GenEds: Let’s break it down.

Click on the picture above to check out the American University General Education Program Website

While you may have a basic understanding on how the General Education (GenEd) Program works, allow me to break it down for you. The main objective of the GenEd Program is to take ten courses in Five Foundational Areas. In other words, two courses from each of the five Foundational Areas. Each of these Foundational Areas covers a broad area of study such as the Creative Arts (Area 1) and Sciences (Area 5). There are some exceptions to this simple setup. Firstly, you cannot take more than two courses in the same discipline for GenEd credit (for example, you can’t take three GOVT classes to count for your ten total GenEd classes). Secondly, in Area 5 you must take at least one lab science out of the two Area 5 courses. Lastly, you can’t take your Area 5 lab science unless you have fulfilled your University Math Requirement or you have placed above Finite Mathematics (ask your advisor if you are unsure of your placement).

Although this may seem like a lot and you may just want to get started on your major specific classes, I encourage you to explore the offered classes in the GenEd Areas and make it your own unique experience. The wide range of topics can make you academically well-rounded and develop your skills in many different areas.

The General Education Program may appear to be a daunting challenge with its long list of requirements and rules, but the GenEd program can be a very rewarding experience for anyone unsure of their major or simply interested in a wide range of topics. Both of these criteria apply to me, and the GenEd program has helped me both explore new interests and simply gain an introductory understanding of a wide range of topics.

I am the kind of guy with a broad range of interests running the gambit from physics to philosophy. The GenEd program has given me the opportunity to take a Western Philosophy class (Phil-105), a class on Chinese, Japanese and American foreign relations (SIS-255), and a class concerning bizarre and unique writing styles (LIT-105). These are areas I was unable to explore in high school, and I feel more developed since the beginning of my college experience. In order for you to best take advantage of the liberal arts portion of your time at AU, you have to first understand the basic layout of the GenEd Program. So use your first two years at AU to flesh out the GenEd program and discover some new, exciting interests.

– Marcus Del Rio


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