AU Core Curriculum Habits of Mind

Preparing students to "Know what to do when they don't know."

Habits of Mind

Habits of Mind courses teach you to develop questions, employ methodologies, and create new knowledge or solutions. The AU Core includes five required Habits of Mind, each one focuses on specific ways of thinking or knowing: Creative-Aesthetic Inquiry, Cultural Inquiry, Ethical Reasoning, Natural-Scientific Inquiry, and Socio-Historical Inquiry. Habits of Mind are typically taken over the course of four years.

AU faculty believe inquiry goes hand-in-hand with the curiosity that characterizes life-long learners. The Habits of Mind help you broaden your knowledge base and prepare you to draw connections between your Core experience, classes in your majors/minors, and lives after AU.

Completing the Habits of Mind

Students* satisfy the Habits of Mind by completing an appropriately designated, in-residence course from each of the five Habits of Mind areas with grades of “C” or better.

  • Choose courses that complement one another and the classes in your majors/minors.
  • Brand new or revised courses get added each semester. Refer to the drop-down menu for the appropriate semester to learn what’s been added or confirm which courses can be used to satisfy a Habit of Mind requirement. Prior iterations of approved courses will not satisfy the requirement.
  • You may count, with permission of the relevant teaching unit, one Habit of Mind course toward each major or minor you pursue.
  • Consult your own degree audit or your academic advisor to verify which courses have been used to satisfy requirements.
  • Up to two appropriately-designated courses taken abroad can be used to satisfy AU Core requirements. Read Core Abroad for additional details.

*Transfer Students should consult the Academic Regulations for specialized guidance.

List of courses that satisfy the Habits of Mind requirements, as well as the other requirements of the AU Core.

Creative-Aesthetic Inquiry

  1. Identify and describe acts, practices, and products of artistic and other creative expressions or of aesthetic interpretations and discuss how they reflect, respond to, or shape their many contexts
  2. Describe and analyze the formal and structural components of artistic and other creative expressions in at least one discipline or domain, or across a range of disciplines or domains
  3. Engage in or with creative processes, which could include constructing meaning through the practices and products of artistic or other creative expressions, interpreting the meaning of artistic or creative expressions, practicing divergent thinking, or assessing the aesthetic value of artistic or other creative expressions

Cultural Inquiry

  1. Identify your own or other groups' norms, biases, or forms of representation, and recognize their implications
  2. Examine how culture intersects with power relationships and how this intersection shapes knowledge production, ideas, or behavior
  3. Ask significant questions about a culture or cultures, and seek answers that include multiple perspectives and take into account cultural dynamics

Ethical Reasoning

  1. Identify and differentiate ethical perspectives or questions
  2. Demonstrate ethical awareness by critically discussing and analyzing moral presuppositions
  3. Recognize the origins or structures of complex ethical issues
  4. Apply ethical concepts and frameworks

Natural-Scientific Inquiry

  1. Describe, evaluate, and communicate experimental results using appropriate technical, qualitative, and quantitative skills
  2. Analyze and interpret data or theories about natural phenomena, using pertinent scientific terminology, principles, and theories
  3. Synthesize theory, observation, and experimentation to understand the natural world through laboratory, simulation, or field experience
  4. Assess science-related content in popular discourse, daily life, or scholarly research

Socio-Historical Inquiry

  1. Examine an idea, problem, policy, or institution over a defined period of time
  2. Employ a critical or systematic method to analyze the relationship between human values, ideas, institutions, policies, or perspectives and their social and historical contexts or conditions
  3. Analyze and evaluate evidence and sources to develop an argument, or other student work product, that takes into account social and historical contexts or conditions