 6-hours in a Component Area Option (CAO) to complete the Texas Core Curriculum. For CAO, students can either take 3-credits in Option A and 3-credits in Option B, or 6-credits in Option A. They cannot take 6-credits in Option B.

Core Courses at UNT Dallas

Approved core courses at UNT Dallas are organized by year approved; see this link to look them up. You may also view them in the UNTD Catalog.

Approval Process and Form

To have more UNT Dallas courses approved for the Core, faculty must apply to the internal UNTD Core Curriculum Committee (CCC) using this form. For a WORD version of the form, please email Dr. Elizabeth Giddens.

If approved, CCC will submit it to the UNTD Academic Council. If AC approves, it will be sent to THECB for state-approval. The CCC submission dates for AY 18-19 are provided below:

Submissions to CCC Due by CCC Reviews by Revisions (if needed) by
October 12 October 26 November 1
November 2 November 23 November 30
December 2 December 21 January 4

(Please note that if the course being proposed for the Core is a brand new course not currently found in the UNTD Catalog, it would need to go through a couple additional steps prior to the CCC. It would first need to go to the School Curriculum Committee, then University Curriculum Committee, and then CCC. Once CCC received it, it would follow the normal process of CCC>AC>THECB.)

Members of the UNT Dallas Core Curriculum Committee

Additional Links