General Education - Distribution Courses

(11 courses — three credits each)

Three analytical/skills courses (AS)9
One diversity course (CD)3
One natural science course (NS)3
One social science course (SS)3
One humanities course (H)3
Four free electives12

Three Analytical/Skills Courses (AS)

Taken from courses in CIS, MAT (excluding MAT 106 Intro College Math), SPK, ASL, modern and classical languages/languages other than English (excluding those taught in English), and other “skills” designated courses. One must be a math (MAT) course.

(The above courses may be specified by departments for their majors, excluding courses bearing a student's major designation. No courses bearing a student's major designation may appear in the general education distribution unless specified by accreditation and/or registration requirements. Each course fulfills only one requirement.)

One Diversity Course (CD)

Must focus on one of the following areas:

  1. African, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American, Middle Eastern, Oceanic peoples, cultures, politics, or societies (or combinations of two or more of those in comparison to a Western culture provided the majority of the course concerns the non-Western culture). Such course shall have its primary focus on the social institutions, history, culture, literature, arts, philosophy, religion, values, politics, or economic development in these regions.
  2. A minority American culture such as those identified by race or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or physical disability.
  3. The process of racism or discrimination or cross-cultural interaction.

One Natural Science Course (NS)

Natural sciences are concerned with the study of the natural world through the use of empirical methods and systematic study. Courses include those within the life sciences (e.g., biology, biochemistry, ecology, genetics, and neuroscience) and physical sciences (e.g., astronomy, chemistry, physics, and Earth science). Upon completion of Natural Science courses, students will better understand the impact of natural sciences on their lives, and will strengthen their personal connection to the natural and physical world.

At Niagara, Natural Science courses are primarily drawn from the following departments:

  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Psychology

One Social Science Course (SS)

Social sciences are concerned with human beings as individuals and as groups in society, and with their relations with various social contexts and their relationships to one another. Social sciences are differentiated by their disciplinary foci–behavioral, economic, political, and social. Courses within the Social Sciences provide students with empirical, theoretical, and methodological foundations about the social world leading to a deeper comprehension of their own area of study.

At Niagara, Social Science courses are primarily drawn from the following departments:

  • Communication Studies
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Economics and Finance
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Social Work

One Humanities Course (H)

The study of the Humanities offers insights into how people investigate, process, and document the human experience. Courses that fall under the Humanities umbrella challenge students to make intellectual, aesthetic, moral, and spiritual sense of the world and to think critically about their connection to the lives of others.

At Niagara, Humanities courses are primarily drawn from the following departments:

  • Communication Studies
  • English
  • History
  • Modern and Classical Languages
  • Philosophy
  • Religious Studies
  • Theatre and Fine Arts

The departments listed with each General Education area are the primary, but not the only, departments in which students can find courses that will fulfill General Education requirements. There are additional courses in Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, and Hospitality and Tourism that have General Education distribution designations. Students can refer to the catalog to see the full range of distribution courses offered at Niagara University.

Four Free Electives

Writing Intensive Requirements

Students need strong writing skills to succeed at Niagara University and in their careers. In order to develop these skills, students are required to take three Writing Intensive courses. Two are taken as part of the General Education curriculum, Writing 100: Thinking and Writing and English 110: Literary Perspectives. The third course is taken in the major, usually as the capstone course.

A Writing Intensive (WI) course meets the following criteria:

  • The syllabus will demonstrate how the improvement of writing skills is tied to the course objectives and student learning outcomes.
  • The syllabus will demonstrate that writing represents a significant component of the final course grade.
  • The syllabus will articulate the process through which writing skills will be developed. This development can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including but not limited to five-minute writing workshops, one-on-one paper conferences, peer review, classroom discussion of samples of student writing, posts to online discussion boards, written comments on papers, the use of rubrics, etc.
  • The course will engage students in the writing process with the aim of producing a minimum of 2,500 words (10 pages) of finished writing.

Policies Governing General Education

Religious studies and philosophy courses may be taken to fulfill distribution requirements provided they are acceptable to the dean.

The history requirement may not be waived by precollege courses or scores on advanced placement tests.