General Education Distribution Requirements
Statement of PolicyAll Excelsior University students are required to meet distribution and core requirements in general education as outlined below.
Purpose: General EducationThis policy explains the general education requirements for all Excelsior University undergraduate students, including the distribution of the requirements. It also addresses how decisions are made about classifying courses as meeting general education requirements within the arts and sciences. Excelsior University faculty believe the primary purpose of undergraduate education is to provide students with transferable and adaptable skills and knowledge necessary for success in a global and dynamic 21st century society. The faculty also believe that an undergraduate education must reflect the necessary breadth and depth for students to begin or advance in their chosen fields with the confidence to affect change in their communities. Excelsior’s approach to general education aims to prepare students to engage with complexity and change, to be productive, open-minded, and intellectually curious members of their communities and workplaces, and to develop a love of lifelong learning. Excelsior’s general education program consists of two inter-related features, which are: (1) seven general education career competencies threaded throughout the undergraduate curricula, and (2) standardized credit distribution requirements that ensure breadth across the across the arts and sciences as well as specific abilities in written English, ethics, and information literacy. The seven general education career competencies are in the areas of:
- Oral and Written Communication
- Mathematical and Scientific Problem Solving
- Information Literacy
- Cultural Diversity and Expression
- Global Understanding
- Ethical Reasoning
- Professional Presence and Self-Awareness
Distribution RequirementsThe general education requirements are distributed in a way that allows all students to develop basic competence in the arts and sciences (i.e., humanities, social sciences and history, natural sciences, and mathematics) as well as in written English, ethics, and information literacy. Humanities, natural sciences, and mathematics also have core requirements within the distribution to assure students have sufficient breadth within these areas. The minimum credit distribution requirements for Excelsior University undergraduate students are depicted in the table below:
Minimum Distribution RequirementsUndergraduate Degrees
|Humanities Including Ethics||
|Social Sciences and History||
|Natural Sciences and Mathmatics||
Distribution AreasDescriptions of the key distribution areas in the general education curriculum are provided below.
HumanitiesThe humanities focus on the reflection and interpretation of the human experience. Through the development of knowledge and skills in critical reading, logical thought, and aesthetic appreciation students examine the human environment with attention to diverse heritage, traditions, and cultures. Subject areas in the humanities include, but are not limited to:
- fine arts
- foreign languages
- lower-level applied, technical or professional writing courses, and
- those applied to satisfy the written English requirement.
EthicsEthics are the principles that guide human behavior and are a cornerstone of every field and profession. Employers need workers who can find innovative, ethical, and practical solutions to a wide variety of problems. In ethics courses and examinations students learn to reflect and analyze positions and issues from a variety of ethical perspectives. This ability equips students to make ethically-informed choices in their personal and professional lives. Subject areas that meet the ethics requirement include, but are not limited to:
- classical or contemporary ethical theory and philosophy
- ethical and moral reasoning
- applied ethics relevant to particular disciplines and career fields
Social Sciences and HistoryThe social sciences and history focus on the study of individuals and societies and the processes used to order and understand the world. The social sciences focus on theories that explain verifiable behavioral phenomena of individuals and groups. History is the study of the past and change over time. Subject areas in the social sciences and history include, but are not limited to:
- criminal justice (theory based, not applied criminal justice)
- economics geography
- political science
Natural Sciences and MathematicsThe natural sciences are those branches of science that examine the natural world through scientific methods and are measured by quantitative data. Subject areas in the natural sciences include, but are not limited to:
- atmospheric science
- environmental science
- quantum mechanics
- analysis (which includes calculus)
- applied mathematics (which includes probability and statistics)
Written EnglishStudents are required to demonstrate competency in expository writing in English. Associates degree students must complete a minimum of 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours in expository writing. Bachelor’s degree students must complete a minimum of 6 semester hours or 8 quarter hours in expository writing or 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours in expository writing and 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours in applied writing or disciplinary writing courses or examinations. (For further clarification, see Policy: Written English Requirement.).
Information LiteracyInformation literacy is an essential component of general education. It involves a systematic approach to finding, evaluating, and applying information, which is required to be a well-informed and engaged citizen. Information literate students have competencies in
- locating and effectively accessing information
- critically evaluating sources, and
- using information within legal and ethical parameters.