Student Resources

The following is a description of the revised General Education curriculum that will take effect in Fall 2015.

general education program modelYour liberal education at Appalachian begins with the General Education Program. About one-third of the courses you will take during your college years will be General Education courses from across the university.  In them, you will encounter new perspectives on important subjects and explore connections between different areas of study.  The General Education Program is designed to help achieve four goals:

  1. Thinking Critically and Creatively
  2. Communicating Effectively
  3. Making Local to Global Connections
  4. Understanding Responsibilities of Community Membership

The Program also encourages you to integrate diverse information and skills as you try and understand things that matter in your world.  You begin this practice in your First Year Seminar, where you examine a topic you are interested in from an interdisciplinary perspective.  You continue with courses in the Integrative Learning Experience (ILE) and the Liberal Studies Experience (LSE).  The ILE offers you a choice of integrated themes made up of from four to eight courses.  Once you select your ILE theme, you will take three courses from at least two disciplines.  The LSE is made up of a diverse array of courses from disciplines around the campus.  You will select four of these courses from at least three different disciplines.  The culmination of this practice comes in your Capstone experience in your major, where you bring together all the skills and knowledge you have learned in General Education courses and major courses and apply it to a project closely related to your future vocation.

In addition, your General Education writing courses will help you develop your writing skills and gradually tailor them to communicating more and more effectively within your major field.

The curriculum also includes courses in three other areas essential to your long term success and well-being.  Your Quantitative Literacy course will help you learn how to use mathematical concepts and other quantitative concepts to think and communicate more effectively.  Your Science Inquiry theme (8 total hours) will introduce you to important concepts related to the scientific method of inquiry.  Your Wellness Literacy course will help you understand and evaluate how your behaviors and lifestyle choices affect your physical and emotional wellness.

Curriculum Description

3 s.h. First Year Seminar (Effective Fall 2012, waived for transfer students bringing in 30 or more hours)


3 s.h. First Year Writing 


3 s.h. Second Year Writing


4 s.h. Quantitative Literacy

8 s.h. Science Inquiry


2 s.h. Wellness Literacy 


21 s.h. Integrative Learning Experience and Liberal Studies Experience (including 3 s.h. each in fine arts, historical studies, literary studies, and social science)

44 s.h. TOTAL  (Effective Fall 2012, 41 s.h. for transfer students waiving First Year Seminar)

First Year Seminar  (FYS)

  • The seminar engages you in a shared process of inquiry with a faculty member around a broad, interdisciplinary topic or question. It is designed to help you develop the research and critical thinking skills that are essential for success in college and make connections with faculty, peers, the university, and the curriculum.

Writing Courses (FYW & SYW)

  • First year composition and rhetoric introduces you to the basic expectations of academic writing at the university level.
  • Second year composition and rhetoric focuses on Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) and helps you develop the ability to tailor your writing to specific, diverse audiences.

Science Inquiry

  • Themes in Science Inquiry examine how the physical world is interpreted using the scientific method.  Courses in the themes utilize an inquiry-based pedagogy and focus on interpreting scientific information and findings through an examination of the nature of contemporary debates.

Quantitative Literacy

  • These courses help you develop reasoning and numerical skills related to quantitative literacy. This content focuses on mathematics, exploratory data analysis, statistics, probability, or modeling.

Wellness Literacy

  • These courses are designed to give you a strong foundation in science-based health and fitness.

Integrative Learning Experience

The Integrative Learning Experience gives students the opportunity to study a focused, thematic topic from multiple disciplinary perspectives.  Each student chooses one theme and completes nine semester hours of coursework from at least two different disciplines within that theme.  The goal of this multidisciplinary structure is to help students develop the intellectual habits of seeking out diverse perspectives on issues or problems and integrating a variety of information into their decision-making and creative processes.

Liberal Studies Experience

The Liberal Studies Experience gives students an opportunity to explore several disciplines from across the campus.  Each student chooses 12 semester hours of courses from at least three disciplines.  The goal of the Liberal Studies Experience is to provide students with a broad and varied curriculum where they can explore many different perspectives on the human experience.

Fine Arts, Historical Studies, Literary Studies, and Social Science Designations

  • You are required to complete three hours each of fine arts (FA), historical studies (HS), literary studies (LS), and social science (SS) courses within the Integrative Learning Experience and/or the Liberal Studies Experience.

General Education coursework in the major

In addition to the 44 s.h. of courses in the General Education Program, you will take two courses in your major that also address the General Education goals:

  • Junior Writing in the Discipline (WID) - These courses are designed to give students instruction on the forms and conventions of written discourse in their major field.
  • Senior Capstone Experience (CAP) - The capstone experience represents the culmination of the university educational experience by linking the content and methods of the major with the goals of general education.