Accessible Navigation. Go to: Navigation Main Content Footer

 Faculty Senate

The University of Montana

General Education Criteria/ Outcomes  - Approved 5/1/08                                                            


Group II Mathematics
Mathematical literacy implies an appreciation of the beauty of mathematics, an ability to apply mathematical reasoning, and an understanding of how mathematics and statistics are used in many arenas. Mathematical literacy may be obtained through the study of topics such as the properties of numbers, mathematical modeling, geometry, data analysis and probability, with the overarching goal of learning mathematical reasoning and problem solving

Mathematical literacy cannot be achieved in a single course.  However, for the purposes of general education, the mathematical literacy requirement  can be  met by any one of the following:  

1) achieving a grade of C-or better in one of the following courses which address different aspects of mathematical literacy: Math 107, 109, 111, 112, 117, 121, 130, or a mathematics course of 3 or more credits for which one of these is a prerequisite.  

2) achieving a score of 50 or better on the CLEP College Algebra Test, the CLEP College Precalculus Test, or the CLEP College Mathematics Test.

3) 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 only 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.

Any course which satisfies the mathematical literacy requirement must have as its primary goal to teach mathematical reasoning and problem solving at a college level. Department of Mathematical Sciences approval is required.

Learning Goals:
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 III
Students are encouraged to complete their modern and classical language or symbolic systems courses early, so that they can apply those skills to upper division coursework. 


Group III Modern and Classical Languages  
Courses must encompass the comprehensive study of a natural language other than written or spoken contemporary English.


Courses must encompass the comprehensive study of a natural language, excluding written, spoken contemporary English, with the aim of achieving at least a basic functional competency in that language. The course should follow a rigorous and pedagogically sound methodology and practice. Language courses proposed outside of current MCLL offerings must be approved by the MCLL Department.

Learning Goals:

Upon completion of the Modern and Classical Languages sequence the student will have a basic functional knowledge of a second natural language sufficient to:

  • 1. read and write if the language is classical, such as Latin;
  • 2. speak and aurally comprehend, if the language does not have a written tradition, such as Salish;
  • 3. perform all four skills (speaking, aural comprehension, reading, and writing) if the language is modern and has a written tradition, such as Japanese or French.
  • 4. demonstrate both receptive (visual comprehension) and expressive (manual production) proficiency if the language is American Sign Language.

Group III Symbolic Systems
These courses present the foundations of a symbolic system, defined as a relationship that maps real-world objects, principles and doctrines with abstractions of the real-world. 

These systems facilitate communication in specialized ways but do not comprise a spoken or written language by which members of a culture typically communicate with each other.


  • 1. rigorously present a mapping between a real-world system and a human abstraction of the system.
  • 2. applies analysis, reasoning and creative thinking in the understanding and manipulation of symbolic codes.

•3.     utilizes alternative methods of communication, perception, and expression in order to encourage rigorous thinking.


Learning Goals
Upon completion of this group, students will be able to:

  • 1. demonstrate an understanding of the symbols and the transformations of the system
  • 2. relay and interpret information in terms of the given symbolic system.
  • 3. apply creative thinking using the symbolic system in order to solve problems and communicate ideas;




Group IV Expressive Arts
Expressive Arts courses are activity-based and emphasize the value of learning by doing in an artistic context.

Courses guide students, whether in individual or group settings, to acquire foundational skills to engage in the creative process and/or in interpretive performance.  Through direct experience (for example, attendance and involvement with live performance, exhibitions, workshops, and readings), they will engage in critical assessment of their own work and the work of others.

Learning Goals

Upon completion of this perspective students will be able to:

  • 1. express themselves in the making of an original work or creative performance;
  • 2. understand the genres and/or forms that have shaped the medium; and
  • 3. critique the quality of their own work and that of others.

Group V Literary and Artistic Studies
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.



Courses cover a number of works in one or more of the various forms of artistic representation; they also establish a framework and context for analysis of the structure and significance of these works.  In addition, these courses provide mechanisms for students 1) to receive instruction on the methods of analysis and criticism, 2) to develop arguments about the works from differing critical perspectives.

Learning goals
Upon completion of this perspective, students will be able to:

  • 1. analyze works of art with respect to structure and significance within literary and artistic traditions, including emergent movements and forms; and
  • 2. develop coherent arguments that critique these works from a variety of approaches, such as historical, aesthetic, cultural, psychological, political, and philosophical.


Group VI: Historical and Cultural Studies
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.


Courses teach students how to: present ideas and information with a view to understanding the causes, development, and consequences of historical events;  evaluate  texts or artifacts within their historical and/or cultural contexts; and analyze human behavior, ideas, and institutions within their respective historical and/or cultural contexts.

The course justification should explain the approach and focus with respect to its chronological, geographical, and/or topical content. A methodological component (e.g. historiography or ethnography) must be apparent.

Learning Goals
Upon completion of this perspective, a student will be able to:

  • 1. synthesize ideas and information with a view to understanding the causes and consequences of historical developments and events;
  • 2. evaluatetextsor artifacts within their historical and/or cultural contexts;
  • 3. analyze human behavior, ideas, and institutions within their respective historical and/or cultural contexts.

Group VII Social Science
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. 




  • 1. systematically study individuals, groups, or social institutions;
  • 2. analyze individuals, groups, or social problems and structures; and/or
  • 3. give considerable attention toways in which conclusions and generalizations are developed and justified as well as the methods of data collection and analysis.
  • 1. Learning Goals
    Students taking courses in the Social Sciences Perspective will be able to: Describe the nature, structure, and historical development of human behavior, organizations, social phenomena, and/or relationships;
  • 2. use theory in explaining these individual, group, or social phenomena; and/or
  • 3. understand, assess, and evaluate how conclusions and generalizations are justified based on data




Group VIII Ethics and Human Values 
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.


  • 1. Courses focus on one or more of the specific traditions of ethical thought (either Western or non-Western), on basic ethical topics such as justice or the good life as seen through the lens of one or more traditions of ethical thought, or on a professional practice within a particular tradition of ethical thought.


  • 2. Courses provide a rigorous analysis of the basic concepts and forms of reasoning which define the traditions, the ethical topics, or the professional practices that are being studied.

Learning goals
Upon completion of an Ethics and Human Values course, students will be able to:

  • 1. correctly apply the basic concepts and forms of reasoning from the tradition or professional practice they studied to ethical issues that arise within those traditions or practices;
  • 2. analyze and critically evaluate the basic concepts and forms of reasoning from the tradition or professional practice they studied.

Group IX: American and European Perspectives
These courses present a critical introduction to the antecedents, principles, institutions, cultures, traditions and legacies of the United States and Europe.


Courses focus on either area and can be comparative in content or approach.  The courses are broad in theme, geography, or chronology. They are foundational and prepare students for further study by raising core questions of an academic discipline.  

Learning Goals
Upon completion of this perspective, students will be able to:

  • 1. Demonstrate informed and reasoned understanding of American and/or European historical and contemporary behavior, ideas, institutions, and culture; and
  • 2. Analyze and evaluate what is distinctive and significant about the American and/or European experience and legacy.


Group X Indigenous and Global Perspectives
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.

Indigenous studies focus upon "first peoples" and their descendants who derive their cultural communal identities from their long-standing and/or historical habitation of particular places. These courses foster an appreciation for indigenous peoples, their histories and cultures, and their struggles both to maintain their ways of life and gain equal positions in world spheres of power and change.

Global studies investigate how societies and nations interact through human endeavor and /or natural processes. These courses encourage students to relate their knowledge of particular parts of the world, with their individual identities, to larger trends and issues that affect multiple societies and environments. These include regional, national, and even transnational cultural flows, as well as a multiplicity of environmental processes and economic relationships.



Indigenous and/or global courses will familiarize students with the values, histories, and institutions of two or more societies through the uses of comparative approaches.

Indigenous perspective courses address the longstanding tenure of a particular people in a particular geographical region, their histories, cultures, and ways of living as well as their interaction with other groups, indigenous and non-indigenous.

Global perspective courses adopt a broad focus with respect to time, place, and subject matter and one that is transnational and/or multi-cultural/ethnic in nature.  Whether the cultures or societies under study are primarily historical or contemporary, courses investigate significant linkages or interactions that range across time and space.

Learning Goals
Upon completion of a course in this perspective, students will:

  • 1. place human behavior and cultural ideas into a wider (global/indigenous) framework, and enhance their understanding of the complex interdependence of nations and societies and their physical environments;
  • 2. demonstrate an awareness of the diverse ways humans structure their social, political, and cultural lives; and
  • 3. analyze and compare the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in the 21st century including those of their own societies and cultures.



Group XI Natural Science
These courses present scientific conclusions about the structure and function of the natural world, demonstrate or exemplify scientific questioning and validation of findings.


  • 1. Courses explore a discipline in the natural sciences and demonstrate how the scientific method is used within the discipline to draw scientific conclusions.
  • 2. Courses address the concept of analytic uncertainty and the rigorous process required to take an idea to a hypothesis and then to a validated scientific theory.
  • 3. Lab courses engage students in inquiry-based learning activities where they formulate a hypothesis, design an experiment to test the hypothesis, and collect, interpret, and present the data to support their conclusions.

Learning Goals
Upon completion of this perspective, a student will be able to:

  • 1. understand the general principles associated with the discipline(s) studied;
  • 2. understand the methodology and activities scientists use to gather, validate and interpret data related to natural processes;
  • 3. detect patterns, draw conclusions, develop conjectures and hypotheses, and test them by appropriate means and experiments;
  • 4. understand how scientific laws and theories are verified by quantitative measurement, scientific observation, and logical/critical reasoning; and
  • 5. understand the means by which analytic uncertainty is quantified and expressed in the natural sciences.


Faculty Senate

The University of Montana

Missoula, MT 59812