General Education Program
Philosophy of UNC Greensboro’s General Education Program
The faculty and staff of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro are dedicated to student learning and believe that the best evidence of this commitment is the caliber of UNC Greensboro graduates. A UNC Greensboro graduate should combine specialized education in a major with the skills, knowledge, and understanding necessary to be a lifelong learner, an ethical and independent decision maker, a critical and creative thinker, a clear and effective communicator, and a responsible citizen.
The character and abilities of an educated person are the product not solely of a specific battery of courses but of an entire process of education. The mandate to foster the knowledge, character, and sensibility of a university-educated person belongs to the entire university, not to a single department or unit. To the extent possible, learning in the General Education Core should provide foundations and alternative perspectives for the more specialized knowledge gained in the major, while learning in the major should build upon and extend the work that is done in General Education courses.
UNC Greensboro General Education Mission and Goals
The faculty and staff of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro embrace student learning as the highest priority. Our General Education Program provides students with the foundational knowledge, skills, and values necessary to be critical and creative thinkers, ethical decision-makers, effective communicators, and collaborative and engaged global citizens. The breadth of General Education empowers our students to thrive as lifelong learners who lead personally fulfilling lives. Thus, the General Education Program provides foundations and alternative perspectives for the more specialized knowledge gained in the major. Likewise, the major builds upon and integrates knowledge, skills, and attitudes learned in General Education courses and the cocurriculum.
LG1. Foundational Skills: Think critically, communicate effectively, and develop appropriate fundamental skills in quantitative and information literacies. The following categories and markers support this Learning Goal: GRD, GLT, GFA, GPR, GHP, GMT, GNS, GSB, GL, GN, WI, SI.
LG2. The Physical and Natural World: Understand fundamental principles of mathematics and science, and recognize their relevance in the world. The following categories and markers support this Learning Goal: GMT, GNS.
LG3. Knowledge of Human Histories, Cultures, and the Self: Describe, interpret, and evaluate the ideas, events, and expressive traditions that have shaped collective and individual human experience through inquiry and analysis in the diverse disciplines of the humanities, religions, languages, histories, and the arts. The following categories and markers support this Learning Goal: GLT, GFA, GPR, GHP, GSB, GL, GN.
LG4. Knowledge of Social and Human Behavior: Describe and explain findings derived from the application of fundamental principles of empirical scientific inquiry to illuminate and analyze social and human conditions. The following categories and markers support this Learning Goal: GPR, GSB, GL, GN.
LG5. Personal, Civic, and Professional Development: Develop a capacity for active citizenship, ethics, social responsibility, personal growth, and skills for lifelong learning in a global society. In so doing, students will engage in free and open inquiry that fosters mutual respect across multiple cultures and perspectives. The following categories and markers support this Learning Goal: GFA, GPR, GNS, GSB, GL, GN.
To ensure that students attain these Student Learning Goals by graduation, UNC Greensboro requires that they complete the General Education Core (GEC) requirements listed in this Catalog. Other requirements and opportunities in the major program, the minor program (if any), and the total undergraduate experience build on the foundation of the GEC and contribute to the attainment of these goals. Students are thus given the opportunity to work toward each goal not just in one course, but in a series of courses and learning experiences encountered from the freshman through the senior year. Alternative ways to demonstrate competencies will be available to students with documented disabilities.
General Education Core Category & Marker Abbreviations and Descriptions
Courses approved as meeting requirements in the General Education Core category or marker areas are indicated by one of the following abbreviations:
General Education Core Category Abbreviations
|General Education Abbreviation||Name|
|GRD||Reasoning and Discourse|
|GSB||Social and Behavioral Sciences|
General Education Marker Abbreviations
|General Education Abbreviation||Name|
|GN||Global Non-Western Perspectives|
The General Education Program relies upon category courses and marker courses. Category courses ensure a breadth of knowledge and are found at the 100, 200, and 300 levels. Courses with one or more markers integrate competency areas with a knowledge area. Marker courses may be found at lower and upper levels, within General Education, and within the major.
The following are brief descriptions of the General Education Core categories and markers, their methods, and learning goals.
Humanities and Fine Arts (GFA, GLT, GPR)
Fine Arts (GFA)
By focusing on painting, sculpture, architecture, drama, dance, cinema, or music, students gain understanding of the aims and methods of artistic expression and the role of cultural traditions and artistic value in human society.
Students read and write about selected works of prose and/or poetry from diverse cultural traditions, analyzing the context, aims, and methods of literary expression.
Philosophical/Religious/Ethical Perspectives (GPR)
For two or more significant philosophical, ethical, and/or religious traditions, students examine and compare assumptions, modes of thought, and attendant practices, and analyze their effects on behavior.
Historical Perspectives (GHP)
Students use an historical approach to a specific region and period to explore the context of events (social structure, economics, political systems, culture, or beliefs), evaluate evidence and divergent interpretations, and communicate historical ideas in writing.
Natural Sciences (GNS)
By focusing on the concepts of one physical or biological science, students gain understanding of scientific inquiry as they analyze empirical information, distinguish between primary research and secondary reports, and communicate effectively about scientific issues.
Students gain the skills to perform computations on data, to use mathematical principles to solve problems, and to reason with and manipulate concepts within a mathematical system.
Reasoning and Discourse (GRD)
Students gain skills in intellectual discourse, including constructing and evaluating arguments, synthesizing and analyzing evidence, and communicating clearly, coherently, and effectively.
Social and Behavioral Science (GSB)
This category covers the behavior of individuals, groups, or organizations. Students learn to use methodology and/or theoretical frameworks to interpret, analyze, and/or evaluate social contexts and situations which influence the behaviors of individuals, groups, and organizations.
Global Perspectives (GL)
Students focus on the interconnections among regions, cultures, polities, and/or intellectual traditions of the world, interpret and evaluate information on diverse ecologies, human societies, artistic achievements, or political systems, and gain sensitivity to cultural differences on a global scale.
Global Non-Western Perspectives (GN)
Students focus on the interconnections among cultures, polities, and/or intellectual traditions of the world other than the dominant Euro-American ones. Students will interpret and evaluate information on diverse ecologies, human societies, artistic achievements, and/or political systems, and gain sensitivity to cultural differences.
Speaking Intensive (SI)
In a course in any subject, students receive instruction in an appropriate mode of oral communication (interpersonal or small group communication, or presentational speaking), and enhanced opportunities to practice improvement of oral communication skills.
Writing Intensive (WI)
In a course in any subject, students demonstrate their understanding of its concepts and materials through writing, using constructive criticism from readers to revise drafts and produce one or more clear, coherent, and effective written assignments appropriate to the field.
General Education Core Courses
The members of the General Education Council approve Program courses and are responsible for Program oversight. See the Course Schedule in UNCGenie for complete General Education listings.
General Education Credit Through Study Abroad
Students may receive General Education category and marker credit for courses taken through study abroad programs offered by the University’s International Programs Center.
As stated above, one Global Perspectives marker (GL or GN) course requirement is waived for each semester completed in a credit-bearing Study Abroad experience, up to a maximum of two course waivers. A summer program abroad counts as a semester.
For information about these courses and programs, contact the International Programs Center, 207 Foust Building (336-334-5404).
Writing Intensive (WI) And Speaking Intensive (SI) Courses
The General Education Program requires one Writing Intensive (WI) and one Speaking Intensive (SI) marker course from any discipline; a second WI course and a second SI course are to be taken in the major. Since most WI and SI courses are approved only for specific instructors or only for a given term, students should use the Course Schedule in UNCGenie for the current WI and SI course offerings.
Enrollment in certain Writing Intensive and Speaking Intensive courses is restricted to majors in that program. Students should always be aware of course prerequisites and other course restrictions as stated in this Catalog before attempting to register for a course.
General Education Category Requirements (36–37 total credit hours required)
Select courses as indicated from the categories listed below.
Humanities and Fine Arts (12 credits)
- One course from Fine Arts list—GFA (3 credits)
- One course from Literature list—GLT (3 credits)
- One course from Philosophical/Religious/ Ethical Perspectives list—GPR (3 credits)
- One additional course from any of the above (3 credits)
One course from Historical Perspectives list (3 credits)
Natural Sciences—GNS (6–7 credits)
Two courses from Natural Science list as follows:
- One must be a laboratory course.
- Each must have a different departmental course prefix (e.g., AST, ATY, BIO, CHE, etc.).
One course from Mathematics list (3 credits)
Reasoning and Discourse—GRD (6 credits)
- ENG 101 or FMS 115 or RCO 101 (3 credits)
- One additional course from Reasoning and Discourse list (3 credits)
Social and Behavioral Science—GSB
Two courses from Social and Behavioral Science list (6 credits)
General Education Marker Requirements
Fulfill the requirements listed below.
One writing intensive course in any discipline
- Indicated in the online Schedule of Courses by marker WI.
- In addition to this General Education Writing Intensive requirement, students must also complete a second Writing Intensive course within the major.
One speaking intensive course in any discipline
- Indicated in the online Schedule of Courses by marker SI.
- In addition to this General Education Speaking Intensive requirement, students must also complete a second Speaking Intensive course within the major.
Four Global Perspectives courses
- Indicated in semester Schedule of Courses by markers GL or GN.
- At least one of the Global Perspectives courses must carry the GN (non-Western course) marker.
- GL/GN courses may include a maximum of two courses in a foreign language (6 credits).
- One GL/GN course requirement is waived for each semester completed in a credit-bearing Study Abroad experience, up to a maximum of two course waivers. A summer program abroad counts as a semester.
- A foreign language course completed to meet an admission deficiency does not meet a GL or GN requirement.
Courses used to meet the core General Education Category Requirements section above also fulfill the marker requirements if the course carries the indicated marker in the online Schedule of Courses. Other marker courses are also available, including courses in the major. It is therefore possible to meet all General Education Marker Requirements while completing the courses under the General Education Category Requirements section above and/or courses required for the major. Students should carefully and intentionally plan their semester course schedules.
Waivers of Marker Courses for Incoming Students Transferring 60 or More Credits
Students who initially enroll with 60 or more transfer credits are required to take just one SI course and one WI course, both in the major, and two Global Perspectives courses, one of which must carry the GN marker.
Work toward Student Learning Goals outside the General Education Program
General Education provides a foundation for progress toward the UNC Greensboro Student Learning Goals. These goals are then reinforced in the major and minor programs that students complete before graduation. In addition to the General Education category and marker requirements described above, all bachelor’s degree programs require:
- At least one additional writing intensive course (WI) in the major
- At least one additional speaking intensive course (SI) in the major
- Proficiency level in technology as required for the major
- Proficiency level in information skills/research as required for the major