Academic Catalog

General Education

The General Education Program

Consistent with Millersville University’s liberal arts-based education, the purpose of general education is to provide breadth of knowledge as a balance and complement to the depth provided by the major. This is necessary for the holistic development of Millersville graduates as responsible citizens in a diverse and technologically complex global community.

General Education Objectives. Students, working with advisors and taking into consideration prior knowledge and experience, purposefully select courses in the general education curriculum that meld with required courses, cocurricular and extracurricular activities, and courses in the major to achieve the following objectives:

Foundations for Lifelong Learning

Students will think, speak and write clearly. This is evidenced by:

  1. the clear presentation of ideas in formal spoken, written and media forms.
  2. the use of effective communication for ongoing dialogue.
  3. the ability to find appropriate sources of information, evaluate that information and integrate that information into a final product.
  4. the use of statistical methods and other techniques of mathematics to analyze and solve problems.

Critical Thinking Across the Liberal Arts

Students will demonstrate foundational knowledge of the important ideas and methods of different ways of knowing as follows:

  1. Courses in the arts and humanities challenge students to examine, analyze and critically evaluate artifacts of the human intellect and imagination to illuminate the complexity of the human experience. Through exposure to multiple voices, insights, objects and other creative works, students explore and interpret questions of meaning, fact and value. Ultimately, this engagement expands knowledge, deepens empathy and encourages collaboration between diverse individuals and communities.
  2. Courses in the sciences and mathematics develop students’ understanding and knowledge of scientific and mathematical reasoning and of strategies for logical problem solving. Students are challenged to recognize that scientific explanations offer falsifiable predictions, that claims must be supported by evidence and logical reasoning, and that the nature of scientific discovery and knowledge is fluid. Courses emphasize that the scientific meaning of fact, theory and law are not a hierarchy, and give students an appreciation of essential creative aspects of scientific process and discovery.
  3. Courses in the social sciences focus on the intricate relationship between human behavior and social institutions. Through qualitative and/or quantitative methods of inquiry, students discover and ascertain how human beings behave and are expected to behave, within certain contexts. This interaction allows students to comprehend and articulate the relationship between behavior and context across people, cultures, time and place.

Connections and Exploration

Students will connect important ideas and methods of inquiry from different disciplines as a means of becoming holistic and responsible citizens in a diverse and technologically complex global community. Students will:

  1. demonstrate civic and social responsibility.
  2. grow in their engagement with peoples of diverse histories and communities, both inside and outside the United States.
  3. build the foundation for a lifelong process of understanding, developing and monitoring healthy lifestyle behaviors in all dimensions of wellness, including physical, social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and environmental wellness.
  4. gain personal enrichment by developing new interests that can be enjoyed throughout a lifetime.

To meet these objectives, the general education program is organized into a structure with three components: Foundations for Lifelong Learning, Critical Thinking Across the Liberal Arts, and Connections and Exploration.

General Education Structure

(minimum 48 credits)

Foundations for Lifelong Learning Component

ENGL 110 English Composition

(0-3 credits)

This college-level competency requirement is in addition to the precollege proficiency requirement described earlier. Competence in English composition must be demonstrated in one of the following ways before the junior year:

  1. Achieving a combined score of 1100 in the verbal portion of the SAT and the SAT II English Writing Test. This is recorded as a waived requirement and does not cover credit hours.
  2. Achieving a score of 3 or higher in the Advanced Placement (AP) test in English Composition.
  3. Achieving a satisfactory score in the CLEP subject examination in English Composition.
  4. Passing the English Composition Competency Examination administered by the English department at the beginning of each fall and spring semester.
  5. Earning a grade of C- or higher in ENGL 110 English Composition.

COMM 100 Fundamentals of Speech

(3 credits)

College-level competency in speech must be demonstrated in one of the following ways, preferably before the junior year:

  1. Earning a grade of C- or higher in a competency examination administered by the Communication & Theatre department. To take this examination, register with the Communication & Theatre department by the end of the drop/add period.
  2. Earning a grade of C- or higher in COMM 100 Fundamentals of Speech.

Approved MATH course

(3-4 credits)

To develop mathematical reasoning ability, at least one approved general education math course must be successfully completed.

Advanced Writing

(3 credits)

A course to further enhance writing skills. Students who successfully complete their English composition requirement will take one of the approved Advanced Writing courses during their junior or senior years. Some departmental honors theses (499) are approved to meet this requirement. Some majors require a specific Advanced Writing course. Students should consult the appropriate curriculum sheet and their academic advisors before choosing a particular Advanced Writing course.

Critical Thinking Across the Liberal Arts Component

(9 courses—minimum 27 credits)

Three courses (minimum 9 credits) each in Humanities and Fine Arts (G1), Science and Mathematics (G2) and Social Sciences (G3).

In Science and Mathematics, two of the three courses must come from biology, chemistry, earth sciences and/or physics, including one which has a laboratory (L) component.

No more than two courses within each Liberal Arts area may be from a single department. Additionally, at least three courses taken throughout the three Liberal Arts areas must be at the 200 level or above.

Up to six courses required for the major from departments outside the major may be credited toward the Liberal Arts Component, but courses taught by the student’s major department may not be credited here.

Connections and Exploration Component

A total of nine credits from the following areas are required to complete the Connections and Exploration Component.

Approved Wellness Course

(3 credits)

The Wellness requirement is designed to assist students in making positive lifestyle changes that reduce their health risks, modify their consumer behavior and enhance their personal well-being and productivity.

Perspectives Course

(3 credits)

A major function of these courses is to apply analytical and critical-thinking abilities in resolving major social, cultural, scientific/technological and/or aesthetic problems. They are interdisciplinary and/or multicultural in content and require a high level of educational maturity, knowledge and thinking. Perspectives courses encourage undergraduate students to make independent and responsible value judgments and decisions.

Perspectives courses integrate the knowledge acquired throughout the baccalaureate experience. For example, perspectives courses nurture and extend the basic communications skills developed in the Foundations for Lifelong Learning Component of general education. Moreover, perspectives courses demonstrate how different areas of knowledge gained in the Critical Thinking Across the Liberal Arts Component of general education are complementary.

The following stipulations apply to perspectives courses:

  1. Prior to enrolling in a perspectives course, each student must have successfully completed English composition, fundamentals of speech and earned at least 60 credits (junior standing).
  2. Students must satisfactorily complete one 3-credit perspectives course from a list of approved courses, which may be either in the major department or outside the major department.
  3. No perspectives course may be counted within the Critical Thinking Across the Liberal Arts Component of general education.
  4. Students who complete an academic fall or spring semester abroad as part of a baccalaureate degree will be considered to have fulfilled the perspectives requirement. International students studying at Millersville will also be considered to have fulfilled the perspectives requirement. This waiver does not cover credit hours. A student employing this waiver will be required to satisfy three credit hours of general education courses in lieu of the waived three-credit perspectives course. This is in addition to any other Open Elective requirements of the student.

First Year Inquiry Seminar

(0 or 3 credits)

Incoming students are encouraged to take a First Year Inquiry (FYI) seminar, which will count as part of a Connections and Exploration Component. The FYI seminar is a component of general education specifically designed for first-semester, first year students and offered in a seminar format, typically linked to a foundations course (either ENGL 110 English Composition or COMM 100 Fundamentals of Speech) as part of a learning community.

A major function of these FYI seminars is to introduce a process of critical inquiry applied to important social, cultural, scientific, technological and/or aesthetic problems. Each FYI seminar will introduce multiple perspectives related to the understanding and resolution of these problems. A second function of these FYI seminars is to support students’ transition into the college experience academically, socially and personally. For those students who do not complete a FYI course, an additional open elective would be completed to satisfy the overall 12 credits required for the Connections and Exploration Component.

Additional Requirements

Cultural Diversity and Community

Each student must satisfactorily complete one 3-credit cultural diversity and community course from a list of approved courses. This course may also count toward any additional requirements (major, minor or general education) of the baccalaureate degree. Cultural Diversity and Community is a requirement of the Connections and Exploration Component of general education. This requirement aligns general education with the University’s mission to foster in students an appreciation for cultural diversity. Here, “cultural diversity” refers to the differences among people in terms of beliefs, customs, values, politics and experiences. In essence, culture is a worldview; it is both learned and evolved. The following factors are seen as underlying these differences: age, economics, education, gender, geography, language, nationality, occupation, physical ability, race and ethnicity, religious affiliation and/or sexual orientation, among others. A Cultural Diversity and Community course is more than a mere survey or exposure of the students to different cultures; rather, it teaches students to think critically about the basis for intercultural differences.


These courses ensure that undergraduate students have the opportunity to develop competence and confidence in their writing skills. The English 110 competency must be satisfied prior to enrollment in “W” courses. Each student must satisfactorily complete three 3-credit courses from a list of approved courses. These courses may also count toward any additional requirements (major, minor or general education) of the baccalaureate degree.

Courses Approved to Satisfy General Education Requirements

Lists of courses that may be credited toward each of the general education requirements are available from the academic advisement office, the academic advisement web page and the web class schedule.