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Undergraduate General Education Requirements

The general education requirements at Prescott College are designed to support the undergraduate learning outcomes. Undergraduate students complete or transfer a minimum of 30 credits of general education as per the requirements.  General education courses address both Prescott College values such as social justice and environmental literacy as well as supportive skills-based practices such as critical thinking, writing, and quantitative reasoning. General education classes are designed to create an interdisciplinary curriculum for students to develop academic and professional competence through their individualized programs of study and to complete key graduation requirements. In order to complete the general education requirements at Prescott College, each student’s degree plan must include courses that assess each of four undergraduate learning outcomes; these courses may simultaneously meet requirements within the students' competence/major. Transfer courses may be used for partial fulfillment of the College’s general education requirements.  Professional Advisors review student transcripts to determine if they have fulfilled the quantitative reasoning requirement and/or their lower-division writing, media, and communications requirements.  

The following courses constitute the general education requirements:

  • First Year Experience (4 Credits) or Accelerated Core (2 Credits)

  • Pathway Courses

  • Lower Division ULO-Driven General Education Courses (16 Credits)

  • Quantitative Reasoning (4 Credits)

  • Lower Division Writing, Media, and Communications course (WRW26000 Academic Writing Workshop) or transfer of Freshmen Composition (4 Credits)  

  • Upper Division Writing, Media, and Communications (WRW46000) (4 Credits) 

First-Year Experience – Fall On-Campus First-Year Students

The First Year Experience (FYE) course is an experiential, interdisciplinary course that integrates new students into the Prescott College community and acquaints them with the many pathways for learning at Prescott College. It equips students with fewer than 30 college credits with foundational skills in communication, self-direction, and lifelong learning that foster the development of cultural and environmental literacy. A contemporary theme will shape course content every time FYE is offered as students engage in self-reflection, community building, and critical exploration of their social and natural worlds.

Accelerated Core – Online Undergraduate and Spring On-Campus Intake

In Spring Terms, when FYE is not offered, students may enroll in this course.  Online undergraduates enroll in their Fall or Spring intake term.  The focus of this course is on creating an individualized yet compelling Bachelor’s curriculum, practicing research and library skills, increasing awareness of the social and ecological implications of each student’s competence/major, and learning how to begin their degree plan. This course also supports students’ orientation to the procedures, policies, faculty, and requirements of undergraduate programs. Accelerated Core must be completed in the first term of enrollment; if not, it must be repeated in the second enrollment period.

Pathway Courses

The Prescott College mission guides the learning goals and learning outcomes for classes designated as satisfying General education requirements. Students will take four lower-division courses aligned with Prescott College values that meet Undergraduate Learning Outcomes. Students are advised to choose one of two pathway starting points that guide them to General Education courses congruent with their intended degree/major. The pathway starting points are Natural Communities and Social Communities.  Undergraduate Learning Outcome categories are the same for both pathways and thus students may meet the ULOs with courses from either or both pathways.

Undergraduate-Wide Learning Goals and Outcomes

1.  Cultural Literacy

Cultural Literacy is to learn to listen, share and reciprocate, to reach across structures of power and politics with critical awareness, humility, and commitment.  Competence in this area involves both an academic and a personal understanding of the depth of our global interdependence. Analyzing historical roots and current dynamics cultivates respect for constructed categories of difference.

General Education LO Statements:

  1. Learners can identify differences among various cultural approaches to the study of complex global systems.

  2. While identifying systems of power and influence, learners articulate collaborative solutions to local and/or global issues.

 2.  Environmental Literacy

Environmental literacy is based on an understanding of natural systems and processes integral to the diversity of life. Competence in this area implies the recognition of unfolding global situations and supports the use of indigenous and western ways of knowing to imagine and implement solutions.  Literacy ultimately fosters healthy relationships between human communities and the natural world.  

General Education LO Statements:

  1. Learners explain effects of humans on natural systems.

  2. Learners apply understandings of scientific and ecological processes.

3. Arts and Communication

Arts and communication involves engagement with various mediums including verbal and non-verbal communication, film, literature, language, digital, and the performing arts from diverse perspectives. Competence in this area allows students to consume information critically and develop creative modes of expression, effective interpersonal communication, as well as contemporary technical communication skills.

General Education LO Statements:

  1. Learners express an understanding of real-world issues through engagement with various aesthetic pursuits.

  2. Learners demonstrate critical and contemporary arts and communication skills.

4. Community Engagement  

Community Engagement centers on action-oriented, collaborative work. Competence in this area involves knowledge, application of skills, and use of empathy to ethically contribute to, and serve, the self-identified needs of humans within more than human communities.

General Education LO Statements:

  1. Learners analyze values and assumptions of self and community through collaborative engagement.

  2. Learners are prepared to take ethical social action within a specific community engagement project.

5. Quantitative Reasoning

  1. Learners will demonstrate quantitative reasoning skills.

Quantitative Reasoning Requirement

Math certification will usually be completed in the sophomore year, but must be completed prior to the senior year. Students may satisfy the Math certification requirement in one of five ways:

  1. Successful completion of a quantitative reasoning course at Prescott College. See individual department Advising Documents for specific requirements for particular areas of the curriculum (e.g. Applied Algebra and/or Statistics for Research for the BA in Environmental Studies, Calculus and/or Statistics for Research for BS Degree).

  2. Successful completion (“C-” or better) of a college-level (college-level Algebra, Statistics, and/or other) mathematics course taken at another regionally accredited college or university. Other college-level quantitative reasoning courses may satisfy the math certification requirement pending a review of course descriptions.

  3. A qualifying score of three (3) or better on the Advanced Placement (AP) Exam in Algebra, Statistics, or Calculus.

  4. Score 50 or higher on the College Board’s CLEP test in any of the following: Calculus, College Algebra, Statistics, or College Mathematics; the course should be consistent with department requirements. Consult the CLEP website for more information: Passing CLEP scores also results in transfer credit.

Basic College-level Writing Proficiency (LD)

Students may satisfy the lower division (LD) writing, media, and communications requirement by completing WRW26000 Academic Writing Workshop at Prescott College; by transferring in an equivalent course from another accredited institution (with a grade of C- or better); or by achieving a score of 3 or higher in AP English Language. Transfer courses can be reviewed for suitability in meeting stated requirements.  Students may not use this course (or its equivalent transfer) to meet the requirements for a major.

Course Learning Outcomes: 1) Learners will create a thesis statement that answers a meaningful (student curiosity-driven) research question, 2) Learners will use a thesis statement to organize a research paper that includes an introduction, body, and conclusion, 3) Learners will form an argument in a research paper, correctly citing supporting scholarly evidence, 4) Learners will use library and internet resources to locate scholarly sources of evidence and sources of help with APA/MLA citation styles (dependent on the program), 5) Learners will develop strategies for coping with writing anxiety and cultivate accessible resources for help with a variety of questions, 6) Learners will produce persuasive writing that demonstrates an ability to tailor an argument to different audiences with strategic and appropriate rhetorical choices, 7) Learners will produce a first-person narrative that showcases storytelling techniques such as sensory detail and “showing, not telling”.

Advanced College-level Writing and Communication Proficiency (UD) 

Students may satisfy the upper-division proficiency by completing WRW46000 Writing, Media, and Communication at Prescott College or transfer equivalent. Students will: 1) Analyze media for purpose, message, accuracy, bias, and intended audience, 2) Create a persuasive multimedia work or a piece of digital communication for a specific purpose and audience, 3) Apply inquiry, analysis, and synthesis skills to produce an effective project proposal, 4) Demonstrate the ability to give and receive thoughtful feedback as part of an iterative revision process. Students may not use this course (or its equivalent transfer) to meet the requirements for a major.

Optional Breadth (Minor)

Undergraduate students may elect to complete a Liberal Arts minor or a disciplinary minor. A minor in Liberal Arts must include at least one class in the following four areas:

  • Social Sciences such as Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Political Science, Education, History.

  • Humanities such as Literature, Fine Arts, Philosophy, Religion, Foreign Languages, History.

  • Math/Science such as Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences.

  • Communication/Writing such as English Composition, Rhetoric, Creative Writing, Speech, Interpersonal Communication, Journalism, Media Studies, Computer Learning.

Disciplinary minor requirements are listed with degree requirements of competence/majors and minors.


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