Missouri State University

Why General Education?

One of the many questions that frequently arises among new college students is:

Why do I have to take all these general education classes when I'd prefer to simply take classes in my major? In other words:
  • Why should an art major have to take classes in math and science?
  • Why should a science major have to take humanities classes?
  • 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?
What's the answer?
  • A University should do more than simply prepare a student for a specific job or career.
  • In addition to preparing students for their future careers, colleges and universities have an obligation to prepare them for their various roles as citizens.
  • Most people change career paths at least 3 times.
  • If students were only required to take classes in their major, what would an undecided student take?
  • If someone wishes to only prepare for a specific job or career, they might be better served by attending a vocational - technical school.
What's that mean?

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

  • Be able to solve problems.
  • Be able to formulate questions.
  • Be able to make generalizations (skillfully and correctly).
  • Be open-minded.
  • Be able to write and speak with clarity and precision for diverse audiences.
  • Be able to use computers and other technological tools.
  • Be conscious of their own thinking processes, including the cultural and social contexts of that thinking.
  • Understand the ways human choices affect the earth and living systems and the responsibilities of individual citizens and communities to preserve global resources.
  • Understand the sources and expression of diverse values throughout the world, including ethical, religious, political, and economic values as well as social and cultural priorities.
  • Understand that rights are always accompanied by responsibilities.
  • Have the skills and motivation to continue learning after leaving the university
  • Have the capacity for civic leadership.
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.