General Education Requirements

What is General Education?

The general education curriculum at UMass Boston gives you multiple opportunities to build and improve upon your academic foundation.   You will be exposed to the fundamental ideas and intellectual activities that students and faculty across campus and around the world – in the arts, the humanities, business, and the social and natural sciences – utilize in scholarship. The UMass Boston general education program introduces you to subject matter and skills from across the university, and does so in ways that link the arts and sciences with the 21st century world that you will face after college.

Provided here:

  • the goals and principles behind our General Education Program
  • descriptions of the curriculum requirements

Goals and Principles

The objective of the UMass Boston General Education Program is to provide you with a strong foundation for success in future courses and in your career. There is not a set group of courses that you must take.  Instead, the flexible approach to general education is built around building skills in:

• critical analysis and logical thought
• verbal and quantitative reasoning
• human diversity and
• principal approaches to knowledge in the areas of:

  • mathematics and natural sciences
  • social and behavioral sciences
  • arts and humanities
  • world languages and cultures

Courses that focus on these learning outcomes have been approved by the faculty as general education courses (in specific areas).  Overall, your general education courses should comprise about one-third of your total courses at UMass Boston.

Curriculum Requirements

Think of the general education program as consisting of three main parts:  a first-year experience, a middle phase, and a capstone experience.

The first-year experience is designed to introduce you to university study and to provide you with important and fundamental tools to succeed in upper-level coursework.  If you enter the university with no college credit or as a transfer student with fewer than 30 credits, you should build a first-year experience that includes:

• Two courses in writing and composition (English 101, English 102)

• First Year Seminar ( a “100-level G course) or Science Gateway Seminar (a “187/188S” course)

• One math/quantitative reasoning course

Depending on your schedule, intended major and other interests, some distribution courses may also be done during the first year.

The middle phase spans the second and third years of your undergraduate career.  During this phase, you should declare a major (if you didn’t do so during the first year).   In addition to major coursework, you should also:

• Take an intermediate seminar (a “200-level G” course)
• Complete the diversity requirement
• Complete most, if not all, of the areas of knowledge requirements:

  • Arts (AR) and Humanities (HU)
  • Natural Sciences (NS) and Mathematics (MT)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (SB)
  • World Languages (WL) and World Cultures (WC)
  • Foreign Language Proficiency (only for B.A. students)

• Demonstrate writing proficiency by completing the Writing Proficiency Requirement or, for College of Management students, complete BC290.

In the last phase, during your final year, you are expected to devote significant attention to a capstone experience in your major.  You may also be doing research with a faculty member, participating in an internship or independent study, or completing major coursework.  Given the strong focus on the major at this point, most if not all of the distribution courses should be completed before the senior year.