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2006-07 Undergraduate Catalog

University Requirements - General Education (Gen Ed)

Common collective knowledge about the world enables us to communicate, to make informed decisions about many aspects of our lives, to understand and to participate fully as informed citizens in local, national and global matters.

By attaining competency in composition, the humanities, physical and biological sciences, mathematics, and social and behavioral sciences, we can better understand ourselves, our neighbors, other cultures and times, and the principles governing the natural world and the universe. In general education courses, students gain fresh perspectives, methods and tools for understanding the traditional and the newly discovered.

General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students (except those transferring to UF with an A.A. degree from a Florida public community college or an A.A. certificate from a Florida public state university) are required to complete the general education requirement to graduate.

The general education program requires 36 credits of courses in the following areas:

  • 3 credits of Composition (C)
  • 6 credits of Mathematical Sciences (M)
  • 9 credits of Humanities (H)
  • 9 credits of Social and Behavioral Sciences (S)
  • 9 credits of Physical (P) and Biological (B) Sciences
  • 6 credits of International/Diversity Focus (I)

Other important considerations:

  • A grade of C or better is required to earn Gen Ed credit.
  • Gen Ed courses cannot be taken S-U.
  • Certain classes are approved to count for multiple Gen Ed categories; for example, the same class may count as "C" or "H".
  • Students can count a Gen Ed class toward one Gen Ed category only, except for "I" credits, which must be earned concurrently with other credits.

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Writing is one of the most important skills students need to communicate effectively during their professional careers and lives. Composition courses focus on methods of writing, conventions of standard written English, reading and comprehension skills, and techniques in production of effective texts for readers in varied situations.

"C"-designated courses are writing intensive. They require multiple drafts submitted to the instructor for feedback before final submission and they fulfill 6,000 of the university’s 24,000-word writing requirement.

Mathematical Sciences

Courses in mathematical sciences help students acquire concepts and skills in logic, inductive and deductive reasoning, and abstract and quantitative thinking. Students also learn to reason critically, solve problems creatively, assess statistical evidence, use technology effectively and form conclusions.

Students must take at least three hours of approved mathematics courses; the other three credits can be from approved courses such as statistics and computer science courses outside the math department.


The humanities requirement enables students to think critically about what artists and thinkers (past and present) have to teach us about the non-material qualities of human beings and human values. In courses in the humanities, students become acquainted with the enduring products — in words, sounds, paint, stone, metal and many other media — in which thoughtful and gifted human beings have attempted to meet our individual and collective needs for emotional, spiritual and intellectual fulfillment.

Humanities courses address major intellectual, cultural and aesthetic achievements. Students consider questions of ultimate meaning and study human activities, artifacts and values in the context of the ages in which they were produced.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

In the social and behavioral sciences, students investigate human behavior in its social context. Students analyze the characteristics and structure of individuals, families, groups and institutions to develop an understanding of the human species. Often using scientific and quantitative methods, students examine the processes and means by which participants in society make personal and group decisions.

Natural Sciences — Physical and Biological Sciences

Courses in the natural sciences introduce students to the basic concepts of science and the scientific method and enhance awareness of scientific developments and their impact on society and the environment. This area provides students with an understanding of scientific terms, concepts and theories, and the ability to formulate empirically testable hypotheses derived from the study of physical processes and living things.

International/Diversity Focus

The United States is part of the global community and is increasingly diverse as a nation. The international and diversity requirement provides basic concepts and tools to help students understand and appreciate diversity among people. Courses focus on diversity among nations (the international component) and within a nation (including the United States). This includes differences such as gender, class, race, ethnicity, sexuality or culture.

Courses meeting this requirement may make students aware of non-Western influences or they may immerse students in a culture quite different from mainstream U.S. culture. These courses give students new lenses through which to view, and thereby understand, people and world events.

Six credits of course work must have an international or diversity focus.

Study abroad courses can apply toward this six-hour requirement, in addition to fulfilling credit in other categories. Such courses must be approved in advance by an academic adviser and certified by the UF International Center (UFIC).

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Identifying General Education Courses

All General Education courses are identified by letter in the course descriptions section. A Gen Ed category letter designation(s) will be listed at the end of the course description. This letter designation corresponds to the first letter of the category name. For example: AMH 2010, United States to 1877, fulfills three credits in the Humanities (H) category.

In addition, the Schedule of Courses includes a list of all courses that fulfill each category, as well as the department that teaches the course. General Education courses are also designated by code in the course listings section of the Schedule of Courses (refer to the "G.E." column).

Selecting General Education Courses

Students should choose General Education courses appropriate to their particular major. Some majors require or recommend specific General Education courses. In addition, students in some colleges may increase their hours in the Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, or Physical and Biological Sciences category by three hours (for a total of 12 hours in that category) and take only six hours in either of the other two categories. Students should refer to the requirements for their major for specific information.

Students can take courses at the 1000-4000 levels; in most colleges, students can complete the general education requirements throughout their undergraduate experience. First-year students generally take introductory (1000/2000-level) classes. Those who have the academic background and the interest can take more advanced classes, but they should first consult an academic adviser.

Requirements M (mathematical sciences), P (physical sciences) and B (biological sciences) include the study of pure science (e.g., physics, chemistry and calculus) and their technological applications (e.g., nuclear energy, environmental science and computer theory). Students should pursue a balanced program of pure and applied sciences to complete these requirements. Students should also note that three of the six credits for the mathematical sciences requirement must be in approved mathematics courses.

How Incoming Credits Apply to General Education

AICE, AP, CLEP and IB credit count toward completion of the general education requirement as indicated in the course equivalency charts.

Acceptable dual enrollment and other transfer credit will fulfill the General Education requirements that the same UF course fulfills if the course is equivalent. Courses from Florida public community colleges and State University System schools generally adhere to the Statewide Course Numbering System. If the prefix (first three letters) and the last three digits of the course number are the same, then the course is considered equivalent.

If the course does not have a common-numbered equivalent at UF (either because UF does not offer the course or because the transferred course was not taken in the state system), then the student’s college needs to evaluate the course to determine whether it fulfills a General Education area requirement.