General Education Requirements
Why do I have to take Gen Ed courses?
There are three good reasons why you need to take Gen.Ed. courses:
1. The University thinks it is important
The general education requirement, as its name implies, is based on the simple idea that there should be a common core-curriculum that all undergraduate students at the University follow, irrespective of major. The goal is to educate students with a breadth of knowledge, in addition to the depth of knowledge they obtain from their major disciplines.
2. ABET thinks it is important
Our accrediting body ABET, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, lists (among others) the following learning outcomes for all engineering students
“At graduation students should have: ….an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility…an ability to communicate effectively…..the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context….a knowledge of contemporary issues”.
3. The mechanical engineering department faculty think it is important
The department’s statement of learning outcomes includes the following
“At graduation students should ….be able to communicate technical information. This must include oral presentations, written reports, and an ability to work on and communicate with multi-disciplinary team members….understand the need to assess the impact of engineering designs on society. This should include factors such as economics, ergonomics, the environment, and sustainability…understand the concept of the engineering profession through an exposure to professional societies, professional registration, the need for lifelong learning, and professional ethics.
The Gen Ed curriculum includes courses in the following areas:
- College Writing (2 courses)
- Science and technology (3 courses)
- Math (1 course)
- Social Sciences (3 courses)
- Arts and Humanities (3 courses)
Gen Ed Implementation for ME students
Since students are allowed to satisfy some of the Gen.Ed. requirements with courses taken from their major program of study, the actual implementation of the Gen.Ed. requirement varies from major to major.
Science and Technology Requirement (9 credits)
All undergraduate students at the University must take three courses in science and technology. This requirement is automatically satisfied by the mechanical engineering curriculum, and you need not worry about it any further.
Math Requirement (3 credits)
All undergraduate students at the University must take one course in math. This requirement is automatically satisfied by the mechanical engineering curriculum, and you need not worry about it any further.
College Writing Requirement (6 credits)
All undergraduate students at the University must take two courses in college writing. Most students take 42.101 College Writing I and 42.102 College Writing II. Based on Freshman writing tests some students are required to take the three-course sequence 42.100 College Writing A, 42.101, and 42.102. International students can take the sequence College Writing I and II for International Students.
Arts & Humanities (AH) Requirement (9 credits)
All undergraduate students at the University must take three courses from the Arts and Humanities. One of these courses is hardwired into the ME curriculum as an engineering ethics course (e.g. 45.334 or 45.335 or 45.341). This means that ME students must choose two courses from Arts and Humanities.
Social Sciences (SS) Requirement (9 credits)
All undergraduate students at the University must take three courses from the Social Sciences. One of these courses is hardwired into the mechanical engineering curriculum as an economics course (49.201 or 49.202). This means that ME students must choose two courses from the Social Sciences.
To summarize, for ME majors the Gen. Ed. requirement is as follows:
- College Writing I
- College Writing II
- 1 Economics course (49.201 or 49.202)
- 1 Engineering Ethics course ( 45-334 or 45-335 or 45-341)
- 2 other approved arts and humanities (AH) courses
- 2 other approved social science (SS) courses.
- One course must contain a diversity component (i.e. a code SSD or AHD).
- No more than 2 courses can be taken from any one department.
- Mechanical engineering students must not take any Gen Ed. courses with codes starting SC, SL, or MA. These are science and math courses, intended for students in non-technical majors. For engineering students, the science and math component of Gen Ed is satisfied by the courses in their major.
Suggested Gen Ed Courses for MEs
The following are some Gen.Ed. courses that might be of particular relevance or interest to engineers. These are only suggestions. There are many other interesting courses that you can take. Your choice is not limited to the following list.
42.222 Oral Communication AH
40/42/59.249 Values in American Culture AHDE
42/59.249 Literature on Technology and Human Values AHE
43.206 American Economic History AHD
43.312 Science in the Modern World AHE
43.316 American Environmental History AH
45.202 Intro to Logic and Critical Reasoning AHE
45.203 Intro to Ethics AHDE
45.327 Environmental Philosophy AHDE
45.334 Engineering and Ethics AHE
45.335 Ethical Issues in Technology AHE
45.341 Science, Ethics, and Society AHE
45.401 Bioethics and Genetic Research AHE
59.303 Understanding Technological Risk AHE
59.395 Computers in Society AHE
41.262 Introduction to Business Law SS
46.101 Intro to American Politics SS
46.110 Introduction to Politics SSD
46.112 Comparative Political Systems SSD
46.121 Intro to International Relations SSD
47.101 General Psychology SS
47.209 Social Psychology SSD
47.232 Psychology of Personality SS
48.101 Introduction to Sociology SSDE
48.110 Intro to Social Values SSDE
48.270 Self in Society SS
49.201 Economics I SS
49.202 Macroeconomics SS
49.302 Labor Economics SSD
57.201 Intro to Regions SS
57.211 Sustainable Development SSE
57.218 Regional Health and the Environment SSD
88.101 World Regional Geography SSD
88.104 Foundations of Conservation and Environmental Concerns SSE
Complete list of General Education courses