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Focus Capacities

Design your course of study! Choose from hundreds of courses to fulfill your nine focus capacities and find the courses that challenge and inspire you! By studying different topics from a variety of perspectives and learning to identify problems, weigh evidence, make reasoned judgments, and take action, you will be equipped to make a meaningful contribution in the classroom, your career, and your community. You will leave Carolina with an expanded toolkit of critical skills that you can put to good use, wherever life takes you!

Recurring Capacities

In every course you will have an opportunity to write, to collaborate with peers, and to present material in a variety of settings and methods. Why? Learning requires repeated practice over time in different contexts. Encountering these recurring capacities in different courses strengthens your development of these essential capacities for future study, life, and career success.


“The common learning goals across each Focus Capacity allows students the flexibility to choose the context in which they encounter new and challenging ideas. This is part of both the structure and flexibility of this curriculum.”

Kelly Hogan
Professor of Biology

Course Requirements

Focus Capacity courses ensure that you encounter a broad array of academic ideas, approaches, and information across the liberal arts, as well as develop crucial capacities for future study and life. Students take one course for each of the nine Focus Capacity requirements (3 credits each). One Focus Capacity course must include or be associated with a one-credit Empirical Investigation Lab.

A course may be listed under two Focus Capacity categories. However, a single course may be used to fulfill only one Focus Capacity requirement (not including lab).

Some courses in this category may double count with:

Disciplinary Distribution

All students must take at least one general education course in each of the three major divisions of the College of Arts and Sciences:

  1. Humanities and fine arts
  2. Mathematics and natural sciences
  3. Social and behavioral sciences

The courses may come from any of these requirements:

  • First-Year Seminar/First-Year Launch
  • Focus Capacity
  • Research and Discovery
  • High Impact Experience
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