Jun 13, 2024  
2022 - 2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022 - 2023 Undergraduate Catalog [FINAL EDITION]

General Education

Students in the College of Arts and Sciences complete their general education requirements as part of the university distribution requirements. Distribution requirements require students to take 12 credits in each of the areas of humanities, science, and social science. The general education requirements of the college provide more direction to help students master important skills and knowledge areas. The university distribution requirements specifying that students complete 12 credits in each of the three areas have been incorporated into the general education program developed by the college. The program is based upon the following goals and objectives:

  1. A liberally educated person communicates effectively.
    1. Students will be able to give a presentation before a group.
    2. Students will be able to write papers that require locating, analyzing, and formally referencing information sources to support conclusions.
  2. A liberally educated person will be able to think, read, and communicate critically, and will understand and be able to use frameworks of ethical judgment.
    1. Students will examine, evaluate, and refine their habits of thinking, and accept ambiguity while questioning assumptions and ideas.
    2. Students will be able to make claims and draw conclusions supported by the marshalling and evaluation of evidence.
    3. Students will synthesize divergent contents, methodologies, and models as reflective learners and thinkers across and within disciplines.
    4. Students will develop the theoretical tools and imaginative capacity to make ethical judgments and effectively empathize with others.
    5. Students will demonstrate an awareness of different points of view and analyze how these are informed by factors that may include culture, ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, gender identity, age, disabilities, language, religion, sexual orientation, or geographical area, among others.
  3. A liberally educated person uses quantitative methods effectively.
    1. Students will be able to use mathematical methods to solve problems.
    2. Students will be able to interpret, make inferences, and draw conclusions from data presented in tabular or graphical form.
    3. Students will be able to determine if numerical results are reasonable.
  4. A liberally educated person appreciates diversity and possesses the intellectual foundations of a variety of disciplines, including their histories and processes of knowledge construction; and the understanding necessary to apply their background to the theories and models of those disciplines.
    1. Students will have the intellectual background to understand how science explains the workings of the natural and physical world using theories and models that can be tested using experiments and observations.
    2. Students will understand and apply social science theories and qualitative and quantitative methods to questions of individual and group behavior.
    3. Students will acquire historical and aesthetic knowledge, and use analysis and interpretation to evaluate and critique historical and aesthetic context, evidence, artifacts, and arguments.


The following general education requirements have been established for the College of Arts and Sciences.


Competence in writing, mathematics, critical thinking, and computer skills are identified as goals of general education.

Writing Skills

The writing general education requirements are:

  • Writing Enriched Courses. In addition to ENGL 101 , students must complete at least four courses (preferably one per year) that are designated as writing enriched.
  • Annual Writing Sample. Each fall semester, all students, except freshmen, will be given the writing sample administered by the Writing Center. Students who score at level 3 or below during the sophomore year or at level 4 or below during the junior year will be referred to the Writing Center for additional help.
  • Level 5 Competency. All students must attain level 5 competency on the writing sample prior to graduation. Students may satisfy the level 5 requirement any time in the junior or senior year. Students who do not attain level 5 during the fall of their junior year (or first semester of third year) will be encouraged to begin to satisfy the level 5 requirement early.

Mathematics Skills

The mathematics general education requirements are:

  • MATH 101  or at least Level 3 on the Mathematics Assessment.
  • Completion of one MATH course beyond MATH 101 , or completion of PHIL 120 . The MATH course counts as one of the required science general education courses; PHIL 120  counts as one of the required humanities general education courses.

Quantitative Reasoning

Completion of one course beyond the mathematics/PHIL 120  requirement designated “Quantitative Reasoning” (QR). QR courses expect students to (a) use simple mathematical methods from arithmetic, algebra, geometry, or statistics to solve problems; (b) determine if numerical results are reasonable; (c) recognize the limitations of the methods they have been taught to use; and (d) interpret, make inferences, and draw conclusions from data presented in tabular or graphical form. These goals are a central focus, and emphasis on quantitative reasoning is sustained throughout the required course. QR courses are structured so that the emphasis is on students doing the reasoning. The students’ work in these courses takes the form of problem sets, projects, computer programs, field research, lab reports, and similar assignments, and involves a process of growth through opportunities to correct/revise assignments.

Computer Skills

Computer skills appropriate to the major.

Critical Thinking

Satisfied by courses in the major and the Values Seminar.

Humanities (12 Credits)

Courses in the humanities foster a sense of historical consciousness, aesthetic appreciation, and philosophical judgment. The study of the humanities demands rigorous interpretation and openness to multiple perspectives. Through this program, students develop depth and breadth in their understanding of the human condition.

  • History, art history, or music history course (3 credits)*
  • Aesthetics/philosophy—Any course in literature (ENGL 115  or above), modern language (FREN/ITAL/SPAN 303 or above), art history, dance, creative writing, fine arts, music (excluding performance except for MUS 140,231,241,242), philosophy, studio art, or theater (3 credits)*
  • Two additional courses in humanities (6 credits)

At least one of these four courses must be at an advanced level (300 level). This requirement may be met by students taking two semesters of modern language at the elementary or intermediate level in the same language.

* The same course cannot be used to satisfy both the aesthetics/philosophy and the history requirements.

Science (12 Credits)

Awareness of the natural world requires cultivation of the knowledge of and insight into phenomena that affect all life forms. Observation and reflection lead scientists to propose explanations for natural and physical phenomena that have predictive power and are both testable and falsifiable through carefully controlled experimentation. The constant forming, testing, and revising of hypotheses define the process of science and lead to the formation of scientific knowledge. Integral to this process, scientists respect the beauty inherent in the order and diversity of the natural and the physical realms.

  • Three to four science courses, including one semester of a science course with an associated laboratory (12 credits)

Students at Widener University are required to take 12 credits of sciences to learn how scientists acquire, synthesize, evaluate, and question knowledge. In these courses, students develop an understanding of how scientific knowledge is constructed and learn quantitative and qualitative skills necessary to develop models, propose and test hypotheses, and evaluate experimental results. Students learn how to access and clearly communicate scientific information, critically analyze conclusions, and judge the limits of scientific methods. As a result of these experiences, students acquire critical-thinking skills and an understanding of ethical conduct in science, thereby developing their ability to make rational, informed decisions about the use of science and technology in society.

Social Science (12 Credits)

Courses in the social sciences develop an appreciation for both the quantitative and qualitative methods for assessing human behaviors and interactions. Research questions are grounded in theoretical assumptions. The courses encompass a range of disciplines: anthropology, communication studies, criminal justice, political science, psychology, and sociology.

  • Societal/cultural perspective—Two introductory social science courses in different fields (6 credits)
  • Advanced study—Two additional courses in social science, one of which must be at an advanced level (200 level and above) (6 credits)

Interdisciplinary Course Option (Flexible Credits)

Students who successfully complete a designated Arts and Sciences interdisciplinary course (ASC prefix) have the option to apply the credits toward fulfillment of coursework in any one of the distribution areas associated with the course (humanities, science, or social science). Students may not apply the credits to replace the math and lab science requirements from the sciences, the history or aesthetics/philosophy requirement from the humanities, the 200-level social science requirement, or 300-level humanities requirement unless the course is clearly specified as applicable by the Arts and Sciences Curriculum and Planning Committee.

Values Seminar (3 Credits)

An upper-level interdisciplinary course that involves a discussion of values as affecting individual and societal decision making. Prerequisites: junior or senior status and completion of a minimum of six semester hours in each of the three divisions.

Academic Requirements

Students are expected to make regular progress toward completion of course and cumulative grade-point average requirements for their major. In accordance with university requirements, a student will be dismissed who fails to meet the minimum standards for academic progress. A student who falls below a 2.0 cumulative average will be limited to 12 semester hours in the following semester. Subsequent failure to demonstrate progress toward the minimum standard will result in either a warning that the student is subject to dismissal at the next semester-end review or dismissal from the college.