Academic Information

The Drake Curriculum

The purpose of the Drake Curriculum is to provide students with a meaningful liberal education. Drake students will gain the breadth of knowledge and skills necessary to successfully function in a complex and rapidly changing world. The Drake Curriculum helps to prepare students for meaningful personal lives, professional accomplishments and responsible global citizenship. The Drake Curriculum consists of three components: a First Year Seminar, a set of Areas of Inquiry (A.O.I.) requirements, and a Senior Capstone. Students are required to complete all three. An optional Honors Program Track is available as an alternative to the Areas of Inquiry requirements. Additional information can be found on the Drake Curriculum web site.

First Year Seminars

All Drake students entering directly from high school or transferring with fewer than 30 hours of college credit must complete a First Year Seminar during their first year of enrollment. First Year Seminars are student-centered learning experiences that involve critical thinking, both written and oral communication skills, and an introduction to information literacy. Through a topical focus, they foster understanding of methods of analysis and creativity. A student should normally take their First Year Seminar in the Fall term when seminars on a wide variety of topics are offered. Students transferring to Drake at mid-year and those who failed or dropped their Fall term First Year Seminar should enroll in the First Year Seminar available in the Spring term.

Areas of Inquiry

The Areas of Inquiry (A.O.I.) requirements are designed to provide students with a solid introduction to a variety of intellectual fields and a diversity of learning experiences. Students are required to take one course in each A.O.I. listed below, with the exceptions of the historical foundations and scientific literacy areas where two courses each are required. In the science area, one course must be on the physical sciences list and the other course must be on the life and behavioral sciences list. One of the two science courses must carry a one-credit lab. Descriptions of each A.O.I. are available on the Drake Curriculum web site.

  • Artistic Experience - renamed "Artistic Literacy" as of the spring 2021 semester
  • Critical Thinking
  • The Engaged Citizen
  • Historical Foundations
  • Information Literacy
  • Global and Cultural Understanding
  • Scientific Literacy
    • Life/Behavioral Science
    • Physical Science
  • Quantitative Literacy
  • Values and Ethics
  • Written Communication

Students select courses for each A.O.I. from approved course lists. Selections should be made in consultation with the student's academic adviser. With specific exceptions, students and advisers must choose from the approved lists in fulfilling area requirements. The exceptions to this rule involve honors courses, independent study courses, special topics courses, study-abroad courses and transfer courses. Students may apply courses of these types to an appropriate A.O.I. requirement with the approval of their adviser. It is mandatory, however, that courses falling into one of these categories must centrally address the goals and expectations of the relevant A.O.I. (as specified in the Area description) before they can be approved as fulfilling the area requirement. First Year Seminars may not be counted toward the A.O.I. requirements. Also, a single course can count for no more than one A.O.I. In cases where a given course is listed under two or more areas, the course may be counted toward only one of those areas. Approved course lists for each A.O.I. are available on the Drake Curriculum web site.

Equity and Inclusion Requirement

All students are required to take a course that achieves stated Equity and Inclusion learning outcomes. They can fulfill this by taking an existing AOI course that meets these outcomes, or through a course in their major, minor, or concentration that meets them.

Honors Program Track

As an alternative to the Areas of Inquiry requirements, students may fulfill the Drake Curriculum by completing the requirements of the Honors Program Track. Students pursuing the Honors Program Track still must take a First Year Seminar and a Senior Capstone. Students who later decide to drop the Honors Program Track must complete the A.O.I. requirements. (Honors courses already taken may be counted toward appropriate Areas of Inquiry with adviser approval.) Students should consult with their academic adviser before switching to the Honors Program Track.

The Honors Program Track requirements include:

  • One laboratory science course from A.O.I. lists for Scientific Literacy, either physical or life sciences.
  • One course from A.O.I. list for Quantitative Literacy Area.
  • One course from A.O.I. list for Artistic Experience Area.
  • HONR 100 - Paths to Knowledge (4-credit course).
  • 15 additional credits in the Honors Program.

Completion of the Honors Program Track in the Drake Curriculum is not sufficient to fulfill the requirements of the Honors Program for the designation of "University Honors" on a student's official transcript. To complete the Honors Program, students must complete the Honors Program Track plus the following: successfully complete an Honors Program Senior Thesis/Project and maintain an overall cumulative 3.2 GPA.  More information about the Honors Program can be found on the Honors Program web site.

Senior Capstone Experiences

Each bachelor's degree-seeking student must complete at least one Senior Capstone experience. Capstone experiences allow each student to demonstrate the capacity to bring information, skills and ideas acquired from the major and the Drake Curriculum to bear on one significant project. Capstone options are designed by individual departments and interdisciplinary programs. Capstones may take many different forms, including seminars, internships, practicums, field work, independent research and other options. Students who are earning double majors are required to meet the capstone requirement of each major. The same capstone may, however, satisfy requirements in more than one major with approval of both departments or programs.

Blueprint for Success

In addition to the Drake Curriculum requirements outlined above, all students entering directly from high school or transferring fewer than 30 credit hours are required to complete INTD 025: Blueprint for Success during their first year of enrollment.

Blueprint for Success is a one-credit hour course that helps students explore concepts and develop skills that are crucial for development of meaningful personal lives, professional accomplishments, and responsible global citizenship.

The information in this catalog does not constitute a contract between the university and the student. The university reserves the right to make changes in curricula, admission policies and processes, tuition and financial aid, academic standards and guidelines, student services and any other regulations or policies set forth in this catalog without giving prior notice.