General education courses are required classes taken by students enrolled in traditional four-year degree programs at accredited academic institutions. Learn about the goals of general education courses and subject options offered by most colleges. Most colleges and universities require every student to take a certain number of classes that satisfy general education requirements.
Most colleges and universities require every student to take a certain number of classes that satisfy general education requirements. The course topics and number of mandatory credit hours vary between schools, but most general education classes focus on:
- Development of critical and analytical thinking skills
- Acceptance of cultural diversity in society
- Communicating clearly through the formation of logical arguments
- Intellectual problem-solving that is effective in a society undergoing constant change
- Understanding emerging technologies and how to incorporate traditional information into new ideological perspectives
- Appreciation for the arts, humanities, and social sciences
- Evaluating biological/physical data, as well as environmental issues, to expand knowledge of the natural sciences
However, with the breadth of courses required for general education, it is likely that every student will be taking classes outside of their chosen major or minor. Students should consult with their academic advisor to make sure they are meeting all general education mandates needed to graduate from their academic institution.
One big advantage of general education courses is how easily they can be transferred. Math is math, whether you’re taking it at Harvard or Harlem Community College. If you’ve taken college courses before, there’s a good chance you can apply them towards a degree now. Plus, if you want to switch between schools, you won’t find yourself retaking old courses at your new university. Many states even guarantee that you’ll be able to transfer every gen ed course you complete. `
Earning a college degree tells the world that you’re a well-educated person with a broad range of academic knowledge; general education courses help you reach that status. If you’re considering going to school, you’ve probably seen something about “gen ed” or “core classes,” and you may be wondering what general education classes are. Almost every university requires you to take some of these classes, but the exact requirements can vary tremendously.
English. History. Science. Mathematics. Think about the core academic subjects you studied in high school; those courses make up the bulk of general education courses at most universities. No matter what major you pursue, you’ll have to take one or two classes in each of the major academic disciplines. Depending on the focus of the university you attend, you may also need to take courses in religion, culture or a foreign language.
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