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Academics 101: A Deep Dive into Course Categories of the Undergraduate Programme

Here is an in-depth guide for students to understand how course categorisation works in the undergraduate programme at Ashoka University

The undergraduate programme at Ashoka University is unique in its multidisciplinary approach. This enables the student to dabble with different courses and perspectives both inside and outside the classroom. This gives them enough time to explore myriad possibilities before they can decide what they want to major in. Students are not expected to declare their Major until the middle of the second year.

The course content is divided into the following categories:

Foundation Courses (FCs)

Currently, Ashoka has 9 Foundation Courses that cover various disciplines. These foundation courses are:

  • Great Books
  • Literature and the World
  • Economics, Politics, and Society
  • Principles of Science
  • Quantitative Reasoning and Mathematical Thinking
  • Environmental Studies
  • Mind and Behaviour
  • Indian Civilisations
  • Introduction to Critical Thinking

The first semester is dedicated exclusively to these mandatory Foundational Courses. These courses help narrow down what the students want to study at Ashoka University, specially if they are starting college wanting to delve deeper into fields they have not explored before. The University takes an approach that is catered towards incoming undergraduates to create a wonderful foundation for a liberal arts programme.

Major Courses

These are a range of courses catered towards fulfilling your major. Major Courses are further divided in the following manner:

Required/Core Courses: These are the courses students have to complete in order to obtain a degree in a certain subject. These are often introductory gateway courses meant to build a primary base in a certain field. Therefore, a student is expected to take them before higher-level courses and electives.

Electives: Electives are courses within a subject that take up various different themes, and one can choose them based on their interest. Students are required to take up a certain number of electives to complete their degree, but no particular elective is compulsory to take up.

This would become clearer with an example.

If one wants to pursue Political Science at Ashoka, they will have 4 required courses to complete, such as Introduction to Indian Politics and Introduction to Political Theory, and to complete the rest of their degree, they will take up 8 electives, such as Frankfurt School and Critical Theory.

Minor Courses

These courses are designed for students as a requirement for fulfilling their minor. Similar to Major Courses, Minor Courses are categorised as Required Courses(RCs) and Electives.

The number of RCs in electives is lesser as a minor requires a lesser number of courses. Generally, there are one or two gateway courses to pursue higher-level courses in a minor.

Similarly, to complete a minor, the students will also have to complete a lesser number of electives.

Co-Curricular Courses (CCs)

CCs are 2 credit courses that take place once a week. They help students engage with fields such as Performing Arts, Visual Arts, and Languages.

A CC classroom helps provide a learning experience that does not strictly adhere to an academic curriculum and is an environment that thrives on collaboration.

Independent Study Modules (ISMs)

ISMs are research modules where students can do theoretical research (write review papers) or empirical research (e.g., conducting experiments), or both (e.g., propose a topic, run an experiment, then write results up).

These are not mandatory, but if there is a topic some students would like to study academically, they can propose it as an Independent Study Module to a Professor.

If approved, an ISM counts for 4 credits like other courses related to one’s major or minor.

Extracted from a compilation prepared by the Office of Admissions, Ashoka University

Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka