General Education Program

Students must successfully complete the requirements of the University, the school or college in which they are enrolled, and the specific requirements of their area of specialization. Described below are the General Education requirements for all degrees. Students may consult the University Bulletin or their degree audit (DARS) report for recommended general education courses in their major.

At the University of Missouri-St. Louis, General Education affords both freshmen and transfer students the opportunity to develop and apply intellectual tools and to acquire a breadth of knowledge necessary in our challenging, technological, and diverse world. This curriculum also challenges students to investigate various disciplines as potential majors, and it prepares them for success in major fields of study. The program complies fully with the Missouri Coordinating Board of Higher Education Guidelines on Transfer and Articulation (June 2000).

Application of Policy to Freshmen

All students in Missouri public universities must complete the requirements of a General Education Plan totaling 42 credit hours in order to earn a baccalaureate degree.

Application of Policy to Transfer Students

Transfer policies describe which courses may apply to UMSL’s General Education requirements. In general, students who transfer to UMSL with an Associate of Arts (AA) degree from an accredited Missouri institution and other approved institutions are considered to have completed all General Education requirements. Additionally, UMSL has a Junior-Level Writing requirement beyond the General Education requirement and the school or college in which they are enrolled may also have a Cultural Diversity requirement. Transfer students without an AA degree from Missouri may transfer a CBHE-approved 42-hour block of General Education courses, in accordance with the CBHE Transfer and Articulation agreement. However, those students transferring with fewer than 42 hours or from a non-participating institution will have their transcripts evaluated on a course-by-course basis. All students must earn a C- or higher in their First Year Writing and Math Proficiency coursework to be eligible to graduate from UMSL.

Transfer courses that meet the requirements of the Core courses or courses that are designated as General Education courses in the Humanities and Fine Arts, the Social Sciences, and the Math and Life/Natural Sciences areas at peer institutions and institutions with whom UMSL has an articulation agreement are considered transferable to UMSL's General Education requirements.

Credit associated with developmental/remedial coursework are not considered transferable to UMSL’s General Education requirements.

Application of Policy to Students Who Started Prior to Fall 2015

Students who earned 24 or more semester hours of credit* at any accredited post-secondary institutions(s) before the start of the fall 2015 semester may meet the General Education requirements stipulated in the UMSL 2014-2015 Bulletin or elect to complete the current General Education Plan described below. Students who earned 24 or more semester hours of credit* at any accredited post-secondary institutions(s) before the start of the fall 2002 semester may also meet the General Education requirements stipulated in the UMSL 2001-2002 Bulletin.

*Only credit that is transferable to UMSL is applicable

General Education Requirements

General Education at UMSL is comprised of 1000-2000 level courses that provide foundational knowledge in a broad range of subjects critical to the future success of our students. It is divided into two categories: General Education Core courses, which are applicable in all disciplines, and General Education Explore courses, which emphasize breadth of study. The following definitions clarify what is required for a course to be considered for listing as either a core or explore option in the General Education curriculum.

Core Areas:
First Year Writing
Math Proficiency
Communication Proficiency
Information Literacy
American History or Government
Explore Areas:
Humanities and Fine Arts
Social Sciences
Math and Life/Natural Sciences

Core Area Descriptions

First Year Writing (3 hours): Students will develop college-level rhetorical knowledge and critical thinking, reading, and writing skills, including process skills and knowledge of conventions.

First-Year Writing courses are defined as those which develop students’ ability to:

  • analyze contexts and audiences and then act on that analysis in comprehending and creating texts
  • analyze, synthesize, interpret, and evaluate ideas, information, situations, and texts
  • use multiple strategies, or composing processes, to conceptualize, develop, and finalize projects 
  • involve multiple assessments of writing in multiple formats
  • understand, analyze, and negotiate conventions (usage, spelling, citation as well as organizational frameworks, content, document design, and style) for purpose, audience, and genre, understanding that genres evolve in response to changes in material conditions and composing technologies and attending carefully to emergent conventions

The First Year Writing requirement must be satisfied before the student completes 24 hours of course work.  Students should be able to write with thoughtfulness, clarity, coherence, and persuasiveness (CBHE General Education, June 2000). Proficiency can be met through earning a C- or higher in one of the following courses:

ENGL 1100First-Year Writing3
ENGL 1110First-Year Writing For International Students3
HIST 1111Reacting to the Past4
FGN LANG 1111Reacting to the Past: Language, Immigration, and Social Change4
HONORS 1100 Honors Freshman Composition3

Mathematics (3 hours): Students will gain critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills, and the use of symbolic systems to understand the properties and relationships of relevant quantifiable concepts.

Pathways mathematics courses are defined as those which:

  • Involve sets and logic which is essential to critical thinking and process learning
  • Treat aspects of financial mathematics as it is both exemplary of mathematical thinking and immediately relevant to students
  • Discuss concepts of probability and statistics which involves important interpretive critical reasoning skills
  • Consider geometric concepts which involve abstract reasoning and spatial skills
  • Proficiency in the basic mathematical skills

Proficiency in the basic mathematical skills area must be satisfied before the student completes 24 hours of course work. Proficiency can be obtained by completing, with a grade of C- or higher, a college degree credit mathematics course, or by earning a score of at least 51% on the ALEKS Exam in a proctored environment. Students who fulfill their math proficiency requirement in this manner must take an additional General Education course in order to have a total of 42 credit hours of General Education courses.

Mathematics courses that the University offers that satisfy mathematics proficiency are courses at the 1000 level or above. Proficiency can be met through earning a C- or better in one of the following (or higher level) courses:

MATH 1020Contemporary Mathematics3
MATH 1021Choice and Chance3
MATH 1025Geometry in the Real World3
MATH 1030College Algebra3
MATH 1045PreCalculus5

Math courses at the 1000 level below MATH 1030  are designed as terminal mathematics courses for students who do not plan to take calculus.

MATH 1030 or MATH 1045 is required for all students who want to go on to calculus. (Note: MATH 1035 is also required for students that take MATH 1030 and want to take MATH 1800.)

ALEKS math placement scores used to satisfy prerequisites are valid for approximately 11 months. For exact dates, go to http://www.umsl.edu/~campustesting/Math%20Placement%20Test/faqs.html#valid_dates. Also, ALEKS math placement scores that are used to satisfy prerequisites for courses below MATH 1800 do not need to be obtained in a proctored environment.

Information about the ALEKS math placement test is available on the University’s homepage at http://www.umsl.edu/~campustesting/Math%20Placement%20Test/index.html.

Communication (3 hours): Students will become proficient in verbal communication, enhance their ability to analyze and use communication effectively, and engage with others constructively across contexts.

Communication courses are defined as those which:

  • are based in the English language and assume conversational fluency
  • emphasize verbal communication over other forms
  • involve analytical and practical skill-building in oral communication
  • require multiple assessments or evaluations of oral communication skills 

The Communication Proficiency requirement may be met through one of the following courses:

COMM 1030Interpersonal Communication I3
COMM 1040Introduction To Public Speaking3
COMM 2230Small Group Communication3
COMM 2240Persuasive Communication3
EDUC 2222Interpretation: Connecting Audiences and Meaning3
HONORS 2010Inquiries In The Humanities (Public Speaking or Storytelling: The Oral Tradition only)3
NURSE 2105Communication In The Nursing Profession3
THEATR 1210Fundamentals Of Acting3
THEATR 2241Argumentation and Debate3

Additional courses that may meet this requirement:

  1. A Course designated as a Verbal Communication course in transfer

  2. Future courses, or specific sections of future topics courses, as approved by the General Education Committee

Information Literacy (3 hours): Students will become literate in accessing and analyzing information to further learning inside and outside the classroom and to become fully aware participants in the inter-connected global community.

Information Literacy courses are defined as those which:

  • focus on the analysis and evaluation of information for objective accuracy, valid use, or appropriate construction
  • use contemporary technologies to research, retrieve, synthesize, construct, or present information as needed for academic disciplines
  • provide foundational skills that can be applied to any major or discipline
  • require multiple assessments and evaluations of information sources for objectivity, accuracy, validity, etc.

The Information Literacy requirement may be met through one of the following courses:

CMP SCI 1012Learning to Program Using Virtual Worlds3
CMP SCI 1250Introduction To Computing3
CHEM 2223Quantitative Analysis3
CRIMIN 2210Research Methods In Criminology And Criminal Justice3
CRIMIN 2220Statistical Analysis In Criminology And Criminal Justice4
ED TECH 2230Information Literacy3
ENGL 2110Information Literacy3
HIST 2999Introduction to Historical Inquiry4
HONORS 1130Western Traditions: Social And Behavioral Sciences (Science Vs Pseudo-science in Archaeology only)3
HONORS 2010Inquiries In The Humanities (Media Literacy only)3
HONORS 2030Inquiries In The Social And Behavioral Sciences (Evaluating the Media: A Theoretical Approach only)3
INFSYS 1800Computers And Information Systems 13
INFSYS 2800Information Systems Concepts And Applications3
MATH 1105Basic Probability And Statistics3
MATH 1310Elementary Statistical Methods3
MATH 1320Introduction to Probability and Statistics3
MEDIA ST 1065Internet Media3
PHIL 2280Minds, Brains, And Machines3
POL SCI 2000Political Analysis3
PSYCH 2201Psychological Statistics4
PSYCH 2219Research Methods3
SOC 2280Technology And Society3
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Proficiency may be earned through placement test. Students who fulfill their information literacy through a placement test must take an additional General Education course in order to have a total of 42 credit hours of General Education courses.

Additional courses that may meet this requirement:

  1. A course designated as an Information Literacy course in Transfer

  2.  Future courses, or specific sections of future topics courses, as approved by the General Education Committee

American History and Government (3 hours): Students will understand important facets of American history and its governmental structures from colonization to present day.

 American History and Government courses are defined as those which:

  • explore significant events in the history of American civilization from colonization to present day
  • delineate major social movements in American history (e.g., suffrage, prohibition, civil rights)
  • emphasize the structures of American government such as criminal, economic, legal, political, social, and military policies
  • require multiple assessments and evaluations to demonstrate knowledge of specific events or policies and their consequences potential implications

Students must satisfactorily complete a course or courses in American history or government taken at UMSL or at other colleges or universities in Missouri. Transfer students should check with the Dean's Office of their division to determine if they have fulfilled this requirement.

The American History and Government Requirement may be met through one of the following courses:

CRIMIN 1100Introduction To Criminology And Criminal Justice3
ECON 2800History Of American Economic Development3
GS 2020History of Women and Social Movements3
HIST 1001American Civilization To 18653
HIST 1002American Civilization 1865 To Present3
HIST 1003African-American History3
HIST 1004The History Of Women In The United States3
HIST 2001Creating Early America: European Empires, Colonial Cultures, and Native Nations, 1565-17763
HIST 2004United States History: The Civil War Era, 1860-19003
HIST 2005The Modernization Of The United States3
HIST 2006Recent United States History3
HIST 2007History Of Missouri3
HIST 2010From Sea to Shining Sea: The American Frontier 1763 - 18903
HIST 2020History of Women and Social Movements3
HIST 2023US Foreign Relations and Military History To 19003
HIST 2024US Foreign Relations and Military History Since 19003
HIST 2800History Of American Economic Development3
HONORS 1230American Traditions: Social And Behavioral Sciences3
POL SCI 1100Introduction To American Politics3
POL SCI 2260Law, Politics and Society3
POL SCI 2280Judicial Politics3
POL SCI 2290Gender And The Law3
POL SCI 2300State Politics3
POL SCI 2320African Americans And The Political System3

Explore Area Descriptions

Courses used to fulfill core area requirements may not be applied to the explore area requirements.

Humanities and Fine Arts (9 hours): Students will have a deeper knowledge of the human experience and creative expression through visual and performing arts.

Humanities and Fine Arts Explore courses are defined as those which:

  • focus on helping students understand, analyze, and explore human thought/actions and creation.
  • provide critical/foundational discipline-specific skills that contribute to personal growth and well-being
  • encourage a sense of connection to our shared and diverse pasts and to our contemporaries
  • promote living in and contributing to various communities

These criteria must be evident in syllabus, assignments, and/or grading rubrics if the department/discipline is not identified as a Fine Art or as Humanities/Humanistic Studies in the NCES Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP).

This requirement is satisfied by completing 9 hours of coursework at the 1000 or 2000 level selected from at least two of the following areas: Art,  Art History, English, Dance, History, Music, Philosophy, Theater, Foreign Language (FGN LANG) 2100, language courses at the 2000 level above 2101, Interdisciplinary and Honors courses with the Humanities or Fine Arts designation, and transfer courses designated as Humanities and Fine Arts general education courses at peer institutions and institutions with whom UMSL has an articulation agreement.

Social Sciences (9 hours): Students will understand and have the ability to view individual and social behavior/society from a variety of perspectives utilizing scientific methods.

 Social Sciences Explore courses are defined as those which:

  • the principle focus is on human society, including individual behavior and social relationships
  • based on scientific principles
  • reflect foundational, discipline specific knowledge that informs the human condition
  • use multiple assessments of content knowledge within the social science framework

These criteria must be evident in syllabus, assignments, and/or grading rubrics if the department/discipline is not identified as a Social Science in the NCES Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP).

This requirement is satisfied by completing 9 hours of coursework at the 1000 or 2000 level selected from at least two of the following areas: Anthropology,  Business Administration, Communication, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Economics, ED PSY 2212, Finance, Geography, Media Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Interdisciplinary and Honors courses with the Social Sciences designation, and transfer courses designated as Social Sciences general education courses at peer institutions and institutions with whom UMSL has an articulation agreement.  

Mathematics and Life/Natural Sciences (9 hours): Students will expand mathematical abilities and have an understanding of the branches of science that deal with living things and the physical world.

Mathematics and Life/Natural Sciences Explore courses are defined as those which:

  • emphasize mathematical concepts and/or use scientific methods to understand the physical world
  • use multiple assessments of computational and/or content knowledge within the mathematical and life/natural sciences framework

These criteria must be evident in syllabus, assignments, and/or grading rubrics if the department/discipline is not identified as a Mathematics and Statistics, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, or Physical Sciences in the NCES Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP).

This requirement is satisfied by completing 9 hours of coursework at the 1000 or 2000 level selected from at least two of the following areas: Astronomy, Atmospheric Science, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Interdisciplinary and Honors courses with the Mathematics and Life/Natural Sciences designation, and transfer courses designated as Math and Life/Natural Sciences general education courses at peer institutions and institutions with whom UMSL has an articulation agreement.

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Note: Gender Studies and Military and Veterans Studies courses that are cross-listed with disciplinary designations at the 1000 and 2000 levels may also be used to fulfill the explore area requirements.