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General Education

What is General Education?

General education, or gen ed, is an undergraduate experience shared by all – regardless of major. At most universities general education is the basic liberal arts classes, like English, science, math, and history, that make up the first two years of college. At Queens we deliver our gen ed courses in a unique, topic-based format that promotes discussion and critical thinking. We pair our in-classroom learning with required out-of-the-classroom experiences to prepare you for your future.

As a liberal arts school, it’s in our DNA to dig deeper into everything we do. Our Learning Communities (LCs) are a set of courses, taken all together, that are built around complex, real world topics and an integrated project or assignment. Your chosen topic will be examined from all angles in these courses. You can explore topics such as the pursuit of happiness, sustainability, race, the arts, zombies, and more!

For Example…

In the learning community “How We Experience the Arts” you can choose between several subtopics, such as studying narrative, looking into the psychological responses and neuroscience behind music, diving into reactions to sensory inputs, or focusing on 2D visual art’s impact on society. After taking multiple classes surrounding the one topic of experiencing the arts, you now have a comprehensive view of the topic and you’ve fulfilled your gen ed requirements!

Learning Outcomes

By taking part in the Queens general education program, you will:

  • Evaluate information and approaches to complex problems.
  • Integrate learning from multiple contexts.
  • Demonstrate communication fluency using multiple modes of expression.
  • Reflect critically on the relationship between global and local contexts.
  • Evaluate the consequences personal choices have on the well-being of communities.

“We built our general education curriculum around really big, messy problems. Things like identity, happiness, and race that really can’t be addressed by a single course. So, what we ask students to do is to take multiple courses at the same time that address these topics from a lot of different perspectives.”

Dr. Jeff Thomas, professor, biology & chemistry and director of general education
General education diagram