Jul 21, 2024  
2020-2021 Catalog 
2020-2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Education

General Education Course Requirements  

Overview of the General Education Program

All degree-seeking students at the University of Montana Western, with the exception of those pursuing an Associate of Applied Science or a specialized Associate of Arts, are expected to complete the university’s General Education program. Montana Western’s General Education program is based on the Essential Learning Outcomes developed by the Liberal Education for America’s Promise (LEAP) program of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and adapted to fit the goals and mission of UMW. By completing this program, students gain the broad intellectual and practical skills needed to address the challenges of life in the twenty-first century.

Program Courses

The General Education program at UMW is comprises courses in the following categories:

  • Written and Oral Communication
  • Mathematics
  • Behavioral and Social Sciences
  • History
  • Expressive Arts
  • Literary and Artistic Studies
  • Natural Sciences

By completing courses in these designated areas, usually over the course of two semesters, students gain knowledge of and experiences with human cultures and the physical and natural world, the foundation of a contemporary liberal education and the necessary support for advanced study in both majors courses and upper-division university electives. Students are encouraged to work closely with an advisor to select courses in each category that will develop their academic abilities and match their individual interests.

Essential Learning Outcomes and the University Mission

The University of Montana Western has further identified the following Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs) as the basis for its General Education program:

  • Communication Skills
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Scientific Inquiry and Analysis
  • Global and Cultural Awareness
  • Critical Analysis and Logical Thinking
  • Creative Expression

These outcomes represent the foundational skills necessary for success both in advanced university studies and beyond; as such, they are the focus of the General Education program.

In keeping with UMW’s mission to provide immersive practices and continuous improvement in student learning, the General Education program is experiential, multidisciplinary, and multicultural: each course presents a breadth of content including surveys of essential and fundamental information, methods of identifying and solving problems, approaches to communicating the result of scholarly endeavors, and academic principles and inquiry skills that can be transferred or adapted to other disciplines. The overall intent of the program is to provide a coherent academic experience through selected courses, some interdisciplinary, with the emphasis in each on developing student’s intellectual and communication skills

For more information on the LEAP outcomes and the AAC&U, please visit the following links:

Common Course Numbering and Transferring General Education Credits

Common Course Numbering among the Montana University System (MUS) institutions ensure that students can transfer from one MUS institution to another with minimal loss of credit time. The UMW General Education program is consistent with the Montana University System General Education Standards.

Montana University System General Education Core Curriculum

New students transferring to UMW from any of the units of the Montana University System have three options for transferring general education core requirements.

Option 1: Complete a specific campus’s lower-division general education requirements

  • Students complete all lower division courses of a campus-specific general education program prior to transferring. Students may still be required to take additional general education coursework at the upper-division level at the new campus.

Option 2: Complete the MUS Core General Education curriculum

  • Students can complete a set of courses known as the MUS Core transferable general education curriculum (MUS Core) consisting of 30 lower-division credits distributed across six categories. Students may still be required to take additional general education coursework at the upper-division level.

Option 3: Obtain an AA or AS

  • A general Associate of Arts (AA) or an Associate of Science (AS) degree indicates that students have completed the general education program of their specific two –year campus.

General Education Codes in Course Descriptions

Courses whose primary designation is for general education purposes are indicated by the following codes in the course description. While other courses can apply toward general education, these courses are generally used to meet these requirements.

Code Category Group Credits Required
Writ/Oral Comm Written & Oral Communication 4
Math Mathematics 4
Behv/Soc Sci Behavioral Social Science 4
Hist History 4
Exp/Art Humanities: Expressive Arts 4
Lit/Art Humanities; Literary and Artistic Studies 4
Nat Sci Natural Sciences 8
General Education Total Credits 32