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Essential Studies

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ESP Overview

Why Essential Studies

The Essential Studies Program at Chadron State provides an integrated, coherent learning experience to prepare students for a life of responsible inquiry.  ESP is built on student learning outcomes (SLOs) that answer the fundamental question, "what should all undergraduate students - irrespective of their majors and career aspirations - know or be able to do upon graduation?"

Key Components

The Essential Studies program is comprised of 39 hours distributed across twelve key areas:

  • FIRST YEAR INQUIRY (FYI): At the beginning of the program, for all entering first year students, six hours of inquiry-guided learning offered among a wide variety of topics. (Student Learning Outcome 1)
  • SKILLS: Twelve credit hours focused on building skills in written and oral communication, math and logic, and practice in the creative arts. (Student Learning Outcomes 2-5)
  • MODES OF INQUIRY: Nine credit hours focused on exploring the humanities and the physical and social sciences. (Student Learning Outcomes 6-8)
  • PERSONAL AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: Nine credit hours focused on the practice of ethics, civic engagement, diversity and wellness. (Student Learning Outcomes 9-11 )
  • CAPSTONE INTEGRATION (CAP): A three-credit-hour course at the end of the program, junior or senior year, featuring a culminating experience that seeks to integrate what has been learned throughout the essential studies courses into a final project or presentation.

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