Jul 21, 2024  
Fall 2021 Catalog 
Fall 2021 Catalog FINAL VERSION - Closed for Revisions

Bachelor Degree General Education

  • General Education Program (GEP) Approved Courses - CLICK HERE   

Shanny Luft, Associate Dean, General Education and Honors
Room 206D, ALB
Phone: 715-346-4023
Email: sluft@uwsp.edu
Web: http://www.uwsp.edu/gep/Pages/default.aspx


The General Education Program (GEP) provides the framework of a liberal education, equipping you with the knowledge and skills to facilitate intellectual and personal growth, pursue your advanced studies, and improve the world in which you live.

For information on past General Degree Requirements, please refer to the 2019-20 Catalog.

Relationship Between GEP and Degree Types

The GEP applies to all Baccalaureate degree types. See the Degree Types  section of this Catalog.

GEP Learning Outcomes

The General Education Program seeks to develop these qualities of global citizenship in four distinct ways. After completing the general education curriculum, you will:

  • Demonstrate critical thinking, quantitative, and communication skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing global society.
  • Demonstrate broad knowledge of the physical, social, and cultural worlds as well as the methods by which this knowledge is produced.
  • Recognize that responsible global citizenship involves personal accountability, social equity, and environmental sustainability.
  • Apply your knowledge and skills, working in interdisciplinary ways to solve problems.


Foundational Skills and Dispositions (10-13 credits)

Courses listed under this category are intended to provide you with the basic skills necessary for intellectual development and to succeed in your studies at UW-Stevens Point, including critical thinking, quantitative literacy, information literacy, written and oral communication, and wellness. All requirements in the Foundational Skills and Dispositions must be completed before you reach 60 credits. If not, you will be restricted to enrolling for a maximum of 12 credits each semester until the Foundational Level is complete. You will complete 10-13 credits in this area, depending on your Written Communication placement. The subcategories are as follows:

Written Communication (3-6 credits)

Introductory writing classes provide an essential foundation of communication skills on which you can build throughout the rest of your university careers and beyond. They develop your skills in analyzing audience, structuring written documents, and understanding and applying the conventions of effective writing. Subsequent writing courses build upon these skills by helping you learn to locate sources, critically analyze information, and synthesize your ideas with those of others to write well-supported academic arguments. They also provide an essential starting point for the more specialized writing you will be expected to do in the future within your field of study. 

The Written Communication outcomes are typically satisfied by ENGL 101 - Freshman English  and ENGL 202 - Sophomore English . Students with an ACT English subscore of 24 or above will instead satisfy the Written Communication requirement by completing ENGL 150 - Advanced Freshman English . ENGL 101  should be taken during your freshman year. ENGL 202  should be taken during your sophomore year and will have a prerequisite of ENGL 101 .

Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:

  • Compose an articulate, thoughtful, grammatically correct, and logically organized piece of writing with properly documented and supported ideas, evidence, and information suitable to the topic, purpose, genre, and audience.
  • Apply your understanding of elements that shape successful writing to critique and improve your own and others’ writing through effective and useful feedback.

Critical Thinking (3 credits)

Critical Thinking is an essential part of a liberal education. Learning to think critically requires looking beyond the knowledge claims that characterize a subject to appreciate the justifications that are given for those knowledge claims. Critical Thinking courses taken early in a student’s college career help students develop a skill set that they will use throughout their college career, and beyond.

Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:

  • Recognize critical thinking as a process of identifying, analyzing, evaluating, and constructing reasoning in deciding what conclusions to draw (argumentation) or actions to take (decision-making and problem-solving).
  • Identify, analyze, evaluate, and construct reasoning as it is applied to general or discipline-specific questions or issues.
  • Communicate the analysis, evaluation, or construction of reasoning orally, visually, or in writing.

Quantitative Literacy (0-3 credits)

Quantitative literacy is knowledge of and confidence with basic mathematical/analytical concepts and operations required for problem-solving, decision-making, economic productivity and real-world applications. Such skills are essential for citizens living in today’s global society.

All Quantitative Literacy courses have a prerequisite of MATH 90  or higher. If you have a math placement of PC, TRIG, or CALC, your placement satisfies the Quantitative Literacy requirement and no coursework is required. See the Mathematical Sciences department page for more information on placement testing.

Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:

  • Select, analyze, and interpret appropriate numerical data used in everyday life in numerical and graphical format.
  • Identify and apply appropriate strategies of quantitative problem solving in theoretical and practical applications.
  • Construct a conclusion using quantitative justification.

Wellness (1 credit)

Wellness is a dynamic process of becoming aware of and making conscious choices toward a more balanced and healthy lifestyle. It is multi-dimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well being, and the environment. Wellness is an essential attribute of a well-rounded, liberally educated person and of strong societies. Understanding the dimensions of wellness and their impact on individuals, families, and societies is essential to being a responsible global citizen. Wellness is a one credit requirement but can be satisfied by a two or three credit course with the Wellness designation.

Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:

  • Assess your own wellness in each of the seven dimensions of wellness and explain how the dimensions and the interactions among them impact your overall personal health and well-being.
  • Develop an individual plan for healthy living that demonstrates an understanding of the principles of wellness.

Human Cultures and the Sciences (24 credits)

Building on the skills and knowledge from the Foundational Skills and Dispositions, courses listed under this category are meant to encourage students to acquire broad knowledge of the world in which they live, as well as the various disciplinary methods by which this knowledge is produced. All courses at the Human Cultures and the Sciences Level should be designed to serve one of two student populations:

  1. Survey courses designed to serve all students regardless of major; such courses do not presume academic or disciplinary preparation beyond the Foundational Skills and Dispositions Level.
  2. Courses designed to serve students in specific majors; such courses presume more advanced background preparation appropriate to the discipline.

Students must complete 24 credits in Human Cultures and the Sciences, comprised of approved General Education courses in Arts, Humanities, Historical Perspectives, Social Science, and Natural Science. All students must take a minimum of three credits in each subcategory, and can count a maximum of nine credits from any one subcategory toward the 24-credit total. Ordinarily, courses in the Human Cultures and the Sciences Level will not have prerequisites beyond the Foundational Level.

Arts (3-9 credits)

The arts celebrate the human capacity to imagine, to create, and to transform ideas into expressive forms. The arts provide us with a rich record of human cultures and values throughout time. They enable us to understand and enjoy the experience of our senses and to sharpen our aesthetic sense. Courses in the arts examine the process of creativity and explore the artistic imagination or the relationship between artists, their works, and the societies in which their works are produced. The arts challenge us to understand creativity and the distinctive intellectual process of the human imagination.

Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:

  • Describe, analyze, or critique creative works or cultural artifacts that reflect the human desire for beauty, order, or meaning.
  • Do at least ONE of the following:
    • Identify and explain the relationship between particular traditions or genres of creative expression and their social, historical, or cultural contexts.
    • Demonstrate an understanding of creative expression by producing or performing a creative work.

Humanities (3-9 credits)

The humanities explore the fundamental ideas and values shaping cultures and civilization, in life and as represented in the written word, using scholarly approaches that are primarily analytical, critical, or interpretive. By introducing you to concepts and beliefs within and outside your own perspectives, courses in the humanities help you to understand and critically engage a variety of worldviews and the ideas that give them meaning.

Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:

  • Read closely, think critically, and write effectively about texts or cultural artifacts that reflect on perennial questions concerning the human condition (such as the search for truth and meaning, the confrontation with suffering and mortality, or the struggle for justice, equality, and human dignity).
  • Investigate and thoughtfully respond to a variety of ideas, beliefs, or values held by persons in situations other than one’s own.

Historical Perspectives (3-9 credits)

An understanding of the past and the methods by which people seek to explain it are essential to finding meaning in the present. By exploring the evolution of human societies-their institutions, ideas, and values-you gain a framework for understanding yourself and the world; and you learn to make connections between history and the natural sciences, the social sciences, the arts, and the humanities.

Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:

  • Use primary sources as evidence to answer questions about historical change.
  • Describe differences among interpretations of the past.
  • Analyze institutional and cultural changes in one or more human societies over time.

Social Sciences (3-9 credits)

The social sciences provide you with an understanding of humans and their behavior as individuals and within communities, institutions, and social structures. Courses in this category equip you to contribute to public discourse and function as responsible citizens of your profession and community.

Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:

  • Explain or apply major concepts, methods, or theories used in the social sciences to investigate, analyze, or predict human behavior.
  • Examine and explain how social, cultural, or political institutions influence individuals or groups.

Natural Sciences (3-9 credits)

As the progress of our society becomes more dependent on science and technology, our future becomes increasingly dependent upon a scientifically literate population. Individuals today must be sufficiently knowledgeable about scientific facts, science applications, and the process of scientific inquiry in order to make reasoned decisions concerning their use in addressing society’s problems. Courses in this area must contain a laboratory component to help you develop an understanding of scientific inquiry.

Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:

  • Interpret information, solve problems, and make decisions by applying natural science concepts, methods, and quantitative techniques.
  • Explain major concepts, methods, or theories used in the natural sciences to investigate the physical world.
  • Describe the relevance of some aspect of the natural science to your life and society.

Social and Environmental Responsibility (0-9 credits)

Courses listed in this area are meant to foster greater awareness of cultural and environmental issues that currently shape today’s world as a means of better preparing you for responsible citizenship. In some cases, courses offered in this area will simultaneously satisfy a requirement within the Human Cultures and the Sciences category.

Global Awareness (0-3 credits)

Global Awareness courses examine the unique cultural, political, economic, intellectual, and/or religious components of societies, countries, regions, and peoples that are distinct from those found within the United States. By learning about these cultures, you can appreciate the key differences and similarities between diverse modes of human life and reach a better understanding of the human condition on a global scale. Moreover, this understanding will prepare you to act thoughtfully and responsibly in a global society.

Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:

  • Identify the key components found within one or more cultures that are distinct from those found in predominantly English-speaking cultures.
  • Analyze key forces or processes that contribute to global interconnectedness, and their implications.
  • Demonstrate curiosity and empathetic insight about diverse cultural perspectives.

U.S. Diversity (0-3 credits)

U.S. Diversity courses are designed to consider the role of diversity in American life, where diversity is defined to include both individual differences (e.g. personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and other group and social differences (e.g. race, gender, ethnicity, country of origin, class, sexual identity/orientation, religion, ability, or other affiliations). Satisfaction of this requirement will prepare you to act thoughtfully and responsibly as a U.S. citizen in a global society.

Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:

  • Describe how people or institutions in the United States have constructed diverse identities and cultures based on ability, ethnicity, gender, language, nationality, race, religion, sexuality, socio-economic status, etc.
  • Explain how individuals or groups in the United States have responded to the experience of discrimination and inequality.
  • Demonstrate understanding of and empathetic insight about diverse cultural perspectives in the United States.

Environmental Responsibility (0-3 credits)

Maintaining a sustainable natural environment is necessary to the long-term survival of all organisms, including humans. An understanding of the individual, social, cultural, and natural factors that influence and contribute to environmental sustainability and ecosystem function is, therefore, essential to responsible global citizenship.

Upon completing this requirement, you will be able to:

  • Identify interactions between human society and the natural environment.
  • Analyze the individual, social, cultural, and ecological factors that influence environmental sustainability.
  • Evaluate competing claims that inform environmental debates.

Test-Out and Credit-by-Exam Policy

You may test-out and/or receive credit-by-exam for any General Education Program (GEP) course at UW-Stevens Point.

When you pass an approved test in a GEP course, the requirement to enroll in the course is waived. You don’t earn credit when you test out, but the course applies toward fulfillment of that GEP requirement without enrolling in the course. Each department that offers courses for GEP credit has its own policy for test-out and/or credit-by-exam. Each policy will include:

  1. Whether you will be testing out of the requirement and/or receiving credit.
  2. The process for making exam arrangements.
  3. The type of exam, passing grade, any additional requirements, and whether you can take the exam more than once.
  4. Applicable fees. Academic departments may charge a fee per request to test-out or receive credit-by-exam for GEP courses. Departments will devise their own exams. You must check with each department and follow its specific requirements for testing out and/or receiving credit-by-exam for GEP requirement courses. If you receive test-out or credit-by-exam approval for a course that meets multiple GEP requirements, passing the test will satisfy all GEP requirements that are designated for that course.  This excludes Communication in the Major and Capstone Experience in the Major for students under the 2014-2020 GEP.