Learning Goals and Outcomes for the Core

3.3.1 Core Curriculum: Core IMPACTS

The USG core curriculum, Core IMPACTS, is designed to ensure that students acquire essential knowledge in foundational academic areas and develop career-ready competencies. There are seven Core IMPACTS areas. As presented in the table below, IMPACTS is a mnemonic for students to appreciate the impact of the overall core curriculum.

Students at all institutions must meet the Core IMPACTS requirements in all specified areas. However, institutions have considerable flexibility to tailor courses that meet these requirements to their institutional missions. Students must complete all Core IMPACTS requirements in order to earn associate of arts, associate of science, nexus, bachelor of arts, or bachelor of science degrees.

The Core IMPACTS framework establishes common system-wide Learning Outcomes and Career- Ready Competencies for each area, ensuring that courses completed in an area at one institution or through eCore are fully transferable to the same area at any other USG institution. Students do not have to complete all of the requirements for a Core IMPACTS area to transfer credit within that area. In some cases, a student may transfer from a sending institution that has a higher amount of credit in a core area than the receiving institution to which the student is transferring. In those cases, students should still get full credit for courses at the receiving institution, with the excess credit being applied to another core area.

System-wide Learning Outcomes and Career-Ready Competencies have been established for each Core IMPACTS area. To be included in a Core IMPACTS area, courses must address the approved Learning Outcomes and Career-Ready Competencies for that area. More details are available in the Academic and Student Affairs Handbook.

Each institution’s Core IMPACTS requirements must add up to 42 semester credit hours, with minimum credit hours in each area as follows:

Core IMPACTS Area Shorthand Credit Hours
Institutional Priority Institution At least 3 credit hours
Mathematics & Quantitative Skills Mathematics At least 3 credit hours
Political Science & U.S. History Citizenship At least 3 credit hours
Arts, Humanities & Ethics Humanities At least 6 credit hours
Communicating in Writing Writing At least 6 credit hours
Technology, Mathematics & Sciences*


At least 7 credit hours*
Social Sciences Social Sciences At least 3 credit hours

*At least 4 of the STEM credit hours must be in a lab science course. Given the importance of the STEM disciplines, any institution that wishes to drop STEM below 10 hours must make a compelling intellectual case that its core proposal will not lead to students knowing less about STEM. [An example of such a compelling case might be if the institution proposed to put 3 or more hours of math in the Institution area and 7 hours of natural science in the STEM area.]

(BoR Minutes, October 2009, October 2014, October 2015; March 2016; October 2023)