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Liberal Studies

for the 21st Century

Liberal Studies Curriculum Prior to Summer C 2015

This page is for students who matriculated to FSU prior to Summer C 2015 (i.e., in the 2014–2015 academic year or earlier). For the full academic requirements in effect for the bulletin year in which you entered, please see FSU Registrar. Students who matriculated to FSU in the 2015–2016 academic year (beginning with Summer C 2015) are under the new requirements

The Liberal Studies Program

As one of its primary goals, a university education should foster in the student a spirit of free inquiry into humane values, while developing the mind as an instrument of analysis and synthesis. Essential to the student’s quest for knowledge and to responsible participation in society is an understanding of one’s self and of the natural and social environment. The Liberal Studies Program is intended, therefore, to provide a perspective on the qualities, accomplishments, and aspirations of human beings, the past and present civilizations they have created, and the natural and technological world they inhabit. The Liberal Studies Program, designed to ensure breadth in the student’s academic experience, while at the same time affording flexibility in satisfying requirements, may be extended throughout the undergraduate years with the exception of Areas I and II. The five areas of liberal studies provide students with essential competencies and introduce the student to broad areas of knowledge.

Students are required to complete (or be exempted from with credit) a minimum of:

  • six semester hours of computation,
  • six semester hours of English composition,
  • six to twelve semester hours in social science/history,
  • five to eleven semester hours in humanities/fine arts, and
  • seven semester hours in natural science (one course must be accompanied by a scheduled laboratory).

The Liberal Studies coursework must sum to a total of thirty-six semester hours.

Liberal Studies Requirements

Area I. Computation

Students must complete (or be exempted from with credit) at least six semester hours in computation. Three of those credit hours must be in the Department of Mathematics and three additional credits hours must be in the Department of Mathematics or Department of Statistics, or a three credit hour course from the list of approved Quantitative and Logical Thinking courses.

Students must complete their first computation course by the time they have attempted thirty hours, which includes any credit hours earned through acceleration (i.e., AP, IB, Dual Enrollment, etc.). Students must complete or be registered for their second computation course by the time they have attempted forty hours. All six semester hours of the computation liberal studies requirement should be completed by the time the student earns fifty-two hours.

Area II. English Composition

Students must complete (or be exempted from with credit) at least six semester hours in English composition. All students shall complete the required English writing courses by the time they have attempted thirty credit hours, which includes any credit hours earned through acceleration (i.e., AP, IB, Dual Enrollment, etc.) or must show an appropriate exemption, as approved by the Faculty Senate, from six semester hours of freshman writing courses. All courses used to satisfy this requirement must be completed with a grade of “C–” or higher. Students must complete both ENC 1101 and an additional second course from the following list:

  • ENC 1101 Freshman Composition and Rhetoric
  • ENC 1102 Freshman Writing, Reading, and Research
  • ENC 1121 Freshman Composition and Rhetoric: Honors
  • ENC 1122 Freshman Writing About Literature: Honors
  • ENC 1142 Freshman Imaginative Writing Workshop
  • ENC 1144 Freshman Article and Essay Workshop
  • ENC 1145 Freshman Special Topics in Composition
  • ENC 2135 Research, Genre, and Context
Area III. History/Social Science

Students must complete six to twelve semester hours, including a minimum of three semester hours of history and three semester hours of social science. The list of approved courses may be found HERE.

Area IV. Humanities/Fine Arts

Students must complete five to eleven semester hours. One course must meet the literature requirement; for a list of courses meeting the literature requirement, see LiteratureCourses.pdf. Other Area IV courses may be found HERE listedlisted under the Humanities and Cultural Practice and Ethics general education areas. Note: the courses DAN 3144, DAN 3145, and DAN 3146 (the dance series) have a credit limit and only one course will earn credit toward meeting the liberal studies requirement.

Area V. Natural Science

Students must complete a minimum of seven semester hours. One of the courses must be accompanied by a corresponding laboratory. Area V courses can be found HERE listed under the Natural Sciences general education area.

Note: Certain restrictions exist regarding the allotment of course credit for the chemistry and geology courses. Students should refer to the course descriptions of each department for specific credit information and consult with advisors before registering for these courses.

University-Wide Graduation Requirements

The Multicultural Requirement

Students who would be truly educated must have an appreciation of the interrelatedness of and the diversity within cultural traditions. The multicultural understanding requirement recognizes and reflects the full range of human groupings and cultural perspectives as well as the complex relationships among them. Its role is to enhance students’ self-understanding and their understanding of the contemporary cultural context, a context characterized by a rich diversity of cultures and experiences in which the Western European intellectual tradition figures as one among many.

Multicultural courses include Cross-Cultural Studies (X) courses and Diversity in Western Experience (Y) courses. All students who enter the University with fewer than sixty semester hours must complete at least one “X” and one “Y” course. Students transferring to the University with sixty credits or more must complete one multicultural course from either designation. These courses may be taken as part of the liberal studies requirement, as electives, or as part of a student’s major. The multicultural requirement must be completed with the grade of “C–” or higher prior to the receipt of the baccalaureate degree. A list of these can be found HERE .

Oral Communication Competency

Competence in oral communication is indicated by demonstrating the ability to transmit clearly ideas and information orally in a way that is appropriate to the topic, purpose, and audience. It also involves demonstrating the ability to discuss ideas clearly with others, to hear and respond to questions, and to assess critical response appropriately.

A student will satisfy the requirement for competency in oral communication in either of two ways:

  1. Petition to have prior demonstration of oral communication competency accepted in place of an approved Florida State University course. Students may petition their baccalaureate dean to have prior demonstrations of oral communication competency accepted in place of a course at Florida State University. Acceptable substitutes may include but not be limited to:
    • A grade of “B” or above in a highschool oral communication or speech class; or
    • Passing with a “C–” or higher a course in public speaking or argumentation in another college or university (including community college); or
    • Verified successful participation for at least one semester in a forensic or debate program in community college, college, or university in which a student’s debating skill or the creation of an original speech is judged competitively (e.g., Forensics, Moot Court, Debate Team, World Affairs); or
    • One year experience in a competitively-selected leadership position in a university- directed, university-sponsored organization with a substantive speaking commitment (e.g., FIG Leaders, University Ambassadors, Orientation Leaders). Administrative positions in fraternities, sororities, or student government do not meet this standard.
  2. The need for specific oral communication skills (such as formal lecture/presentation, interviewing skills, or group dynamics) will vary from discipline to discipline, and while a minimum level of oral competency is required, means of assessing such competency must remain flexible. Thus, several courses will be identified as including basic tests of oral competency, and students passing these courses with a grade of “S” (in S/U courses) or “C–” or higher (in letter graded courses) will automatically be assumed to have completed the requirement.

  3. Earn a grade of “S” (in an S/U course) or “C–” or better(in a letter graded course)in a course which has been approved by the Undergraduate Policy Committee for oral communication competence credit:
Computer Skills Competency

All undergraduates at Florida State University must demonstrate basic computer skills competency prior to graduation. The computer competency requirement may be satisfied in one of two ways:

  1. Earn a grade of “C–” or better in a course(s) that has been approved by the Undergraduate Policy Committee for computer skills competency in the major
  2. Have a prior course,passed with a grade of “C–” or better, certified by the student’s major department as equivalent to the courses approved for computer skills competency in the major

The specific computer competency skills needed vary from discipline to discipline, and while a minimum level of competency is required, means of assessing such competency must remain flexible. Thus, associated with each major is a required course(s) that provides instruction in the discipline-specific computer skills, and students passing this course(s) with a grade of “C–” or better will be considered to have completed the requirement. The list of required courses for each major will include at least one course flagged as satisfying the computer skills requirement. Students should check with their major department to identify the course(s) designated by the department as satisfying the computer skills competency in the major.

College-Level Communication (Writing) Competency

In addition to the two Area II (English composition) courses, students must complete four additional liberal studies “W” courses. These must be completed with a grade of “C–” or better in each course. The list of approved courses can be found HERE listed as “W” (State-Mandated Writing). For exemptions and advanced placement credit, consult your advisor and the Undergraduate General Bulletin for your matriculation year available at HERE.

Liberal Studies for the 21st Century is located in room A3502 on the third floor of University Center C in the stadium

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