A baccalaureate degree includes a broad-based education that prepares students for the more focused study of the academic major. The general education component of the degree equips each student with crucial intellectual skills in analysis, research, and communication, in addition to foundational skills. General education coursework offers an introduction to a broad range of studies in the natural sciences, the human condition, aesthetic experience, and global and cultural diversity.
For additional information regarding General Studies, click on a link to be taken to the entry below.
The General Studies Program will encourage the habits of mind of an educated person that promote life-long learning. Students will acquire the essential knowledge and develop the critical skills that are of fundamental significance in a free society.
Structure of General Studies
The General Studies Program is structured around the following three goals:
Develop intellectual and practical skills
Explore essential knowledge, perspectives, and methods in Arts and Humanities, History, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Natural and Physical Sciences
Understand the global interconnectedness of diverse individuals, communities and societies
Each goal is supported by a set of student learning outcomes (SLOs) that are addressed by the courses in one or more of eight different categories.
Distribution and Credit Requirements
To complete the General Studies Program, students must take approved courses that fulfill the following distribution and credit requirements:
Arts and Humanities
Natural and Physical Sciences
Social and Behavioral Sciences I
Social and Behavioral Sciences II
0 or 3*
*Students may fulfill the global diversity requirement by taking an approved course within one of the following categories: arts and humanities; historical; natural and physical sciences; or social and behavioral sciences I or II.
General Policy Related to Timing of Completion
The following course categories must be completed within the first 30, college-level credits (including credits completed at MSU Denver and those transferred from other institutions):
Written Communication (first 3 semester hours of coursework)
Oral Communication (3 semester hours of coursework)
Quantitative Literacy (3 semester hours of coursework)
The following course category must be completed within the first 45, college-level credits (including credits completed at MSU Denver and those transferred from other institutions):
Written Communication (remaining 3 semester hours of coursework)
The following course categories must be completed within the first 90, college-level credits (including credits completed at MSU Denver and those transferred from other institutions):
Arts and Humanities (6 semester hours of coursework)
Historical (3 semester hours of coursework)
Natural and Physical Sciences (6 semester hours of coursework)
Social and Behavioral Sciences I (3 semester hours of coursework)
Social and Behavioral Sciences II (3 semester hours of coursework)
Global Diversity (one course designated “global” from any category will fulfill both the global diversity requirement and the appropriate credits in that category)
Students who have not completed the quantitative literacy, oral communication, and the first three credits of the written communication requirements within the first 30 semester hours will be required, through an advising hold, to complete an advising process and register for the required course(s). Students who have completed 45 semester hours and have not completed the written communication, oral communication, and quantitative literacy requirements must enroll in and successfully complete courses that fulfill these requirements. This advising and registration process will continue until the requirements have been fulfilled.
Transfer Students: New transfer students must complete the written communication, oral communication, and quantitative literacy requirements within their first two semesters at MSU Denver or by 45 total semester hours, whichever is later. All other provisions of the policy are the same.
Rules for the General Studies Program
To satisfy a particular general studies requirement, a course must appear on the list of approved general studies courses in the student’s designated degree catalog or at the time of enrollment in the course.
General studies courses need not be counted toward general studies requirements. They may be taken as electives or to satisfy requirements in the major or degree program.
Departments or programs may specify, by prefix and number, some general studies courses in addition to courses required for the major or a professional credential. Students should consult with a departmental advisor regarding these courses.
Students may NOT use courses having the same prefix as their major discipline or crosslisted with their major discipline to satisfy general studies requirements in arts and humanities, history, natural and physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, or global diversity.
Students may use courses having the same prefix as their minor discipline or crosslisted with their minor discipline to satisfy general studies requirements; however, a minimum of 18 semester hours must be used only in the minor and not for general studies. Deviations from the Catalog requirements require approval of the minor department, and some departments require that more than 18 semester hours be used only in the minor. Please contact the minor department for additional information.
Students may not apply more than 8 semester hours of coursework with the same course prefix to the general studies requirements.
One hour deviations in the general studies course categories may be allowed for transfer students only, provided the student completes at least 33 semester hours of general studies coursework.
Courses taken for a pass/fail grade cannot be counted toward general studies.
Students may use the multicultural course to satisfy two requirements: (1) Multicultural and (2) General Studies, or major or minor requirements.
Students seeking a second baccalaureate degree will be considered to have fulfilled MSU Denver’s general studies requirements. However, departments may require that these students take additional coursework outside of the major.
Additional Rules for General Studies for Specific Majors
History Majors: In lieu of the 3 semester hours in the historical category, history majors must substitute 3 semester hours in the arts and humanities, natural and physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences I, or social and behavioral sciences II categories. Thus, history majors must complete a total of 33 semester hours in general studies. History majors may not use courses that are crosslisted with history courses to satisfy general studies requirements.
Nursing Majors: Credit for biology courses of anatomy, physiology, and microbiology, in which the student earned a grade of “C” or better, may be substituted for the natural and physical sciences requirement for all students with a nursing major.
Human Performance and Sport Majors: Students will use BIO 2310-4 to satisfy a portion of the natural and physical sciences requirement.
Teacher Education Licensure Programs: Students in programs currently requiring MUS 3060/ARTH 3060 may receive general studies credit in the arts and humanities category for the 2016-2017 academic year.
The following rules apply to transfer students from two-year colleges in Colorado.
Metropolitan State University of Denver will:
Accept courses that are part of the state’s guaranteed transfer curriculum (gtPathways) as fulfilling MSU Denver’s general studies requirements. However, many majors at MSU Denver have specific general studies requirements; please check with a departmental advisor and/or transfer coordinator for more information.
Review and accept on a course-by-course basis for general studies credit courses that do not appear on the gtPathways list. General studies equivalency will be determined by prefix, course title, category, and catalog description.
If no transfer course satisfies the global diversity requirement, the student must take an approved global diversity course.
Transfer courses to meet General Studies requirements will be accepted from all other institutions under the following guidelines:
Transferable courses equivalent to an existing General Studies course will satisfy the corresponding General Studies requirement. Equivalency will be determined by the department offering the course. Once a course has been approved by a department, it will be given the status of an approved transferable General Studies course.
Transferable courses that are not equivalent to an existing MSU Denver course will be evaluated for General Studies designation by the department where the majority of the course content resides.
If a transferable course is interdisciplinary, MSU Denver transfer evaluators will consult with the department(s) where the majority of the course content resides, The course will be evaluated for General Studies designation by those departments.
If a transferable course does not clearly correspond to an MSU Denver department, the course will be evaluated for General Studies designation by the Faculty Senate General Studies Review Committee.
For all situations not addressed above, the course will be evaluated for General Studies designation by the Faculty Senate General Studies Review Committee.
An appeal can be made to the Associate Vice President of Curriculum and Academic Effectiveness.
Policy Revised July 5, 2018
Multicultural and Senior Experience Requirements
In addition to completing the general studies requirements, a student must complete a 3-semester-hour, multicultural course and a 3-semester hour, senior experience course, or selection of courses, to be awarded a bachelor’s degree from MSU Denver. The multicultural course does not require 3 semester hours as a separate category and can be taken in the major, minor, or as an elective. The rules pertaining to those requirements and the courses that will satisfy those requirements are described under Degree and Certificate Requirements.
Written Communication Requirement
Students must complete a minimum of 6 semester hours to satisfy the written communication requirement.
Student Learning Outcomes
Demonstrate effective use of technologies appropriate to the task and discipline.
Demonstrate the ability to locate sources when information is needed, and to evaluate the authenticity, validity, and reliability of resources applied to a specific purpose.
Create persuasive and well-reasoned arguments that are appropriate to topic and purpose.
Communicate in writing with an awareness of audience, by using language conventions appropriate to the occasion and task.
Analyze texts, sources, and argumentation, identify cause and effect relationships and recognize fallacies of argument.
Use and document sources and evidence in an ethical manner.
Students must complete a placement test to assess their writing skills. Placement may be in ENG 1008 and ENG 1009, ENG 1010 with ENG 1001, or ENG 1010.
Students shall satisfy the Written Communication course requirement and credit will be granted if they:
pass 6 hours of approved Written Communication courses with a combination of a CO1 and CO2 or a CO2 and a CO3,
pass a CLEP or AP test approved by a Department offering an approved Written Communication course and the remaining Written Communication course, or
transfer equivalent courses.
To receive credit for Written Communication, the student must receive a grade of “C-” or better in each course.
To receive transfer credit for ENG 1020, the course must have been taken within the past 10 years.
* For courses marked with an asterisk (*), only courses taken at MSU Denver may be used to satisfy the oral communication requirement. Credits transferred in and/or CLEP scores for these courses may not be used to satisfy the oral communication requirement.
Quantitative Literacy Requirement
Students must complete a minimum of 3 semester hours to satisfy the quantitative literacy requirement.
Student Learning Outcomes
Demonstrate effective use of technologies appropriate to the task and discipline.
Apply mathematical techniques to the analysis of quantitative problems.
Communicate the mathematical process and results in text, graphics, and symbols.
Students must complete a placement test to determine their quantitative abilities. Those students whose scores fall below the minimum benchmark must complete developmental coursework in mathematics before enrolling in any Quantitative Literacy course.
Students satisfy the Quantitative Literacy course requirement and credit will be granted if they:
pass a course that has been approved for General Studies Quantitative Literacy credit,
pass a CLEP, AP, or IB test approved by a department offering an approved Quantitative Literacy course,
successfully complete a math course for which a Quantitative Literacy course is a prerequisite, or
Students may fulfill the global diversity requirement by taking an approved course within one of the following categories: arts and humanities; historical; natural and physical sciences; or social and behavioral sciences I or II. If a course is used to fulfill both the global diversity requirement and another general studies category, only 3 semester hours will apply to the student’s degree requirements.
Student Learning Outcomes
Students must select one course from an approved category that also meets the following student learning outcomes. This course will count in both categories.
Exhibit knowledge of one or more regions or countries outside the U.S. including aspects such as the historical, political, social, cultural, legal, or business contexts of these regions or countries.
Describe the implications of global interdependence, including its impact on societies from a governmental, technological, institutional, organizational, or individual context.