University College

University Studies Department

The University Studies department consists of classes and workshops that are designed to prepare students for the courses they will take as part of Harding’s liberal arts curriculum. Through University Studies, academic support services provides instruction, support and resources to help students develop the skills needed to succeed academically in their college career. University Foundation courses are required for students with ACT composites of 16-18 or a combined critical reading/math score of 880-980 on the SAT, and less than 14 hours of transferred college credit (over 2 semesters after high school).


University Foundations placement is based on:

  • ACT and SAT scores, listed above
  • Evaluations made by instructors during Bison Bound (formerly know as Stampede) and the first day of University Foundations classes will determine placement in some courses
  • If you are evaluated as not needing a required course, the appropriate adjustments will be made to your schedule as soon as possible.

All University Foundations requirements vary based on individual ACT or SAT scores and include:

  • Students will take Introduction to University Studies (UNIV131) during their first semester.
  • A reading evaluation will be provided to determine if reading coursework is recommended.  
  • If the ACT English sub-score is 18 or below/500 or below on SAT, ENG 009 (Basic English) is required.
  • Depending on individual ACT or SAT scores for Math and English, ENG 009 (Basic English) may be required.  
  • If your math score on the ACT is 18 or below or your SAT is 500 or below, you will take MATH009 (Beginning Algebra).

Additional coursework may be required.

Exploratory Studies major

Students who begin their college career unsure about their major or career path have the opportunity to look into the University’s more than 100 areas of study through this program. They will be able to complete general education courses that will lead into a major of their choice while creating and maintaining a graduation plan. Learn more about the major.

University Foundations Courses Offered


Basic English


Beginning Algebra


Academic Reading 


Academic Reading Lab


Academic Reading II


Academic Reading Lab II


Introduction to University Studies

*These courses do not count as college credit but do count toward financial aid eligibility and athletic eligibility and are used in calculating GPA and determining academic standing.


Classes are assigned by the director of University Studies, who is also the advisor for all students within University Foundations learning community.

It's possible to complete our program in one semester. If you have completed the program and declared a major, you will be transferred to an advisor in your major field of study for assistance in selecting classes. Those who have not yet declared a major will be advised by Academic Advising.


Our program director will guide you through your first semester, and additional help is offered if further assistance is needed.


Will I be better prepared for the courses at Harding if I take these courses?

Students within the University Foundations learning community compare very favorably with students with an equivalent 19 ACT and with all students in the liberal arts program.  Students who are a part of this learning community have achieved higher grades and a higher retention rate than students admitted to Harding before the University Foundations department began. Our courses provide an excellent foundation to Harding’s liberal arts program for those students who integrate the skills and apply the strategies that are practiced and taught in University Foundations classes.

Will I take all of the University Foundations classes?

The classes you take will depend on your individual ACT or SAT scores. For example, if your English subscore on the ACT is 18 or below, you will take ENG 009 (Basic English). If your English subscore is 19 or higher, you will take ENG 111 (Composition 1).

Is it possible to test out of any University Foundations classes?

You will be given the opportunity to test out of the reading program during Bison Bound and Student Impact. An opportunity to test out of ENG 100 will be given on the first day of class. If needed, the change to your schedule will be made as soon as possible.

How are these courses graded?

Grades in these courses are computed into the overall grade point average just like any other class. However, a student must make at least a 70 percent (C) or higher in order to pass a University Foundations class. Any grade below a70 percent is not considered passing, and the class must be retaken.

When is the Program offered?

The program is offered during the fall and spring semesters.

Do these courses count toward athletic eligibility and financial aid?

Yes, just like any other college courses.

How will these courses assist me in earning my degree?

Some University Foundations courses (UNIV 131 and UNIV120/121) count as college credit and may be used as free electives toward a degree if allowed by the degree program. All courses within the this learning community count toward financial aid eligibility and athletic eligibility and are used in calculating GPA and determining academic standing.

How long will it take me to graduate?

The average college student in the United States spends more than four years in college. Many factors can contribute to the time it takes a student to graduate, i.e., a change of majors, retaking classes to raise your GPA, work, and health issues. For many students, most or all of the hours completed within University Foundations will be taken in addition to the hours needed to fulfill graduation requirements. Some students choose to take a class or classes during intersession and summer school which can decrease the length of time needed to earn their degree.

Contact Us

University Studies is part of the University College.


Harding University
University Studies
Box 12276
Searcy, AR 72149-5615