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Academics - General Education Requirements

Every University of Maine academic program is based upon a strong foundation in the liberal arts and sciences. The University’s goal is to ensure that all of its graduates, regardless of the academic major they pursued, are broadly educated persons who can appreciate the achievements of civilization, understand the tensions within it, and contribute to resolving them. This component of every program is called general education, and it amounts to about one third of every program. The design of general education at the University of Maine is meant to be flexible within the broad goals it seeks to achieve. It affords each student many ways of meeting its requirements, which fall under the six broad categories outlined below.

Science

Each program must include two courses in the physical or biological sciences. This may be accomplished in two ways:

  • By completing two courses with laboratories in the basic or applied sciences;
  • By completing one course in the applications of scientific knowledge, plus one course with a laboratory in the basic or applied sciences.

Human Values and Social Context

Each program must include 18 credits in this broad area, selected from lists of approved courses to satisfy each of five sub-categories. (Courses that satisfy requirements in more than one sub-category may be counted in each appropriate sub-category, but credits may be counted only once.)

  • Western cultural tradition
  • Social context and institutions
  • Cultural diversity and international perspectives
  • Population and the environment
  • Artistic and creative expression

Mathematics

Each program must include at least six credit hours in mathematics, including statistics and certain courses in computer science. No more than three of the six credit hours may be in computer science.

Writing Competency

The ability to write well is one of the most important attributes of an educated person. To help ensure this outcome the University requires its students to write throughout their academic careers, focusing both on general-purpose writing and professional writing within their majors. Each program must include:

  • ENG 101, College Composition. All students must complete this course with a grade of C or better, or be excused from this course on the basis of a placement exam or completion of HON 111 and HON 112 with a grade of C or better in each.
  • At least two courses designated as writing-intensive, at least one of which must be within the academic major.

Ethics

Each program must include at least one approved course or series of courses placing substantial emphasis on the discussion of ethical issues.

Capstone Experience

Every program must include an approved capstone experience. The goal is to draw together the various threads of the undergraduate program that bear directly upon the academic major in an experience that typifies the work of professionals within the discipline. Normally, the Capstone would conclude at the end of the student’s senior year. Students should consult closely with their academic advisor to explore the range of options available for meeting this requirement.

Course descriptions reflect specific general education categories. You may also go to http://studentrecords.umaine.edu/ for currently offered courses. Click on Schedule of Classes. Enter a term and a General Education category. A complete list of courses meeting the specified General Education category will be displayed.

A student (completing more than one academic major or baccalaureate degree) need complete only one set of UMaine General Education Requirements. For example, a student completing a double major need complete the “writing intensive course in the major” and the capstone experience only for the designated primary major. Exception: some departments may specifically require their writing intensive and capstone courses as part of the major, aside from their role in general education. In this case the double-major student must complete them, not because of general education policy, but because the major program requires them.

Students who have previously earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution do not have to meet General Education requirements to earn a degree from UMaine.  A student must meet the requirements of the major (assuming sufficient credits are accepted by transfer to total 120 credits or more, depending on the major, with at least 30 credits of 300 / 400-level courses from UMaine).

Note: Courses must be taken for letter grade only to satisfy a general education requirement.


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