Jul 14, 2024  
Undergraduate Catalog | 2019-2020 
Undergraduate Catalog | 2019-2020 Previous Edition

General Education Program

The General Education Program is central to UNC Charlotte’s basic mission of providing all of its undergraduates with a liberal arts education.  The Program approaches the liberal arts in its traditional meaning of learning the arts appropriate for living the educated, responsible life of a free (liberãlis) citizen.  It provides all undergraduate students, regardless of their majors, with the foundations of the liberal education they will need to be informed people who have the ability to act thoughtfully in society, the ability to make critical judgments, and the ability to enjoy a life dedicated to learning and the pleasures of intellectual and artistic pursuits.

The Program is designed to address five areas of liberal education.  First, it helps students develop the foundational skills necessary for obtaining the full benefits of a college education: basic college-level writing, basic use of information technology, and basic college-level mathematical and logical skills.  Second, it helps provide students with an understanding of the methods of scientific inquiry and the ways that knowledge is acquired and accredited in the life sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences.  Third, the General Education Program addresses major themes related to living as a liberally educated person in the twenty-first century. Students take four Liberal Studies courses designed especially for the General Education Program.  These courses are organized around major themes of liberal education: the arts and society, the Western cultural tradition, global understanding, ethical and cultural critique, and critical thinking and communication.  Fourth, it helps students develop more specialized skills for disciplinary writing and oral presentations.  Fifth, it helps students develop their ability to think critically and communicate clearly.  Students should seek advice concerning completion of their General Education requirements from an advisor in their department or college.

The General Education Program is administered by University College but individual courses are taught by faculty from all of the colleges.  Thus, requests for exceptions to any aspects of the General Education requirements for individual students must be approved by the Dean of University College, but matters relating to the course itself need to be addressed by the department and college offering the course.  Some transfer students may be exempt from the General Education Requirements; see the “Transfer Credit and Advanced Academic Standing ” heading later in this section for details.

I. Development of Fundamental Skills of Inquiry (9-10 credit hours)

First-Year Writing Courses (3-4 credit hours)

One first-year writing course is required.  UWRT 1104  includes the same face-to-face content as UWRT 1103 , but also includes an online writing studio that provides students with additional opportunities to develop skills.  After completing one of these courses, students are expected to be able to write clearly and concisely in standard English and to be generally prepared to do college-level writing and editing.

Select one of the following:

Mathematical and Logical Reasoning (6 credit hours)

One 3 credit hour course in mathematics and a second 3 credit hour course selected from mathematics, statistics, deductive logic, or computer science are required. 


Most undergraduates at UNC Charlotte major in programs that require mathematics or statistics as related work.  For these students, the related mathematics requirements determine the courses taken to meet the General Education requirement.  Students in majors that do not require related work in mathematics normally take MATH 1100 , followed by either MATH 1102  or PHIL 2105 .

Basic Skills of Information Technology

Incoming students are expected to have already developed the basic computer skills necessary to use word processing software, email, and the Internet.  By the end of their first semester at UNC Charlotte, students are expected to have developed the basic skills necessary to find and evaluate information from the internet and bibliographic and database sources in Atkins Library.  These skills are developed in UWRT 1103  and UWRT 1104 , and help with bibliographical and database search skills is available in the Information Commons of the Library.  Basic tutorial help is also available at campus computer labs.  Students are expected to exhibit ethical behavior in the use of computers.  More advanced information literacy and technology skills are required by individual departments and majors.

II. Inquiry in the Sciences (10 credit hours)

Natural Sciences (7 credit hours)

These courses introduce students to the methods of various science disciplines.  They provide an understanding of the current scientific knowledge of the world, how that knowledge is secured, and how scientific knowledge changes over time. 

Select two courses, one of which must be taken with its corresponding laboratory (L) course:

Social Sciences (3 credit hours)

These courses introduce students to the methods of the social sciences and to the applications of these methods for gaining a scientific understanding of the social world. 

Select one of the following:

III. Themes of Liberal Education for Private and Public Life (12 credit hours)

The UNC Charlotte faculty created a set of Liberal Studies (LBST) courses dedicated exclusively to General Education.  These courses introduce students to fundamental themes and develop core competencies.  All students take four LBST courses.  All of these courses include the consideration of gender, race, and ethnic diversity, as appropriate for understanding the individual themes of these courses.  Despite the fact that topics vary, and courses are offered from various departments, LBST courses may not be repeated for credit.

Arts and Society (3 credit hours)

One course in the Arts and Society is required.  Art is indispensable to the structure and fabric of all societies, and each course examines this fundamental connection from the perspective of a specific art form.

Select one of the following:

Liberal Studies Courses (9 credit hours)

Three 2000-level LBST courses chosen from the four categories below are required.  Individual departments MAY choose to allow students to count one of their LBST courses towards the requirements for the major.  Students should consult the Academic Plan of Study for the major, the degree audit, and an advisor about whether double counting is allowed and to which particular courses the department’s policy applies.

A) LBST 2101 - Western Cultural and Historical Awareness (3)  

Each section of this course examines a major aspect of Western culture through the process of analyzing the present in terms of the past.

B) LBST 2102 - Global and Intercultural Connections (3)  

All liberally educated people need to have the ability to understand the world from the point of view of more than one culture and be able to analyze issues from a global perspective.

C) LBST 221X - Ethical and Cultural Critique (Select ONE)

Each of these courses deals with an important contemporary issue, and each one gives significant attention to ethical analysis and cultural critique in the liberal arts.

Select one of the following:

D) LBST 2301 - Critical Thinking and Communication (3)  

IV. Advanced Communication Skills (6-9 credit hours)

Writing in the Disciplines (W)

Select six credit hours, including at least three credit hours in the major.  These courses are spread throughout the curriculum and are indicated with a (W) after the course title.  These courses assume that students have already developed the basic grammatical and compositional skills needed to write college-level English, and they build on these skills to develop writing strategies appropriate to the discipline of the department offering the course.

Oral Communication (O)

Select at least one course designated as an oral communication course.  These courses are spread throughout the curriculum and are indicated with an (O) after the course title. 

V. Critical Thinking and Communication

This course continues the development of critical thinking and communication competencies begun in UWRT 1103  or UWRT 1104 .  Critical thinking and communication skills are recognized as core competencies for students earning a baccalaureate degree, regardless of major.  While students continue to develop these skills in advanced courses in their major, the General Education program provides an important foundation.  Therefore, all students must take one General Education course that carries the Critical Thinking and Communication (CTC) attribute.  Students meet this requirement by taking LBST 2301 ; it will be one of the three LBST courses at the 2000 level students take; they will choose two others.


  • Students must pass UWRT 1103  or UWRT 1104  with a grade of C or above AND have Sophomore standing or higher to register for LBST 2301 .
  • Transfer students may or may not have met the Critical Thinking and Communication (CTC) requirement in courses taken at previous institutions.
    • Transfer students who HAVE met this requirement will have the CTC attribute applied to a course accepted for transfer credit at UNC Charlotte.  These students SHOULD NOT take LBST 2301  as part of their General Education requirements.
    • Transfer students who HAVE NOT met this requirement MUST meet this requirement by taking LBST 2301 ; depending on transfer credit, they will choose additional LBST courses at the 2000 level in order to fulfill that requirement.