Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

General Education Requirements

The goal of the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences is to provide liberal arts and pre-professional education for undergraduate students that is grounded in scholarly excellence, and offers you the knowledge, understanding, analytical tools, and communication skills you need to become perceptive, reflective, and intellectually self-conscious citizens within a diverse and rapidly changing world. Our General Education Requirements are at the core of that goal.

Because new courses are constantly being added, we encourage you to talk with your advisor and check the General Education Course Catalog (PDF) to get the most up-to-date information about which courses fulfill which requirements.

A. Writing Requirements

  1. An Introductory Composition Course
    This is a college-level composition course such as Seminar in Composition offered by the Department of English or one of the approved freshman seminars. Students who need to strengthen their writing in preparation for the introductory course may be required to take Workshop in Composition and in some cases Workshop Tutorial, or they may be advised to take Composition Tutorial. To fulfill this requirement, students must pass their introductory composition course with a grade of C- or better by the end of the first two terms of full-time enrollment. Students who score over 600 on the SAT Verbal Exam and a 5 on the Advanced Placement Exam may be exempted from the introductory composition requirement.

  2. Two Writing Intensive Courses
    After completing an introductory composition course each student must complete two writing intensive courses (W-Courses) or one W-course and a second English composition course with writing designator. Each student must satisfy one element of this requirement within his or her major field of study.

B. Quantitative and Formal Reasoning Requirement

All students are required to take and pass with a grade of C- or better at least one course in university-level mathematics (other than trigonometry) for which algebra is a prerequisite, or an approved course in statistics or mathematical or formal logic in a department of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

C. Requirements within the Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and the Arts

  1. A Course in Literature
    The student will be introduced to the techniques of literary analysis through a broad range of literary texts. (If the course is also to count for W-course credit, the student must have satisfied the Composition requirement before enrolling in the literature course.)

  2. A Course in the Arts
    This course introduces the student to the modes of analysis appropriate to music, theatre, or the visual arts, and might be a survey, genre, period or artist course.

  3. A Second Course in Literature, the Arts, or in Creative Expression
    This will be a second course in literature or the arts, or a course in which the student is given training in creative expression in writing, the theatrical arts, studio arts, filmmaking, photography, musical performance, musical composition, or dance.

  4. A Course in Philosophy
    The course will emphasize close reading, analysis, and evaluation of classic works of philosophy.

  5. A Social Science Course
    A course that treats topics considered of fundamental importance in the social or behavioral sciences (including social psychology).

  6. A Course in Historical Change
    A course dealing with a crucial human time sequence, such as: economic, political, social and cultural change within a society, or from one society to another; change in science, and the idea of science; change in literature and the arts.

  7. Three Courses in the Natural Sciences
    These will be courses that introduce students to scientific principles and concepts. The courses may be interdisciplinary, involving faculty from at least two departments in their development and implementation, and no more than two courses may have the same department as the primary departmental sponsor of the course.

  8. A Sequence of Two Second Language Courses
    Each student is required to complete successfully two terms of university-level study in a single foreign language, unless they can demonstrate elementary proficiency in a foreign language.

  9. Three Foreign Culture/International Courses
    Each student must complete three foreign culture/international courses chosen from at least two of the categories within the regional, comparative, or global classifications used for these courses.

  10. Non-Western Culture Requirement
    At least one of the courses used to satisfy the international culture requirement or another General Education Requirement (e.g. historical change) must address a culture or cultures other than those of the Mediterranean, Central and Western Europe, and French or English-speaking North America.