General Education

Learning Goals in General Education

The central importance of a general education is reflected in the learning goals of each of three disciplinary areas. Whereas the courses in a major are designed to develop mastery of a specific field or discipline, courses in general education are designed to establish a strong, intellectual foundation for all specializations. Students earn the minimum credits listed in each of the three general education groups in courses not required by the department of the first major listed on the degree program. Interdisciplinary courses may be used to satisfy requirements in any group for which they have been approved, but a student may not apply the same course to more than one group.

General Education Requirements

Learning Goals and Requirements

Courses in general education are designed to establish a strong intellectual foundation for all majors or specializations.

Area I. Arts and Humanities

Learning Goals

  • To develop an understanding of human cultural heritage and history
  • To develop an appreciation of reasoning
  • To develop an appreciation of the aesthetic value of human creativity

Area II. Mathematical and Natural Science Disciplines

Learning Goals

  • To experience science as a rational search for understanding the structure and behavior of the natural world
  • To appreciate mathematics as a valuable tool of the sciences
  • To appreciate mathematics as an important way of thinking

Area III. Social Sciences

Learning Goals

  • To develop an appreciation of the principal methods of studying human behavior
  • To develop an understanding of the structure and functioning of institutions

Additional guidelines

  1. Because coursework in the major helps to achieve learning goals, the minimum number of credits in the general education area of the first major is reduced by three. For example, a history major is required to take only 9 credits in Arts and Humanities.
  2. Students in Liberal Studies or Interdisciplinary Studies must complete the minimum number of credits in all three areas.
  3. Courses from the department of the first major may not be applied to general education requirements.
  4. Courses that are cross-listed with the department of the first major may be used to satisfy either major or general education requirements, but may not be used more than once.
  5. Interdisciplinary courses may be used to satisfy requirements in any area for which they have been approved. The same course may not be applied to more than one area.
  6. Honors sections of courses acceptable in the group (e.g. Math 165H) are also acceptable in that group.
  7. Experimental Courses (listed in the Schedule of Classes with an X following the course number) are eligible for use in the general education groups once approved at the college and university levels. These courses are added on a continuing basis and may be viewed at www.iastate.edu/~catalog/exp/
  8. Seminar Courses may be acceptable. Advisers should consult Associate Dean for Academic Programs in 202 Catt Hall.
  9. U.S. Diversity (USD) and International Perspectives (IP). Courses taken to meet university requirements in USD and IP may also apply to the general education groups, if appropriate. A list of USD and IP courses may be viewed at http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/courses/div-ip-guide.html

The following cannot be applied to the general education group requirements:

  • Orientation courses, independent study courses (usually numbered 290 or 490), cooperative courses, or courses numbered 500 and above.
  • Courses taken on a satisfactory-fail (S-F) or pass-not pass (P-NP) basis.
  • Clep GENERAL Exam Credits

*A student may choose to graduate under the catalog in effect at the time of graduation, or one of the two immediately preceding catalogs, provided it covers a period of his/her enrollment. Full requirements of the chosen catalog must be met except that adjustments will be made in instances where courses are no longer available or where programs have been changed.
Iowa State University Catalog