Mar 24, 2023
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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.
General Studies Mission
The General Studies program provides the foundation for the Bachelor’s degree. Students develop thinking, reasoning, and communication skills while discovering new ideas and expanding their views. The coursework is designed to create the opportunity for learning across different disciplines and builds experiences for students as they grow into lifelong learners.
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 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
||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.
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 or 90, college-level credits (including credits completed at MSU Denver and those transferred from other institutions):
- Written Communication (remaining 3 semester hours of coursework)
- A 45-credit rule applies to students completing a CO-1 and CO-2 requirement.
- A 90-credit rule applies to students completing a CO-2 and CO-3 requirement.
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 (6 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. Students pursuing CO-2 and CO-3 requirements will have 90 credit hours, instead of 45 credit hours, to fulfill the second 3-hours portion of their Written Communication requirements.
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. Students pursing CO-2 and CO-3 requirements will have 90 credit hours, instead of 45, to fulfill the second 3-hour portion of their Written Communication requirements. 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 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.
- Students with partial credits (for example, resulting from credit transferred from institutions utilizing quarters or trimesters) may receive deviations of less than one hour in the general studies course categories requirements (written communication, oral communication, quantitative literacy, arts and humanities, historical, natural and physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and global diversity), 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 Ethnic Studies & Social Justice (ESSJ) course to satisfy two requirements: (1) Ethnic Studies & Social Justice 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
- Nursing Majors: Credit for biology courses of anatomy and physiology, 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.
General Studies Designation for Transfer Courses
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. Additional specific lower-division courses may be required for certain degree programs. Please check with a departmental advisor and/or the Office of the Registrar for more information.
- MSU Denver will accept all credit hours of acceptable course work for automatic transfer from an associate of arts or associate of science degree with designation.
- 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 Policy Development.
Written Communication Requirement
Description: Written communication is the development and expression of ideas in writing across many genres and styles. It includes understanding how writers may shape texts for their specific rhetorical situation. It includes multimodal composing and the creation of texts that combine words, images, and/or data. Written communication abilities develop through interactive and iterative experiences across the curriculum.
Students must complete a minimum of 6 semester hours to satisfy the written communication requirement.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Exhibit a thorough understanding of audience, purpose, genre, and context that is responsive to the situation.
- Create and develop ideas within the context of the situation and the assigned task(s).
- Apply formal and informal conventions of writing, including organization, content, presentation, formatting, and stylistic choices, in particular forms and/or fields.
- Critically read, evaluate, apply, and synthesize evidence and/or sources in support of a claim.
- Use an appropriate documentation system.
- Demonstrate proficiency with conventions, including spellings, grammar, mechanics, and word choice appropriate to the writing task.
- Students must complete a placement 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.
Oral Communication Requirement
Description: Students learn to perform effective and ethical oral communication that is appropriate to diverse audiences, settings, media, and goals.
Students must complete a minimum of 3 semester hours to satisfy the oral communication requirement.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Develop a clear, purposeful message with coherent and effective content.
- Incorporate various and credible supporting material (e.g. examples, statistics, analogies, illustrations, and quotations).
- Practice effective listening strategies that enhance understanding, evaluation and engagement.
- Adapt to varied audiences, their beliefs, values, and attitudes, as well as to features of contexts, situations, and interactions.
- Perform skillful non-verbal communication (e.g. vocal variety, pace and physical behavior) appropriate to audience and context.
- Perform skillful verbal communication (e.g. clear, vivid, and/or compelling language) appropriate to audience and context.
Quantitative Literacy Requirement
Description: Competency in quantitative literacy represents a student’s ability to use quantifiable information and mathematical analysis to make connections and draw conclusions. The main focus of each Quantitative Literacy course is the use of mathematical techniques and analysis, with problems from a broad spectrum of real-life and abstract settings requiring translation to and from mathematical forms.
Students must complete a minimum of 3 semester hours to satisfy the quantitative literacy requirement.
Student Learning Outcomes
- 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
- transfer an equivalent course.
Arts and Humanities Requirement
Description: In Arts and Humanities courses students interpret, analyze, and create texts and other artistic works to deepen their understanding of the various contexts that shape the human experience and explore fundamental questions of identity, value, diversity, and meaning.
Students must complete a minimum of 6 semester hours to satisfy the arts and humanities requirement.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Describe how the context (historical, racial, ethnic, material, technological, religious, intellectual, cultural, gender, etc.) influences the creation, content, or interpretation of a text, performance, work of art, etc.
- Critically engage with a text, performance, work of art, etc. by applying social/political, epistemic, aesthetic, pragmatic, moral/ethical, or other discipline-appropriate standards.
- Implement course content or skills through the creation of an original project (essay, argument, narrative, reflection, oral presentation, performance, work of art, etc.).
- AAS 3930 - African Authors Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- ANT 1400 - Introduction to Folklore Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- ANT 2400 - Women’s Folklore and Folklife Credits: 3
- ANT 3386 - Religious Narratives and Culture Credits: 3
- ANT 3530 - Writing Systems and Scribal Traditions Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- ART 3237 - Art of the International Film Poster Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- ARTE 2060 - The Arts and Creative Thinking Credits: 3
- ARTH 1500 - Art and Visual Literacy Credits: 3
- ARTH 1600 - World Art I: Art Prior to 1400 Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- ARTH 1700 - World Art II: Art 1400-1900 Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- CHI 1020 - Elementary Chinese II Credits: 5 (Global Diversity)
- CHS 2010 - Survey of Chicana/o Literature Credits: 3 (ESSJ)
- COMM 2010 - Gender and Communication Credits: 3
- COMM 2400 - Introduction to Rhetoric and Popular Culture Credits: 3
- DANC 3810 - Embodying Pop Culture: Dance and Identity in U.S. Popular Culture Credits: 3
- ENG 1100 - Introduction to Literature Credits: 3
- ENG 1150 - Introduction to Folklore Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- ENG 2170 - Medieval Mythologies Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- ENG 2270 - Monsters and Monstrosity Credits: 3
- ENG 2340 - Shakespeare and Popular Culture Credits: 3
- ENG 2360 - Comics and Graphic Novels Credits: 3
- ENG 2400 - Disney Culture Credits: 3
- ENG 2410 - Survey of Chicana/o Literature Credits: 3 (ESSJ)
- ENG 2460 - Introduction to Children’s Literature Credits: 3
- ENG 2500 - Introduction to Creative Writing Credits: 3
- ENG 2505 - Rhetoric of War Credits: 3
- ENG 2512 - The Rhetoric of Social Media Credits: 3
- ENG 2810 - Vampire Films Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- ENG 2820 - Aviation in Film and Literature Credits: 3
- ENG 2580 - Climate Change Advocacy Writing Credits: 3
- ENG 2850 - International Film Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- ENG 3465 - Anti-Racist Children’s Literature Credits: 3 (ESSJ)
- ENG 3513 - Race Talk Credits: 3
- FRE 1020 - Elementary French II Credits: 5 (Global Diversity)
- GER 1020 - Elementary German II Credits: 5 (Global Diversity)
- GWS 2770 - Gender and Communication Credits: 3
- GWS 2400 - Women’s Folklore and Folklife Credits: 3
- GWS 3260 - Gender, Social Justice and the Personal Narrative Credits: 3
- GWS 3270 - Beauty Cultures Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- HON 1000 - Introduction to Music Credits: 3
- HON 1011 - The Big Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy Credits: 3
- HON 1500 - Art and Visual Literacy Credits: 3
- HON 1600 - World Art I: Art Prior to 1400 Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- HON 1700 - World Art II: Art 1400-1900 Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- HON 2211 - Introduction to Theatre Credits: 3
- HON 2750 - History of the Self Credits: 3
- ITA 1020 - Elementary Italian II Credits: 5 (Global Diversity)
- JMP 1010 - Critical Thinking through 21st Century Media Credits: 3
- JPS 1020 - Elementary Japanese II Credits: 5 (Global Diversity)
- LING 2011 - Origins of English Words Credits: 3
- LING 3090 - Writing Systems and Scribal Traditions Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- MUS 1000 - Introduction to Music Credits: 3
- MUS 1040 - Music, Race, and Power Credits: 3
- MUS 1050 - History of Rock and Roll Credits: 3
- MUS 3000 - Musics of America Credits: 3 (ESSJ)
- MUS 3015 - Global Pop Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- MUS 3020 - History of Jazz Credits: 3 (ESSJ)
- MUS 3050 - Musics of the World Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- MUS 3099 - The Beatles: Music and Culture Credits: 3
- MUS 4000 - Musics of Latin America Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- MUS 4010 - From Blues to Hip Hop: African American Musical Heritage Credits: 3 (ESSJ)
- PHI 1010 - The Big Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy Credits: 3
- PHI 1030 - Thinking about Ethics: Morality and the Good Life Credits: 3
- PHI 1060 - Ethics in Medicine and Science Credits: 3
- PHI 2040 - Philosophy of Religion Credits: 3
- PHI 3000 - History of Ancient Philosophy Credits: 3
- PHI 3010 - History of Medieval Philosophy: Islamic, Jewish, and Christian Voices Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- PHI 3020 - History of Modern Philosophy Credits: 3
- PHI 3360 - Business Ethics Credits: 3
- PHI 3370 - Computers, Ethics, and Society Credits: 3
- RLG 1040 - Asian Religions Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- RLG 1050 - Judaism, Christianity, Islam Credits: 3 (Global Diversity)
- SLHS 3000 - Foundations of Disability Studies through Media Credits: 3
- SPA 1020 - Elementary Spanish II Credits: 5 (Global Diversity)
- THE 2210 - Introduction to Theatre Credits: 3
- THE 2295 - Comedy: In-Print and On-Stage Credits: 3
- THE 3213 - Staging Cultures: Theatre, Drama, and Multiculturalism Credits: 3 (ESSJ)
Description: Historical thinking contextualizes the present by using a wide range of sources and methods to understand how people experienced the past.
Students must complete a minimum of 3 semester hours to satisfy the historical requirement.
Student Learning Outcomes
- 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.
- Communicate in writing with an awareness of audience, by using language conventions appropriate to the occasion and task.
- Demonstrate historical knowledge of the United States, the world, or one of the major regions of the world.
- Demonstrate, using historical sources, how context and contingency influence change over time.
- Develop an effective historical interpretation and marshal primary and/or secondary source evidence to support it.
Natural and Physical Sciences Requirement
Description: The Natural and Physical Sciences involve discovering knowledge in natural or physical sciences, applying scientific thinking and reasoning, and critically thinking about the use of scientific information.
Students must complete a minimum of 6 semester hours to satisfy the natural and physical science requirement.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Explain the foundational knowledge of a particular field of natural or physical science
- Apply principles and techniques of scientific thinking.
- Evaluate the credibility of scientific information and interpret the impact of its use or misuse in society.
Social and Behavioral Sciences Requirement
Description: Courses in Social and Behavioral Science study the behavior and actions of individuals, groups, and/or institutions using scientific methods and approaches. Social and Behavioral Science also develops a student’s ability to examine and influence those behaviors and actions between and among larger social, economic, political, and/or geographic contexts.
Students must complete a minimum of 6 semester hours to satisfy the social and behavioral sciences requirement.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Describe fundamental concepts in the social and behavioral sciences.
- Examine how individuals, groups, communities, and social institutions relate or interact with each other and/or the natural world using theories and methods in the social and behavioral sciences.
- Engage with social and behavioral science tools, approaches, and skills to explore complex human, social, political, cultural, and/or global interactions and issues.
Global Diversity Requirement
Description: Global Diversity refers to a student’s ability to critically analyze and engage complex, interconnected global systems (such as natural, physical, social, cultural, economic, or political) and their implications for individuals, groups, communities, or cultures. These courses will introduce students to various concepts toward valuing diversity and the importance of inclusivity. Students should seek to understand how their actions affect both local and global communities. Courses in this category must contain a majority of material from one or more regions or countries outside the U.S.
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. 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.
- Describe the implications of global interconnections, including their impact on culture, societies, the environment, or the individual.
- Analyze connections between worldviews, experiences, and/or power structures of differing cultures in historical or contemporary contexts.
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