Learning Outcomes

The general knowledge we share and the skills we depend upon enrich the disciplines in which we work. The Discovery Program requirements, fulfilled by attributes attached to courses, reinforces that belief by fostering the integration of discovery skills and interdisciplinary breadth. Interdisciplinary understanding foregrounds the ways in which any discipline might be contextualized or enhanced by those around it. Capstone allows students to reflect on their education and to synthesize knowledge and skills. The Discovery Program requirements prepare the student for citizenship in an increasingly complex and changing world. We hope our students will solve subtle problems, appreciate human complexity, and cherish the world’s beauty.

Discovery Category Student Learning Outcomes

Confirmed by the Discovery Committee of the Faculty Senate - April 5, 2018
Updated - December 14, 2022

The Discovery Committee, with the assistance of the Discovery Program office, created following Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for each Discovery category.  It is our hope that they reflect a broad set of learning goals that will be present in any course taught in one of the following categories. While we realize that many of these skills may be acquired in other courses or through other experiences, the Discovery Program provides a coherent body of knowledge through designated Discovery courses. Students, therefore, must take a designated Discovery course in each of the Discovery categories in order to fulfill their core curriculum requirements at the University of New Hampshire, regardless of whether they feel they have acquired these skills elsewhere. In many cases, transfer courses that closely match UNH Discovery courses will be granted Discovery credit, but this credit must be approved and awarded by the Admissions and Registrar’s Offices and/or the Discovery Committee. The following skills are carefully aligned with the competencies outlined in the SLOs for the Discovery Program as a whole.

Discovery Foundation Skills

  • First Year Writing (English 401)
  • Quantitative Reasoning (QR)
    • Demonstrate proficiency in carrying out college-level mathematical procedures.
    • Use college-level mathematical thinking to analyze situations and data to solve problems.
  • Inquiry Course (Critical thinking seminar or lab)

Discovery in the Disciplines

Biological Science (BS)

  • Learn about aspects of the living world as described in the course description.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of fundamental concepts in biological science.
    • Additional SLOs for DLAB courses

Physical Science (PS)

  • Learn about aspects of the physical world specified in the course description.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of fundamental concepts in the physical sciences.
  • Use mathematical models and computational thinking to understand the physical world.
    • Additional SLOs for DLAB courses


  • Explain phenomena through observation, experimentation, and quantitative analysis.
  • Summarize or collect, analyze, and evaluate scientific data.
  • Create, test, modify, confirm or invalidate hypotheses.
  • Master appropriate laboratory and field techniques used in the biological and physical sciences.
  • Communicate scientific material effectively in written and oral formats.

Environment, Technology, & Society (ETS)

One or more of the following:

  • Explore the social consequences of technological and/or environmental change.
  • Master a technology described in the course description and evaluate its human impact.
  • Consider the impact of various technologies on the environment.
  • Understand the way the environmental challenges shape the development of technology.

Fine and Performing Arts (FPA)

One or more of the following:

  • Develop an understanding and appreciation of differing forms of art expression such as music, visual art, theatre, or architecture.
  • Develop skills in creative writing.
  • Produce art in the studio, workshop, or theatre.

Historical Perspectives (HP)

  • Study the signature events that occurred within the time and geographical expanse specified in the course description.
  • Explore the way primary sources reveal the ideas and values of people living in a different time and place.
  • Appreciate human diversity through examination of class, race, and/or gender hierarchies of the past.
  • Interpret the way past events and belief systems have contributed to and differed from the values and intuitions of the present.

Humanities (HUMA)

  • Engage with literary, philosophical, artistic and/or cinematic works that explore some aspect of the human condition.
  • Pose questions about the nature of being, ethical imperatives, aesthetics, or epistemology.
  • Write a critical essay investigating a focused question raised by a literary, philosophical, or artistic work.

Social Science (SS)

  • Apply quantitative and/or qualitative data to investigate the dynamics of social interactions.
  • Develop testable hypotheses regarding the social and cultural world they examine.

World Cultures (WC)

  • Explore human diversity by studying societies and cultures outside the United States.
  • Recognize the diversity and validity of unfamiliar cultural values. 

Discovery Program Student Learning Outcomes

Revised and confirmed by the Discovery Committee of the Faculty Senate - May17, 2017

After completing the Discovery Program at UNH, students should be able to:

  1. Communicate effectively by applying skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
  2. Acquire and use information appropriately and effectively to research, organize, and present knowledge.
  3. Apply mathematical concepts and/or statistical models to understand phenomena and/or solve problems in multiple contexts.
  4. Formulate and evaluate open-ended questions that lead to empirical/researchable investigations of complex problems and issues.
  5. Analyze and synthesize ideas and perspectives from diverse traditions from around the world.
  6. Analyze and synthesize ideas and perspectives from more than one academic or intellectual discipline.
  7. Clarify connections between their academic learning and their own ethical values.
  8. Demonstrate the integration of learning they have achieved in their major field of study.
  9. Exercise imagination in grappling with complex problems of both the natural and human created worlds, and understand the centrality of imagination to all human endeavors.
  10. Make connections among the various branches of human knowledge and endeavor.