The General Education curriculum at Winston-Salem State University is designed to offer students a mix of the liberal arts as a foundation for the major. Students are required to take approximately one-half (a minimum of 60 semester hours) of their courses outside of their major field of study. Most of these courses are taken in the first two years at the university. Students have choice in the courses they take and are encouraged to sample widely across the curriculum. There are some minimum expectations about the courses taken in general education, dependent on the student's status upon entering the university.
Seven Learning Outcomes
The faculty adopted seven learning outcomes on April 15, 2010 as the General Education Learning Outcomes for all undergraduates. The general education curriculum requires that at least two courses must be writing intensive (Written Communication) and at least three courses must have Critical Thinking as a major learning outcome. Students must also complete at least two courses with a primary focus on Scientific Literacy and two courses with a primary focus on Quantitative Literacy. Students must also take at least one course with a primary focus on Critical Reading, Oral Communication and Information Literacy. As each course is at least three (3) semester hours (SH), students must complete 36 SH to meet this requirement.
Seven Areas of Knowledge
Students must also take at least one course from each of the seven Areas of Knowledge which include Literature, Historical Studies, Social/Behavioral Science, Natural Science, Mathematics and Quantitative Logic, Fine Arts, and Foreign Language and Culture. This requirement by itself would be 21 SH. However, many courses will both address an Area of Knowledge and a general education learning outcome and, thus, fulfilling this requirement may not add any additional hours.
Two Curricular Themes
Finally, students are encouraged to explore courses designed to broaden their perspectives on globalization, diversity, civic engagement, sustainability, moral and ethical reasoning, and healthy living. Students are required to take a minimum of two courses from amongst these Curricular Themes before they graduate. These do not have to be independent courses but rather can be a major focus or outcome of a course that meets the previous requirements of addressing a general education outcome and an area of knowledge.
One Liberal Learning Seminar
Liberal Learning Seminars (LLS) place a strong emphasis on critical inquiry, reading, frequent writing, collaborative learning, and other skills that develop students’ intellectual and practical competencies. LLS bring students and faculty together in a shared process of inquiry around a broad, sometimes interdisciplinary topic or question. Freshmen and transfer students with less than 30 hours are required to take a LLS in their first year. This 3 SH course does not fulfill the requirements for either the general education learning outcomes or an area of knowledge.
Developmental Skills Courses
Developmental skills courses are non-credit, basic skills classes for students who demonstrate skill deficiencies in writing in English, mathematics, or reading as determined by placement examinations. Developmental skills courses do not count towards the hours needed to fulfill either general education requirements or the 60 SH outside of the major requirement.
Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is especially welcoming to transfer students. We offer a very flexible approach to the pre-major General Education curriculum such that students can maximize the use of credits earned at other colleges and universities towards the degree at WSSU.
Undergirding the approach to General Education at WSSU is the belief that a broad array of courses taken across the liberal arts (Arts, Humanities, Histories and Sciences) provides the best foundation for any major. In general, the pre-major curriculum is intended to help students acquire knowledge and skills that will foster their thoughtful participation in the various communities to which they belong, personal and professional, local and global.
Thus, students are required to take approximately one-half (a minimum of 60 semester hours) of their courses outside of their major field of study. Most of these courses are taken in the first two years of college and can be transferred from regionally accredited community college and universities. Students have choice in the courses they take and are encouraged to sample widely across disciplines. There are some minimum expectations about the courses taken for General Education for transfer students.
- Those who transfer from a North Carolina community college with an Associate in Arts Degree or Associates in Science degree will not need to meet additional general education requirements at WSSU. However, there may be pre-requisites courses that are needed for particular major programs. Transfer students are advised to review the WSSU catalog regarding specific pre-requisite course requirements related to courses in the various major programs.
- Students who do not have an associate’s degree will have credit evaluated on a course-by-course basis.
- Transfer students are required to take or transfer approximately 60 SH of credits outside of their major program requirements.
- Transfer students should have at least one course (3 semester hours) in each of the seven general education Areas of Knowledge – Culture and Foreign Language, History, Literature, Mathematics, Natural Science, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and The Fine Arts (minimum of 21 semester hours).
- Transfer students with less than 60 hours of general education transfer credit and who have met all seven Areas of Knowledge will work with advisors to determine if there is a need to enhance any of the skills defined by the general education learning outcomes and to select courses.
- Developmental skills courses do not count towards the hours needed to fulfill either general education requirements or the 60 SH outside of the major requirement. Developmental skills courses are non-credit, basic skills classes for students who demonstrate skill deficiencies in writing in English, mathematics, or reading as determined by placement examinations.
- Students who transfer less than 30 SH are required to complete a Liberal Learning Seminar (LLS) sometime during their first year at WSSU unless they transfer into a distance learning program.
Once a student has been accepted to WSSU, the registrar determines credits that can transfer. Advisors in University College and Life Long Learning (UCaLL) look at the transferred courses and determine what courses meet a WSSU Area of Knowledge. Students work with their academic advisors to distribute any remaining transferred courses relative to the General Education framework or the major.