General Education Program

The purpose of general education at NDSU is to ensure that students acquire knowledge, perspectives, and skills basic to a university education. The program is designed so that graduates will be able to adapt to and anticipate changes in their profession and in society. Graduates also will be able to integrate and use the knowledge and perspectives they have gained to live productive, intellectually rewarding and meaningful lives.

Intended Student Outcomes

The intended student outcomes resulting from general education include the following abilities:

  1. Communicate effectively in a variety of contexts and formats.
  2. Locate and use information for making appropriate personal and professional decisions.
  3. Comprehend the concepts and perspectives needed to function in national and international societies.
  4. Comprehend intrapersonal and interpersonal dynamics.
  5. Comprehend concepts and methods of inquiry in science and technology, and their applications for society.
  6. Integrate knowledge and ideas in a coherent and meaningful manner.
  7. Comprehend the need for lifelong learning.

General Education Category Descriptions

The following descriptions are elaborations of the general education categories approved by the Faculty Senate. 

  • Communication (C) is the clear, precise, and purposeful exchange of information in a variety of contexts, using either written or oral means.
  • Cultural diversity (D) focuses on the social, personal, and interpersonal effects of variety and differences among cultures.
  • Fine arts (A), as an integral component of the humanities, promote the appreciation of aesthetics and the expression of creativity.
  • Global perspectives (G) focus on analysis of worldwide issues illustrating the interdependence of the world and its people.
  • Humanities (A) systematically explore cultural and intellectual forces shaping events, individual expression, and social values.
  • Quantitative reasoning (R) is an organized set of quantitative methods used to solve problems or extend knowledge. Quantitative methods are a set of principles and procedures that could be used to manipulate numerical data.
  • Science (S) is an organized body of knowledge, including principles and procedures based on scientific methods, used to explain physical or biological phenomena.
  • Social and behavioral sciences (B) use scientific methods to analyze the behaviors, structures, and processes of individuals and groups.
  • Wellness (W) is a dynamic and integrative process of becoming aware of healthy lifestyles, of learning to make informed choices, and of developing a balanced approach to living.

General Education Program Assessment

General education assessment has three basic purposes:

  1. To improve student learning and development by identifying the intended student outcomes for the program.
  2. To provide feedback on the progress toward the intended student outcomes.
  3. To use the feedback to modify aspects of the program to ensure that the outcomes are being achieved and that student learning is improved.

Assessment activities are valued at NDSU and include the participation of students. Results will not be used to penalize students or faculty. Student performance on assessment of the general education program will not become part of the transcript.

NDSU Study Abroad and Study Tour Experiences

UNIV 492: Study Abroad – three study abroad credits, completed successfully and transferred back to NDSU, will qualify for either of the general education categories of Cultural Diversity or Global Perspectives.   Six or more study abroad credits, completed successfully and transferred back to NDSU, will qualify for both Cultural Diversity and Global Perspectives categories.

(Prefix) 379: Study Tour – NDSU study tour instructors may apply for general education course approval in any category that pertains to the course content (including cultural diversity and global perspectives), especially but not only if the tour is offered with some regularity. Course approval for study tours requires a syllabus and a one-page rationale for how the tour addresses a general education outcome and should be sent to the Director of General Education for General Education committee review.  Study tours must actively and substantially address the outcomes requested (comparable to an approved 3-credit course).

General Education Transfer

Students transferring lower-division general education credits within the North Dakota University System need to consult with advisers in their academic programs at NDSU for two reasons. First, degree requirements of individual programs and colleges at NDSU may exceed the university-wide general education requirements. Second, meeting the university-wide lower-division general education requirements by transfer credits may not necessarily prepare students for advanced, upper-division study in an academic major at NDSU. See also the NDUS GERTA Agreement.

General Education Administrative Policies

  1. General education courses may be used to satisfy requirements for both general education requirements and the major, minor, and program emphases, where applicable.
  2. Departments or colleges may preclude their students from double counting general education courses with major courses.
  3. Department or college requirements for graduation may include general education courses that exceed the university minimum required for general education.
  4. Except for courses that meet the cultural diversity or global perspectives requirements, no course can fulfill the requirements for more than one general education category.
  5. General education requirements can be met through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DSST, International Baccalaureate (IB), departmental examinations, the Advanced Placement program (AP) of the College Entrance Examination Board, or equivalents.
  6. General education requirements can be met by successful completion of a course for which an approved general education course in the same department is a prerequisite or by successful completion of an advanced course in the same department with comparable course content.
  7. No general education course may be taken for graduate credit.
  8. Except for courses offered only on a pass/fail basis, no courses taken to meet the general education requirements may be taken for pass/fail grades.
  9. The general education minimum requirements apply to all baccalaureate degree programs.
  10. Transfer students who have only partially fulfilled general education category requirements by transfer-approved courses must complete the requirements in approved courses within the NDSU deficient categories. No category credit requirement may be deficient by more than a partial semester credit. However, in the communication category, if the transfer course(s) have been evaluated as equivalent to ENGL 110 College Composition I, ENGL 120 College Composition II, and COMM 110 Fundamentals of Public Speaking and total no less than eight semester credits, the lower-division category requirement has been met. Transfer students meet NDSU's general education "College Composition I and/or College Composition II" requirement in the lower-division Communication category if they have credit in any English course (in composition, composition and literature, or the equivalent) totaling at least 2.67 semester credits per course. The total for all general education categories must be at least 39/40 semester credits for new students.
  11. Students may receive placement credit for ENGL 110 College Composition I based on a minimum English ACT score (or SAT equivalent) and satisfactory performance (grade of 'C' or better) in ENGL 120 College Composition II or equivalent.
  12. A student who has completed a general education program in the United States or Canada consisting of a minimum of 36 semester credits at a regionally accredited institution and who transfers to NDSU or who pursues a second baccalaureate degree at NDSU is considered to have completed his or her lower-division general education requirements at NDSU. Transfer student coursework from outside the United States and Canada will be evaluated on a course-by-course basis.   [NOTE: Undergraduate curriculum guides identify courses in the general education section of the guide that typically satisfy both general education and major requirements.  These courses must still be satisfied as part of the major requirement and cannot be waived by general education policy #12.]
  13. General education courses at other accredited institutions, which do not have equivalent courses or general education status at NDSU, may be accepted in transfer as part of the general education requirements at NDSU.
  14. All general education course syllabi and course web sites must identify the course as having been approved for meeting general education requirements and include the general education outcomes for which each course is approved. (See Syllabus Requirements)
  15. Effective spring semester 2015, students who have completed basic military training will receive a waiver for the Wellness category. Military record documentation is required for the waiver; documentation is to be submitted to the Office of Registration and Records with a completed Appeal for Exception to General Education Requirements form. The waiver for the training will not lead to course credit, and all other minimum graduation requirements apply.

General Education Courses

A dynamic list of approved general education courses by term is always available on the General Education Requirements website.  

The following is representative of the courses approved in each general education category for the specific catalog year.

First Year Experience Course (F)

ABEN 189Skills for Academic Success1
AGRI 189Skills for Academic Success1
BUSN 189Skills for Academic Success1
HD&E 189Skills for Academic Success1
ME 189Skills for Academic Success1
NURS 189Skills for Academic Success1
PHRM 189Skills for Academic Success1
UNIV 189Skills For Academic Success1
ENGR 291Seminar3

Category 1: Communications (C)

COMM 110Fundamentals of Public Speaking3
ENGL 110College Composition I3
ENGL 112ESL College Composition I3
ENGL 120College Composition II3
ENGL 121Honors Composition II3
ENGL 122ESL College Composition II4
ENGL 320Business and Professional Writing3
ENGL 321Writing in the Technical Professions3
ENGL 322Creative Writing I3
ENGL 323Creative Writing II3
ENGL 324Writing in the Sciences3
ENGL 325Writing in the Health Professions3
ENGL 326Writing in the Design Professions3
ENGL 357Visual Culture and Language3
ENGL 358Writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences3
ENGL 459Researching and Writing Grants and Proposal3
FREN 360Studies in Language and Style3
HIST 390Historical Research and Writing3
MICR 354Scientific Writing3
PHIL 450Metaphysics3
PHIL 451Epistemology3
SPAN 401Advanced Spanish Grammar and Writing3

Category 2: Quantitative Reasoning (R)

CSCI 122Visual BASIC3
CSCI 125Beginning COBOL3
CSCI 159Computer Science Problem Solving3
MATH 104Finite Mathematics3
MATH 146Applied Calculus I4
MATH 165Calculus I4
PHIL 257Traditional Logic3
STAT 330Introductory Statistics3

Category 3: Science & Technology (S)

Natural Science (Sn)

BIOL 111Concepts of Biology3
BIOL 111LConcepts of Biology Lab1
BIOL 124LEnvironmental Science Laboratory1
BIOL 126Human Biology3
BIOL 220Human Anatomy and Physiology I3
BIOL 220LHuman Anatomy and Physiology I Laboratory1
BIOL 315Genetics3
BIOL 315LGenetics Laboratory1
BOT 315Genetics3
BOT 315LGenetics Laboratory1
ENT 210Insects, Humans and the Environment3
HNES 250Nutrition Science3
HON 342Colloquium in the Sciences3
MICR 202Introductory Microbiology2
MICR 202LIntroductory Microbiology Lab1
PLSC 111Genetics and You2
PLSC 210Horticulture Science3
PLSC 211Horticulture Science Lab1
PLSC 315Genetics3
PLSC 315LGenetics Laboratory1
SOIL 217Introduction to Meteorology & Climatology3
ZOO 126Human Biology3
ZOO 315Genetics3
ZOO 315LGenetics Laboratory1

Natural Science courses with a Lab

BIOL 126LHuman Biology Laboratory1
ZOO 126LHuman Biology Laboratory1

Natural Science courses that also satisfy Global Perspectives (G)

BIOL 124Environmental Science3
NRM 225Natural Resources & Agrosystems3
PLSC 110World Food Crops3
RNG 225Natural Resource & Agro-Ecosystems3

Physical Science (Sp)

CHEM 117Chemical Concepts and Applications3
CHEM 117LChem Concepts and Applications Lab1
CHEM 121General Chemistry I3
CHEM 121LGeneral Chemistry I Laboratory1
CHEM 122General Chemistry II3
CHEM 122LGeneral Chemistry II Laboratory1
GEOL 107LEastern North Dakota Field Course1
PHYS 110Introductory Astronomy3
PHYS 110LIntroductory Astronomy Lab1
PHYS 120Fundamentals of Physics3
PHYS 120LFundamentals of Physics Laboratory1
PHYS 211College Physics I3
PHYS 211LCollege Physics I Laboratory1
PHYS 212College Physics II3
PHYS 212LCollege Physics II Laboratory1
UNIV 150Foundations of Science3

Physical Science courses also approved for Global Perspectives (G)

GEOL 105Physical Geology3
GEOL 105LPhysical Geology Lab1
GEOL 106The Earth Through Time3
GEOL 106LThe Earth Through Time Lab1
UNIV 151Science and Society3

Science & Technology - Technology (St)

CSCI 114Microcomputer Packages3
CSCI 116Business Use of Computers4

Category 4: Humanities & Fine Arts (A)

ADHM 310History of Fashion3
ADHM 315History of Interiors I3
ADHM 316History of Interiors II3
ARCH 322History of Architecture II3
ART 210Art History I3
ART 211Art History II3
CLAS 101First-Year Latin I4
CLAS 151First-Year Greek I4
ENGL 220Introduction to Literature3
ENGL 225Introduction to Film3
ENGL 315British Literature I3
ENGL 316British Literature II3
ENGL 317American Literature I3
ENGL 318American Literature II3
ENGR 311History of Technology in America3
ENVD 101Introduction to Environmental Design3
HIST 101Western Civilization I3
HIST 102Western Civilization II3
HIST 103U.S. to 18773
HIST 104U.S. Since 18773
HON 340Colloquium in the Humanities3
LA 171Environmental Design I3
LA 322History of Landscape Architecture4
MUSC 100Music Appreciation3
MUSC 103Introduction to Music History3
PHIL 101Introduction to Philosophy3
PHIL 111Professional Responsibility and Ethics3
PHIL 216Business Ethics3
RELS 100Introduction to Religion3
THEA 110Introduction to Theatre Arts3

Humanities & Fine Arts courses that also satisfy Cultural Diversity (D)

ADHM 410Dress in World Cultures3
ADHM 411Food and World Cultures3
ART 110Introduction to the Visual Arts3
ENGL 330British and American Women Writers3
ENGL 335Multicultural Writers3
ENGL 34019th Century American Fiction3
ENGL 34120th Century American Fiction3
ENGL 345Themes in American Culture3
FREN 201Second-Year French I3
FREN 345Women in French Literature3
GERM 201Second-Year German I3
HIST 135Race in U.S. History3
HIST 261American Indian History3
HIST 271Introduction to Latin American History3
HIST 431The North American Plains3
HON 386World Literature: Imaginary Homelands3
MUSC 108Roots of American Popular Music3
PHIL 215Contemporary Moral Issues3
SPAN 201Second-Year Spanish I3
THEA 115World Film3
THEA 280World Theatre3
WGS 110Introduction to Women's Studies3
WGS 112Introduction to Masculinities3

Humanities & Fine Arts courses that also satisfy Global Perspectives (G)

ARCH 321History and Theory of Architecture I3
ART 111Introduction to Art History3
ENGL 231The Bible as Literature3
ENGL 336Literature and The Environment3
FREN 101First-Year French I4
FREN 102First-Year French II4
GERM 101First-Year German I4
GERM 102First-Year German II4
GERM 220German Culture & Society3
HIST 381Australia & New Zealand3
SPAN 101First-Year Spanish I4
SPAN 102First-Year Spanish II4

Humanities & Fine Arts - Fine Arts Performance (A)

ART 130Drawing I3
THEA 161Acting I3

Category 5a: Social & Behavioral Sciences (B)

ADHM 486Dress and Human Behavior3
COMM 112Understanding Media and Social Change3
COMM 114Human Communication3
COMM 212Interpersonal Communication3
EMGT 101Emergencies, Disasters, and Catastrophes3
HDFS 135Family Science3
HDFS 186Consumer and Society3
HDFS 230Life Span Development3
HON 341Colloquium in the Social Sciences3
POLS 110Introduction to Political Science3
POLS 115American Government3
PSYC 111Introduction to Psychology3
PSYC 210Human Sexuality3
PSYC 211Introduction To Behavior Modification3
PSYC 212Psychological Aspects of Drug Use and Abuse3
PSYC 214Social Interaction3
PSYC 221Psychology Applied to Work3
PSYC 250Developmental Psychology3
PSYC 270Abnormal Psychology3
SOC 110Introduction to Sociology3
SOC 214Social Interaction3

Social & Behavioral Sciences courses that also satisfy Cultural Diversity (D)

ANTH 111Introduction to Anthropology3
COMM 216Intercultural Communication3
HDFS 475Children and Families Across Cultures3
SOC 235Cultural Diversity3
SOC 412Sociology of Gender3

Social & Behavioral Sciences courses that also satisfy Global Perspective (G)

ECON 105Elements of Economics3
ECON 201Principles of Microeconomics3
ECON 202Principles of Macroeconomics3
ENGR 312Impact of Technology on Society3
GEOG 151Human Geography3
GEOG 161World Regional Geography3
INTL 110Introduction to International Studies3
POLS 120Terrorism3
POLS 220International Politics3

Category 5b: Social & Behavioral Sciences - Wellness (W)

HDFS 182Wellness and Aging3
HDFS 242Couples, Marriages and Families3
HNES 100Concepts of Fitness & Wellness2
HNES 111Wellness3
HNES 200Principles of Nutrition3
HNES 217Personal and Community Health3

Category 6: Cultural Diversity (D)

Cultural Diversity courses that also satisfy Humanities & Fine Arts (A)

ARCH 321History and Theory of Architecture I3
ART 111Introduction to Art History3
ENGL 231The Bible as Literature3
ENGL 336Literature and The Environment3
FREN 101First-Year French I4
FREN 102First-Year French II4
GERM 101First-Year German I4
GERM 102First-Year German II4
GERM 220German Culture & Society3
HIST 381Australia & New Zealand3
SPAN 101First-Year Spanish I4
SPAN 102First-Year Spanish II4

Cultural Diversity courses that also satisfy Social & Behavioral Sciences (B)

ANTH 111Introduction to Anthropology3
COMM 216Intercultural Communication3
HDFS 475Children and Families Across Cultures3
SOC 235Cultural Diversity3
SOC 412Sociology of Gender3

Category 7: Global Perspectives (G)

Global Perspectives courses that also satisfy Humanities & Fine Arts (A)

ARCH 321History and Theory of Architecture I3
ART 111Introduction to Art History3
ENGL 231The Bible as Literature3
ENGL 336Literature and The Environment3
FREN 101First-Year French I4
FREN 102First-Year French II4
GERM 101First-Year German I4
GERM 102First-Year German II4
GERM 220German Culture & Society3
HIST 381Australia & New Zealand3
SPAN 101First-Year Spanish I4
SPAN 102First-Year Spanish II4

Global Perspectives courses that also satisfy Science & Technology - Natural Science (Sn)

BIOL 124Environmental Science3
NRM 225Natural Resources & Agrosystems3
PLSC 110World Food Crops3
RNG 225Natural Resource & Agro-Ecosystems3

Global Perspectives courses that also satisfy Science & Technology - Physical Science (Sp)

GEOL 105Physical Geology3
GEOL 105LPhysical Geology Lab1
GEOL 106The Earth Through Time3
GEOL 106LThe Earth Through Time Lab1
UNIV 151Science and Society3

Global Perspectives courses that also satisfy Social & Behavioral Sciences (B)

ECON 105Elements of Economics3
ECON 201Principles of Microeconomics3
ECON 202Principles of Macroeconomics3
ENGR 312Impact of Technology on Society3
GEOG 151Human Geography3
GEOG 161World Regional Geography3
INTL 110Introduction to International Studies3
POLS 120Terrorism3
POLS 220International Politics3

North Dakota University System General Education Requirements Transfer Agreement

The North Dakota University System (NDUS) General Education Requirements Transfer Agreement (GERTA) was established by the State Board of Higher Education to ease student transfers within the system. Although subject to revision by the board, the policies at the time of this printing were as follows:

  • If students have completed the lower-division general education course requirements (36 credits or more) at one NDUS institution and transfer to another NDUS institution, then the lower-division general education requirements will have been met.

If the lower-division general education requirements have not been completed before transferring, the general education courses from the indicated areas are applicable to an appropriate general education requirement of the institution to which they are transferred. In these cases, the number of credits required to complete the general education requirement in each area is determined by the policies of the institution to which the courses are transferred.

Students transferring lower-division general education credits within the North Dakota University System need to consult with advisers in their academic programs at NDSU for two reasons. First, degree requirements of individual programs and colleges at NDSU may exceed the university-wide general education requirements. Second, meeting the university-wide lower-division general education requirements by transfer credits may not necessarily prepare students for advanced, upper-division study in an academic major at NDSU.

Students transferring from non-ND University System institutions will have their general education requirements evaluated on a course-by-course basis when they enter NDSU.