General education requirements are designed to advance several educational goals. The requirements involve the development of core skills enabling students to understand, evaluate, articulate, and advance their ideas and the ideas of others. General education courses furthermore prepare students to engage knowledgeably and responsibly with a changing, complicated, and multidimensional world. Through the variety of requirements, students are challenged to explore issues, solve problems, and learn through multiple methodological approaches. In the end, the general education program helps students to develop as individuals and as engaged members of the larger UMW community, and helps to foster the intellectual curiosity that will inspire students to acquire the habits of lifelong learners.
Two important restrictions apply to the courses that students take to satisfy general education requirements for a bachelor of arts or bachelors of science degree.
(1) No general education course work, except for the Experiential Learning Requirement, may be completed on a Pass/Fail basis.
(2) With the exception of courses marked as Writing Intensive or Speaking Intensive (WI or SI), one course taken fulfills only one general education requirement, even if the class is listed as an option in more than one category. A course that is listed as an option for both Global Inquiry and Human Experience and Society, for example, will be counted as satisfying only one of these categories. But a course that is an option in Global Inquiry and is also marked as Writing Intensive would be counted in both of those categories.
It’s helpful for students to remember that they have four years to fulfill all graduation requirements, and they should not view the completion of general education requirements and the major as two separate activities. In fact, many of the courses that will satisfy general education requirements are upper-level courses that one might think about taking after selecting a major. In this way, the selected general education courses will connect well with the intended major course of study.
The B.A./B.S. degree general education requirements are as follows. See the general education list for the courses that will meet the various requirements.
First Year Seminar. One course designated as a first year seminar. Transfer students do not have to meet this requirement.
Quantitative Reasoning. Two courses focusing on the role of quantitative information in various settings and on the ability to reason abstractly.
Natural Science. One two-course sequence, one course which must include a laboratory, focusing on the scientific mode of inquiry and the ways in which the natural sciences affect students’ everyday experiences and choices as citizens.
Global Inquiry. One course focusing on global interconnections related to economic, political, cultural, social, public health, or environmental issues.
Language. Intermediate competency in a second language.
Arts, Literature, and Performance. Two courses focusing on art, literature, or performance. One course provides an opportunity for exploring the process of creating artistic work while the other course encourages the appreciation and the interpretation of artistic expressions.
Human Experience and Society. Two courses from two different disciplines that explore the forces shaping human activity, relationships, social structures, institutions, and intellectual systems. At least one of the courses taken to satisfy this requirement must be selected from one of these disciplines: Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Linguistics, Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology.
Experiential Learning. One faculty supervised experience involving a significant experiential learning component designed to challenge students to go outside of the bounds of the typical classroom.
Writing Intensive Requirement. Four courses designated writing intensive (WI). Any course designated WI, whether taken for general education, for the major, or as electives will satisfy this requirement.
Speaking Intensive Requirement. Two courses designated speaking intensive (SI). Any course designated SI, whether taken for general education, for the major, or as electives will satisfy this requirement.