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URI General Education Program and Courses

Click on the following link to find out some of the general guidelines that you should follow when signing up for General Education Courses:

Click on the following link to download or view the General Education Course Handbook in Adobe PDF format.

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General Education represents about one third of a baccalaureate degree program at the University of Rhode Island. As a consequence of the interaction between General Education and major programs, the University of Rhode Island expects that all programs will lead students toward:

    • the ability to think critically in order to solve problems and question the nature and sources of authority
    • the ability to use the methods and materials characteristic of each knowledge area with an understanding of the interrelationship among and the interconnectedness of the core areas
    • a commitment to intellectual curiosity and lifelong learning
    • an openness to new ideas with the social skills necessary for both teamwork and leadership
    • the ability to think independently and be self-directed; to make informed choices and take initiative
The seven core areas of general education address:
KNOWLEDGE
  • Artistic and literary expression and interpretation (Fine Arts/Literature)
  • Wisdom and traditions of the past and present in a global setting (Letters)
  • Interrelationships of the natural world (Natural Sciences)
  • Human behavior in social, economic, cultural, and political contexts (Social Sciences)
SKILLS
  • Mathematical and quantitative skills and their applications (Mathematical/Quantitative Reasoning)
  • Writing and speaking in English (English Communication)
  • Communicating across cultures (Cross-cultural Competence)

The following are core definitions of the 7 divisions of the gen ed program:

  • Fine Arts & Literature: Courses that promote aesthetic interpretation and an appreciation of its role in human experience; courses related to historical and critical study of the arts and literature as well as creative activity.
  • Letters: courses that examine the history of thought and human values in social and historical
    contexts through the use of written texts, e.g., primary source materials and critical expositions
  • Natural Sciences: courses that employ the scientific method to examine the physical nature of the
    world, the biological dimension of human life, and the nature of the environment and its various
    life forms
  • Social Sciences: courses related to the study of human development and behavior and varying
    social, economic, cultural, and political solutions to societal and global problems
  • Mathematical & Quantitative Reasoning: courses that advance skills in, understanding of, and
    appreciation for mathematics and the disciplines that have grown from mathematics.
  • English Communication: courses that improve written and oral communication skills
  • Cross-cultural Competence: courses that promote understanding of one's own cultural perspective in a multicultural world and develop the skills necessary to work, live, and interact with persons from different backgrounds, including developing bilingual skills, the comparative study of cultures, the study of cross-cultural communication, and/or study/internships abroad

Finally, each course in General Education must incorporate a special focus on three (3) or more of the following seven areas:

  • Reading complex texts 
  • Using quantitative data 
  • Examining human differences
  • Writing logically 
  • Using qualitative data
  • Using information technology
  • Speaking logically
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