General Education and Graduation Requirements

General Education and Graduation Requirements

Exposure to a broad range of topics and fields of inquiry as well as depth and competence in particular areas of study distinguish the liberally educated person.

To help you achieve the breadth of a liberal education, you must meet a number of curriculum or General Education requirements. You can begin to meet these requirements as early as your first semester.

Courses that meet these requirements have the appropriate abbreviation in parentheses wherever they appear. As you look through the Academic Department and Program Information for courses to take for the fall, you should note whether or not they meet particular general education requirements:

General Education Requirements for Students
Matriculating in or after Fall 2013

I. The Human Experience and the Natural World

Students are required to complete at least one unit from each of the following perspectives: The Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Natural Sciences.  Courses fulfilling this requirement need to be from different departments and only one course may be from a student's major. FYS courses can be used to fulfill this requirement. Each perspective has unique learning goals in which a student achieves (or seeks to achieve):

  • Arts (ARTS): an enhanced awareness of the process of artistic production through making works of art; and/or an understanding of the diverse ways to interpret and analyze works of art.
  • Social Sciences (SS): an enhanced awareness of the diverse ways in which economic, political, and social institutions can be organized; and/or an understanding of the various ways in which evidence about social structures and interactions is acquired and handled; and/or an understanding of how social science knowledge is gained through the formulation, testing , and reformulation of theories and hypotheses.
  • Humanities (HU): an enhanced awareness of the variety of ways humans understand, signify, and make meaning of their lives; and/or an enhanced awareness of how cultures and the interpretations of cultures change over time.
  • Natural Science with Lab (NS-L): an understanding of the physical, chemical, biological, and/or behavioral phenomena of the natural world and, insofar as possible, an ability to relate them to everyday experience; and a theoretical and quantitative understanding of the processes underlying the physical, chemical, biological, and/or behavioral phenomena of the natural world; and an understanding of how scientific knowledge of the natural world is obtained and revised through hypothesis testing using experimental and/or observational methodologies.

II. Human Diversity: Culture and Communication

Students are required to complete one of the following combinations of coursework on human diversity and communication:

  1. One course approved for diversity credit (DIV-13) and one course in a foreign language (LANG); OR
  2. Two courses approved for diversity credit; OR
  3. One course approved for diversity credit and an experience on an off-campus program approved for diversity credit by the Academic Affairs committee

III. Quantitative/Logical Reasoning

Students are required to complete at least one unit that meets the learning goals of either quantitative or logical reasoning courses. Quantitative reasoning courses (QLR) have primary learning goals in which students develop their abilities to address questions by examining quantitative evidence using appropriate methods of analysis and evaluation and explain their conclusions and the quantitative methods they used in developing their reasoning. Logical reasoning courses (QLR) have the primary learning goals that students develop an understanding of deductive and/or inductive logic and an understanding of the methods of determining the reliability of these types of reasoning.

IV. Environmental Literacy

Students are required to complete at least one unit that meets the learning goals of environmental literacy courses.  Environmental Literacy Courses (EL) have primary learning goals in which students develop a recognition of the consequences of human activities on natural systems and/or an awareness of the cultural, economic and political forces that affect environmental policies and/or an understanding of natural systems and/or the impacts they can have on the environment, human life, health and welfare.

V. Integrated Learning

Integrated learning helps students combine the benefits of the breadth and depth in their education by fostering a synthetic understanding directed toward a particular question, topic, or theme. Students may meet the Integrated Learning (ILC) requirement by completing any of the following:

  1. An integrated learning component of 4 courses around a particular question, topic, or theme, selected in consultation with the academic advisor. The 4 courses must be from at least 2 different departments or programs and may include courses counted toward other general education requirements. The academic advisor must approve the student’s ILC prior to graduation.
  2. A semester-long off-campus study program that has been approved by the Center for International and Intercultural Studies as meeting the learning goals for integrated learning.
  3. A major or minor from the list of majors and minors approved by the Academic Affairs committee as meeting the learning goals for integrated learning. This list will include those majors that are not single-department majors as listed in this catalog under Other Major Programs and including the multifield major.
In order to meet the above distribution requirements, you must take the courses from six different departments or programs. A particular course can be used to meet only one of the distribution requirements.

Graduation Requirements

Your First-Year Program and First-Year Seminar courses are graduation requirements at St. Lawrence. Every student must pass both courses to graduate; hence you cannot drop or withdraw from your FYP or FYS courses. See the First-Year Program Information page for more information about this requirement.

Please note: If a course listed in the Department and Programs Information pages of the New Student Guide does not have an abbreviation code, it does not fulfill one of these requirements.

Questions about courses and requirements?

  • You will find detailed descriptions of each course offered at SLU in the University’s 2014–2015 Catalog.
  • Please note that courses marked as SPTP, or Special Topics, are not regular course offerings and may not count for General Education requirements. They will not have descriptions in the catalog, and information about these courses can be obtained from the offering departments.
    Should you wish to call or e-mail one of the departments or programs for more information, you can use the phone number or email form found in the listing for that department/program on the New Student Guide.
  • If you have any general questions regarding the requirements at SLU, you should contact the summer advising team at or (315) 229-7397.

Questions about Advanced Placement Credit or International Baccalaureate Credit:

  • Advanced Placement Credit: If you have completed any Advanced Placement exams, be sure to have the Educational Testing Service (ETS) send the results to the Registrar's office, St. Lawrence University, 23 Romoda Drive, Canton, NY 13617. Decisions as to what AP scores count for which courses are made department by department, and the Registrar will determine whether you will get specific course credit for any AP exams. Click here for general information about AP credit. 
  • International Baccalaureate Credit: SLU will also grant credit for International Baccalaureate Higher Level Examinations in which a score of 5 or higher is achieved. Credit is not awarded for Standard Level examinations. IB course credit is regarded as transfer credit and is determined by the registrar in consultation with the appropriate department chair.

Please provide the registrar’s office with AP scores, or transcripts reflecting any other coursework that might count for college credit, as quickly as possible so that information can be considered as you select courses for the fall. Questions about college transfer, AP and IB credit should be directed toward the registrar’s office at 315-229-5267.