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General Questions

What is “General Education”? Why do I need it?

The general education curriculum complements and supports a student’s program curriculum.  In New York, the New York State Educational Department determines the proportion of overall credits that are dedicated to “Liberal Arts and Sciences,” which are known as “General Education” at RIT.  These courses are in topic areas of humanities, social science, natural science and mathematics. 

The general education curriculum provides the opportunity to gain important skills, such as writing, ethical reasoning, scientific inquiry, and global awareness.

“The world is changing dramatically, and designs for learning that have long drawn clear distinctions between liberal education—intended for future leaders—and more targeted job training—envisioned as workforce development—now are obsolete. Today, even highly technical jobs require the high-level intellectual skills, contextual understanding, and ethical judgment that long were identified with liberal education in arts and sciences fields." *

What are the General Education Student Learning Outcomes for RIT students?

Information about General Education Student Learning Outcomes can be found here.

How are the Gen Ed courses connected to Gen Ed learning outcomes?

Every course in the General Education curriculum has an inventory of the general education student learning outcomes addressed as part of the course outline.  Additionally, courses within specific categories (foundations & perspectives) of the General Education framework must meet specific outcomes to be part of that category.  For example, for a course to be in the Artistic Perspective, it must meet the outcome:  Interpret and evaluate artistic expression considering the cultural context in which it was created.  The full descriptions of the connections between courses and outcomes are available here.

What are the general education requirements for my degree?

While the overall total number of general education credits for each degree program is the same, each degree program has different specific course requirements.  For example, one program may require calculus or chemistry, while another program requires specific courses in economics or communications.  All programs have some specific general education courses that are required of students in that major. All programs also include some flexibility for students to choose courses that interest them.  For specific requirements for your degree program, please consult the program bulletin.

How do I find courses that have been approved for general education?

All approved general education courses have been designated in the Student Information System.  You can search for them via the course “attributes.”  All courses within the curriculum are marked as “General Education Elective” in addition to any other categories that they may fulfill.

How do I choose what General Education courses to take?

With hundreds of courses to choose from, picking courses to fulfill your General Education requirements is an exciting opportunity. You can use SIS to search for courses within a particular component of the curriculum. Additionally, your academic and faculty advisors can help you choose courses that will fulfill requirements and support your educational goals while allowing you to explore areas that interest you.

Questions about Perspectives

How do I find a course in a particular perspective area?

All Perspectives courses have been designated in the Student Information System. You can search for them via the course “attributes” by category here

Are there courses recommended for the science perspectives for non-science majors?

Yes. If your degree program does not designate specific science courses, you can take any science perspectives courses to fulfill the requirement. Recommended courses for non-majors are found here.

Questions about Immersions & Minors

What’s the difference between an immersion and minor?

An immersion is a grouping of three courses that promote deeper learning within a subject area or theme. Minors are a minimum of 15 credit hours, and appear on a student’s transcript.

Immersions are part of the new General Education framework, instituted for students who started in fall of 2012. The wide range of choices for sets of courses and their guidelines can be found in the Program Bulletin and are listed here.

Some immersions and concentrations can become minors if the student completes two or more additional courses within the subject area. Because not all immersions and concentrations can become minors, students and advisors should consult the Program Bulletin to learn more about requirements for specific minors. Additionally, not all minors are part of the General Education Curriculum. For example, most courses in business are not General Education, and while students can earn a minor in business, there is no corresponding immersion or concentration.

Additionally, these requirements should be distinguished from program/professional concentrations within a student’s major, which are not part of the general education curriculum.

What is a liberal arts concentration?

Liberal Arts concentrations were groups of three courses in a particular subject area, and were part of the former General Education framework for students who entered RIT prior to 2012. These concentrations were limited to courses from the College of Liberal Arts.

What are my choices for immersions, and what are the requirements?

All current immersions and accompanying requirements are listed in the Program Bulletin and are also listed here.

What if I want to turn my immersion into a minor?

Some immersions can become minors with two additional courses.  To determine if your immersion can become a minor, please check the Immersions/Minors list.

Who do I talk to about planning my immersion/minor?

The program or department that offers the immersion can help with planning an immersion or minor.  Additionally, the advising office in the College of Liberal Arts (Liberal Arts Hall 2210) can provide assistance for most immersions and minors.  Please see the immersion page for a list of contacts. Students should start planning minors early in their time at RIT to ensure that appropriate courses are available.

Do all minors help satisfy general education requirements?

No.  Some minors are not part of the general education curriculum.  For example, most business courses are not general education courses, and so a minor in business would not fulfill an immersion or other general education requirements.

How do I declare an immersion?

Students must declare an immersion through SIS (under My Academics).

Do I need approval for an immersion or a minor?  How do I get approval?

Some immersions have restricted enrollments due to small class sizes.  Students need a signature from the hosting department in these cases in order to approve the immersion choice.  All minors need to be declared and will need signatures.  See the registrar’s office webpage for more information.

What if the course I need for my immersion or minor isn’t available?

You will need to discuss the situation with the offering department to determine if an equivalent course could be substituted.


*American Association of Colleges &Universities, The Quality Imperative:  Match Ambitious Goals for College Attainment with an Ambitious Vision for Learning