General Studies

General Studies requirements complement your undergraduate major by helping you to master critical learning skills, investigate the traditional branches of knowledge-the arts and humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences-and develop the broad perspective to appreciate diversity and change across time, culture, and national boundaries.

To help you achieve these educational goals, the General Studies Program includes five core areas and three awareness areas. The five core areas help students acquire critical lifelong learning skills and guide their exploration of the traditional branches of knowledge:

  • literacy and critical inquiry;
  • mathematics studies;
  • humanities and fine arts;
  • social and behavioral sciences; and
  • natural sciences.

The three awareness areas promote appreciation of cultural diversity within the contemporary United States, develop an international perspective, and foster an understanding of current human events through study of the past:

  • cultural diversity in the United States;
  • global awareness; and
  • historical awareness.

Five Core Areas

Literacy and Critical Inquiry (L)

The literacy and critical inquiry requirement helps students sustain and extend their ability to reason critically and communicate clearly through language.

Mathematical Studies (MA and CS)

Mathematics (MA) is the acquisition of essential skill in basic mathematics and requires the student to complete a course in college mathematics or college algebra or to demonstrate a higher level of skill by completing a course for which college algebra is a prerequisite.

Computer/statistics/quantitative applications (CS) applies mathematical reasoning and requires students to complete a course in either the use of statistics/quantitative analyses or the use of the computer to assist in serious math analytical work.

Humanities and Fine Arts (HU)

The humanities and fine arts explore questions of human experience and expression as they articulate the human condition, reflect basic human values and promote a broader and deeper understanding of an individual’s relationship to self, culture, and nature.

Social and Behavioral Sciences (SB)

The courses in this area address the challenge of understanding the diverse natures of individuals and cultural groups who live together in a world of diminishing economic, linguistic, military, political, and social distance.

Natural Sciences (SQ and SG)

The natural sciences help students appreciate the scope and limitations of science and its contributions to society. General Studies courses that satisfy the natural science requirement are given one of two classifications: quantitative and general.

Natural Science-Quantitative (SQ). These laboratory courses include a substantial introduction to the fundamental behavior of matter and energy in physical and biological systems.

Natural Science-General (SG). These laboratory courses cover aspects of scientific inquiry that lend themselves to more qualitative or descriptive discussions of science.

Three Awareness Areas

Students must complete courses that satisfy each of the three awareness areas. Courses that are listed for a core area and one or more awareness areas may satisfy each of these requirements concurrently.

Cultural Diversity in the United States (C)

The objective of the cultural diversity requirement is to promote awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity within the contemporary United States. The objective is accomplished through the study of the cultural, social, or scientific contributions of women and minority groups, examination of their experiences in the United States, or exploration of successful or unsuccessful interactions between and among cultural groups.

Global Awareness (G)

The objective of the global awareness requirement is to help students recognize the need for an understanding of the values, elements, and social processes of cultures other than the culture of the United States. The global awareness area includes courses that recognize the nature of other contemporary cultures and the relationship of the American cultural system to generic human goals and welfare.

Historical Awareness (H)

The objective of the historical awareness requirement is to help students develop knowledge of the past that can be useful in shaping the present and future. History is present in languages, art, music, literature, philosophy, religion, and the natural sciences, as well as in the traditional discipline of history.