VCU Bulletins

College of Humanities and Sciences

General education requirements for undergraduate study

All baccalaureate degree programs require students to complete a minimum of 120 credits. No more than four of those credits can be physical education/activity courses. See program descriptions for exact number of major credits (30 credit minimum) and elective courses to complete the total required 120 credits.

General education requirements for bachelor’s degrees within the College of Humanities and Sciences

The purpose of general education courses in the College of Humanities and Sciences is to provide a foundation for lifelong learning among its students. This foundation includes the six core competencies of written communication, oral proficiency, critical thinking, information fluency, ethical and social responsibility and quantitative literacy.

The College of Humanities and Sciences’ general education curriculum encourages students to pursue multiple interests simultaneously and creates opportunities for connecting learning across courses, disciplines and contexts. Additionally, it provides students with effective communication skills, the ability to analyze situations and think critically about the world around them, locate and analyze information to make informed decisions, and integrate knowledge from multiple perspectives and disciplines. The College of Humanities and Sciences’ general education curriculum proposes to foster academic community by linking the liberal arts and professional learning, and provides a strong foundation of knowledge, skills and experiences that are the hallmark of a VCU undergraduate education.

The College of Humanities and Sciences’ general education program totals 33-49 credit hours (hours vary according to foreign language placement and variations in individual course credit hours). The general education program includes three distinct tiers plus a senior capstone experience that is part of the major requirements.

Foundational courses: 12-13 credit hours

Foundational courses lay the groundwork for developing skills in the six identified competencies and lay the groundwork for future learning. (These courses satisfy a portion of the University Core Curriculum.)

UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I
UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument or academic research writing
Math and statistics:

Complete one of the following courses: MATH 131 Introduction to Contemporary Mathematics, STAT 208 Statistical Thinking or a 100- or 200-level MATH or STAT course (except MATH 121, 122, 123) as listed on the major curriculum worksheet guide and recommended by the academic adviser.

Supporting courses: 18-21 credit hours

Supporting courses further develop the core competencies while providing a vehicle for intellectual inquiry within specific areas of study. Students must complete at least 18 credits (comprising at least six courses) by successfully completing the following: (i) at least one course in each of the following four content areas, and (ii) two additional courses from these content areas or the Tier II content areas of humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral sciences or natural/physical sciences of the VCU Core Education Program (the two additional courses must be from different content areas).

1. Human, social and political behavior

These courses are designed to deepen students’ understanding of the study of society and the behavior of its citizens in various contexts.  

ANTH/INTL 103 Introduction to Anthropology
ECON 101/INTL 102 Introduction to Political Economy
HUMS 300 Great Questions of the Social Sciences
POLI 103 U.S. Government
PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology (4 credits)
SCTS 200 Science in Society: Values, Ethics and Politics
SOCY 101 General Sociology

2. Science and technology

These courses are designed to enhance students’ literacy in science and technology, including an understanding of the natural world, experience with the fundamental ideas and methods of the sciences and greater scientific literacy, particularly in relation to energy, evolution and evaluation.

BIOL 101 Biological Concepts (3 or 4 credits)
BIOL/ENVS 103 Environmental Science (4 credits)
CHEM 110 Chemistry and Society
ENVS 201 Earth System Science
FRSC 202 Crime and Science
INSC 201 Energy!
PHYS 103 Elementary Astronomy

3. Diverse and global communities

These courses are designed to provide students with an understanding of communities, cultures and identities other than their own, and with the ability to apply methods of inquiry from various academic disciplines to the understanding of diverse cultures and societies and the interactions among them.

AFAM 111 Introduction to Africana Studies
GSWS 201 Introduction to Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
INTL 101 Human Societies and Globalization
MASC/INTL 151 Global Communications
POLI/INTL 105 International Relations
RELS 108 Human Spirituality

4. Literature and civilization

These courses are designed to help students explore the relationships between human expression (in texts, films and material culture) and human societies, as well as between the present and the past.

ENGL 215 Textual Analysis
HIST 201 The Art of Historical Detection: ______
HUMS 250 Reading Film
PHIL 201 Critical Thinking About Moral Problems
WRLD/INTL 203 Cultural Texts and Contexts: ______
WRLD 230 Introduction to World Cinema

Experiential courses: 2-12 credit hours

These courses complement the other areas of inquiry by providing practical and experientially based knowledge both within and outside of the traditional classroom setting.

Foreign language (0-8 credits)
The study of a foreign language enhances students’ appreciation for and knowledge of other cultures. Students who have studied a foreign language have cognitive development, creativity and divergent thinking. Students must complete a foreign language through the 102 level or equivalent through credit, placement testing or other demonstrated proficiency.

Experiential fine arts (1-3 credits)
Students involved in the fine arts gain a greater understanding of the cultural and aesthetic possibilities of the world around them. Students satisfy this requirement by the completion of one course offered by the School of the Arts.

HUMS 202 Choices in a Consumer Society (1 credit)
An online personal finance course focusing on participatory, application-based exercises designed to arm students with the ability to make educated decisions in relation to future financial choices such as payment of student loans, understanding credit card statements, applying for mortgages, credit rating and planning for retirement.

Senior capstone: 1-3 credit hours
This course provides a discipline-specific culminating intellectual experience. Students must take at least 1 credit of a senior capstone experience within the major. Students must have senior status (at least 85 credit hours toward graduation) when completing this requirement.


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