General Education Requirements

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UW Tacoma has established minimum general education and basic skills requirements for bachelor's degrees. Each academic program and major meets or exceeds these minimum requirements. The University also requires a minimum of 180 quarter credits to earn a bachelor's degree. To reach a total of 180 credits, most students need additional credit other than just those required for their major. Therefore, you may use electives to meet General Education Requirement deficiencies or general electives.

There are five main components to the General Education Requirements at the University: English Composition [C], Additional Writing [W], Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning [QSR], World Language and the Areas of Knowledge. Areas of Knowledge are made up of Visual, Literary and Performing Arts [VLPA], Individuals and Societies [I&S] and Natural World [NW].

Minimum General Education Requirements

  • 15 credits in writing to include no fewer than 5 credits in English composition [C] and 10 additional credits in writing-intensive [W] courses
  • 5 credits in quantitative/symbolic reasoning (Students enrolled in college prior to 1985 are exempt from this requirement.)
  • 3 credits (min) in diversity coursework (For students admitted as of Autumn 2014.)
  • 40 credits of Areas of Knowledge courses including no fewer than 10 credits in each area of study:
    Visual, Literary and Performing Arts [VLPA]
    Individual and Societies [I&S]
    Natural World [NW]

Visual, Literary and Performing Arts [VLPA]

Courses in this area focus on the history, interpretation, criticism and practice of the arts. The requirement is meant to help you develop a personal appreciation of the creative process. Some of the courses that fall in this area address the arts, communication, film, foreign languages, history, literature, philosophy and writing.

Individuals and Societies [I&S]

This area includes a wide variety of options for the study of human beings and societies. Courses focus on the history, development, and dynamics of human behavior, as well as social and cultural institutions and practices. Some of the courses that fall in this area address the arts, communication, economics, history, non-profit public affairs, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, sociology and women studies.

The Natural World [NW]

Courses in this area focus on the disciplined, scientific study of the natural world. The area can be divided into three broad categories: the mathematical sciences, the physical sciences, and the biological sciences. Some of the courses that fall in this area address business, environmental science, urban studies and mathematics.

Diversity [DIV]

Courses in this area focus on the sociocultural, political and economic diversity of human experience and help students develop an understanding of the complexities of living in increasingly diverse and interconnected societies.