General Education at APSU
General education at APSU is a diverse curriculum of related ideas and experiences to prepare students to live and work in a global society. The General Education Core aims to facilitate the development of foundational knowledge, skills and values that empower students to realize their full potential and inspire them to make positive contributions in a global society.
All undergraduate students complete the General Education Core, which includes required courses in communication, history, humanities and/or fine arts, mathematics, natural science, and social and behavioral sciences. By taking courses in the General Education Core, students develop foundational knowledge in a variety of disciplines, as well as skills and awareness in communication, quantitative reasoning, inquiry and analysis, reflection and connection, critical reasoning, and global perspectives.
General Education Subject Areas
Why Study Communication?
Effective communication is essential for success in any major or career field. APSU’s general education core requires students to take courses in English Composition and Public Speaking that are specifically designed to help them build and strengthen their written and oral communication skills. These courses engage students in a process of critical thinking, researching and organizing data from credible sources, critiquing, writing, reviewing, revising and editing expository essays, and delivering informative and persuasive speeches. In addition, general education courses, in a variety of subject areas, invite students to practice communication across genres and styles by exposing them to different communication technologies, texts, data, and images.
General education provides students valuable opportunities to build and sharpen their communication skills in diverse perspectives and contexts beyond any specific academic discipline. Students gain experience with writing and speaking that allow them to become ethical, effective and well-rounded communicators in their communities and professions.
Why Study History?
The study of history provides us not only with information about when and how historical events unfolded, but also why history took certain roads and not others. This perspective in turn helps us understand how and why whole societies changed over time, in addition to giving us a better sense of how we as individuals fit both within our own society and the global community. Finally, through the study of individual historical actors who faced triumphs and adversities, we gain an expanded perspective on our own individual trajectories and our own moral compass.
The study of history always involves the assessment of various forms of evidence, such as texts, visual representations, or statistical data. Historians compare competing interpretations of the available evidence, describe patterns of change, evaluate existing arguments about historical change, and present their perspectives by writing and speaking about their research. These many practical and highly transferable skills remain useful in numerous professional contexts that require an ability to examine information, to detect patterns, and to describe and present those patterns in a cogent manner.
Humanities and/or Fine Arts
Why Study the Humanities?
Humanities and Fine Arts courses invite students into the beauty, mystery, and power of human culture through disciplines such as literature, language, art, music, dance, theatre, philosophy, ethics, and religion. Students will learn how artistic and literary expression contributes to the development of self and society.
Requiring reflection and discernment, the arts and humanities encourages the development of personal identity and respect for others’ identities. Students develop social responsibility and global awareness as they evaluate diverse perspectives and differentiate between fact and interpretation. Study of the arts provides greater depth to the understanding of history and social sciences, as art remains as an artifact, a primary source through which we can delve into the intricacies and impacts of human existence. Students consider humanistic questions, solve problems, and take risks as they develop tangible, transferable skills such as critical thinking, creative problem solving, and adaptability.
Why Study Mathematics?
Mathematics teaches students to develop logical ways of approaching problems, to study and analyze patterns in all types of real world situations, and to interpret information shown in many different forms. Mathematicians value the precise use of language, a varied use of representations, and approaching problems from many different perspectives. Students may encounter mathematics in courses such as algebra, geometry and statistics, but also in a variety of other courses like data mining, business calculus, and mathematics courses designed for specific career paths.
Developing an understanding of mathematics will help students in their everyday lives by enabling them to understand the world around them. For example, students will be able to use their understanding of mathematics to make informed financial decisions in their personal lives and to reason quantitatively to draw objective conclusions about data they encounter. In addition to being an informed citizen able to understand data and numbers in the world around them, students can make use of mathematics in many other academic areas. For example, students in the social sciences use mathematics to study voting, social justice inequities, and solve crimes. Students in education use mathematics to study effective teaching methods and to evaluate the learning of students in school. Students in the natural sciences use mathematics to study the spread of diseases, develop new medicines, and to study the Earth. Students in business use mathematics in accounting, finance, marketing, and economics. No matter the career path a student chooses, having a deep understanding of mathematics will benefit them in numerous ways.
Why Study Natural Science?
The world is becoming ever more dependent on understanding science. In order for people to realize their full potential and to engage as well-educated global citizens, they must be able to understand and assess scientific information. These courses also contain laboratory components that help students to understand the significance of the course material through practical application.The general education core aims to facilitate the development of foundational knowledge, skills, and values that empower students to realize their full potential and inspire them to make positive contributions in a global society.
It is crucial that graduates be able to distinguish between science and pseudoscience. These courses will provide students with opportunities to make observations, ask questions, and gain insight to the mechanisms by which the natural world functions. People need to understand science in order to make informed decisions regarding complex topics such as climate change, energy production, health and the future of our planet.
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Why Study Social Sciences?
The social sciences section of the general education core systematically examines human behavior in society. Diverse fields in the social sciences include African American studies, communications, criminal justice, economics, geography, health and human performance, leadership and organizational administration, political science, psychological science, sociology, social work, and women’s and gender studies. Social science disciplines focus upon the interdisciplinary study of society in an increasingly complex and diverse world. The relationships between individuals, institutions, and communities are examined. Social sciences are designed to instill a better understanding of the nuances of human behavior through quantitative and qualitative analysis. Social science research collects data to establish patterns of human interaction in order to both explain and predict human behavior.
In studying the social sciences, students develop an expansive view of the complexities of society. Social and civil engagement are made more meaningful though this holistic view. Greater understanding of differences fostered by social science courses help students to better participate productively in society as concerned citizens and members of the human community.