University Studies requirements
PSU offers a unique way for students to complete their general education requirements. The University Studies (UNST) program is a nationally recognized four-year program designed to provide students a well-balanced, thorough educational foundation, which helps them become successful, thoughtful, analytical thinkers. The program is divided into four categories: Freshman Inquiry, sophomore inquiry, upper-division cluster and senior capstone. For transfer students, the number of courses you transfer in will determine your placement in the UNST program, please see our transfer page for more details (link).
Freshman Inquiry (FRINQ)
The freshman inquiry (FRINQ) is a year long course that provides the foundation to the University Studies program. All FRINQ’s require a separate mentored inquiry session that is led by a peer mentor. This gives the students a chance to meet in smaller groups to discuss the course content, and it gives them an opportunity to interact with their peers.
-FRINQ classes are divided into different themes
-Students are given the opportunity to pick any FRINQ they wish. They are encouraged to pick a theme that looks interesting to them.
-Themes are studied through an interdisciplinary approach, which helps students analyze the topic using different perspectives
-FRINQ’s help students develop the basic skills in writing, research, communication and computer technologies.
-Visit the following links for more information about FRINQ’s and the different themes that are offered:
Sophomore inquiry (SINQ) and upper division cluster courses are interrelated and these courses are divided into themes as well. Students must select three different sophomore inquiries to take, and one of those inquiries will later be explored in a more in-depth level through the upper division cluster.
-These courses help students build their communication and critical thinking skills, and students also learn about ethical and social responsibility
-Students who begin the UNST program at the freshman level are required to take three different SINQ courses
-The number of SINQ classes that transfer students take will depend on how many credits they transferred in with. Please see our transfer page for more information:
-For more information about SINQ’s, and the different clusters, visit the following links:
Upper division cluster
The upper division cluster is where the student must pick one of their sophomore inquiries to focus on, and then take three different classes from within that cluster. It is important to note that the student cannot take a class from within their major to fulfill this requirement.
-Students are expected to be proficient in writing, research, discussion, computer and inquiry skills
-The cluster allows the student to choose the inquiry they liked the best, and then focus specifically on that subject. These topics could be related to their major, or could be different from their major.
-For more information about the upper division cluster, visit the following link:
The senior capstone is the last requirement in the UNST program at PSU. This combines all of the previous components and brings students together to participate in a project within the community. Students are given the opportunity to collaborate and work as a team with faculty members and agencies in the community.
-Capstones are designed to get students out of the classroom and into the field
-Students interact with peers from different majors, which helps them utilize a variety of perspectives and different skill sets
-Teaches students how to interact as a team
-To learn more about senior capstones and the different capstones that are offered, visit the following links:
It’s important to think about which classes you decide to take for the UNST requirement. Some students find it helpful to choose clusters that are related to their psychology major, and some students enjoy exploring topics outside of the major. Psychology is a very wide field and it relates to many topics in the UNST program.
For example, many psychology students decide to take the Child and Family Studies Cluster. This cluster relates to psychology in several ways. The Child and Family Studies Cluster helps psychology majors build a foundation of knowledge around children and the different dynamics that take place within a family.
The interdisciplinary approach of the program gives psychology majors the opportunity to analyze and look at issues with a variety of perspectives. This is helpful for students because it gets them thinking outside of the box.