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College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

General Education Requirements

All students must complete the general education requirements prior to graduation. Depending upon the courses chosen, as well as the need to reach competency in mathematics and writing, you may take between 37 and 48 credits in the general education program. Courses taken to fulfill general education requirements may also be used simultaneously to meet requirements in your major, minor or certificate program. Transfer students may be able to meet all or part of the general education requirements with courses taken from other colleges and universities. 

Mathematical & English Competency Requirement: 0-9 credits

All students must demonstrate competency in mathematics and written English. The University uses the Wisconsin Mathematics Placement Test (WMPT) and the English portion of the American College Testing Program (ACT) or the verbal portion of the SAT I to assess these competencies. Students may need to take additional courses to satisfy this general education requirement.

See the University Testing Requirements section of the catalog for further information.

Writing Emphasis Requirement: 4 courses

Writing Emphasis courses provide you with the opportunity to improve your writing skills. You must complete four writing emphasis courses. At least two of these courses must be at the upper-level. Courses taken to fulfill writing emphasis requirements may also be used simultaneously to meet other general education requirements, as well as requirements in your major or minor.

Breadth Requirement: 37 to 39 credits

Students complete from 37 to 39 credits in the following areas: fine arts (3 credits), humanities (9 credits), social sciences (9 credits) natural sciences (10 to 12 credits), other culture (3 credits) and ethnic studies (3 credits). See the General Education Program section of the catalog for a list of courses that meet these requirements.

Checklist of Requirements for the General Education Program (37-48 credits)

Breadth Requirements

Requirement Satisfied by taking Total Credits
Fine Arts One or more fine arts courses (total of 3 credits) 3
Humanities Humanities 1 (3 credits); Humanities 2 (3 credits); Humanities 3 (3 credits) 9
Social Sciences 9 credits: Social Sciences 1 (6 credits); Social Sciences 2 (3 credits) 9
Natural Sciences 1. Complete one course in each of the four Natural Science categories (HB1, HB2, NPS1, NPS2).
2. Complete Biology 202 and one course from the NPS1 category and one course from either the NPS2 or HB2 category.
3. Complete a lab course from the NPS1 category and one course from the HB1 category and one course from either the NPS2 or HB2 category.

10-12
Ethnic Studies One course 3, see below*
World Culture One course 2-3, see below*

Skills Requirements

Writing Emphasis Two lower level; two upper level WE courses See below**
Math and English Competency All students must demonstrate competency in mathematics and English. Scores on the Wisconsin Mathematics Placement Test and the verbal portion of the SAT or English portion of the ACT assess competency.Students may need to take additional courses to satisfy this requirement. varies, see below***

*Courses taken to satisfy Ethnic Studies or Other Culture requirements may not be used to satisfy any other requirements for general education except writing emphasis. For example, a course taken to satisfy Ethnic Studies may also satisfy a writing emphasis requirement, but not a Humanities requirement.

** Many courses in the general education program satisfy writing emphasis requirements. For example, a course satisfying a social science requirement may also satisfy a writing emphasis requirement.

***To learn more about how these competencies are assessed, go to the University Testing Requirements section of the catalog.