Questions and Answers about the Revised General Education Program for Current Students in the College of Arts and Sciences

Q.  What is the general education program?
Sometimes referred to as distribution requirements, the general education program is a set of curricular requirements that each student pursuing a bachelor’s degree must complete.  The general education program encourages intellectual curiosity and exposure to significant traditions and ways of seeing the world that the College’s disciplines and interdisciplinary programs present.  In November 2012, the Faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences revised the general education program for undergraduate students.  

Q.  Do the revised general education requirements apply to me?
The revised general education curriculum (“revised program”) will apply automatically only to those students matriculating in the College in the Advent 2013 semester or thereafter.  Students who matriculated prior to that time—graduating classes of 2014, 2015, and 2016—are presumed to meet the general distribution requirements in place at the time of their matriculation (“current program”); however, individual students from these three graduating classes may opt to complete the revised program instead.

Q. How do the current and revised programs differ?
In fact, the two programs have much in common.  Broadly speaking, both programs focus on similar learning outcomes and the overall number of requirements in the two programs is the same.

One important difference between the two programs is in the way the requirements are articulated.  The current program mandates that requirements be fulfilled with specific courses or with designated courses from specific subjects.  For instance, the current program requires that students take ENGL 101, HIST 100, and one course in philosophy and religion.  With the exception of physical education (PHED), learning objectives in the revised program may be fulfilled by designated courses regardless of subject.
Another difference is that the revised program allows some courses to fulfill up to two learning objectives while the current program, with its focus on specific courses and subjects, allows a course to fulfill only one such requirement.

Finally, the revised program allows students to satisfy some requirements with approved Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) Examinations for which they have received credit.  

Complete descriptions of the two programs may be found here.

Q. How are courses designated as being applicable to the revised program?
General Education “attributes” are assigned to each course or section that fulfills one or more requirements in the revised program.  Requirements for the revised general education program and attributes are as follows:

  • Learning Objective 1 – Reading Closely: Literary Analysis and Interpretation (G1)
    • One course with attribute G1 is required
  • Learning Objective 2 – Understanding the Arts: Creativity, Performance, and Interpretation (G2)
    • One course with attribute G2 is required
  • Learning Objective 3 – Seeking Meaning: Wisdom, Truth, and Inquiry (G3)
    • One course with attribute G3 is required
  • Learning Objective 4 – Exploring Past and Present: Perspectives on Societies and Cultures (G4)
    • Two courses with attribute G4 are required
  • Learning Objective 5 – Observing, Experimenting, and Modeling: The Scientific and Quantitative View (G5, G5E, G5Q)
    • Three courses are required: one with attribute G5E; another with attribute G5Q; and a third with attribute G5, G5E, or G5Q
  • Learning Objective 6 – Comprehending Cross-Culturally: Language and Global Studies (G6, G6XX)
    • One or two courses required: one course with attribute G6; or one course in foreign language numbered 203 together with a second course in a related culture with attribute G6CH (Chinese Culture), G6FR (French Culture), G6GM (German Culture), G6GK (Greek Culture), G6IT (Italian Culture), G6JP (Japanese Culture), G6LT (Latin Culture), G6RU (Russian Culture), or G6SP (Spanish/Hispanic Culture).
  • Foundational Writing-Intensive Course (GFWI)
    • One course with attribute GFWI is required
  • Upper-Level Writing-Intensive in the Major (GMWI)
    • One course with attribute GMWI for each major is required
  • Physical Education (no attribute)
    • Two courses in physical education are required

You may search for sections with attributes both on the schedule page of the University Registrar’s website or within the registration area of Banner self-service. 

Q. If I have already completed the current program, do I have to compete the revised program instead?
No, you must complete the current program or the revised program but not both.

Q.  Can I complete the general education program by completing some requirements in the current program and others in the revised program?
No, you may not “mix and match” requirements from the two programs.  Each student must complete, in its entirety, either the current or revised program. 

Q. With the potential for completing the general education curriculum with fewer courses and more course options for fulfilling requirements, doesn’t it make sense for me to opt for the revised program?
Not necessarily: depending on the courses you have already completed, you might need to take more additional courses to complete the revised program than you would need to complete the current program.

Q. If a course I have already taken fulfills a requirement in the current program, won’t it automatically fulfill a requirement in the revised program?
No.  Many of the courses that fulfill a requirement in the current program will fulfill one or more requirements in the revised program; however, others will not.  If you are considering switching to the revised program, you should check carefully the applicability of your completed coursework to each of the programs.

Q. What’s the best way to know whether it is advantageous for me to switch to the revised program?
You may compare how the courses you have taken or are planning to take will apply in the current and revised programs by using the Sewanee Online Degree Audit (SODA).  Here’s how:

  1.  Log in to your Banner self‐service account.
  2. Select the “Student Services” link.
  3. Select the “Student Records” link.
  4. Select the “Sewanee Online Degree Audit (SODA) link (make sure you have enabled pop‐ups for your browser).
  5. After SODA opens, click on the “What‐If” tab on the left side of your browser window.
  6. From the drop‐down boxes, choose
    • Degree = General Education Comparison
    • Academic Year = 2013-2014.
  7. Click the “Process What‐If” button near the top of the page.

Both the current and revised general education programs will be displayed.  Compare the two to determine which program you wish to pursue.  If you are unsure how to interpret the audit results, print the “What-If” audit and discuss the results with your advisor.  You may also bring the printed “What-If” audit to the Office of the University Registrar, where staff can assist you in interpreting it.

Q. What do I need to do if I want to stay with the current general education program?

Q.  How do I switch to the revised general education program?
Complete this form and submit it to the Office of the University Registrar.

Q.  If I am planning to switch to the new program, do I have to do that before registering for next semester’s classes?
No.  While the general education program you choose to follow is likely to influence your choice of courses, the registration process is separate from the process of switching to the revised program.

Q.  Is there a deadline for switching to the revised program?
No, but as you are expected to complete the bulk of general education requirements prior to the end of your junior year, it is advisable to submit the declaration form as soon as possible before that time.

Q. Which Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate Examinations (IB) will satisfy revised general education program requirements?
Most AP and IB examinations for which Sewanee students receive credit satisfy one requirement in the revised program (AP and IB examinations may not be used to satisfy requirements in the current program). More information about AP and IB examinations and their applicability to general education requirements is available here.  If you have already been awarded credit for one of these examinations, consult the “What-If” general education comparison described above to determine if and how those examinations apply to the revised program.

Q.  I am a transfer student. Will I get credit in the revised program for courses I have taken before coming to Sewanee?
Yes.  Appropriate general education attributes for both the current and revised programs have been added to the courses you took before coming to Sewanee.  You may process a “What-If” general education comparison as described above to determine which program you wish to complete.