UM Advising Commons

General Education

All University of Montana students, regardless of their majors, complete a core set of courses called GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS. These requirements are designed to provide a sound liberal arts background, as well as strong analytical and communication skills.

All courses taken to satisfy General Education Requirements must be taken for a traditional letter grade and must be C- or better.

Students are cautioned that approved courses may change from year to year. To be used for General Education credit, a course must be listed as approved in the Class Schedule for the semester a student registers for it.

General Education Requirements (GERs) are comprised of 11 groups:

Group I: English Writing Skills

  • English composition course, either WRIT 101, WRIT 201 or transfer equivalent (C/2.0, or better).
  • One writing course (see Catalog for approved list)–may be exempt if more than 27 credits are transferred at the time of initial registration.
  • Upper-Division Writing Proficiency Assessment (taken upon completion of ENEX 101, one other writing course, and 45 semester credits).
  • Upper-Division Writing Expectations of the major (see Catalog for approved list).

Group II: Mathematics

At least one college math course (C-/1.70, or better) in one of the following courses: Math 105 (107), 104 (109), 121 (111), 122 (112), 115 (117), 151 (121), 135 (130), or a mathematics course of 3 or more credits for which one of these is a prerequisite. Students may also fulfill this requirement by achieving a score of 50 or better on the CLEP College Algebra Test, the CLEP College Precalculus Test, or the CLEP College Mathematics Test or by passing the Mathematical Literacy Examination administered by the Department of Mathematical Sciences. To qualify to take the Mathematical Literacy Examination, a student must have achieved a score of 630 or better on the SAT Math exam or a score of 28 or better on the ACT Math exam. A student may take the Mathematical Literacy Examination only once. Further details are available from the Department of Mathematical Sciences.

Students must complete the mathematical literacy requirement by the time they have earned 30 credits; if not, they must register for a mathematical sciences course every semester until they have completed the requirement. Because many other courses at the university assume some mathematical literacy, it is strongly recommended that all students complete their mathematical literacy requirement as soon as possible.

Upon completion of the mathematical literacy requirement, a student will be able to effectively apply mathematical or statistical reasoning to a variety of applied or theoretical problems.

Group IIIA: Modern and Classical Language

Students must complete successfully the second semester* of a Modern and Classical Language or equivalent by department exam OR an approved sequence in symbolic systems (see Catalog for approved list). International students from non English speaking countries may satisfy this requirement by presenting a TOEFL score of 580 or greater, or by successful completion of ESL/LING 250 or 450, or by presenting a department approved application for degree.

* Three 3 credit courses of Irish are required to fulfill the general education requirement

Group IIIB: Exceptions to the Modern and Classical Language requirement – Symbolic Systems

Certain majors have been granted exceptions to the Modern and Classical Language requirement. Students graduating in any one of the approved majors may substitute the symbolic system course or courses designated by the major. For a complete list of these majors and the approved symbolic system sequence, view the current Catalog’s “General Education” section.

Group IV: Expressive Arts (A)

Expressive Arts courses are activity-based and emphasize the value of learning by doing in an artistic context.  These courses are designated with an (A) in the Catalog and Class Schedule.

Group V: Literary and Artistic Studies (L)

In these courses, students develop familiarity with significant works of artistic representation, including literature, music, visual art, and/or performing arts.  Through this experience, students enhance their analytical skills and explore the historical, aesthetic, philosophical, and cultural features of these works. These courses are designated with an (L).

Group IV: Historical and Cultural Studies (H)

These courses present the historical or cultural contexts of ideas and institutions, and examine cultural development or differentiation in the human past. They are foundational in that they are wide-ranging in chronological, geographical, or topical focus, or in that they introduce students to methods of inquiry specific to a particular discipline. These courses are designated with an (H).

Group VII: Social Sciences (S)

Social science courses describe and analyze human social organization and interaction, employing social data at a broad scale with statistical relevance, experimental data on individuals or groups, or qualitative data based on observation and discourse. These courses are designated with an (S).

Group VIII: Ethics and Human Values (E)

Ethics and Human Values courses familiarize students with one or more traditions of ethical thought. These courses rigorously present the basic concepts and forms of reasoning that define and distinguish each tradition. The focus of these courses may be on one or more of these traditions, or on a concept such as justice or the good life as conceptualized within one or more of these traditions, or on a professional practice within a particular tradition. These courses are designated with an (E).

Group IX: American and European Perspectives (Y)

These courses present a critical introduction to the antecedents, principles, institutions, cultures, traditions and legacies of the United States and Europe.  These courses are designated with an (Y).

Group X: Indigenous and Global Perspectives (X)

This perspective instills knowledge of diverse cultures in comparative and thematic frameworks. Students are encouraged to cultivate ways of thinking that foster an understanding of the complexities of indigenous cultures and global issues, past and present. Students will learn how geographically and culturally separate parts of the world are linked by various, multiple interactions.  These courses are designated with an (X).

Group XI: Natural Sciences (N)

These courses present scientific conclusions about the structure and function of the natural world, and demonstrate or exemplify scientific questioning and validation of findings. Students are required to take six credits in this group as well as a natural science lab experience (see the Catalog for an approved list).  These courses are designated with an (N).


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