First Year and Pre-Major Program (formerly CUSP)

Discovery Core Overview

What Should I Take?

If you're wondering what courses you should take as a First Year or Pre-Major student, or if you have questions for an advisor, you've come to the right place.

The links to the left provide information about The Discovery Core, what classes will be available for First Year and Pre-Major students, what classes are likely to be offered throughout the entire year at UW Bothell and many other resources from your First Year and Pre-Major advisors.

Discovery Core courses aim to provide students with tools to succeed in both their academic and personal life as they will learn how different forms of knowledge impact our communities, both local and global. Throughout the Discovery Core courses you will

Experience the richness of integrated learning across a variety of academic disciplines and the formation of a Learning Community among students, faculty, and staff at UW Bothell.

Embark on preparing for your major and fulfilling your UW General Education requirements.

Explore the UW Bothell Learning Goals - Critical and Creative Inquiry, Communication, Quantitative and Qualitative Literacy, Inclusive Practices, and Ethics and Social Responsibility - leading toward your Spring Quarter course on "Reflection, Research, and Experiential Learning."

The Discovery Core curriculum is a sequence of courses in a year-long, program of study required for all entering First Year Students at UW Bothell.

Autumn Quarter: Discovery Core I (5-10 credits)

The Autumn Discovery Core I courses focus on students’ transition into the university, on the development of analytic skills around reading, writing, media, and mathematics; on creating an e-portfolio; and on the practice of making connections across academic disciplines and between the classroom and the wider world. The topics include, among others, Coffee and Media, Philosophical Explorations of Science Fiction, Religion and Film, Jobs and the Economy, Digital Thinking, Entrepreneurship, the History of Physics, American Idol(s), and Human Rights. Some are team taught, some individually taught, but all of them will open your eyes to the richness of our complex world: from mollusks to Matisse; from computers to clouds; from poetry to plants. These courses also count toward the UW general education requirements for graduation.

Winter Quarter: Discovery Core II (5 credits)

The Winter Discovery Core II continues the work begun in the Autumn, making a turn toward the practice of Undergraduate Research in which the skills of analysis, creativity, and collaboration are essential. Some of these courses include Global Film and Fiction, the Geologic Study of Washington, the Moving Body, Media Culture, Hip Hop and Politics, the Question of Justice, Cinema, Chocolate, Chemistry in the Kitchen, and the Anthropology of Play. Students continue to construct the e-portfolio and explore their own areas of interest. These courses, like all the rest, count toward the UW general education requirements.

Spring Quarter: Discovery Core III (5 credits)

The Spring DC III focuses on active reflection on your first year, on honing your skills as an interdisciplinary researcher, and on the projection toward your second year of college. As you prepare to make the transition into your major, you will work closely with your peers and professors on completing the e-portfolio and on such areas as Autobiographical Ethnography, Media, Global Literature and Public Activism, Art and Community Engagement, the Biography of a Commodity, Utopias and Dystopias, Food and Social Justice, Cultures of the Northwest, and Dreaming. These courses also count toward the UW general education requirements.


In addition to your Discovery Core course each quarter, a range of electives are available to you including; Global Economics, Physics, Computer Programming, Contemporary Literature, Mathematics, Chemistry, Art and Public Space, Scientific Journeys, Introduction to Business, Psychology, Dance and Acting, Music and Philosophy, Myth and Ritual, Micro and Macroeconomics, American Government, Topics in Asian Culture, Introduction to Law, and Interdisciplinary Writing.