General Education

At the start of her Alverno education, a student can look ahead to two areas of learning:

  • her general education, in which she acquires the basic knowledge and develops the abilities that all Alverno students must master
  • her major and support area(s) (minor(s)), in which she adds the specialized knowledge and abilities related to her interests, civic responsibilities, and career plans.

A student explores each of these areas fully at Alverno, taking a wide range of required and elective courses. In her first few semesters, she begins building the foundation for her learning by concentrating primarily on the general education curriculum.

The General Education Curriculum

In general education, a student masters the eight abilities that form the core of Alverno’s ability-based education. To accomplish this goal, a student needs a broad range of knowledge, ability to use technology, and systematic practice and critique. The courses that are part of Alverno’s general education provide the means for all three.

Professions such as business, education, and health care, for example, count on basic insights about human motivation gained from a general knowledge of psychology, history, and philosophy. Decision makers in corporations or community groups rely on values formed in the study of the arts and humanities or analytic skills developed in mathematics and science. Such fields as biology and chemistry increasingly depend on other areas of knowledge to establish the context and significance of their discoveries. 

Although all undergraduate students take these general education classes, the specific requirements are tied to the student's major and/or minor. These requirements are built into the program and are available on the student's academic evaluation. Please visit the specific major or minor page you have in mind to find which set of general education requirements is associated with that program. This broad base of general knowledge also becomes the foundation upon which a student adds the specialized knowledge associated with her major and support area.

The distinctive, ingenious aspect of Alverno’s curriculum is that all courses have been structured so that as students acquire this essential general knowledge, they also practice and master the eight abilities. Knowledge and the abilities to apply it are learned simultaneously, one reinforcing the other.

While a student’s general education continues throughout college, it is concentrated in her first few semesters. Since the general education program is the foundation for all the knowledge a student acquires and the specialized abilities she develops, it is a vitally important time in her education.

General Education in the First Year

In her first year, a student becomes familiar with Alverno’s approach to learning knowledge and developing abilities hand-in-hand through disciplinary first-year courses. 

A student takes two introductory arts and humanities courses that explore the ideas and viewpoints that have shaped history, philosophy, English literature, religious studies, and the visual and performing arts or fine arts. In them, she also begins developing her communication, analytical, valuing, and aesthetic engagement abilities.

A student is also required to take 7 or 8 credits of mathematics and/or the natural sciences, including at least one laboratory science course. There are a variety of courses from which she may select. These courses advance a student’s understanding of the natural sciences and help her develop her communication, analytical, and problem-solving abilities. Introductory courses in psychology (PSY-110, social science (SSC-101), and behavioral science (BSC-215) are often taken in the first year to promote advancement of these abilities as well.

Many first-year students also take a course in mathematics and courses that integrate writing, speaking, and other communication abilities. These courses are vital, since they help students develop the skills and abilities that are needed for coursework throughout college and later as a lifelong learner. Occasionally, students qualify to be placed out of the initial mathematics and communication courses. Your admissions counselor, the Registrar's Office, and your advisor work together to identify students who are eligible for this. Also, it is possible for some students to take a Credit for Prior Learning Assessment to be placed out of the initial courses. Please contact your admissions counselor or advisor for more information on this process. 

In all her courses, a student takes assessments to help gauge her progress. Assessments enable a student and her professors to judge whether she meets the criteria established for each level of the eight abilities. But assessments are also an integral part of the learning process. They serve as checkpoints that help the student understand what she knows and what she needs to know.

The Role of Advising in the First year

College is usually the first time that a student is responsible for choosing her own course of study. In choosing it, she also encounters more scheduling and course options than ever before.

Alverno’s Advising Office introduces a student to the Alverno curriculum and assists her to make choices. A student meets with her advisor at the beginning of her first semester. At first, she relies heavily on her advisor. However, her confidence in making course selections and scheduling grows rapidly in the first year as she becomes familiar with the system and her own learning goals.

General Education for Undeclared Majors

General Education Beginning Standard Majors
FSS-125First Semester Seminar2
or LA-230 Liberal Learning for Transfer Student
AC-151Initial Social Interaction Assessment0
CM-120Communication Seminar 14
QL-122Quantitative Literacy in Modern World4
FA-110Intro to the Arts4
HUM-150Express/Interpretn Human Experience4
CM-125Communication Seminar 23
QL-156Mathematical Connections3
CM-225Communication Seminar 33
Take two HFA-210 courses 14
Preprofesssional Seminar:
PPS-229Career & Internship Planning 21
SSC-101Introduction to Social Science4
PSY-110Life Span Development4
General Education Math and Science for Undeclared Majors and Supports
Take 8 credits of Math or Science with at least one laboratory science8
General Education Intermediate Standard Major
BSC-215Working in Diverse Groups2
ADV-299Intermediate Level Event0
GEC-300The Globally Effective Citizen3
HFA-310 Course:
Take two HFA-310 courses: 14
General Electives:
Take 6 elective credits outside of coursework required for major or support6
1

Different areas of study required. HFA-250 counts as one HFA-210 and one HFA-310.

2

Art Majors take A-193C.

General Education for Standard Science Majors

General Education Beginning Standard Majors
FSS-125First Semester Seminar2
or LA-230 Liberal Learning for Transfer Student
AC-151Initial Social Interaction Assessment0
CM-120Communication Seminar 14
QL-122Quantitative Literacy in Modern World4
FA-110Intro to the Arts4
HUM-150Express/Interpretn Human Experience4
CM-125Communication Seminar 23
QL-156Mathematical Connections3
CM-225Communication Seminar 33
HFA-210 Courses:
Take two HFA-210 courses 14
Preprofessional Seminar:
PPS-229Career & Internship Planning 21
SSC-101Introduction to Social Science4
PSY-110Life Span Development4
General Education Math and Science for Standard Science Majors
SC-119Foundations of Chemistry4
SC-120
120L
Foundations of Biology
and Foundations of Biology Lab
4
General Education Intermediate Standard Major
ADV-299Intermediate Level Event0
BSC-215Working in Diverse Groups2
GEC-300The Globally Effective Citizen3
HFA-310 Courses:
Take two HFA-310 courses 14
General Electives:
Take 6 elective credits outside of coursework required for major or support
1

Different areas of study required. HFA-250 counts as one HFA-210 and one HFA-310.

2

Art Majors take A-193C.

General Education for Standard Majors-Not Science Related

General Education Beginning Standard Majors
FSS-125First Semester Seminar2
or LA-230 Liberal Learning for Transfer Student
AC-151Initial Social Interaction Assessment0
CM-120Communication Seminar 14
QL-122Quantitative Literacy in Modern World4
FA-110Intro to the Arts4
HUM-150Express/Interpretn Human Experience4
CM-125Communication Seminar 23
QL-156Mathematical Connections3
CM-225Communication Seminar 33
HFA-210 Courses:
Take two HFA-210 courses 14
Preprofessional Seminar:
PPS-229Career & Internship Planning 21
SSC-101Introduction to Social Science4
PSY-110Life Span Development4
General Education Math and Science:
Take two courses, each from a different group, from the following: 3,4
Group 1:
College Algebra
Functions & Modeling
Calculus 1
Discrete Structures & Algorithms
Calculus 2
Calculus 3
Linear Algebra
Probability and Statistics
Introduction to Programming:java
Introduction to Programming: Python
Introduction to Programming: C++
History of Mathematics
College Geometry
Modern Algebra
Differential Equations
Axiomatic Systems
Group 2:
Human Biology
and Human Biology Lab 5
Foundations of Biology
and Foundations of Biology Lab 5
Biology of Plants 5
Biology of Animals
and Biology of Animals Lab 5
Examining Evolution
Science and Women
and Human Biology Lab 5
Group 3:
Physical Science 5
Foundations of Earth Science 5
Foundations of Chemistry 5
Chemistry of Bioorganic Molecules
and Chemistry of Bioorganic Molecules Lab 5
Algebra-Based Physics I
or PH-241
Calculus-Based Physics 1
General Education Intermediate Standard Major
ADV-299Intermediate Level Event0
BSC-215Working in Diverse Groups2
GEC-300The Globally Effective Citizen3
HFA-310 Courses:
Take two HFA-310 courses 14
General Electives:
Take 6 elective credits outside of coursework required for major or support6
1

Different areas of study required. HFA-250 counts as one HFA-210 and one HFA-310.

2

Art Majors take A-193C.

3

For Majors and supports that are not science, nursing, or music therapy.

4

Each from a different group. One course must be a laboratory science marked with 5.

5

Laboratory science course.

General Education for MUY Majors

General Education Beginning-Mega Majors
FSS-125First Semester Seminar2
or LA-230 Liberal Learning for Transfer Student
AC-151Initial Social Interaction Assessment0
CM-120Communication Seminar 14
QL-122Quantitative Literacy in Modern World4
FA-110Intro to the Arts4
HUM-150Express/Interpretn Human Experience4
CM-125Communication Seminar 23
QL-156Mathematical Connections3
CM-225Communication Seminar 33
HFA-210Humanities & Fine Arts Elective2
General Education Science for MUY Majors
SC-118Human Biology3
SC-118LHuman Biology Lab1
General Education Intermediate Mega Major
BSC-215Working in Diverse Groups2
ADV-299Intermediate Level Event0
GEC-300The Globally Effective Citizen3
HFA-310Humanities & Fine Arts Elective (Student may also take an HFA-250 to count for HFA-210 and HFA-310)2

General Education-Mega Majors-Science Related

General Education Beginning - Mega Majors
FSS-125First Semester Seminar2
or LA-230 Liberal Learning for Transfer Student
AC-151Initial Social Interaction Assessment0
CM-120Communication Seminar 14
QL-122Quantitative Literacy in Modern World4
FA-110Intro to the Arts4
HUM-150Express/Interpretn Human Experience4
CM-125Communication Seminar 23
QL-156Mathematical Connections3
CM-225Communication Seminar 33
HFA-210 Courses:
Take two HFA-210 courses 14
General Education Science for N, MUY, SCI/SED Majors
SC-119Foundations of Chemistry4
General Education Intermediate - Mega Majors
ADV-299Intermediate Level Event0
BSC-215Working in Diverse Groups2
GEC-300The Globally Effective Citizen3
HFA-310 Courses:
Take two HFA-310 courses 14
1

Different areas of study required. HFA-250 counts as one HFA-210 and one HFA-310.

General Education-Mega Majors-Not Science Related

General Education Beginning - Mega Majors
FSS-125First Semester Seminar2
or LA-230 Liberal Learning for Transfer Student
AC-151Initial Social Interaction Assessment0
CM-120Communication Seminar 14
QL-122Quantitative Literacy in Modern World4
FA-110Intro to the Arts4
HUM-150Express/Interpretn Human Experience4
CM-125Communication Seminar 23
QL-156Mathematical Connections3
CM-225Communication Seminar 33
HFA-210 Courses:
Take two HFA-210 courses 14
General Education Science for Mega Major not Science
Take one lab science from the following:
Human Biology
and Human Biology Lab
Foundations of Biology
and Foundations of Biology Lab
Physical Science
Foundations of Chemistry
Science of Everyday Materials
Biology of Plants
Biology of Animals
and Biology of Animals Lab
Chemistry of Bioorganic Molecules
and Chemistry of Bioorganic Molecules Lab
CH-TR & CH-LTR (physical science transfer)
BI-TR
BI-LTR (biology science transfer)
General Education Intermediate - Mega Majors
ADV-299Intermediate Level Event0
BSC-215Working in Diverse Groups2
GEC-300The Globally Effective Citizen3
HFA-310 Courses:
Take two HFA-310 courses 14
1

Different areas of study required. HFA-250 counts as one HFA-210 and one HFA-310.

Declaring a Major and Support Area

Many students come to college knowing the area in which they intend to major. Others are less sure. In either case, a first-year course called Preprofessional Seminar (PPS-129) helps a student declare a major confidently.

For a student who is reasonably sure of her intended major, Preprofessional Seminar helps her understand the course of study necessary for the major and the career options it creates. For a student who chooses not to declare a major in her first year, Preprofessional Seminar helps her investigate possibilities. Preprofessional Seminar also acquaints a student with Alverno’s career development program, which will help her sort out and prepare for her postcollege plans.

Occasionally, a student may find herself in the position of needing or wanting to change her major when she is well into her original major. She may elect to choose a different major, including the liberal studies major. This major allows the student to integrate what she has learned in her original major and support area(s) through IST-475, Advanced Seminar: Integrated Foundations: Building a Future. Working closely with faculty and professionals from career development, she discovers new ways of seeing herself and her future through the lens of having integrated her learning and gaining new perspectives on the role of both her education and her goals and abilities.

The “Undecided” Major

If a student is undecided about her major, it is better for her to explore her options fully before deciding. It generally does not slow her progress if she does not declare a major and support area in her first year. However, certain professional programs (e.g., nursing, education) can take longer due to the sequencing of courses. An “exploratory” student who is considering different majors can seek special assistance from the advising staff and Career Education Center to help her make her decision.

As a transfer student, we know your first question is probably this: “Will my credits transfer?”  Alverno works with you to ensure you receive credit for as much of your prior coursework as possible.

We will review unofficial transcripts to get an idea of how the coursework you have already completed at other colleges or universities will transfer into our program. Transfer credit is evaluated using several considerations:

  • The educational quality of the learning experiences
  • The comparability of the nature, content and level of the learning experiences
  • The appropriateness and applicability of the learning experiences to the programs offered at Alverno College

We accept transfer credit from institutions that are regionally accredited or accredited by a body recognized by the Department of Education.

If you have completed a two-year Associate degree, we have various agreements with two-year colleges and universities for students who wish to earn a baccalaureate degree. 

Our transfer counselors will work with you to determine how your credits will transfer to Alverno. 

Contact us to be connected to a transfer admissions counselor:

414-382-6100
admissions@alverno.edu