General Education Requirements
Saint Mary’s recognizes that its bachelor’s completion students arrive with educational, work, and life experiences that have already informed their perspectives. As adult learners, students build upon their prior experiences by engaging in coursework that fosters individual development, humanizes practices in the field, and meets the responsibilities and challenges of 21st century citizenship. Coursework in the five general education thematic areas complements professional program expertise and encompasses critical thinking, ethical deliberation, and communicative sensitivity, reflecting Saint Mary’s mission to “awaken, nurture, and empower learners to ethical lives of service and leadership.”
To earn the B.S. degree, a minimum of 30 semester credits for general education must be distributed among the themes as follows:
Creativity and Human Expression (12 cr.): To explore and reflect upon the human spirit and condition by imaginative and expressive means through
- humanities and fine arts (6 cr.), and
- oral and written communications (6 cr.).
Global Human Perspectives (3 cr.): To learn from and with diverse others through
- human diversity, cultural competence, or global viewpoints (3 cr.).
Ethics and Civic Responsibility (6 cr.): To develop a sense of civic responsibility that promotes ethical leadership directed toward social justice and sustainability through
- ethical and civic responsibility (3 cr.), and
- history, and social or behavioral science (3 cr.).
The Natural World (6 cr.): To apply quantitative reasoning and evidence-based inquiry to describe or explain the natural world through
- mathematics (3 cr.) and
- science (3 cr.).
Engaging the Future (3 cr.): To apply integrative problem-solving approaches through
- information literacy, creative problem solving, or interdisciplinary learning (3 cr.).
The general education requirements can be met by
- transferring credit for coursework and/or training (transfer students who have completed the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum with course grades of C or higher are considered to have met Saint Mary’s University general education requirements);
- completing the prior learning assessment (PLA) process to recognize competence through life experiences;
- successfully completing standardized examinations such as CLEP or DSST; and/or
- completing a Saint Mary’s University course aligned with a general education theme.
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)
Saint Mary’s University recognizes that many students come to the Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs (SGPP) with college-level learning that has occurred outside of the traditional college classroom. Students may obtain college credit for this learning by participating in the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) process.
Students seeking credit through the PLA process must first obtain approval from their program director. Once approved, students take COM325 Prior Learning Exploration during which they create a portfolio that documents evidence of their learning. PLA assessors then review the portfolio for college credit. Students may be granted up to 35 credits for their PLA portfolios.
Students who transfer PLA credits from other colleges or universities are ineligible for Saint Mary’s University’s PLA process.