GENERAL EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

In April 2012, the University of Miami Faculty Senate adopted a new set of General Education Requirements (GERs).  The new Cognate Program of General Education will be implemented in the 2013-2014 academic year (AY 2014).  During the transition to the Cognate Program, some new students will have a choice of completing either GERs of 2012-2013 (AY 2013) or the new Cognate Program GERs (AY 2014).  The possible options are described below.

PHILOSOPHY

The University of Miami and its faculty are committed to developing and nurturing within our students the ability to demonstrate critical thinking skills, communicate effectively, contribute knowledge, understand perspectives that differ from their own, and develop skills necessary to become effective leaders and active participants in the global society.

As an institution of higher learning in an increasingly diverse and global community our goals are to produce graduates who have been exposed to a broad spectrum of educational opportunities and to prepare them for successful participation in the world. The University’s General Education Requirements consist of coursework taken both before and in addition to students’ specialized study within their areas of concentration. The aims of the General Education Requirements are designed to ensure that graduates of the University will have acquired essential intellectual skills and exposure to a range of intellectual perspectives and academic disciplines. The University’s General Education Requirements focus on two student learning areas: 1) proficiency in English composition, writing, and mathematics and 2) knowledge of the natural world, people and society, and arts and humanities. By helping students strengthen their abilities to think with both words and numbers, they will develop the analytical skills basic to nearly all fields of advanced learning but exclusive to none. By deliberately introducing students to various intellectual achievements in major areas of human inquiry and creative endeavor, the University of Miami’s General Education Requirements provide a broad intellectual backdrop to students’ more focused studies in their majors and minors. Whereas the requirements of majors specified by Schools and Colleges within the University emphasize depth of learning, the General Education Requirements stress breadth of knowledge and the cultivation of intellectual abilities essential for the acquisition of knowledge.

I.  Any student entering the University with fewer than 30 credits will fulfill the newly adopted Cognate Program of General Education (AY 2014 and forward).

GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS (AY 2014 and forward)

AREAS OF PROFICIENCY
The Areas of Proficiency requirements ensure that students either already possess, or develop at the University, the ability to express themselves effectively, to use mathematics with facility, and to reason cogently.
• English Composition
Good writing facilitates clear thinking, and clear thinking is the foundation of effective communication. The expectation is that students become adept at using the English language as an effective communication tool.  Effective writing skills are representative of an educated person because they are instruments to advance ideas efficiently and persuasively. Students fulfill this requirement by satisfactorily completing ENG105 and ENG106, or the equivalent. Appropriate Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) scores in English composition may be used to satisfy this requirement. An appropriate score on the SAT or ACT verbal examination may earn a student exemption from, but not credit for, ENG105.
Students will be able to:
• Gather information, synthesize data, compare various points of view, and present results in writing.
• Develop the ability to read texts critically and to use textual evidence to support a sophisticated written argument.
• Consider audience, tone, organization, and standard conventions in relationship to specific rhetorical tasks.
• Writing Across the Curriculum
In addition to ENG105 and ENG106, students must complete five courses designated as Writing across the Curriculum (W) courses. The purpose of these courses is to help students refine their writing so that they are able to communicate ideas clearly and effectively through the various styles of writing appropriate to their majors and minors. Writing courses require a substantial amount of writing and the preparation of papers corrected for diction, syntax, style, and content. Some courses fulfilling Areas of Knowledge requirements (described below) may simultaneously satisfy this requirement.
Students will be able to:
• Demonstrate ability to write persuasively, using argumentation tools and advocacy appropriate to subject, audience, and occasion.
• Mathematics
In a world increasingly influenced by science and technology, it is important for students to acquire the capacity to use and understand essential mathematical applications. The mathematics requirement helps students learn to use quantitative methods to solve problems. The course requirements for mathematics emphasize the manipulation, interpretation, and application of quantitative data. Students fulfill this requirement by completing a mathematics course beyond MTH101 (excluding MTH107), completing MAS110, or completing an approved course in statistics. Exemption from the mathematics requirement or placement in prerequisite courses is based on any of the following tests: AP, IB, or a placement examination administered by the Department of Mathematics.
Students will be able to:
• Select quantitative tools appropriate for solving problems.
• Use quantitative tools appropriate for solving problems.
• Interpret quantitative data in an appropriate manner for solving problems.


AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
The Areas of Knowledge requirement is designed to help students understand and appreciate intellectual achievements in major areas of human inquiry and creative endeavor.  The courses offered in the areas of knowledge provide a broad array of intellectual and cultural exploration. In satisfying these requirements students examine creative expression in the arts, literature, and philosophy; study human development and behavior; and explore the mathematical, scientific, and technological world.
Students fulfill the Areas of Knowledge requirement by completing three cognates, one from each of the three areas of the university curriculum: Arts & Humanities; People & Society; and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM). A cognate is a group of at least three courses for at least nine credits, related in a topical, thematic, interdisciplinary, sequential, or other fashion, so that completion of a cognate provides coherent depth of knowledge.  Each cognate has course options that allow students to complete the cognate in a manner that meets their interests, while staying within the coherent focus of the cognate.  While students are required to take three cognates to fulfill the Areas of Knowledge requirement, there is no limit to the number of additional cognates students may complete. All cognates completed by students are listed on the students’ transcripts.
The university offers a large number and range of cognates. Additionally, each major and minor fulfills the cognate requirement in one Area of Knowledge. (Some majors and minors, depending on the courses selected, can fulfill alternative Areas of Knowledge.) All approved cognates are visible in a cognate search engine (at www.miami.edu/cognates) that allows students to search for cognates based on cognate features, cognate courses, and keywords. Each cognate is administered by a department or program that is designated as the Responsible Academic Unit (RAU) for the cognate. Inquiries about a cognate should be directed to the cognate’s RAU.
• Arts & Humanities
Arts & Humanities cognates engage students in the study of the most enduring and influential works of art, imagination, and culture. Through study, creation, and performance, courses in this area enable students to understand the works of artists, musicians, novelists, philosophers, playwrights, poets, historians, and theologians. These courses cultivate the ability to interpret, critically evaluate, and experience the creative products of human culture and expression.
Students will be able to:
• Critically evaluate and interpret the creative products of humanistic and artistic expression, applying appropriate vocabulary and concepts for their description and analysis.
• Understand the creation and performance of art.
The following departments and programs offer courses that are used in Arts & Humanities cognates: Africana Studies; American Studies; Architecture; Art & Art History; Cinema & Interactive Media; Classics; English; History; Judaic Studies; Latin American Studies; Modern Languages & Literatures; Music Theory – Composition; Musicology; Philosophy; Religious Studies; Strategic Communication; and Theatre Arts. Others will be added as cognates are approved.  For the current listing of cognates, visit http://www.miami.edu/cognates.

• People & Society
People & Society cognates help students understand and analyze the organization of society and the patterns of social change, in the past and in the contemporary world.
Students will be able to:
• Analyze the organization of society.
• Analyze patterns of social change.
The following departments and programs offer courses that are used in People & Society cognates:  Accounting; Aerospace Studies; Africana Studies; American Studies; Anthropology; Business Law; Classics; Communication Studies; Criminology; Economics; Ecosystem Science & Policy; Educational & Psychological Studies; Geography; History; International Studies; Journalism & Media Management; Judaic Studies; Kinesiology & Sport Sciences; Latin American Studies; Management; Marine Affairs; Marketing; Military Science; Modern Languages & Literatures; Music Media & Industry; Nursing; Philosophy; Political Science; Psychology; Religious Studies; Sociology; Strategic Communication; Teaching & Learning; Urban Studies; and Women’s & Gender Studies. Others will be added as cognates are approved.  For the current listing of cognates, visit http://www.miami.edu/cognates.

• Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM)
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) cognates develop students’ abilities to think critically about mathematical, scientific, and technological issues, through an understanding of processes and methods of scientific inquiry involving experimentation, observation, and quantitative analysis. The cognates nurture literacies that enable students to make informed decisions in an increasingly complex world.
Students will be able to:
• Understand the use of quantitative tools, experimentation, and observation to analyze and solve mathematical, scientific, environmental, and technological problems.
• Interpret quantitative data and draw useful conclusions.
The following departments and programs offer courses that are used in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics cognates:  Anthropology; Atmospheric Science; Biochemistry; Biology; Biomedical Engineering; Chemistry; Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering; Computer Information Systems; Computer Science; Economics; Ecosystem Science & Policy; Electrical & Computer Engineering; Engineering Science; Finance; Geography; Geological Sciences; Health Science; Industrial Engineering; Kinesiology & Sport Sciences; Management Science; Marine Science; Marketing; Mathematics; Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering; Microbiology & Immunology; Neuroscience; Nursing; Physics; and Psychology. Others will be added as cognates are approved.  For the current listing of cognates, visit http://www.miami.edu/cognates.

The three cognates taken to fulfill the Areas of Knowledge requirement (including cognates fulfilled by majors and minors) must have different RAUs. No more than two Areas of Knowledge may be fulfilled by cognates whose RAUs are in the same school or college, except for the College of Arts and Sciences. Majors and minors may cover more than one Area of Knowledge, but may be used to fulfill the cognate requirement in only one of those areas. A course may be used in only one cognate used to fulfill the Areas of Knowledge requirement (including cognates fulfilled by majors and minors). Students may petition for individual course substitutions in cognates by application to the cognate’s RAU. Transfer courses, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, CLEP, dual enrollment, etc., that are transferred in with specific UM course credit, can be used in cognates.  Courses that transfer in with non-specific UM course credit can be used in cognates only by application to the cognate’s Responsible Academic Unit (RAU).

II. Any student entering the University from high school with 30 or more credits may choose to fulfill the Cognate Program requirements listed above or may elect to satisfy the General Education Requirements of AY 2013, which are listed below. 
Please note: Students’ academic records will default to the Cognate Program. Students who choose to satisfy the General Education Requirements of AY 2013 instead must declare their intention to do so to their school or college.

III. Any student transferring from another college/university with 30 or more credits will satisfy the General Education Requirements of AY 2013 (see below for details). 

AREAS OF PROFICIENCY

Proficiency requirements are intended to ensure that students either already possess, or will develop at the University, the ability to express themselves effectively, to use mathematics with facility, and to reason cogently.

1. English Composition

Good writing facilitates clear thinking, and clear thinking is the foundation of effective communication.  It is the University’s expectation that our students become adept at using the English language as an effective tool for communication.  Effective writing skills are representative of the educated person because they are instruments to advance ideas efficiently and persuasively.  During their first year of study, students fulfill this requirement by satisfactorily completing English 105 and English 106 or the equivalent. Appropriate Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) scores in English composition may be used to satisfy the English 105/106 requirement. An appropriate score on the SAT or ACT verbal examination may earn a student exemption from, but not credit in, ENG 105.

Students will be able to:
• Gather information, synthesize data, compare various points of view, and present the results in writing.
• Develop the ability to read texts critically and to use textual evidence to support a sophisticated written argument.
• Consider audience, tone, organization, and standard conventions in relationship to specific rhetorical tasks.

2. Writing Across the Curriculum (W) 5 courses

In addition to English 105/106, students must complete five (5) courses designated as Writing Across the Curriculum (W) courses. The purpose of these courses is to help our students refine their writing abilities so that they are able to communicate their ideas clearly and effectively through the various styles of writing appropriate to the academic fields of their majors and minors.  Courses designated as writing courses (“W” courses) require a substantial amount of writing and the preparation of papers that are corrected for diction, syntax, style, and content. Some courses satisfying this Writing Across the Curriculum requirement may simultaneously fulfill Areas of Knowledge requirements (described below).

Students will be able to:
• Demonstrate ability to write persuasively, using tools of argumentation and advocacy appropriate to subject, audience, and occasion. 

3. Mathematics

In a world increasingly influenced by science and technology, it is important for students to acquire the capacity to use and understand essential mathematical applications. The mathematics requirement helps students learn to use quantitative methods in order to solve problems. The course requirements for mathematics emphasize the manipulation, interpretation, and application of quantitative data. Students fulfill this requirement by satisfactorily completing a course in mathematics numbered above MTH 101 (excluding MTH 107), or MAS 110, or an approved course in statistics. Exemption from the mathematics requirement or placement in prerequisite courses is based on any of the following tests: AP, IB, or an examination administered by the Department of Mathematics during Orientation.

Students will be able to:
• Select quantitative tools appropriate for the solution of problems.
• Use quantitative tools appropriate for the solution of problems.
• Interpret quantitative data in an appropriate manner for solving problems.

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AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE

These requirements are designed to help students understand and appreciate the intellectual achievements in major areas of human inquiry and creative endeavor.  The courses offered in the areas of knowledge provide a broad array of intellectual and cultural exploration. In satisfying these requirements students will explore the natural world, examine human development and behavior, and appreciate creative expression in the arts, literature, and philosophy. Courses satisfying these requirements are identified in the Bulletin under the Requirements for Graduation sections for each school or college.

1. Natural World (formerly Natural Sciences) - 6 credits
2. People and Society (formerly Social Sciences) - 6 credits
3. Arts and Humanities - 12 credits

Schools and colleges that do not have a language requirement may allow their students to satisfy the humanities requirement by taking a modern language course numbered 101-212 or Latin or Greek, so long as the language selected differs from the student’s native language, and if, when beginning with a 101-level course, they also take the 102-level course in the same language.

No more than six credit hours may be taken in any one department to satisfy the areas of knowledge requirement. There are pre-requisites for most courses above the 100-level.

The following general educational requirements are designed for general reference only. Please check with your advisor or the advising office in your school or college for specific requirements.

Natural World

The University believes a comprehensive curriculum maximizes our students’ capacity to understand the natural world through experimentation, observation, and quantitative analysis. Our purpose is to nurture our students’ curiosity regarding the natural world through the critical analysis of data as well as the evaluation of research. Students can satisfy the course requirements by selecting courses in Biology, Chemistry, Ecosystems Science and Policy, Geological Sciences, Marine Science, Physics, and Physical Science, as well as Anthropology 203, Geography 120, and Freshman Seminars in the Natural Sciences (FNS 190-199).

Students will be able to:
• Demonstrate ability to use experiment and observation quantitatively in order to analyze the natural world, to draw conclusions about it, and to understand modern scientific theories.

People and Society

This area of knowledge aims to help students understand and critically evaluate the organization of society and the patterns of social change, both in the past and in the contemporary world.  Courses in the following areas may be used to fulfill this requirement: Africana Studies (AAS); American Studies (AMS); Anthropology (except APY 203); Economics (ECO); Education and Psychological Studies (EPS); Geography and Regional Studies (except GEG 120); International Studies (INS); Judaic Studies (JUS); History (HIS); Political Sciences (POL); Psychology (PSY); Sociology (SOC); Teaching and Learning (TAL); Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS), and the following courses: Broadcasting and Broadcast Journalism (CEM 102); Mass Media Communication in Society (COM 101); Communication Theory (COM 110); Interpersonal Communication (COS 112); Nonverbal Communication (COS 118); Political Communication (COS 336); Persuasion (COS 472); Freshman Seminars in the Social Sciences (FSS 190-199).


Students will be able to:
• Critically evaluate the organization of society both in the past and in the contemporary world.
• Critically evaluate patterns of social change, both in the past and in the contemporary world.

Arts and Humanities

The arts and humanities engage students in the study of some of the most enduring and influential works of art, imagination, and culture. Courses in this area help students learn to understand the deep insights and culturally formative works of philosophers, poets, novelists, artists, musicians, theologians, and playwrights.  These courses will provide instruction and guidance to cultivate students’ abilities to interpret and critically evaluate the creative products of human expression. Courses in the following areas may be used to fulfill this requirement: Architecture; Music; Art and Art History; Theatre Arts; Motion Pictures and Photography; English (200-level or above): Modern Languages and Literature (300-level or above): Philosophy; Religious Studies; and the following courses: Public Speaking (COS 211); World History of the Dance (DAN 250); Freshman Seminars in the Arts and Humanities (FFA, FLT, FPR 190-199)

Students will be able to:
• Apply appropriate vocabulary and concepts for the description and analysis of artistic, literary, historical and philosophical or religious works.
• Interpret the creative products of human expression.
• Critically evaluate the creative products of human expression.

Assessment of General Education Competencies

All University of Miami students will be required to participate in a formal assessment of the General Education competencies at two points during their academic career: upon entry to UM and prior to graduation.  Results will be used by the administration and faculty to ensure the continuous improvement of the educational experience provided to our students.

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