General Education Curriculum Requirements

Statement of Policy

Principles of General Education

General education at Excelsior College provides a framework for learning that empowers adult learners to be informed and active citizens in a pluralistic society. The principles below are the foundation of general education at Excelsior College:

  • promotion of lifelong learning
  • a liberal education that integrates knowledge across disciplines
  • expansion of students’ academic horizons

The college-wide undergraduate general education requirements were established by the General Education Review Committee (2009), as convened by the Office of the Provost.

The model consists of three features:

  1. a set of five interconnected general education goals;
  2. a standardized credit distribution model that ensures breadth across the liberal arts, as well as basic skills in writing and information literacy;
  3. a critical thinking component that supports each of the five goals.

The five general education goals are:

  1. Communication: Oral and Written Expression,
  2. Mathematics and Scientific Method,
  3. Information Literacy,
  4. Diversity and Global Understanding,
  5. Ethics.

Each goal has several measurable outcomes as listed in the General Education Review Committee report.

Distribution Requirements

The credit distribution requirements for every Excelsior College undergraduate student:

Minimum Distribution Requirements

Undergraduate Degrees

Degree Requirement

Associate Degree

Bachelor’s Degree

Humanities*

6

9

Social Sciences/History

6

9

Natural Sciences and Math**

6

9

Written English

3

6

Information Literacy

1

1

TOTAL

22

34

* Humanities: A minimum of 3 credit hours (4 quarter hours) must be in a subject area other than writing.

 To meet the humanities core requirement, students must take at least one examination or course (at least 3 credit hours or 4 quarter hours) within such disciplines as art, music, literature, foreign language, philosophy, religion, speech, or creative/advanced writing. Examinations or courses used to satisfy the Written English Requirement and lower-level applied, technical or professional writing courses may not be applied toward the humanities core requirement.

 ** Natural Sciences and Math: A minimum of 2 credit hours in math and 2 credit hours in natural sciences are required.

 To meet the math core requirement, students must take a minimum of 2 credit hours (3 quarter hours) in mathematics. Math courses may not be developmental or remedial, and must include computation or quantitative reasoning. The number of mathematics courses below the level of calculus is restricted to three.

 To meet the natural science core requirement, students must take a minimum of 2 credit hours (3 quarter hours) in a science discipline, e.g., biology, chemistry, physics, etc. Courses in applied science will not apply toward the core requirement. 

Any exceptions to the distribution requirements will be noted in the respective school’s catalog. 

This model ensures that all students develop basic competence (at least 100-level courses/examinations) in the distribution areas of arts and sciences (humanities, social sciences/history, natural sciences and mathematics), as well as specific abilities in written English and information literacy.

Disciplinary Areas

Guidelines for descriptions of the key disciplinary areas in the general education curriculum are provided below.

Information Literacy

In this age of information proliferation, students must acquire the necessary skills to understand and discern the wide range of content across all mediums. Students must be able to determine where to locate and effectively access information, critically evaluate the source and use the information within legal and ethical parameters. For these reasons, Excelsior College graduates will demonstrate competency in information literacy as part of the general education curriculum for an undergraduate degree.

A minimum grade of P is required in INL 102  Information Literacy. A minimum grade of C, and verification that the student has passed the information literacy assignments, is required in CCS 112  Success Strategies for Military and Veterans and CCS 120  EC Success Seminar. A minimum grade of C (or a P grade that equates to C) is required for all courses transferred from other sources. 

Written English

Students are required to demonstrate competency in expository writing in English.

A minimum grade of C is required. 

Humanities

The 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, courses examine the human environment with particular attention to diverse heritage, traditions and cultures.

Examples of subject areas in the humanities include, but are not limited to:

communication

ethics

fine arts

foreign languages

literature

music

philosophy

religion

theater

A minimum grade of D is required for any applicable Excelsior College course. A minimum grade of C is required for applicable UExcel (Excelsior) examinations, and for courses transferred from other sources.

 Social Sciences and History

Social sciences and history study individuals and society and the processes individuals use to order and understand their world. The social sciences focus on theories that explain verifiable phenomena of individual and group human behavior, using the scientific method. History is the systematic study of people and events in the past.

Examples of subject areas in the social sciences/history include, but are not limited to:

anthropology

criminal justice (theory based, not applied criminal justice)

economics

geography

government

history

political science

psychology

sociology

A minimum grade of D is required for any applicable Excelsior College course. A minimum grade of C is required for applicable UExcel (Excelsior) examinations, and for courses transferred from other sources.

 Natural Sciences and Mathematics

The natural sciences are those branches of science that examine the natural world through scientific methods and are measured by quantitative data. There are five major branches of the natural sciences: astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics.

Examples of subject areas in the natural science include, but are not limited to<img

anatomy

astrophysics

atmospheric science

biochemistry

biophysics

botany

environmental science

geochemistry

geology

geophysics

meteorology

oceanography

physiology

quantum mechanics

zoology

Mathematics is the study of patterns, often relating to quantity, space, and change, within a foundation of logic. Core branches of mathematics include but are not limited to: algebra, geometry, analysis (which includes calculus) and applied mathematics (which includes probability and statistics).

A minimum grade of D is required for any applicable Excelsior College course. A minimum grade of C is required for applicable UExcel (Excelsior) examinations, and for courses transferred from other sources.