May 26, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

True Blue Core

Mission Statement

The True Blue Core (TBC) is the heart of Middle Tennessee State University’s educational mission. The Core offers innovative teaching that supports students in discovery and exploration throughout their undergraduate coursework, providing them with interdisciplinary skills and knowledge that align with their college major. With an emphasis on critical thinking, problem solving, information literacy, and effective communication, the Core is the foundation for academic, professional, and personal success as well as informed civic engagement and lifelong learning. The True Blue Core prepares students to participate and adapt in a dynamic and diverse world.

True Blue Core Requirements

The True Blue Core has been designed specifically to give students more and better choices to meet their general education requirements. In addition, the student learning outcomes that are integrated into all Core courses were selected to give MTSU students the foundation they need for lifelong learning and success both academically and professionally.

Listed below are the True Blue Core requirements that all candidates for baccalaureate degrees must meet regardless of the department or college in which they are pursuing a major.

If mitigating circumstances require a substitution for any specific course listed, such a substitution must have the approval of the academic dean of the college in which the student is pursuing a major.

All full-time, degree-seeking students should be enrolled in at least 3 hours of True Blue Core courses each semester until they have satisfied the True Blue Core requirement.

For additional information, go to

Some students are not eligible to enroll in certain True Blue Core courses until they fulfill prescribed course requirements; see University Studies for more information. Some students are eligible for advanced standing credit to meet certain True Blue Core requirements; see the Advanced Standing section of the catalog for more information. Some majors may recommend specific True Blue Core courses. Please consult your college or faculty advisor for True Blue Core planning.

Foundational Skills

Students choose one course from each of the four Foundational Skills.

Written Communication (WC) (3 hours)

Written communication is the development and expression of ideas in writing. Written communication involves learning to work in many genres and styles. It can involve working with many different writing technologies, and mixing texts, data, and images. Written communication abilities develop through iterative experiences across the curriculum. 

Outcome: Students communicate effectively through writing in terms of context and purpose, content development, genre and disciplinary conventions, sources and evidence, and syntax and mechanics.

Information Literacy (Info Lit) (3 hours)

Information literacy is the ability to know when there is a need for information and to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively and responsibly use and share that information for the problem at hand. Information literacy assumes a broad definition of information, including but not limited to print, digital, media, technology, scientific, artistic, and other types of information.

Outcome: Students demonstrate competence in information literacy by determining what information they need, where to access it, how to evaluate information they encounter, and how to use information effectively and ethically.

Non-Written Communication (NWC) (3 hours)

Non-written communication is the development and expression of ideas through oral, embodied, or other mediated formats. It is designed to increase knowledge, to foster understanding, or to promote change in the audiences’ attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors.

Outcome: Students communicate effectively through oral, embodied, or other mediated formats, considering organization, language (or other forms of expression), delivery, supporting material, a cogent central message, and audience.

Quantitative Literacy (Quant Lit) (3 hours)

Quantitative literacy also known as Numeracy or Quantitative Reasoning-is a “habit of mind,” competency, and comfort in working with numerical data. Individuals with strong QL skills possess the ability to reason and solve quantitative problems from a wide array of authentic contexts and everyday life situations. They understand and can create sophisticated arguments supported by quantitative evidence, and they can clearly communicate those arguments in a variety of formats (using words, tables, graphs, mathematical equations, etc., as appropriate).

Outcome: Students demonstrate the ability to interpret, represent, calculate, apply, and analyze numerical data in a variety of settings, and will make assumptions and communicate those assumptions based on quantitative information.

Knowledge Domains

The Discovery courses are intended to introduce students to the key concepts in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Natural Sciences, the Humanities/Fine Arts, and History.

Human Society and Social Relationships (HSSR) (6 hours)

Critical thinking is a habit of the mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events in the process of accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion.

Outcome: Students think critically by explaining issues/problems, selecting and using evidence, considering context and assumptions, and representing their position and conclusions logically and effectively.

Scientific Literacy (Sci Lit) (8 hours)

Inquiry is a systematic process of exploring issues/objects/works through the collection and analysis of evidence that results in informed conclusions/judgments. Analysis is the process of breaking complex issues/problems into parts to gain a better understanding of them.

Outcome: Students systematically explore issues, problems, objects, and works through the collection and analysis of evidence, identification of informed conclusions, and analysis of complex topics by breaking them down.

Discovery in Natural Sciences

NOTE: One course must come from Discovery.

Explorations in Scientific Literacy

NOTE: There are currently no courses in Explorations.

Creativity and Cultural Expression (CCE) (9 hours)

Intercultural Understanding is a “set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural contexts,” both local and global (Bennett, 2008).

Outcome: Students demonstrate intercultural understanding by building knowledge, self-awareness, and conceptions of global and intercultural perspectives, values, systems, and attitudes.

Literature Requirement

NOTE: One literature course is required.

Explorations in Creativity and Cultural Expression

NOTE: Third course may be chosen from either Discovery or Explorations.

History and Civic Learning (HCL) (6 hours)

Civic learning is the acquired knowledge, skills, and values individuals need to be civically and globally responsible citizens who can choose to contribute to their community, build healthier communities, and address community problems. Communities can be geographic, interest-based, and even “virtual” and are local, national and global.

Outcome: Students demonstrate civic learning by using knowledge, information, and understanding to comprehend civic identity and civic obligations in local and global contexts.

Discovery in History

NOTE: One course must come from Discovery.


Tennessee Code Annotated 49-7-110 requires that no person be granted a baccalaureate degree from a Tennessee public institution of higher education without having earned at least 6 semester hours of credit in American history (up to 3 of those hours may be in Tennessee history). This requirement is to be enforced for all students, including those seeking their first or any subsequent bachelor’s degree, regardless of whether their high school degree comes from a U.S. or international institution, and regardless of their citizenship status. This requirement does not apply, however, to students who have earned 1 unit of American history in high school. Please note that this requirement is separate from the current True Blue Core history requirement.

Transfer Students

Although the courses designated by individual Tennessee public colleges and universities to fulfill the requirements of the general education subject categories vary, transfer of the courses is assured through the following means:

  • If a student has earned an A.A. or A.S. degree using a 2004 Undergraduate Catalog (or later) from a TBR institution, the requirements of the lower-division general education core will be complete and accepted by MTSU in the transfer process; however, institutional/departmental requirements of the grade of C (2.00) will be honored and enforced.
  • If an A.A. or A.S. is not obtained, transfer of general education courses will be based upon fulfillment of complete subject categories. (Example: if all eight hours in the category of Natural Sciences are complete, then this block of the general education core is complete.) When a subject category is incomplete, course-by-course evaluation will be conducted. The provision of block fulfillment pertains also to students who transfer among Tennessee’s public colleges and universities.
  • Check the departmental catalog section(s) for major requirements that may be fulfilled under lower-division general education.

Tennessee Common Catalog 2004-2024

MTSU True Blue Core Beginning 2024-25
Communication (9 hours)
Mathematics (3 hours)
Foundational Skills (12 hours)
     Written Communication (3 hours)
     Information Literacy (3 hours)
     Non-Written Communication (3 hours)
     Quantitative Literacy (3 hours)
Social/Behavioral Sciences (6 hours) Human Society and Social Relationships (6 hours)
     Discovery in Social and Behavioral Sciences
     Explorations in Human Society and Social Relationships
Natural Sciences (8 hours) Scientific Literacy (8 hours)
     Discovery in Natural Sciences
     Explorations in Scientific Literacy
Fine Arts/Humanities (9 hours) Creativity and Cultural Expression (9 hours)
     Discovery in Humanities and Fine Arts
     Explorations in Creativity and Cultural Expression
History (6 hours) History and Civic Learning (6 hours)
     Discovery in History
     Explorations in History and Civic Learning

True Blue Core Goals and Accountability

To increase accountability and maintain integrity of the True Blue Core curriculum, each learning outcome will be assessed annually on a three-year cycle. In addition, each component course will undergo an evaluation every six years to determine the degree to which the course contributes to the mission of the True Blue Core. Continuous monitoring will allow systematic change to the curriculum with the goal of improving student learning.

Information about True Blue Core assessment can be found at the MTSU True Blue Core website: