The primary role of the Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) is to provide courses that fulfill the General Education program requirements for all of the College’s undergraduate degrees. Unlike the other departments, the Department of LAS does not offer any standalone degree programs.

General Education Requirements for Undergraduate Degree Programs

The General Education (Gen Ed) program is designed to help students gain breadth of knowledge beyond their major or specialization as well as develop competencies and qualities that support continued growth and achievement in their academic, professional, and personal lives.

By the time of graduation, all baccalaureate-seeking students are required to demonstrate an appropriate level of competency in the following areas:

General Education Objectives

  • Knowledge to Inform Life, through:

    • Engaging with a variety of subjects, spanning civilization, culture, the natural and social sciences, as well as the arts
    • Studying timeless values from Western and Eastern literature, philosophy, and the arts and applying them to one’s own life
  • The Ability to Transform Thought into Action, through:

    • Engaging diverse audiences with appropriate oral, written, and visual modes of communication and rhetorical strategies in English
    • Identifying, evaluating, and utilizing information from a variety of sources in support of lifelong learning
    • Logically constructing and critiquing arguments with critical thinking as well as quantitative and scientific reasoning
    • Solving problems by integrating knowledge and skills
  • Capacity for Self-Improvement and Responsible Citizenship, through:

    • Self-reflection, ethical reasoning, and the ability to act responsibly and for the greater good
    • Understanding the importance of living a meaningful life, and meeting the needs of body, mind, and spirit

Course Areas and Requirements

The general education objectives are the basis of a systematic curriculum of foundational coursework. Students must complete a minimum of 40 credits, of which 35 are fulfilled through courses offered by the LAS Department. The rest of the general education requirements are fulfilled through coursework in the student’s major.

Courses that fulfill the general education requirements are categorized into three areas: college core, breadth distribution, and world languages. Students are required to take specific categories of courses under each general education area, as identified by the “Gen Ed Tag” and corresponding credit requirement in Table 11.1.

Table 11.1 General Education Course Areas and Requirements

General Education Area Credits Gen Ed Tag
College Core

College Success 2 COL
English Writing 3 ENG
World Civilizations 6 CIV
Breadth Distribution

Humanities 6 HUM
Modern World Affairs 3 MWA
Quantitative Reasoning 3 QR
Scientific Reasoning 3 SR
Moral Awareness 1 MA
Artistic Inquiry 5 ART
World Languages

Chinese Language or Literature 8 * LANG

* To fulfill the world languages requirement, students in the BFA and BM programs currently take 8 credits in Chinese language and literature courses. All students taking Chinese courses are placed in an appropriate-level course based on placement tests.

Table 11.2a lists the courses offered by the LAS Department that satisfy general education requirements.

Table 11.2a Common Gen Ed Courses Offered by the LAS Department

CodeTitleCrGenEd TagPrerequisites
LAS002AIntroduction to College English A0  
LAS002BIntroduction to College English B0  
LAS100ACollege Success A1COL 
LAS100BCollege Success B1COL 
LAS103AEffective English A11.5ENGPlacement test
LAS103BEffective English B11.5ENGPlacement test
LAS110AWestern Civilization A1.5CIVLAS103A&B
LAS110BWestern Civilization B1.5CIVLAS103A&B
LAS120AMathematics in Applied Context A1.5QR 
LAS120BMathematics in Applied Context B1.5QR 
CLC131AChinese Civilization A1.5CIV 
CLC131BChinese Civilization B1.5CIV 
LAS204APublic Speaking A1.5HUMLAS103A&B
LAS204BPublic Speaking B1.5HUMLAS103A&B
LAS220ACalculus A1.5QRPlacement test
LAS220BCalculus B1.5QRPlacement test
LAS232AThe Making of the Modern World A1.5MWALAS110A&B, CLC131A&B
LAS232BThe Making of the Modern World B1.5MWALAS110A&B, CLC131A&B
LAS262Moral Awareness and Spiritual Practice1MA 
LAS313AMasterpieces of World Literature A1.5HUMLAS103A&B
LAS313BMasterpieces of World Literature B1.5HUMLAS103A&B
CLC331ATopics in Chinese History A1.5HUMCLC131A&B
CLC331BTopics in Chinese History B1.5HUMCLC131A&B
LAS334ATopics in Liberal Arts and Sciences A1.5SRJunior standing
LAS334BTopics in Liberal Arts and Sciences B1.5SRJunior standing
LAS350Independent Study in Arts and Sciences21-4Depends on topic 
CLC*Chinese language and literature courses2LANGPlacement test

1 LAS103A&B Effective English A&B are
prerequisites for other reading- or writing-intensive courses. Students
are required to take an English placement test prior to registering for
Effective English. Students demonstrating limited English proficiency
are required to take LAS002A&B Introduction to College English
A&B prior to, or in conjunction with, Effective English A&B.
Some international students from non-English-speaking countries may need
to satisfactorily complete English as a Second Language (ESL)
requirements before taking Introduction to College English.

2 See Section 10.6 for policies regarding directed and independent study.

Artistic Inquiry

The Artistic Inquiry general education objective provides opportunities for students to become informed viewers of creative expressions common to their major field as well as articulators of their own artistic intention and creative process. To graduate, students are required to demonstrate an ability to analyze and create different forms of artistic expression as well as communicate how they relate to the greater cultural context in which the works were created and received. The Artistic Inquiry requirement is fulfilled by courses in the major as listed in tables 11.2b through 11.2d, totaling a minimum of 5 credits.

Table 11.2b Gen Ed Courses for BFA in Classical Chinese Dance

Code Title Credits Gen Ed Tag Prerequisites
DAN311A Dance Pedagogy A 2 ART
DAN312A Choreography A 2 ART
DAN312B Choreography B 2 ART
DAN342 History of Dance: East and West 2 ART

Table 11.2c Gen Ed Courses for BM in Performance

Code Title Credits Gen Ed Tag Prerequisites
MUS211A Advanced Western Music Theory A 2 ART MUS111B
MUS211B Advanced Western Music Theory B 2 ART MUS211A
MUS142 History of Western Music (Medieval – Early Baroque) 2 ART MUS141
MUS241 History of Western Music (High Baroque – Classical) 2 ART MUS142
MUS242 History of Western Music (Romantic – Contemporary) 2 ART MUS241
MUS244 Chinese Music I 2 ART MUS111B
MUS245Chinese Music II2ARTMUS211A

Table 11.2d Gen Ed Courses for BFA in Stage Production and Design

Code Title Credits Gen Ed Tag Prerequisites
SPD101 Fundamentals of Stagecraft and Production 2 ART
SPD120 Introduction to Digital Media 2 ART
SPD140Introduction to Theater History and Practices3ART

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