General Education

Plymouth State University’s General Education program is meant to ensure that students develop the skills and dispositions necessary for academic success and lifelong learning, an appreciation of the various ways scholars consider and understand human experience, and an appreciation of the process by which different approaches to scholarship can be brought to bear on the same problem.

Courses taken to ensure breadth of knowledge emphasize the relevance and application of methods of inquiry and content to students’ lives. The General Education program at Plymouth State University is designed to help students develop and practice four Habits of Mind.

SkillsComponents of the ProgramOverview of the Four ComponentsDescription of Four Components

In this General Education program, the following skills are developed in meaningful contexts.

Critical Thinking: the ability to compare, contrast, analyze, and synthesize; to challenge underlying assumptions; to take imaginative leaps and intellectual risks; and to solve problems creatively and effectively.

Reading: the achievement of advanced literacy; that is, the ability to comprehend written material within a variety of genres, and to articulate one’s response verbally and in writing.

Quantitative Reasoning: the ability to analyze quantitative materials and use quantitative techniques to solve problems.

Writing: development of a writing process that includes the ability to pre-write (brainstorm, outline, take notes, free-write) on a selected topic; to prepare, assess, and organize information; and to compose, revise, and edit a polished product.

Speaking and Listening: the ability to use both verbal and nonverbal skills to communicate effectively in one or more languages, to listen actively, and to take part respectfully in group discussions.

Conducting Research: the ability to locate, comprehend, and synthesize information; and to understand what constitutes reliable evidence for decision making.

Working with Information Technology: the ability to perform searches; to use word processing and spreadsheets; to work with database management systems and presentation software; to work with software to enhance the creative process; and to make effective use of software to organize information and to communicate with others.

Collaborating with Others: to know, understand, and respond to others’ feelings and perspectives; to work and learn in teams to enhance interpersonal relationship skills; and to develop an awareness of leadership approaches and the ability to influence others.

In Plymouth State University’s General Education program, students take three First-Year Experience courses, which introduce the skills listed above. These skills are then further developed and refined in the other components of the program: Directions courses, Connections courses, and the Integrated Capstone, as well as in the major. Students must take one course in each of the Directions categories as well as an additional 4-8 credits of Directions (total of 20 credits of Directions). These courses are designed to excite students about learning and to give them breadth of knowledge and experience with different approaches to learning.

Though taught by the various academic disciplines, they are required of no major and are open to all students. Connections courses help students connect their learning to some other aspect of their lives, as well as develop more advanced academic skills, appreciation of difference, and appreciation of wellness within specific academic contexts. Three of the six Connections must be explored within the context of the major; the other three may be explored in that context or in some other. The Integrated Capstone course is a culminating experience in which students from a variety of majors come together to demonstrate their development of the Habits of Mind while working on a collaborative project that has a real-world impact.

First Year Experience
EN 1400Composition4
IS 1115Tackling a Wicked Problem4
MAMathematics Foundations3-4
CTDICreative Thought3-4
PPDIPast and Present3-4
SIDIScientific Inquiry3-4
SSDISelf and Society3-4
GACOGlobal Awareness3-4
QRCOQuantitative Reasoning in the Disciplines
TECOTechnology in the Disciplines
WRCOWriting in the Disciplines
Integrated Capstone
INCPIntegrated Capstone3-4
Transfer of General Education Courses

A course, or courses, must fulfill the transfer criteria established by Plymouth State University. When discrepancies occur, the transfer and articulation specialist shall consult with the department chair for clarification on details of course description or the amount of credit to be honored. In cases where a clear decision is not apparent, or where students make a challenge of a decision, it shall become the responsibility of the academic affairs officer to make a decision.

Courses that are transferred into Plymouth State University receive General Education designation in one of the following ways:

  • The appropriate department declares the course to be equivalent to a PSU course that carries the General Education designation.
  • The transfer and articulation specialist assigns the designation as part of the initial evaluation of transfer credit or as part of the review of the Transfer Credit Approval form.
  • The academic affairs officer approves a Student Request for such designation (this option provides a mechanism of appeal of the first two).