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Blazing New Trails

As a centerpiece of undergraduate education at UAB, Blazer Core is designed to prepare students for success as lifelong learners who are poised to succeed in their future study and become leaders in their future careers and communities. Through an emphasis on high-impact educational practices including undergraduate research, cutting-edge writing and digital composing skills, community-research and service learning, and collaborative inquiry, Blazer Core empowers students to blaze new trails in research, civic engagement, and the 21st century workplace. Blazer Core is, quite simply, where students become Blazers, the innovative, capable, global citizens who blaze new trails and use knowledge to change the world.

Blazer Core is made up of the following areas:

On-Ramp (0 Credits):

The on-ramp is not a course and does not offer course credit, but is rather a series of exciting events that are designed to immerse students in the values and principles of UAB and kickstart their engagement in the UAB and Birmingham community.

Local Beginnings (3 Credits):

Students begin locally in a community of learners that is developed through our innovative First Year Experience courses. These courses provide students with a meaningful introduction to academic study at UAB that engages them in the process of designing pathways for both their future careers and future engagements as citizens.

Academic Foundations (15 Credits):

Intellectual foundations provide students with opportunities to develop and apply processes of print and digital communication, quantitative literacy, and critical and ethical thinking to real-world issues. Courses such as our innovative place-based Freshman English courses foster students’ awareness of how foundational knowledge directly impacts the lives of those in our community and world.

  • Writing (6 Credits)

    Freshman Writing I and Freshman Writing II provide students with strong writing processes that enable students to become adaptable writers who can communicate in a variety of different media for different audiences.

  • Quantitative Literacy (3 Credits)

    Courses in quantitative literacy provide students with central conceptual knowledge of numbers, formulas, data, and probabilities, and encourage students to apply this knowledge to address real-world problems.

  • Reasoning (3 Credits)

    Courses in reasoning teach logic and reasoning processes, including ethical thinking processes that enable students to understand the critical dialogues and discourses that shape our world.

  • Communicating in the Modern World (3 Credits)

    Courses in communicating the modern world expand students’ understanding of verbal and visual forms of communication and empower them to become effective and adaptive communicators.

Thinking Broadly (20 Credits):

To respond to the opportunities of tomorrow, students need the ability to think from a range of different disciplinary and cultural perspectives, recognize and value the diversity of human culture and identity, perceive the vital importance of intellectual and public knowledge of scientific inquiry in our society, understand the historical development of the cultures, communities, and networks that shape our world, and critically understand how narrative, visual art, and design shape our contemporary experience of the world.

  • History and Meaning (3-6 Credits)

    Courses in this section will explore the ways that human beings have sought to understand, organize, and interpret the human experience and to give it meaning.

  • The Creative Arts (3-6 Credits)

    Courses in this section will explore the imaginative and creative arts.

  • Scientific Inquiry (8 Credits)

    Courses in this section will teach students the processes of scientific inquiry and the uses of scientific evidence and challenge them to think about the importance of scientific inquiry for understanding and addressing our world’s key challenges. These courses will be accompanied by labs.

  • Humans and their Societies (3-6 Credits)

    Courses in this section look at the ways that human beings behave in the social world and how they have organized their societies.

City as Classroom (3 Credits):

A signature initiative of Blazer Core, City as Classroom courses will be taught by faculty across the many disciplines at UAB and will immerse students in undergraduate research, experiential learning, or other high-impact practices that enable them to see the role of knowledge in addressing the challenges and opportunities of our city. Here are just a few possible examples:

  • The Sustainable South (Biology, Environmental Sciences, Public Health)
  • Birmingham and the Industrial Revolution (History)
  • The Health of Birmingham (Public Health, Nursing, Social Work)
  • Human Rights in the City (Political Science)
  • The New South in a Global Context (International Studies, Business)
  • Learning in Birmingham (Education)
  • Smart Cities (Engineering, Physics)
  • Writing Alabama (English)
  • The Local Arts (Music, Art, Theater)
  • Crime and Punishment in Alabama (Criminal Justice)


As students progress through Blazer Core, they will develop key skills and capabilities that sometimes are not reflected on their transcripts. Our innovative flagging program allows students to earn flags for course work and co-curricular activities that cultivate specific skills, perspectives, and habits of mind that reflect the goals of the core and ideals of UAB. Here are just a few of our important flags.

  • Justice
  • Wellness
  • Sustainability
  • Post-Freshman Writing
  • Global/Multicultural Perspectives
  • Civic Engagement
  • High-Impact Practices

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