Specialized Knowledge

Most who receive degrees pursue specialized areas of study and are expected to meet knowledge and skill requirements of those areas. Specialized accrediting associations and licensure bodies have developed standards for many such fields of study.  But all fields call more or less explicitly for proficiencies involving terminology, theory, methods, tools, literature, complex problems or applications and cognizance of limits. These reference points for student achievement of specialized knowledge are addressed in the proficiencies presented below.

At the associate level, the student pursuing a specialized degree such as an Associate of Applied Science

  • Describes the scope of the field of study, its core theories and practices, using field-related terminology, and offers a similar description of at least one related field.
  • Applies tools, technologies and methods common to the field of study to selected questions or problems.
  • Generates substantially error-free products, reconstructions, data, juried exhibits or performances appropriate to the field of study.

At the bachelor’s level, the student

  • Defines and explains the structure, styles and practices of the field of study using its tools, technologies, methods and specialized terms.
  • Investigates a familiar but complex problem in the field of study by assembling, arranging and reformulating ideas, concepts, designs and techniques.
  • Frames, clarifies and evaluates a complex challenge that bridges the field of study and one other field, using theories, tools, methods and scholarship from those fields to produce independently or collaboratively an investigative, creative or practical work illuminating that challenge.
  • Constructs a summative project, paper, performance or application that draws on current research, scholarship and techniques in the field of study.

At the master’s level, the student

  • Elucidates the major theories, research methods and approaches to inquiry and schools of practice in the field of study, articulates their sources and illustrates both their applications and their relationships to allied fields of study.
  • Assesses the contributions of major figures and organizations in the field of study, describes its major methodologies and practices and illustrates them through projects, papers, exhibits or performances.
  • Articulates significant challenges involved in practicing the field of study, elucidates its leading edges and explores the current limits of theory, knowledge and practice through a project that lies outside conventional boundaries.