Why General Education?

Questions frequently arise among new college students concerning general education.  The following are answers to some of the most common type of questions:

Q: Why do I have to take all these general education classes when I'd prefer to simply take classes in my major?

A: Colleges and universities prepare students for their various roles as citizens in addition to preparing students for their future careers.

Q:  Why should a science major have to take humanities classes, or an art major have to take classes in math and science?

A:  A university does more than simply prepare a student for a specific job or career.

Q: What's wrong with allowing a computer science major to take 125 hours of computer science classes? Wouldn't they be extremely well prepared for a career in computer science if they graduated with all computer science classes?

A:   A university setting is best suited for students who desire more than merely career training.  General education offers the opportunity to develop a well-rounded education along with excellent career training.

Q:  What if I have no idea what I want my major to be?

A:  Some students need time and opportunity to explore their strengths and passions before deciding on a major.  A general education program can offer new perspectives for all students, especially those who are still seeking a major.

What does that mean to me, a student?

As educated persons, ALL graduates of Missouri State University (regardless of their major) should:

Gain intellectual and practical skills:

  • Gather, organize, and evaluate information and ideas
  • Develop and explore new ideas perspectives and approaches
  • Express yourself clearly through writing in social, academic and professional contexts
  • Listen critically and speak well to all audiences
  • Reason and solve numerically-based problems, and create and communicate logical arguments based on such evidence
  • Identify a need for information, then locate and responsibly share the information
  • Work in collaboration with others to solve problems and make decisions

Gain knowledge of human cultures:

  • Understand principles of human behavior and social interactions in a variety of settings
  • Develop an understanding of various contexts that shape thoughts and actions of people world-wide

Gain knowledge of the natural world:

  • Understand basic concepts of how scientific knowledge is relevant to human affairs
  • Explore fundamental principles in physical sciences

Gain knowledge of public affairs:

  • Recognize the importance of contributing to your own communities and society
  • Recognize and consider multiple perspectives and cultures
  • Know your own value system and how it affects your decisions and people and communities around you.

Gain integrative and applied learning skills:

  • Take everything you have learned and apply it to specific situations in life

To quote from Missouri State University's general education program:

The aim of general education at Missouri State University is to develop people capable of making choices that lead to thoughtful, creative, and productive lives and to responsible participation in society.

General education is that portion of the curriculum in which the university addresses the knowledge, abilities, skills, habits, and dispositions of educated persons.

(It) provides for learning that educated persons will use throughout their lives in their many roles and communities.