The General Education Curriculum is an affirmation of the strong belief of the Wilkes faculty in the value of study in the arts and sciences for all students and includes a broad spectrum of courses designed to stimulate the intellectual, personal, and social development of our students. The requirements of this curriculum are intended to serve as the foundation upon which all degree programs are based.
The General Education Curriculum requirements for all programs follow. Students are urged to use this outline of the requirements as an explanation of the "Recommended Course Sequence" provided for each major degree program described in this bulletin. With the exception of English (ENG) 101, English (ENG) 120, History (HST) 101, and First-Year Foundations (FYF) 101, which are required of all undergraduate students at Wilkes, the designation "Distribution Requirement(s)" in the "Recommended Course Sequence" for each major is a reference to the following statement of the General Education Curriculum requirements.
General Education Curriculum Requirements
The University faculty has approved the following set of requirements for the General Education Curriculum, which comprises four components: 1) Skill Requirements (0 – 13 credits); 2) First-Year Foundations (3 credits); 3) Distribution Areas (24 credits); and 4) the Senior Capstone (variable credit). All undergraduate students must satisfy these requirements in order to be eligible for graduation.
SKILL REQUIREMENTS 0 - 13 Credit Hours
All students pursuing the baccalaureate degree at Wilkes University must develop and demonstrate proficiency in six identified Skill Areas--Written Communication; Oral Communication; Quantitative Reasoning; Critical Thinking; Computer Literacy; and Diversity Awareness.
The Wilkes University General Education Curriculum
Student Learning Outcomes for the Skill Areas
Written Communication: Students will:
- produce written texts that sustain a unifying focus with coherently-structured and logically-ordered sentences and paragraphs;
- control surface features such as syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling;
- present an argument in writing, with use of evidentiary examples;
- adopt appropriate voice, tone, and level of formality appropriate to different rhetorical situations, genres, and audiences; and
- engage in scholarly research-based practices and document another writer’s written work and ideas, in a manner appropriate to relevant academic or professional disciplines.
Oral Communication: Students will:
- construct a relevant message supported by scholarly and sufficient research;
- organize message content based on an accepted and coherent organizational pattern;
- deliver an audience-centered presentation;
- use language clearly, appropriately, and inclusively and that follows to the grammatical rules of Standard American English; and
- effectively deliver, in an extemporaneous manner, informative, persuasive and special occasion speeches.
Quantitative Reasoning: Students will:
- represent mathematical information symbolically, visually, numerically, and verbally, and interpret and draw inferences from mathematical models such as formulas, graphs, tables, and schematics.
- apply arithmetical, algebraic, geometric and statistical methods with appropriate technological tools to solve problems;
- think critically and apply common sense in estimating and checking answers to mathematical problems in order to determine reasonableness, identify alternatives, and select optimal results, judging the soundness and accuracy of conclusions derived from quantitative information; and
- communicate mathematical information effectively using symbols, visual, numerical, or verbal representations.
Critical Thinking: Students will:
- use critical thinking to recall relevant information accurately, and structure verbal and written message content based on an accepted and coherent organizational pattern;
- paraphrase, synthesize, and analyze information from multiple sources to explain concepts;
- analyze information and apply it to new contexts; and
- utilize information to formulate and support a position.
Computer Literacy: Students will:
- define the relationship between hardware and software, in particular, the relationship between hardware and the operating system and the operating system and applications;
- develop an understanding of privacy and security issues with respect to networks, email, social media and WWW usage;
- know intellectual property laws with respect to software, music, and video, and understand the ethical use of information for academic and personal purposes;
- utilize software such as word processing, spreadsheet, and database software to effectively organize, manage, and communicate information; and
- understand the roles of computers and technology in mass communication, including social media.
Diversity Awareness: Students will:
- demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the diversity of the local and global communities, including cultural, social, political, and economic differences;
- analyze, evaluate, and assess the impact of differences in race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, native language, sexual orientation, ableism, age, and religion; and
- utilize perspectives of diverse groups when conducting analyses, drawing conclusions, and making decisions.
Four of these Skill Areas—Computer Literacy, Written Communication, Oral Communication, and Quantitative Reasoning—are addressed and assessed within the context of specific academic experiences as described below. The development and assessment of Critical Thinking is embedded throughout all components and academic learning experiences of the Wilkes University curriculum.
Students may opt or test out of each skill requirement by demonstrating competency through means designated by the department responsible for each skill area. Please see your academic advisor for more information on program-designated courses that will satisfy these requirements.
Students will develop and demonstrate mastery of the outcomes for Computer Literacy, Written Communication, Oral Communication, and Quantitative Reasoning by means of the following academic experiences:
I. Computer Literacy
Completion of CS-115 (Computers and Applications) or higher
Completion of 2 "Computer Intensive" (CI) courses minimum 3 credit hours
Students who do not complete CS 115 or test out of this Skill Area can satisfy the Computer Literacy requirement by completing courses that appear on the "Computer Intensive" (CI) List. The list of Computer Literacy skills, as well as a list of available CI courses, is available from the Office of the Registrar.
II. Written Communication
Completion of ENG-101 English Composition 4 credit hours
Writing Across the Curriculum: Each undergraduate degree program, as well as the First-Year Foundations Program, incorporates writing and the progressive development of written communication skills into its curriculum. Courses throughout each degree program emphasize writing techniques and styles that are specific to that program of study. Most Senior Capstone courses have a significant writing component that requires proficiency in writing in order to complete the course.
III. Oral Communication
Completion of COM-101 Fundamentals of Public Speaking
Completion of 2 Oral Presentation Option (OPO) courses minimum 3 credit hours
The Office of the Registrar maintains a list of OPO courses. OPO courses enable a specified number of students (or all students) in an approved course to complete the requirements for an OPO course. Satisfaction of the OPO requirement will not, in most cases, add credits to a students' program of study.
IV. Quantitative Reasoning
Completion of MTH-101 Solving Problems Using Mathematics
or higher minimum 3 credit hours
First-Year Foundations 0/3 Credit Hours
Completion of a First-Year Foundations (FYF) course 3 credit hours
Students who have completed 23 or fewer credit hours earned in a college classroom when they matriculate at the University are required to complete an FYF course during their first semester of study. All students who have completed more than 23 credit hours earned in a college classroom when they matriculate at the University are eligible, but not required, to take an FYF course. A student may earn academic credit toward graduation for only one FYF course.
Distribution Areas 24 Credit Hours
Area I. The Humanities minimum 9 credit hours
Student Learning Outcomes in the Humanities:
- apply analytical and critical reasoning skills when solving problems (critical judgment);
- analyze problems by considering diverse and varying forms of evidence and multiple perspectives within global historical and cultural contexts (historical perspective);
- demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate various ethical codes and belief systems including their own (ethical awareness);
- use evidence and sound ethical reasoning to frame analyses and defend them. (ethical awareness);
- demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the diversity and complexity of aesthetic expression (aesthetic expression); and
- demonstrate the ability to speak and write effectively in languages including, but not restricted to, standard American English (linguistic awareness).
* Students should be able to demonstrate the above outcomes in their writing.
Students must complete three (3) of the courses listed below in order to satisfy the requirements for Distribution Area I: The Humanities.
ENG-120 Introduction to Literature and Culture; and
HST-101 Historical Foundations of the Modern World; and
Foreign Language at level of competence OR
Students may request, through their academic advisors, a course substitution within this Area. For more details on course substitution policies for Area I, contact the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Forms for course substitution may be obtained from, and completed forms must be returned to, the Student Services Center.
Area II. The Scientific World minimum 6 credit hours
Student Learning Outcomes in the Scientific World:
- describe how science affects contemporary issues;
- access sources of scientific information that are both relevant and reliable;
- explain ethical issues in the practice of science;
- communicate scientific concepts effectively;
- draw logical conclusions based on scientific data;
- distinguish between scientific evidence and pseudoscience; and
- explain the development of scientific theories using the scientific method.
Student must complete two (2) of the courses listed below in order to satisfy the requirements for Distribution Area II: The Scientific World. The two courses must be drawn from two different sub-areas of study and at least one of the two selected courses must include a laboratory component. Credit hours vary according to incorporation of the laboratory component.
A number of degree programs satisfy the General Education Curriculum requirements in Area II on the basis of successful completion of the science requirements of the individual degree program. The following programs meet the aforementioned criteria by virtue of the degree curriculum: Applied and Engineering Sciences; Biochemistry; Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science (B.S. degree program only); Earth and Environmental Sciences; Electrical, Environmental, and Mechanical Engineering; Engineering Management; Health Sciences; Mathematics (B.S. degree program only); Nursing; Pre-Pharmacy; and Physics.
Students not enrolled in any of the programs listed above may request, through their academic advisors, a course substitution within this Area. For more details on course substitution policies for Area II, contact the Office of the Dean of the College of Science and Engineering. Forms for course substitution can be obtained from, and completed forms must be returned to, the Student Services Center.
Area III. The Behavioral and Social Sciences minimum 6 credit hours
Student Learning Outcomes in the Behavioral and Social Sciences:
- critically read and understand tabular data, graphs, or other displays of data; (methodological reasoning);
- identify independent variables and dependent variables; (methodological reasoning);
- write or identify a well-formulated hypothesis; (methodological reasoning);
- recognize and interpret types of relationships between variables (positive and negative); (methodological reasoning);
- apply one or more conceptual frameworks to an issue or problem (conceptual reasoning); and
- identify and explain the various factors that influence human behavior. (conceptual reasoning).
Students must complete two (2) of the five (5) courses listed below in order to satisfy the requirements for Distribution Area III: The Behavioral and Social Sciences.
Introduction to Anthropology
Principles of Economics II
Introduction to American Politics
Introduction to Sociology
Students may request, through their academic advisors, a course substitution within this Area. For more details on course substitution policies for Area III, contact the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Forms for course substitution can be obtained from, and completed forms must be returned to, the Student Services Center.
Area IV. The Visual and Performing Arts minimum 3 credit hours
Student Learning Outcomes in the Visual and Performing Arts:
- analyze works of art using vocabulary appropriate to the art form;
- demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between artistic technique and the expression of a work’s underlying concept;
- analyze the relationship between works of art and the social, historical, global and personal contexts in which they are created or experienced; and
- engage in the artistic process, including conception, creation, interpretation, and ongoing critical analysis.
Students must complete one (1) of the courses listed below in order to satisfy the requirements of Distribution Area IV: The Visual and Performing Arts.
DAN-100 - Dance Appreciation: Comprehensive Dance Forms
MUS-101 - Introduction to Music I
THE-100 - Approach to Theatre
By means of a successful performance audition and written permission of the Chair of the Division of Performing Arts, students may substitute three (3) credit hours of performance or studio experience for the above course requirement.
By means of a satisfactory artwork portfolio evaluation and written permission of the Chairperson of the Department of Integrative Media and Art, students may substitute three (3) credit hours of studio experience for ART 101.
Permission for course substitutions in Area IV will be granted only in special cases that have received review and approval prior to registration. Students petitioning for Area IV course substitutions in Art must present a portfolio of creative work for review by the chair and faculty of the Department of Integrative Media and Art. Students petitioning for Area IV course substitutions in Dance, Music, or Theatre must schedule an interview with the chair and faculty in the Division of Performing Arts; in some instances, an audition may be required.
For more details on course substitution policies for Area IV, contact the Department of Integrative Media and Art or the Division of Performing Arts and the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Forms for course substitution may be obtained from and completed forms must be returned to, and completed forms must be returned to the Student Services Center. Written permission for course substitutions must be obtained before registering for the course.
Senior Capstone Credits Vary
Each student is required to complete a Senior Capstone course or experience in his or her major field of study as specified in the requirements for each degree program. For details about the capstone course or experience, see the degree requirements for the selected academic program. Satisfaction of this General Education Curriculum requirement will not add credit hours to most students' programs of study.