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General Education

North Foundation Hall, Room 160
318 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4454
(location map)

General Education

North Foundation Hall, Room 160
318 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4454
(location map)

Knowledge Areas

The three-part structure complements every major, giving students a well-balanced, refined education.

Foundations - Writing and reasoning

Explorations - Understanding the universe, society and humankind

Integration - Solving real world problems

Approved Courses

Foundations
Writing

OU students must meet the writing foundations requirement. You'll be introduced to the elements of effective writing and rhetoric. Composition II (WRT 160) meets this requirement, but students who do not qualify (based on course placement tests) will first need to complete prerequisite courses. See also writing intensive on the Integration tab.

What will I learn?

  • elements, writing processes, and organizing strategies for creating analytical and expository prose
  • effective rhetorical strategies appropriate to the topic, audience, context and purpose
Formal Reasoning

This area incorporates courses from disciplines such as computer science, mathematics, statistics, linguistics and logic that require students to use formal reasoning systems to model and solve problems. A formal reasoning course must be taken prior to junior standing (56 credits).

What will I learn?

  • one or more formal reasoning systems such as computer programming, mathematics, statistics, linguistics or logic
  • read, understand, model and solve problems across a variety of applications
Explorations

OU students are required to take one course in each of the seven knowledge explorations categories outlined below. This is where you'll learn a breadth of knowledge and analytical skills.

While completing each of these courses, keep in mind that some also may count as the diversity requirement (see the Integration tab) and/or the writing intensive requirement (see the Foundations tab).

Arts

What will I learn?

  • cultural or historic artistic traditions in visual, auditory, movement, theatrical or cinematic art
  • the role of art as critical commentary on society and as an aesthetic expression of experience
Global Perspective

What will I learn?

  • Knowledge of two or more of the following: environments, political systems, economies, societies, and religions in any region outside of the United States.
  • Knowledge of the role that different cultural heritages (past and present) play in forming values in another part of the world, enabling the student to function in a global context.
Language and Culture

What will I learn?

  • an additional language and its associated culture
  • linguistic and cultural diversity and the contributions of such diversity to the global society
Literature

What will I learn?

  • how literature is an expression of culture
  • literary form
Natural Science and Technology

What will I learn?

  • major concepts from natural science or technology, including developing and testing of hypotheses; drawing conclusions; and reporting findings through some laboratory experience or an effective substitute (lab experiences are met by either a limited number of interactive experiences, collecting and interpreting raw data, or other effective experiences such as a virtual laboratory)
  • how to evaluate sources of information in science or technology
Social Science

What will I learn?

  • concepts, methods and theories designed to enhance understanding of human behavior and/or societies
  • concepts and theories to problems involving individuals, institutions or nations
Western Civilization

What will I learn?

  • historical events and/or philosophical ideas of European or American culture
  • how Western ideas or institutions have evolved over time
Integration

The knowledge integration area focuses on issues of ethics, the application of knowledge to specific problems, and the relevance of the undergraduate experience to life. 

Knowledge Applications

Explore the ways in which knowledge can be applied in areas outside your own field of study. You'll compare and contrast methods used in your major with those in another field. The course must be outside of the degree requirements for your major.

What will I learn?

  • evaluate and apply knowledge in a field outside of your major to solve real-world problems across a range of applications
  • personal, professional, ethical and societal implications of these applications
Capstone

The capstone experience will create an explicit link between general education and your major (or between general education components if you take a general education capstone instead of one in your major). The capstone can be interdisciplinary- or discipline-specific. If taken in the major, it must explicitly address the relevance to the major of a combination of at least three of the general education knowledge areas and capacities to the major.

Although students who change majors may be required to take a second capstone as part of their major, you are only required to meet the general education capstone requirement once.

What will I learn?

  • appropriate uses of a variety of methods of inquiry and a recognition of ethical considerations that arise
  • the ability to integrate the knowledge learned in general education and its relevance to your life and career
Writing Intensive

Through two writing intensive courses, students gain an understanding of both general and discipline-specific writing abilities. Faculty in these courses  help students develop their ability to research and write for different disciplinary audiences. Writing intensive courses are designed to provide students with the transferable communication skills that will help them to become successful writers in their majors, in their careers, and in their communities.  Writing Intensive in General Education and Writing Intensive in the Major may be found in courses that also satisfy the Explorations and Integration areas. See also writing foundations (see the Foundations tab).

Diversity

Make sure one of your general education courses and/or courses for your major also fulfills the diversity requirement. A course can qualify to meet the diversity requirement if one-half of its content deals with issues relating to at least two of the following: race, gender or ethnicity.

What will I learn?

  • knowledge of how diverse value systems and societal structures are influenced by race, gender and ethnicity
  • major challenges and issues these raise in society