The General Education curriculum complements and supports a student’s program curriculum. In New York, the New York State Educational Department (NYSED) determines the proportion of overall credits that are dedicated to liberal arts and sciences, and these credits are incorporated into RIT’s General Education requirements. 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.” *
*American Association of Colleges &Universities, The Quality Imperative: Match Ambitious Goals for College Attainment with an Ambitious Vision for Learning
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 and 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 can be found on the Educational Effectiveness Assessment website.
While the overall total number of General Education credits for each program within a degree type is the same, each 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. Programs may designate up to three specific General Education courses (two for students in BFA degree programs) that fulfill both program and General Education requirements, but 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.
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.
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.
An Immersion is a grouping of three courses that promote deeper learning within a subject area or theme outside of a student’s major. Minors are also groupings of courses related by theme or discipline, but require a minimum of 15 credit hours, and appear on a student’s transcript. No more than two courses in a minor may also fulfill program requirements. Immersion courses must all be approved as part of the General Education curriculum, while not all minors are part of the General Education curriculum. For example, most courses in business are not included within the General Education curriculum, and while students can earn a minor in business, there is no corresponding Immersion or concentration.
Both Immersions and minors should be distinguished from program/professional concentrations within a student’s major, which are not part of the General Education curriculum.
Some Immersions can become minors with two or more additional courses. Because not all Immersions can become minors, students and advisors should consult the Program Bulletin to learn more about requirements for specific minors. To determine if your Immersion can become a minor, please check the Immersions/Minors list.
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 Immersions/Minors page for more details. Students should start planning minors early in their time at RIT to ensure that appropriate courses are available.
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 webpage for more information.