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Overview

General Education is a signature curriculum for the university, with an impact on all students and programs.  In accordance with RIT’s mission, the General Education curriculum is the foundation for preparing students for lifelong learning, for success in their chosen fields and for their role in society as well-educated and knowledgeable citizens.

The General Education framework intentionally progresses through two educational phases designed to give students a strong foundation in communication and critical thinking, starting with the First Year Writing course.  Students choose from a series of courses called “perspectives” that provide ways of knowing about the world. They also have an opportunity for deeper study and integrative learning experiences through immersion in a series of related courses.  Additionally, general education elective courses may be specified by programs to support the major field of study.

Each type of degree award requires a different number of general education credits as mandated by NYSED.  When providing guidance, NYSED uses the term “liberal arts and sciences” to refer to general education.  In accordance with NYSED’s guidelines students must complete, at a minimum, the number of credits indicated in each category, as illustrated in Table 1.

Table 1.

The table below shows the minimum number of semester credit hours (sch) required in each category.  Details regarding the general education framework can be found on the Provost’s Academic Curriculum Development website.

 
General Education Framework BS BFA AAS AS
First-Year Writing  3 3 3 3
Perspectives 24 15 15 15
Immersion 9 9 0 0
General Education Electives* 24 3 6 12
MINIMUM TOTAL 60 30 24** 30

*Elective course credits plus other category credits must equal the minimum required
**NYSED requires 20; RIT framework exceeds the minimum requirement

Courses approved for use as electives and perspectives are overseen by the General Education Committee, and designations for each type are marked in the Student Information System.  The choices for Immersions are listed in the Course Bulletin.

Use of program courses in General Education: Programs may count no more than three courses (not including labs) from their home academic unit as General Education.  These courses must be approved to carry general education designation by the General Education Committee.  Programs may NOT require students to complete a specific immersion or restrict students to a group of immersions.

Categories for Perspectives:

Ethical

Courses in this category focus on ethical aspects of decision-making and argument, whether at the individual, group, national, or international level. Because RIT expects its graduates to be leaders in their careers and communities, these courses provide students with an understanding of how ethical issues can be conceived, discussed, and resolved, and how ethical forms of reasoning emerge and are applied to address such issues.

At a minimum, these courses will enable students to:

• Identify contemporary ethical questions and relevant stakeholder outcomes

Artistic

Courses in this category focus on the analysis of forms of artistic expression in the context of the societies and cultures that produced and sustained them. These courses provide insight into the creative process, the nature of aesthetic experience, the fundamentals of criticism and aesthetic discrimination, and the ways in which societies and cultures express their values through their art.

At a minimum, these courses will enable students to:

• Interpret and evaluate artistic expression considering the cultural context in which it was created

Global

Acting wisely as global citizens requires the ability to imagine how one’s choices affect other people; courses in this category encourage students to see life from a perspective wider than their own and to understand the diversity of human cultures within an interconnected global society. Courses in this category may explore the interconnectedness of the local and the global in today’s world or in historical examples, and encourage students to see how global forces reverberate at the local level.

At a minimum, these courses will enable students to:

• Examine connections among the world’s populations

Social

Courses in this category focus on the analysis of human behavior within the context of social systems and institutions. Because RIT recognizes that student success depends on the ability to understand how social groups function and operate, these courses provide insight into the workings of social institutions’ processes.

At a minimum, these courses will enable students to:

• Analyze similarities and differences in human experiences and consequent perspectives

Natural Science Inquiry

Science is more than a collection of facts and theories, so students will be expected to understand and participate in the process of science inquiry. Courses in this category focus on the basic principles and concepts of one or more of the natural sciences. In these classes, students apply methods of scientific inquiry and problem solving in a laboratory or field experience.

At a minimum, these courses will enable students to:

• Explain basic principles and concepts of one of the natural sciences

• Apply methods of scientific inquiry and problem solving to contemporary issues

Scientific Principles

The courses in this category will focus on the foundational principles of one ore more of the natural sciences or will provide an opportunity to apply methods of scientific inquiry in the natural or social sciences. Courses in this category may or may not include a laboratory experience.

At a minimum, these courses will enable students to:

• Explain basic principles and concepts of one of the natural sciences

OR

• Apply methods of scientific inquiry and problem solving to contemporary issues

Mathematical

Courses in this category will introduce students to the role that mathematics and computational practices play in the world. In these courses, students comprehend and evaluate mathematical or statistical information or computational practices and perform college-level mathematical operations on quantitative data.

At a minimum, these courses will enable students to:

• Comprehend and evaluate mathematical or statistical information

• Perform college-level mathematical operations on quantitative data

Requirements by Degree Type

General Education Guidelines for Bachelor of Science (BS)

Students earning a BS degree must complete a minimum of 60 General Education credits. In addition to First Year Writing, these students must take one course from each of the first six perspective categories and two courses from the Mathematical category for a total of eight courses.  A BS program may not require specific courses in more than three Perspective categories.  The students must also complete an immersion.  The remaining credits can be used as General Education electives.

General Education Guidelines for the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

Students earning a BFA degree must complete a minimum of 30 General Education credits. In addition to First Year Writing, these students must take a total of five Perspective courses, one from each of the following four categories: Ethical, Artistic, Global, and Social.  They must take one additional course from a choice of Science Principles, Natural Science Inquiry or Mathematics.  A BFA program may not require specific courses in more than two Perspective Categories.  The students must also complete an immersion.  The remaining three credits can be used as a General Education elective.

General Education Guidelines for the Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

Students earning an AAS degree must complete a minimum of 24 General Education credits. In addition to First Year Writing, these students must take a total of five Perspective courses, one each from the following five categories: Ethical, Artistic, Global, Social, and Scientific Principles.  The remaining courses will be General Education electives. 

General Education Guidelines for Associate of Science (AS)

Students earning an AS degree must complete a minimum of 30 General Education credits. In addition to First Year Writing, these students must take a total of five Perspective courses, one from each of the following five categories: Ethical, Artistic, Global, Social, and Scientific Principles.  The remaining courses will be General Education electives.

General Education Guidelines for Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS)

NYSED does not require that an AOS degree include general education courses.  RIT Colleges offering AOS degrees should establish their own guidelines.