Liberal Education


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Liberal Education

Liberal Education Program Overview

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Students who began at UMD in the fall 2012, or later, will be required to fulfill the following liberal education program requirements. Students who began at UMD prior to the fall of 2012 may also follow these requirements to fulfill their liberal education program. See the Catalog Use guidelines.

Liberal Education credit is NOT applied retroactively. For example, if a student took a non-liberal education course, in Fall 2015, and the course was subsequently approved for liberal education credit in Fall 2016, the student DOES NOT receive liberal education credit retroactively. Petitions requesting approval will be denied. Students do have the option of changing their liberal education catalog year, if they choose, upon the advice of their advisor.

Mission Statement: The Goals of a Liberal Education

A liberal education prepares individuals to lead productive and socially responsible lives in a diverse and rapidly changing world. The Liberal Education Program at UMD helps students develop competencies that can be adapted for use in any occupation and by virtually any individual. Liberal education at UMD is not restricted to any particular part of the curriculum but is woven through each student’s course of study, including core requirements and requirements for the major.

The new program includes detailed criteria that bind courses together and help to create a common experience across the disciplines. It promotes greater integration of liberal education throughout the student’s undergraduate education by encouraging the incorporation of liberal education courses into the major and in upper division courses.

Liberally educated students are “Prepared, Informed, and Committed.”

Prepared to:

  • identify, analyze and solve problems, demonstrating critical and analytical thinking competency within and across various fields of knowledge
  • think creatively, demonstrating intellectual curiosity, imagination and flexibility
  • communicate effectively through writing and speaking
  • work productively, independently and through collaboration
  • access, evaluate, and make use of information gathered through multiple methodologies

Informed about:

  • the foundations of knowledge and inquiry about nature, culture and society
  • the past and its relevance to the present and the future
  • controversies and unanswered questions in multiple domains of knowledge

Committed to:

  • life-long learning
  • civic engagement and social responsibilities
  • knowledge and competence across cultures
  • considering ethical implication of ideas and actions
  • understanding contemporary global issues

Total Credit Requirement for the Liberal Education Core

The new Liberal Education Core requires a maximum of 39 credits of course work; however, a single course can be used to satisfy multiple requirements, reducing the total number of credits.

Part I. Language and Reasoning Skills (9 credits)

a. Writing and Information Literacy - WRIT 1120 (3 credits)
b. Oral Communication and Languages (3 credits)
c. Logic and Quantitative Reasoning (3 credits)

Part II. Knowledge Domains (21 credits)

a. Natural Sciences (6 credits, 2 designators*, 1 lab)
b. Social Sciences (6 credits, 2 designators*)
c. Humanities (6 credits, 2 designators*)
d. Fine Arts (3 credits)

Part III. Key Topics (9 credits)

a. Global Perspectives (3 credits)
b. Cultural Diversity in the US (3 credits)
c. Sustainability (3 credits)

  • An LE Core course that meets the criteria for part II (Knowledge Domains) and part III (Key Topics) may be used to fulfill both requirements. A course in the major that meets the criteria for parts Ib, Ic, II and/or III may be used to satisfy both major and LE Core requirements

Courses that also apply towards other topics are noted as follows:

GPCourse may also fulfill the Global Perspectives category.

CDCourse may also fulfill the Cultural Diversity in the U.S. category.

SCourse may also fulfill the Sustainability category.

NSCourses may also fulfill the Natural Sciences category.

SSCourses may also fulfill the Social Sciences category.

HCourses may also fulfill the Humanities category.

FACourses may also fulfill the Fine Arts category.

*Designator simply means course subject area or prefix. Two designators would mean taking 2 different subjects. For example, taking a Biology (BIOL) course and a Chemistry (CHEM) course in your natural science area.