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General Education

The Purpose of General Education at the University of Oregon

The liberal arts and sciences form the foundation of the General Education curriculum at the University of Oregon. The General Education curriculum prizes a common educational experience for all students, and offers opportunities for mastery of linguistic, analytic and computational skills, as well as the development of aesthetic values. It fosters personal development and an expanded view of self. It offers a breadth of knowledge and a variety of modes of inquiry. It strives for coherence of learning through integration and synthesis. It seeks to impart enthusiasm for learning. It emphasizes critical thinking, logic, and effective reasoning along with a healthy skepticism. It encourages appreciation of heritage and culture and examines values and controversial issues.

The University of Oregon, as a comprehensive research university, offers opportunities through General Education to develop an understanding of and appreciation for:

  1. The centrality of effective communication and language facility
    • Oral and written communication
    • Group, interpersonal and technological communication


  2. The moral foundations of human interaction
    • Ethical judgment, personal and social responsibility
    • The increasing interdependence and diversity of world cultures
    • The consequences of current actions and policies


  3. The nature of the historical past and its relationship to the present
    • The common concerns and diverse responses of societies, past and present
    • Historical approaches to understanding contemporary issues


  4. The diversity of human experience through the study of various cultures
    • Culture and its tangible achievements
    • Creative expression
    • Critical approaches
    • Aesthetic standards
    • Oral and written histories


  5. The importance of modern sciences and technology
    • Science as an interrelated body of knowledge, rather than a collection of isolated facts
    • Scientific methods of discovery
    • Scientific perspectives on major problems facing society
    • Quantitative reasoning and computational skills


  6. The fundamentals and interrelationship of the human mind and body
    • Human behavior
    • Perception and cognition
    • Diverse modes of thought and creativity
    • Self awareness
    • Health and physical activity