What are General Education Requirements?
General education requirements (GERs) are intended to give structure to each student’s education while providing the student the greatest possible freedom to design an individual academic program. These requirements include two major categories, competency and distribution.
Your academic success coach will assist in creating your Individualized Learning Plan, which will incorporate competency sets required for your program, including those that meet GERs. All transferable prior college coursework will be considered in meeting program requirements. Students with an Associate of Arts and Science degree from the UW Colleges are considered as having met UW-Milwaukee GERs.
Oral and Written Communication Competency
Part A: Completion can be demonstrated by satisfying one of the following options:
1. Earning at least three credits with a grade of C or higher in English 102, or transferring at least three credits with a grade of C or higher in a course equivalent to English 102 or higher level expository writing course, or
2. Achieving an appropriate score on the UW System English Placement Test (EPT).
Part B: Satisfied by completing an approved advanced Competency Set or previously completed course (at least three credits) with a significant written or oral communication component.
Competency sets that count toward this requirement may be offered in a variety of disciplines and students are encouraged to choose the course that matches their interests and helps them best meet the requirements of their degrees.
Quantitative Literacy Competency
Part A. Completion can be demonstrated by satisfying one of the following options:
Earning at least three credits with a grade of C or higher in Math 103 (formerly 106), 105, 175 or equivalent competency set or courses, or
Achieving a placement code of at least 30 on the UW System mathematics placement test.
Part B. Satisfied by completing at least one approved competency set or previously completed course (at least three credits) as determined by the academic major. These make significant use of quantitative tools in the context of other course material.
Foreign Language Requirement:
Completion of the foreign language requirement can be demonstrated by satisfying one of the following options:
- Prior to enrollment at UWM, complete, with passing grades, at least two consecutive years of high school-level instruction in a single foreign language, or
- Complete at least two consecutive competency sets (or previously completed semesters (minimum total of six credits) of college level instruction in a single foreign language, or
- Demonstrate foreign language ability equivalent to two competency sets of college-level instruction by means of a satisfactory score on an approved placement, proficiency, departmental or other appropriate examination.
NOTE: Students who entered UW-Milwaukee as freshmen and/or earned transferable credit prior to September, 1999 are not responsible for this foreign language competency requirement. However, individual schools and colleges may require completion of higher level foreign language competency. Your Academic Success Coach will inform you of any such requirements.
Other Exceptions to General Education Requirements
Students who entered UW-Milwaukee as freshmen and/or earned transferable credit prior to September 2013 are not responsible for the Oral and Written Communication Part B or the Quantitative Literacy Part B.
In general, second-degree candidates from an accredited institution and students whose first semester in a degree program at an accredited institution predates September 1986 are not subject to the general education requirements.
All degree programs have specific requirements beyond GER. Your Academic Success Coach will work with you to design an appropriate course of study.
You can satisfy the distribution requirements by successfully completing competency sets or courses in the following areas:
- Arts: Three credits about the history, philosophy, theory, or practice of the creative and interpretive arts (e.g., visual arts, dance, music, theatre, creative writing).
- Humanities: Total of six credits in at least two competency sets or courses
- Natural Sciences: Total of six credits in at least two competency sets or courses. At least one competency set or course must include laboratory or field experience involving the generation and testing of data, and the application of concepts and knowledge to the solution of problems.
- Social Sciences: Total of six credits in at least two competency sets or courses
- Cultural Diversity: Three credits in a competency set or course relating to the study of life experiences of African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians or Asian Americans. Many, but not all, courses which satisfy Cultural Diversity also satisfy one of the required distribution areas. (You will need to satisfy this requirement if you started attending UW-Milwaukee in fall 1989 or thereafter.)
Cultures and Communities
Students may choose the Cultures and Communities option to satisfy their GER distribution requirements. These competency sets or courses emphasize diversity and cross-cultural literacy, multicultural arts, global studies, and the cultural contexts of science, health care, and technology. A Service Learning competency set or course is also required.
Courses which have been approved as satisfying the GER distribution requirements are listed on the Courses Approved for GER Distribution pages. A course can be counted in only one of the main distribution areas (Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences or Social Sciences), but may also satisfy the Cultural Diversity requirement if it is on the approved list.