General Education Requirements

Habits of Mind

Habits of mind are a set of four usual ways of thinking or ways of engaging with the world. These habits of mind will equip students well for life and work after college. In this General Education program, the following Habits of Mind are developed in meaningful contexts.

Purposeful Communication is a habit of mind characterized by the construction of meaning through interactions with texts and people and the creation of new messages. “Text” refers broadly to any communicative message, including, but not no limited to, messages that are spoken or written, read or listed to, non-verbal, and/or delivered through any form of media (digital, social, artistic, print, etc.). Construction of meaning and creation of messages are influenced by individuals’ prior experiences as well as cultural and historical contexts. Creation of messages involves the development and purposeful expression of ideas and is designed to increase knowledge, foster understanding, and/or promote change in others’ attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors. To be effective, messages must engage the perspectives of others and foster dialog among individuals and the community.

Problem Solving is a habit of mind that involves an iterative process of identifying, explaining, and exploring problems, describing challenges, envisioning possible solutions and their implication, and make decision about how to proceed based on all of these considerations. Problem solving encompasses a broad array of activities and approaches. Problems range widely in scale and scope—small to large, local to global, well-defined to ambiguous, simulated to real-world—and problem solving may be undertaken individually or in collaboration with others. In all cases, engaging in problem solving requires the ability to think creatively, adapt and extend one’s thinking, acknowledge different contexts and incorporate different perspectives, embrace flexibility, consider potential implication, determine courses of action, persist and adapt despite failure, and reflect on the results. While the types of problems encountered and the strategies used to grapple with problems vary across disciplines, the problem solving habit of mind is relevant to all disciplines.

Integrated Perspective is a habit of mind characterized by the recognition that individual beliefs, ideas, and values are influenced by personal experience as well as multiple contextual factors—cultural, historical political, etc. All human beings are interconnected through their participation in natural and social systems. An integrated perspective recognizes that individual decisions impact the self, the community, and the environment. Students will acknowledge the limitations of singular points of view and recognize the benefits of engaging with and learning from others in order to integrate multiple perspectives for effective communication, problem-solving and collaboration.

Self-Regulated Learning is a habit of mind that encompasses the desire to learn, the ability to set personal goals for learning, and the capacity to engage in a self-monitored learning process. Self-regulated learners demonstrate strong commitment to the process of learning and take responsibility for their own learning. They take intellectual risks, persist in the face of challenges, and learn from their mistakes. They are able to organize and reorganize information, interpret information in new ways, and generate their own ideas. Self-regulated learners demonstrate metacognitive awareness (an understanding of the factors that influence their own learning) and cultivate the skills and confidence they need in order to be effective learners.


To live and learn in a multicultural, multimedia, multidimensional world, students need certain skills. These are the competencies expected of an educated person, the skills needed for lifelong learning. In this General Education program, these skills are developed in meaningful contexts. They are introduced in the First-Year Experience courses, built upon and strengthened in all subsequent components of the program (some of which emphasize certain of them more than others) and in the major.

  1. Critical Thinking: the abilities to compare, contrast, analyze, and synthesize; and to challenge underlying assumptions; to take imaginative leaps and intellectual risks; and to solve problems creatively and effectively.
  2.  Reading: the achievement of advanced literacy; that is, the ability to comprehend written material within a variety of genres, and to articulate one’s response verbally and in writing.
  3. Quantitative Reasoning: the ability to analyze quantitative material, and use quantitative techniques to solve problems.
  4. Writing: development of a writing process that includes the ability to prewrite (brainstorm, outline, take notes, free-write) on a selected topic; to prepare, assess, and organize information; and to compose, revise, and edit a polished product.
  5. Speaking and Listening: The ability to use both verbal and nonverbal skills to communicate effectively in one or more languages, to listen actively, and to take part respectfully in group discussions.
  6. Conducting Research: the ability to locate, comprehend, and synthesize information; and to understand what constitutes reliable evidence for decision-making.
  7. Working with Information Technology: the ability to perform searches; to use word processing and spread sheets; to work with database management systems and presentation software; to work with software to enhance the creative process; and to make effective use of software to organize information and to communicate with others.
  8. Collaborating with Others: to know, understand, and respond to others’ feelings and perspectives; to work and learn in teams to enhance interpersonal relationship skills; and to develop an awareness of leadership approaches and the ability to influence others.

Starting in Fall 2018, the General Education requirements are:

First-Year Experience

  • First-Year Seminar credits – 3
  • Composition credits – 4
  • Mathematics Foundation credits – 3 to 4


  • Creative Thought credits – 3 to 4
  • Past and Present credits – 3 to 4
  • Scientific Inquiry credits – 3 to 4
  • Self and Society credits – 3 to 4
  • Additional Directions (choose from CTDI, PPDI, SIDI, SSDI)* credits – bring the total Directions credits to a minimum of 20


  • Diversity** credits – 3 to 4
  • Global Awareness** credits – 3 to 4
  • Integration** credits – 3 to 4
  • Wellness** credits – 3 to 4
  • Quantitative Reasoning in the Disciplines ***
  • Technology in the Disciplines***
  • Writing in the Disciplines***


* Directions should total a minimum of 20 credits (unless the major has a waiver for a specific Direction).

** These connections may be double counted with a major, minor, or any other general education requirement.

*** These connections are 3-credit experiences taken as part of the major and hence add no credits to those required for the major.

Total Credits 42-48


Read about our General Education Program in the Undergraduate Academic Catalog.

View lists of GenEd approved Direction and Connection courses .