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About the University Studies Program

The University Studies Program (USP) provides students with an assessable, common intellectual experience that also embraces the traditional breadth of a liberal arts education to prepare them for the challenges of work, for engaged citizenship and for a meaningful and satisfying life. These experiences will derive from participation in small learning communities, civic engagement and more.

Signature Questions

Student learning is the focus of the 41-credit program. In addition to the broad exploration of knowledge and the development of essential skills, students will ask big questions related to three themes drawn from the Essential Learning Outcomes:

  • Knowledge of Sustainability and Its Applications
  • Civic Learning
  • Intercultural Knowledge and Competence

These areas of inquiry relate to our campus' distinctive initiatives and are phrased in the form of Signature Questions:

  • How do people understand and create a more sustainable world?
  • How do people understand and engage in community life?
  • How do people understand and bridge cultural differences?

    Explore, Question and Connect

    The exploration component is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the human experience through different disciplinary ways of knowing about nature, culture and society.

    The question component is designed to promote students' development of the foundational skills necessary to succeed at the University, an understanding of and engagement with the Signature Questions, and an awareness of the value and importance of a liberal education. Students participate in small learning communities, as disciplinary courses are paired with writing and speaking courses in the first two semesters. In the third portion of this sequence, students participate in a community engagement project.

    The connection component is designed for students to integrate and synthesize knowledge from their Quest and Explore experiences in an advanced writing course that synthesizes all three Signature Questions.


    Through coordinated learning experiences, students explore their responsibilities as educated citizens in today’s world. The skills, knowledge and responsibilities that are the focus of USP student learning are drawn from the UW Oshkosh Essential Learning Outcomes.


    As a community of scholars, the USP faculty and staff are committed to students' academic success, the value of a liberal education and the implementation of research-based teaching and learning practices.

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