Liberal Education Information


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Mission of the Liberal Education Program at UMD

A liberal education prepares individuals to lead productive and socially responsible lives in a diverse and rapidly changing world. Liberal education 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. Liberally educated students are “Prepared, Informed, and Committed.”

Liberal Education Categories

The Liberal Education Program consists of 10 categories across three domains:

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 Domain (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) 

The Liberal Education Program requires a maximum of 39 credits of coursework; however, a single course can be used to satisfy multiple requirements, reducing the total number of credits. The following options are available for designing courses to meet multiple requirements. 

  • A Liberal Education course that meets the criteria for part II (Knowledge Domain) 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 Liberal Education Program requirements.

  • Liberal Education courses offered at the 3000- and 4000-level within the major satisfying the Key Topics requirement will not be required to serve a wide spectrum of students.

  • If approved by the relevant department, a Liberal Education course may also be used to satisfy a requirement in a student’s major or minor. 

All courses currently approved in the Liberal Education Program can be viewed at: http://www.d.umn.edu/catalogs/current/futurelibed.html

Effective Fall 2016, successful completion of one of the following Study Abroad Programs substitutes for the Global Perspectives category within the Liberal Education Program:

  • Approved UMD or UMD-affiliate long-term programs (semester or year-long)
  • Approved UMD short term programs (less than a semester, typically 3 weeks long)
  • Approved UMD-affiliate short-term programs that include a Global Perspectives Education course listed in the UMD Study Abroad Foreign Course database.