Core Competencies

All undergraduate students are expected to develop in their writing, oral communication, quantiative reasoning, information literacy, and critical thinking.

Core Competencies

To prepare students for work, citizenship, and life-long learning, undergraduate education at UCI must contribute to students’ development of the following core competencies.

Click on any of the core competencies below to read more about that learning outcome.


Communication by means of written language for informational, persuasive, and expressive purposes. Written communication may appear in many forms, or genres. Successful written communication depends on mastery of the conventions of the written language, facility with culturally accepted structures for presentation and argument, awareness of audience, and other situation-specific factors.

Oral Communication

Communication by means of spoken language for informational, persuasive, and expressive purposes. In addition to speech, oral communication may employ visual aids, body language, intonation, and other non-verbal elements to support the conveyance of meaning and connection with the audience. Oral communication may include speeches, presentations, discussions, dialogue, and other forms of interpersonal communication, either delivered face to face or mediated technologically.  

Quantitative Reasoning

 The ability to apply mathematical concepts to the interpretation and analysis of quantitative information in order to solve a wide range of problems, from those arising in pure and applied research to everyday issues and questions. It may include such dimensions as ability to apply math skills, judge reasonableness, communicate quantitative information, and recognize the limits of mathematical or statistical methods. Quantitative reasoning might also be re-imagined as not just mathematical or statistical computation but rather as “a habit of mind, a way of thinking about the world that relies on data and on the mathematical analysis of data to make connections and draw conclusions” (AACU, 2009).

Information Literacy

According to the Association of College and Research Libraries, the ability to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use the needed information” for a wide range of purposes. An information-literate individual is able to determine the extent of information needed, access it, evaluate it and its sources, use the information effectively, and do so ethically and legally. 

Critical Thinking

The ability to think in a way that is clear, reasoned, reflective, informed by evidence, and aimed at deciding what to believe or do.  Dispositions supporting critical thinking include open-mindedness and motivation to seek the truth.   

These five core competencies have been identified by WASC as the keys for long-term student success.

While the demonstration of these competencies will look different across disciplines, all undergraduate students are expected to develop these skills throughout their time at UCI.

For more information about the definitions and purpose of these core competencies, please visit our FAQ page for Core Competencies and the WASC Core Competences FAQs page. 


Assessment Process

Information about the assessment process for core competencies


We answer FAQs about assessing core competencies

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