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General Education Curriculum


With the 2019-20 academic year, The Citadel began a new General Education program, replacing the Core Curriculum that had been in effect for more than fifty years. The new strands-model General Education described here is required for all students matriculating in the day program since the fall of 2019. The old Core Curriculum, described in earlier catalogs, remains in effect for students who matriculated prior to 2019.

The Citadel’s new General Education program has two related purposes:

  1. Promoting our students’ intellectual development by affording them coursework in the fundamental    academic disciplines of mathematics, natural science, literature, history, and social science; and
  2. Developing our students’ skills and dispositions in six essential areas: quantitative literacy, written communication, critical thinking, inquiry and analysis, intercultural knowledge and competence, and ethical reasoning and action.

Students begin the General Education program in their first year and continue to take General Education classes throughout their college careers. The Curriculum has been designed to offer both progressively challenging standards and a significant amount of choice.

The General Education program has been developed so that, upon successfully completing the curriculum, graduates ought to be able

  1. To use quantitative reasoning skills to make calculations, interpret data, communicate results, and evaluate an issue or solve a problem;
  2. To communicate ideas in a logical sequence, demonstrating control of syntax and mechanics and the ability to integrate credible and reliable sources;
  3. To analyze complex issues that have varying positions and assumptions using information from credible sources, and to state positions, create new positions, and acknowledge other positions including implications and consequences;
  4. To demonstrate skill in inquiry and analysis, including using a design process, synthesizing information from relevant sources, drawing conclusions, and recognizing implications and limitations;
  5. To demonstrate insight into their own cultural rules and biases, to have accurate understandings of other cultural world views, and to display attitudes of curiosity, openness, and empathy;
  6. To recognize ethical issues when presented in a complex, multilayered (grey) context, to analyze cross-relationships among the issues, and to evaluate ethical perspectives and concepts, including his or her own.

The components of the General Education program are as follows:

First-Year Mathematics

Every first-year student will enroll in at least one mathematics class. The specific class will vary depending on the student’s degree program. The classes that fulfill this requirement are the following:

  • MATH 104
  • MATH 105
  • MATH 106
  • MATH 118
  • MATH 119
  • MATH 131
  • STAT 160

First-Year Science

Every first-year student will enroll in at least one science class. This class will be a four-credit unit, three credits for the lecture and one for the lab. The classes will vary depending on the student’s degree program. The classes that fulfil this requirement are the following:

For non-STEM majors:

  • ASTR 105/155
  • ASTR 106/156
  • BIOL 105/115
  • CHEM 105/115
  • CHEM 106/116

For STEM majors:

  • BIOL 101/111
  • BIOL 130/131
  • BIOL 150/151
  • CHEM 140/141
  • CHEM 151/161
  • CHEM 153/163
  • PHYS 221/271

First-Year Academic Seminar

The Freshman Seminar is a six-credit unit composed of two three-credit classes taken concurrently—FSEM 101 and the thematically-linked writing intensive FSWI 101. Every first-year student will enroll in this six-credit unit. The individual seminars, all of which focus on important questions or problems, introduce students to the demands of academic work. Student assignments in the seminars are tied to the six essential General Education outcomes (quantitative literacy, written communication, critical thinking, inquiry and analysis, intercultural knowledge, and ethical reasoning). Seminar students begin to do signature work, “synthesizing, analyzing, and applying cumulative knowledge and skills through problem- or inquiry-based assignments or projects.”

Here are the course descriptions of the two three-credit components of the Freshman Seminar:

FSEM 101   Freshman Seminar                                                                                Three Credit Hours
Corerequisite: FSWI 101

In FSEM 101 the student will be challenged to complete assignments that are tied to the learning outcomes of The Citadel's General Education program. The individual sections of the seminar are designed to appeal to a wide range of student interests, but all are focused on important questions that call for mature study and reflection. Each individual seminar is linked with a thematically-related Writing Intensive class (FSWI 101).

FSWI 101    Freshman Seminar (Writing Intensive)                                                 Three Credit Hours
Corequisite: FSEM 101

The Writing Intensive half of the six-credit hour Freshman Seminar develops a student's skills in academic writing. Starting with brief compositions and progressing to a full-length research paper, students work on key writing challenges such as organizing ideas, developing content, and presenting evidence. Each individual Writing Intensive class is linked with a thematically-related section of FSEM 101.

Physical Fitness, Resiliency, and Wellness

In keeping with The Citadel’s traditional commitment to developing the whole person, RPED 260: Physical Fitness, Resiliency, and Wellness is a required General Education class to be taken either in the first or second year.

Professional Communication

All students hone their skills in written communication by enrolling in a class that prepares them for the kinds of writing they will need to do in their careers. The classes will vary depending on the student’s degree program. The classes that fulfil this requirement are the following, unless the student's major requires an alternative be taken:

  • COMM 216
  • COMM 260

Modern Languages

Except for those pursuing degrees in the School of Engineering, all students are required to demonstrate some competence in a modern foreign language. Most students will enroll in two three -credit classes of language instruction, according to the following guidelines.

  • Successful completion of two years of instruction in a foreign language is a requirement for admission to The Citadel. Students who choose to study a different foreign language than the one they studied in high school must pass both semesters of the elementary level of the new language (101 & 102).
  • Students who choose to study the same language that they studied in high school will take a placement test. There are three possible results of this test:  1) Students who demonstrate proficiency in the language will be exempted from the two-class language requirement but will be required to take two elective classes, instead. These two elective classes may be higher-level language classes.  2) Students who place into the elementary level of the language will be required to take 102 and 201.  3)Students who place into the intermediate level of the language will be required to take 201 and 202.

For a student whose native language is not English, the language requirement at The Citadel is automatically waived, and the student is allowed to substitute general electives for the waived language courses.

Strands Classes

Beginning in the fall of 2020, students will choose to concentrate on one of the following five themes:

  • Technology & Innovation
  • Citizenship
  • Sustainability
  • Wellness
  • Conflict & Resolution

The students will then enroll in a series, or strand, of five General Education classes, all organized according to the theme they have chosen. Each thematic strand contains classes in English, History, Natural Science, and Social Science; there is also an elective class in each strand.

In following the same theme through five different classes, students will be able to attain a deep understanding of their strand’s topic. The work that they do for these classes ought to reflect this deepening of understanding as they progress through the strand. Moreover, the students’ progression through the strands classes ought to promote their grasp of the essential General Education outcomes.

Strands classes will be offered every semester. Individual degree plans differ, but, as a rule, students will begin taking these strands classes in the first semester of their second year and will complete them in senior year.

America's Constitutional Heritage

To comply with a South Carolina law requiring public institutions to "provide instruction in the essentials of the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Federalist Papers, and the study of American institutions and history, including African-American history, and ideals," The Citadel has created a new three-credit class, LDRS 202: Leadership in American Government and Society. This class will be required as part of General Education starting in the fall of 2021. Depending on the degree program, this class will replace either a general elective or the required strand elective.

The Third-Year Leadership Seminar

The new Junior Leadership Seminar will be offered as part of General Education beginning in the fall of 2021. The student signature work assignments in the seminar will deal with leadership issues and will be assessed according to the students’ performance on the essential General Education outcomes (quantitative literacy, written communication, critical thinking, inquiry and analysis, intercultural knowledge, and ethical reasoning).

Senior Capstone Class

Before graduating, every student in the undergraduate day program must successfully complete a capstone class in which the six essential General Education outcomes are assessed by means of a signature work project. The capstone class will in many cases be part of the student’s major curriculum. But some degree programs do not require a capstone class, and other degree programs have capstone classes that do not assess the six General Education outcomes. In those cases, students will take capstone classes taught through General Education. These General Education capstone classes will be taught for the first time in the fall of 2022.

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