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A comprehensive web site on the UW-Madison undergraduate General
Education requirements, including lists of courses fulfilling
the Communications, Quantitative Reasoning, and Ethnic Studies
requirements as well as a "frequently asked questions"
section, can be found at http://www.ls.wisc.edu/gened.
Campus-wide undergraduate General Education requirements went into effect
in the fall semester, 1996-97 for all undergraduates whose initial college
matriculation date is on or after May 20, 1996. The University Academic
Planning Council has assigned the overall academic administration of the
requirements to the College of Letters and Science to act as trustee on
behalf of all schools and colleges. Questions about General Education
should be directed to Associate Dean Nancy Westphal-Johnson (email@example.com), who chairs
the University General Education Committee, or to Dr. Elaine M. Klein (firstname.lastname@example.org), who assists the committee in its work.
The campus-wide General Education requirements are as follows (note that L&S
basic degree requirements require more than this minimum in some categories):
Communication: 3 to 5/6 credits
A (Comm A): Literary Proficiency. 2-3 credits at the first year level dedicated
to reading, listening, and discussion, with emphasis on writing. Students
may be exempted from Part A by high school course work or testing.
B (Comm B): Enhancing Literary Proficiency. 2-3 credits of more advanced
course work for students who have completed or been exempted from Part A.
Quantitative Reasoning: 3 to 6 credits
A (QR A): 3 credits of mathematics, statistics, or formal logic. Students
may be exempted from Part A by approved college course work while in high
school or by testing. Completion of Part A is required before a student may enroll in a Part B course.
B (QR B): 3 additional credits in quantitative reasoning.
Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits
4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory requirement; or two course providing
a total of 6 credits.
Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
Social Studies: 3 credits
Ethnic Studies: one 3 credit course
A number of revisions approved by the University Academic Planning Council on June 3, 2005 affect the Ethnic Studies Requirement. Among these were the articulation of a set of descriptive criteria used to judge whether a course might carry the ESR or "e" designation; these criteria are founded upon Faculty Document 1736, which reiterates UW-Madison's commitment to the campus-wide ethnic studies requirement. That document states that "the University of Wisconsin-Madison is committed to fostering an understanding and appreciation of diversity, in the belief that doing so will:
Better prepare students for life and careers in an increasingly multicultural
Add breadth and depth to the University curriculum, and
Improve the campus climate."
Fac Doc 1736 goes on to note that the Ethnic Studies
Requirement (ESR) is intended to help achieve these goals. This is a
requirement that all students take a 3-credit course that considers ethnic/racial minorities
that have been marginalized or discriminated against in the U.S. Because issues of ethnic
diversity and religion are often intertwined and cannot easily be separated, courses that
focus only on religion may, where appropriate, fulfill the ESR.
All courses that the implementation committee approves as satisfying the requirement
must provide evidence that the course material illuminates the circumstances, conditions,
and experiences of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. (These statements were last discussed and approved by the University Academic Planning Council January 23, 2003 and were ratified by the UW-Madison Faculty Senate, 29 September, 2003. For more information refer to: http://wiscinfo.doit.wisc.edu/secfac/senate/20030929/1736.pdf )
For more information about the Ethnic Studies Requirement, the descriptive
guidelines for courses meeting the requirement, and for a description
of the process for adding courses to the ESR course array, please see
the General Education Requirements website (http://www.ls.wisc.edu/gened/courselists/ethniccourses.htm).
The UAPC also approved a recommendation that oversight of the ESR be formally added to the responsibilities of the University General Education Committee. In 2005-06, a subcommittee of the UGEC will be convened to review proposals to add courses to the ESR course array, to consider the best means by which to achieve the goals of the requirement via the University curriculum, and to regularly assess student learning in this area.
Last revised: 17 August 2006
Effective December 21, 2011, this document will be superseded by the new L&S Administrative Gateway. If users cannot find what they seek, or if links are broken, please visit: