General Education: Foundations

Arts and Humanities

The studies recognized as the arts and humanities rest upon intellectual discourse and philosophical reflection and emphasize aesthetic creation and understanding. They are a heritage of the traditional liberal disciplines of logic, rhetoric, and grammar — together with music, poetics, interpretation, history, and philosophy. We may speak of them as the arts of reflective thinking, communication, and creation of meaning. The arts and humanities provide you with training in judgment and the interrelationship of intellectual and emotional abilities. They furnish an opportunity for you to experience works from art, history, literature, and philosophy that address concerns shared by human beings across the boundaries of time, geographical location, and culture.

Mathematical Sciences

The studies recognized as the mathematical sciences are part of the creative human effort to search for patterns and order that help make the world comprehensible. The study of the mathematical sciences aims at understanding abstract concepts such as number, chance, form, algorithms, functions, propositions, and principles of reasoning. As sciences of abstract objects, the mathematical sciences rely on valid inference rather than observation as their standard of truth. Even so, they still employ observation, simulation, and experimentation as means of discovering truth. These goals are pursued through the diverse disciplines of computer science, logic, mathematics, and statistics. These disciplines deal with data, measurements, and observations; with inference, deduction, and proof; with mathematical models of natural phenomena, of human behavior, and of social systems; and provide a common fabric of communication indispensable in society.

Natural Sciences

The studies recognized as the physical and life sciences are rooted in the creative human endeavor to understand, control, and adapt to nature. The natural sciences are a continuing, skeptical, self-correcting inquiry that strives for increasingly inclusive explanations of our physical universe and its life forms. The physical and life sciences taken together provide you with awareness of the role of science in human society, scientific methodologies as ways of knowing, and a knowledge about the workings of the natural world. Scientific inquiry is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the contemporary world; a scientifically literate person can apply scientific knowledge and habits of mind to both individual and social purposes.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

The studies recognized as the social sciences represent the systematic study of human behavior and culture. They are concerned with the development of principles that explain individual thought, action, and experience; the interactions between people in the context of small groups, communities, institutions, states, and societies; and the functioning of social systems. Taken together, the social sciences form a base for public discourse, inform us about ourselves, and provide insight into the behavior and cultural patterns of other people. Social and Behavioral Sciences provide you with analytical tools and principles that will help you make informed decisions in your personal and public life, and help you become aware
of your responsibility as a citizen of a national
and international community.


The study and practice of academic writing integrates a wide network of knowledge and skills, including critical-thinking, rhetoric, research, scholarly argument, logic, creativity, and language. The introductory study of college-level academic writing requires you to develop challenging ideas in clear, focused, well-organized writing, using methods and concepts appropriate for further development in a broad range of other college courses.

Page last modified May 8, 2018