The College’s general education program serves the University’s mission to offer its diverse community of learners a challenging and individualized education shaped by a deep-rooted culture of mentoring and thoughtful engagement with the world beyond its campus. Students discover their passions by exploring a rich and varied curriculum that fosters a deep understanding of the world while simultaneously immersing themselves in a specific area of interest to develop disciplinary or interdisciplinary expertise. Our commitment to experiential learning encourages students to actively engage with the academic and co-curricular communities on-campus by learning through action. Students actively engage the world beyond the gates of the university by taking what they have learned in the classroom and on campus and applying it in local and/or global academic and professional settings. Drew’s proximity to New York City and our innovative international programs provide multiple opportunities for students to apply their theoretical knowledge to everyday practice and real-world contexts.
The general education curriculum is purposefully designed to give students flexibility and choice; there is no single path all Drew students will follow, though all students will gain the knowledge, skills, and collaborative capacities they need to navigate a complex world. Students shape their own education, with the support of dedicated faculty mentors who serve as academic advisers. By graduation, Drew students will be ready for a life of continued learning, community involvement, and professional leadership.
General Education Requirements
To complete the Drew Bachelor of Arts degree, a student’s cumulative grade point average, both overall and in the major, must be at least 2.0. Students must also complete the following:
128 credits, of which at least 48 must be earned at Drew;
64 intermediate and upper-level credits, of which at least 32 must be at the upper level;
a major area of study;
two immersive experiences;
credits in certain course categories (see below).
Required Course Categories
With the guidance of an academic adviser, students map their own path to their Drew degree, developing and mastering the goals of the general education program along the way. Paths through the requirements are varied, and students are encouraged to explore in more depth any areas that pique their curiosity. By graduation, students will have completed a selection of courses from the following required categories:
Drew Seminar (4 credits)
Breadth Courses (20 credits)
Writing Intensive Courses (8 credits)
Quantitative Literacy (8 credits)
Foreign Language (0-16 credits, depending on language and placement)
Diversity, Cultural and Global Awareness (8 credits)
In order to achieve depth of knowledge in at least one field or discipline, each student is required to complete a disciplinary or interdisciplinary major. Students wishing to develop depth in more than one field have the option of completing a second major or a minor. Students should select their major in consultation with their advisers. Students may declare the major at any time after completion of the Drew Seminar and must declare a major by the end of their second year. A complete list of majors is available here. All majors require Writing in the Major experiences to develop the writing skills and style specific to that discipline and culminate with a Capstone experience that integrates, applies and critiques the content and process of that discipline. With the exception of introductory-level courses or in special circumstances as determined by the Curriculum and Academic Policy Committee, no more than 8 credits may be applied to both a major and a minor or to two majors.
A student may develop a special major rather than elect one of the existing disciplinary or interdisciplinary majors. There must be a strong educational advantage for doing so, one that cannot be served through any of the traditional majors. Choosing options such as a double major or major/minor(s) is preferred to designing a special major.
The Drew Seminar
The Drew Seminar introduces students to the intellectual life of a liberal arts education. Led by a faculty member dedicated to working with first-year students, the seminar provides a stimulating introduction to rigorous, college-level work that centers on the exploration of a particular topic or subject area, and includes development of critical thinking, information literacy, and writing and oral communication skills. Students select from a wide-range of seminar topics.
A broad grounding in diverse disciplines is a hallmark of a liberal arts education; it prepares students to grasp the richness, complexity, and connectedness among seemingly disparate bodies of knowledge, and to become more engaged and informed citizens of the world. Students should select breadth courses in consultation with their adviser, considering how those courses can complement the work of the major or open to them new fields of interest or knowledge. Breadth courses represent opportunities to investigate the riches of the curriculum and to make connections between and among different disciplines.
Students must complete four credits of breadth courses from each of the following five categories:
Breadth courses must be chosen from at least four different subject areas. While a breadth course can be used to fulfill major or other General Education requirements as well as the Breadth requirement, no single Breadth course can be used to fulfill more than one Breadth requirement.
Writing Intensive Courses
Writing Intensive [WRIT] courses build on and expand the academic writing skills taught in the Drew Seminar. They require students to use writing as a mode of learning and as a way of entering scholarly conversations about topics presented in the course. Given the importance of writing in all liberal arts disciplines, WRIT courses are offered across the curriculum. Students will engage with writing as a process by discussing writing in class and rethinking and revising written work using feedback from the instructor and, for many WRIT courses, from peer writing fellows.
Please note: All students must complete three writing intensive courses. For students with one major: two courses in the general education writing intensive requirement, one course labeled writing in the major. For students with two majors: one course in the general education writing intensive requirement, one course labeled writing in the major for each declared major.
Quantitative literacy is a fundamental liberal arts proficiency, one that is critical to an informed and responsible citizen of today’s world. Drew students develop this important skill by completing two quantitative literacy courses [QUAN] (8 credits) where quantitative skills are introduced, developed, and contextualized through applications to other disciplines. QUAN courses are offered by many departments; they are not strictly or exclusively mathematics courses. Credit awarded for a quantitative skills course as a result of a qualifying score on an appropriate AP exam counts as completion of four credits of the quantitative requirement.
Diversity, Cultural and Global Awareness
Taken together, the language requirement and the diversity requirement detailed below prepare students to be fully engaged citizens of a complex and increasingly globalized world.
Through two diversity courses, one U.S.-focused [DVUS] and one with an international or transnational focus [DVIT], students come to understand the historical and/or contemporary concepts used to interpret and compare cultures within the United States and abroad and learn to assess the myriad ways in which countries and cultures–both past and present–encounter, affect, and exchange with one another. Many of these courses also explore visual, aural, kinetic, and literary representations of difference as they respond to and reshape the cultures that produce them.
Diversity courses are available at all levels of study (introductory, intermediate, and advanced) and may also satisfy other general education, department or program requirements. While some diversity courses may be listed as fulfilling both U.S. and International/Transnational requirements, a student must take two different courses to fill the two categories; one course may not be double-counted for both.
Competency in more than one language is essential to a liberal arts education. Studying a language in the classroom and then applying that language contextually in real-world experiences prepares students for a wide variety of professional, educational, and personal opportunities. It also broadens one’s perspective and encourages appreciation of the perspectives of others with whom we share our world. Drew offers language instruction in eight languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Latin, Russian and Spanish. Students at Drew are required to achieve a level of language competency equivalent to the first three semesters of foreign language training at the college level.
Students may be exempted from Drew’s language requirement under one of the following circumstances:
- if their application to Drew requires them to submit a TOEFL score;
- by providing documentation to the Office of Academic Services that they attended school taught in a language other than English up through at least the 6th grade;
- by demonstrating proficiency equal to Drew’s language requirement on a Drew placement test;
- by demonstrating proficiency equal to Drew’s language requirement on a placement test administered through the Office of Academic Services in a language not offered at Drew;
- by scoring 680 or higher on an appropriate SAT II exam;
- by scoring a 4 or 5 on an appropriate Advanced Placement (AP) exam;
- by scoring a 5 or higher in an appropriate IB language course (SL or HL).
All students planning to continue a language they have studied in high school must take a language placement test to determine their placement and the appropriate language course(s) that they will need to take to fulfill this requirement.
All students have two Immersive Experiences as part of their Drew undergraduate education. These Immersive Experiences are concrete, real world applications of students’ learning and development designed to help them explore opportunities and prepare for their futures. These experiences might be an internship, a full-semester domestic or international off-campus program, a short TREC (Travel, Rethink, Explore, Connect) experience, a community-based learning course, a mentored research, civic, or creative project, or participating in a mentored leadership position.
Students choose Immersive Experiences in consultation with their advisors; many Immersive Experiences require an application procedure. In order to participate in some Immersive Experiences, students need to meet application and eligibility requirements. Immersive Experiences require a minimum of 45 hours to complete all components of the experience. Immersive Experiences may or may not be credit bearing and they may or may not be paid. Students will document their Immersive Experiences in an eportfolio system. Students may opt to complete additional Immersive Experiences. All Immersive Experiences appear on a student’s official academic transcript.
Essential Elements of an Immersive Experience:
- An Immersive Experience is an intentionally chosen activity that includes time outside traditional classroom instruction, wherein the student takes an active role in constructing their own knowledge and understanding. An Immersive Experience fosters personal and professional growth by challenging students to learn through experience, expand their skill set, and identify their ability to contribute in a broader context.
- A student must complete a minimum of 45 hours to fulfill all the components of the Immersive Experience.
- Mentors guide a student throughout the experience and evaluate how effectively the student has met the learning outcomes.
- This activity must be in the pre-approved Immersive Experience collection, or a student must seek preapproval for the Immersive Experience through a CAPC application.
- Students participate in training or mentoring sessions prior to and during the experience, as well as a post-experience reflection, career and purpose clarifying building session.
- Students document their Immersive Experiences in an eportfolio which
- includes a statement of a student’s intentionality to embark on this experience and seek opportunities to develop particular skills as well as personal and professional goals
- includes artifacts from the experience itself
- includes reflection addressing the manner in which the Student Learning Outcomes were met
- includes a summary for an external audience on how the specific knowledge, skills or abilities gained during the experience are relevant to future endeavors
- Interpretation - Closely examining material to extract meaning and demonstrate comprehension
- Critical Thinking - Forming an argument or reaching a conclusion supported with evidence by evaluating, analyzing, and/or synthesizing relevant information
- Problem Solving - Analyzing a complex issue and developing a viable strategy to address it.
- Ethical Thinking - Analyzing the ethical implications of actions or decisions, with consideration of sociocultural, professional, political, and/or philosophical perspectives
- Creative Thinking - Responding to existing ideas, images, or expertise to create an innovative or imaginative product
- Quantitative Reasoning - Interpreting quantitative information and critically analyzing quantitative arguments or phenomena
- Collaboration - Interacting with others in a mutually supportive way and building on each other’s individual contributions to a common goal
- Written Communication - Conveying information and ideas to an intended audience through written materials
- Oral Communication - Conveying information and ideas to an intended audience through a prepared presentation
- Interpersonal Communication - Exchanging information and meaning through verbal and non-verbal expression
- Engaging Difference - inquiring into, analyzing, and reflecting upon one’s own and others’ place within social, economic, cultural, and political systems, in order to build inclusive and equitable relationships and work effectively with others of different identities and locations.
Goals of the General Education Program
The general education requirements reflect six primary goals:
Critical Analysis and Reasoning
Oral and Written Communication
Diversity, Cultural and Global Awareness
Application of Learning
Student Learning Outcomes
Critical Analysis and Reasoning
a) Students will be able to develop a comprehensive analysis or synthesis through evaluating information and thoroughly questioning experts’ viewpoints.
b) Articulate a coherent and well-supported position.
c) Use existing information or material to create a novel or unique idea, question or product.
Oral and Written Communication
a) Use appropriate and convincing information to communicate expertise.
b) Students’ communications will demonstrate understanding of the audience and purpose.
c) Students’ communications will follow accepted communication norms.
a) Define problems in a quantitative way and select appropriate data and/or techniques to investigate those problems.
b) Interpret, assess, and critique quantitative information and reasoning in context.
a) Find needed information and evaluate its appropriateness.
b) Use appropriate information to accomplish a specific purpose.
Diversity, Cultural and Global Awareness
a) Identify and analyze historical and/or contemporary representations of difference (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, disability, religion, language, and nation of origin).
b) Describe and analyze how individuals and groups respond to social categories (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, disability, religion, language, and nation of origin).
c) Discuss and evaluate hierarchical power relations and inequalities between groups.
d) Develop cultural and intercultural competence through learning of a foreign language.
Application of Learning
a) Articulate connections between knowledge gained in courses on campus and the off-campus experience.
b) Apply skills, abilities, theories, or methodologies to multiple situations.
As a result of completing an Immersive Experience, students should be able to:
1. Describe how the Immersive Experience connects to at least two Transferable Skills.
2. Reflect on how the experience helped further their personal goals, professional goals, and ability to contribute in a broader context.
3. Explain to an external audience how the specific knowledge, skills, or abilities learned during the experience are relevant to future endeavors.