Consistent with Excelsior’s mission and vision, Excelsior University has developed a general education program to best prepare students to excel in careers and life. Excelsior’s general education program consists of two interrelated features, which are:
- Seven (7) general education career competencies (Oral and Written Communication, Mathematical and Scientific Problem Solving, Information Literacy, Cultural Diversity and Expression, Global Understanding, Ethical Reasoning, Professional Presence and Self-Awareness), and
- Two (2) standardized credit distribution requirements for different undergraduate degree levels.
Excelsior’s career competencies are designed to highlight important transferable skills that are essential to students’ long-term success in a changing world. All Excelsior University undergraduate students are required to complete a series of core General Education and Distribution Requirements in order to help meet these career competencies. The above competencies will be documented by students and assessed by the University in a variety of ways, including skills and abilities acquired prior to admission at Excelsior University, satisfaction of requirements through transfer credit, and during coursework at Excelsior.
Excelsior University requires a minimum of 22 semester hours at the associate’s level and 34 credits at the bachelor’s level. The Minimum Credit Distribution Requirements for Excelsior University undergraduate students are depicted in the following table:
Minimum Distribution Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees
|Social Sciences and History
|Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Students must receive a ‘C’ or better in courses to satisfy their general education requirements at Excelsior. This includes students who transfer in credit to satisfy general education requirements.
Certain general education courses are specifically required by different programs and will be counted toward the general education core. The program catalogs for those programs should be consulted for the specific requirements within each program, including 1) specific courses that may be required for degree completion, 2) minimum grades accepted for credit, and 3) and additional requirements that may need to be met.
Below we provide more detail on the fields of knowledge that help satisfy the general education distribution requirements.
- The purpose of the Cornerstone course is to provide students with the foundational skills and resources for academic and career success and assure a “smart start” to the Excelsior University academic experience.
- Associates and bachelors: 3 semester hours
- All undergraduate students must complete the cornerstone course in their first term of credit-bearing activity at Excelsior University.
Humanities and Ethics
- The humanities focus on the reflection and interpretation of the human experience. Through aesthetic appreciation and the development of knowledge and skills in critical thinking and problem solving, these courses examine the human environment with particular attention to diverse heritage, traditions, and cultures.
- Associates: 6 semester hours, with 2 semester hours in ethics.
- Bachelors: 9 semester hours, with 2 semester hours in ethics
- Relevant discipline areas include art, music, literature, foreign language, philosophy, religion, speech, or a subject area other than writing.
Social Sciences and History
- The social sciences and history involve the study of individuals and societies 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.
- Associates: 6 semester hours
- Bachelors: 9 semester hours
- Relevant discipline areas include anthropology, criminal justice (theory-based, not applied criminal justice), economics, geography, government, history, political science, psychology, and sociology. Credit hours vary by degree and level of study.
Mathematics and Natural Sciences
- The natural sciences and mathematics are those branches of science that examine the natural world through scientific methods using quantitative data.
- Associates: 6 semester hours, with at least 2 semester hours in natural sciences and 2 semester hours in mathematics.
- Bachelors: 9 semester hours, with at least 2 semester hours in natural sciences and 2 semester hours in mathematics.
- Relevant discipline areas for natural sciences include astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics. For mathematics, relevant disciplines include algebra, geometry, analysis (which includes calculus), and applied mathematics (which includes probability and statistics).
- Writing classes help students to hone their communication abilities, preparing them for both future academic study and communication in the workplace. The first part of Excelsior University’s Written English Requirement focuses on expository writing: writing to describe, explain, or make an argument. For the second part of the Written English Requirement, students may choose to continue to study expository writing at a more advanced level or study the forms of writing used in a specific professional area such as business, technology, or health sciences.
- Associates: 3 semester hours in expository writing within first thirteen (13) semester hours
- Bachelors: 6 semester hours, 3 semester hours in expository writing within first thirteen (13) semester hours and 3 semester hours in applied writing or writing within the discipline
- Information literacy is the ability to find, evaluate, interpret, and use information legally, ethically, and effectively. This course introduces students to important knowledge and academic skills in the areas of technological and cyber literacy, the academic knowledge-creation process, library and internet research, source evaluation, reading and processing information, and writing with sources.
- Associates: 1 semester hour within first thirteen (13) semester hours attempted
- Bachelors: 1 semester hour within first thirteen (13) semester hours attempted
Are Exceptions of Policy Allowed?
Minimum Credit Distribution Requirements:
- There are exceptions to these distribution requirements and minimum grade requirements in some programs, which are identified in the respective College and School catalogs.
- Students who have completed a U.S. master’s or higher degree from an institution that is institutionally accredited may be exempt from the information literacy requirement if the degree was earned within 10 years prior to admission at Excelsior.
- Excelsior alumni and previously withdrawn students who have satisfied the information literacy requirement and then enroll/re-enroll in another Excelsior degree program will be required to satisfy the requirement again if the original Information Literacy course is older than 10 years from the admission date for the new degree program.