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Undergraduate Programs

General Education

The General Education component of higher education specifically focuses on introducing students to ways of knowing, integrative knowledge, appreciation of historical context, common themes of human experience, social responsibility, analytical reasoning, civic engagement, or the development of practical skills and reflective habits of mind. The General Education requirements at Washburn University are designed with the intent of providing students with a grounding in liberal arts and sciences and shaping an informed, capable citizenry through a broad education in a range of disciplines. These courses ensure that you are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to engage with our rapidly-changing world over your lifetime. Beginning in fall 2013, in order to accomplish these goals, students will complete core courses in composition and mathematics and a broad range of course work in Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics designed specifically to meet the following five major learning outcomes:

  1. Communication. Communications skills involve the ability to clearly express and understand ideas in written, oral and non-verbal forms. Communication includes the practical exchange of information, which can include the ability to listen, comprehend and respond to others, as well as the creative expression of ideas in the visual, written and performing arts. In oral and written communication, students will demonstrate the ability to shape a central thesis, organize an argument, and formally support that argument. Students will be able to understand and interpret creative expression based on knowledge of the forms and principles of various expressive media.
  2. Quantitative and Scientific Reasoning and Literacy. Quantitative reasoning involves the ability to work with numerical data and the higher-order thinking skills required to make and understand mathematical arguments. Scientific literacy involves the acquisition and application of skills and knowledge necessary to understand the nature and content of science, and to evaluate scientific arguments using evidence-based reasoning. Students will be able to understand and develop arguments supported by quantitative evidence, clearly communicate those arguments in a variety of formats (using words, tables, graphs, statistical inference, mathematical equations and functions, etc., as appropriate), and apply mathematical and scientific methods to solve problems from a wide array of contexts and everyday situations.
  3. Information Literacy and Technology. Information literacy and technology involves the ability to locate, select, use and evaluate information obtained from appropriate electronic and/or printed resources, including a critical analysis of the information and the credibility of the sources of information. It also involves the ability to use technology to research, organize, present and/or communicate information in meaningful ways. Additionally, information literacy and technology includes skills such as the ability to understand the development of technology and its impact on society, the ability to understand and use existing technologies and information to address real-world issues, and the ability to recognize emerging technological trends and their possible impact on the future.
  4. Critical and Creative Thinking. Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of assessing and evaluating ideas and forms. It involves clarifying questions, reflecting upon meaning, comparing multiple viewpoints, and evaluating evidence to make an informed judgment. Creative thinking involves the production of original ideas, forms or works by making connections, generating alternatives, and elaborating or exploring new applications of accepted practices through innovation and/or invention. Critical and creative thinkers gather information from experience, observation, reasoning, reflection and communication. They explore and synthesize related ideas, connect them to prior knowledge, and apply them to new contexts.
  5. Global Citizenship, Ethics, and Diversity. Global citizenship refers to the broad understanding of peoples and cultures in the United States and around the world, and to humankind's place and effects in the world. Global citizenship includes a respect for the commonalities and differences in peoples, including an understanding of values, beliefs and customs. It places an emphasis on the economic, religious, political, geographic, linguistic, historic, environmental and social aspects that define cultures. It places an emphasis on ethics, equality and human rights, an appreciation for diversity, the interconnectedness of societies and cultures, and a commitment to finding solutions to problems that can affect the world.

While all courses offered at the university educate students in most if not all of the five learning outcomes identified as critical to providing an educated citizenry, some courses are designed to emphasize and assess particular learning outcomes.  All of the courses in the core and general education distribution requirements have been identified as meeting a specified student learning outcome.  However, general education distribution courses must be completed outside your major.  The number of general education distribution hours will depend on the specific degree requirements of your chosen academic field.

Transfer students who have completed a baccalaureate degree at an institution of higher education accredited by one of the six regional accrediting organizations are considered to have satisfied general education requirements, and are therefore not required to meet Washburn's specific general education requirements. This includes all aspects of the general education program including the core coursework and the general education distribution hours. Students will, however, be required to meet degree requirements that are specific to certain Bachelor and Associate degrees including required courses in correlate areas associated with an academic major.

For transfer students who have not completed a baccalaureate degree, courses completed at a college or university accredited by one of the six regional accrediting organizations which have been designated by the sending institution as general education courses will transfer to Washburn University as courses within the appropriate general education distribution area without further review. In addition, courses listed by the Kansas Board of Regents as a Kansas System-Wide Transfer (KSWT) course at http://www.kansasregents.org/transfer_articulation will transfer as their listed Washburn University equivalent course without further review. Note: the policy is not intended to circumvent specific general education requirements for particular majors. This is a most important distinction and should be noted by students and their advisor.

Exceptions to this transfer policy include the following: 1) The core requirements in English, Mathematics, and College Experience not addressed by KSWT must be approved as equivalent courses by the relevant departments unless the student has completed a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. 2) Courses not included in the sending institution's general education program which a transfer student believes may meet the spirit and intent of Washburn University's general education program must be reviewed by the General Education Committee. 3) General education coursework from technical colleges and institutes accredited by one of the six regional accrediting organizations must be reviewed by the General Education Committee. 4) Courses that may satisfy a major requirement or a prerequisite to a major requirement must be reviewed by the major department chairperson. Please work with your advisor to complete the General Education Transfer Course form to submit for review and potential acceptance toward your general education distribution groupings if any of your transfer courses fall under these exceptions.

College-level courses completed outside the United States and recorded on official transcripts will be evaluated for transfer credit, provided that the tertiary institution where the courses were taken is accredited by the Ministry of Education (or its equivalent) in that country. International transfer students who have completed college-level courses outside the United States may be requested to submit proof of accreditation by the Ministry of Education and/or provide an evaluation from an authorized international credential evaluation agency such as Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) or World Education Services (WES). For students who have completed a baccalaureate degree with a similar duration as a domestic baccalaureate degree from an accredited international institution, courses satisfactorilly completed in the Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics will be accepted towards credit in the appropriate general education distribution area.