This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2021-2022 VCU Bulletin. This edition includes all programs and courses approved by the publication deadline; however we may receive notification of additional program approvals after the launch. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

VCU’s general education curriculum seeks to provide a diverse student body with a broad base of knowledge and the intellectual skills to participate actively in a changing world. To those ends, the general education curriculum challenges students to seek creative answers to complex problems, see connections between disciplines and between ideas, and develop an informed perspective on the varieties of human experience. Courses included in the general education curriculum are open to all VCU undergraduate students and therefore do not focus on those skills, techniques or procedures specific to a particular occupation or profession. The general education curriculum which follows consists of 30 credit hours divided into three sections: foundations, breadth of knowledge and areas of inquiry. While foundations courses are distinct from the rest of the general education curriculum, the courses contained within the breadth of knowledge and areas of inquiry sections overlap.

Foundations (12-13 credits)

To ensure that all students enrolled at VCU are provided with a firm foundation upon which to pursue their intellectual and professional goals, the general education curriculum requires that all students take the following courses.

CourseTitleHours
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I [View Image]
Focused Inquiry I3
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II [View Image]
Focused Inquiry II 13
UNIV 200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 13
Quantitative foundations
Select one of the following:3-4
Mathematical Applications for Business
Differential Calculus and Optimization for Business
Introduction to Contemporary Mathematics
College Algebra with Applications
Algebra with Applications
Precalculus Mathematics
Calculus with Analytic Geometry I
Statistical Thinking
Basic Practice of Statistics
Concepts of Statistics
Total Hours12-13
1

A minimum grade of C is required in UNIV 112 and UNIV 200. Transfer credits are not accepted for these three UNIV courses after a student is enrolled at the university.

Breadth of knowledge (SACSCOC) (nine credits)2

All students must earn at least three credits in each of the three breadth of knowledge areas listed below. All courses listed in the three sections below also count toward the 17-18 credit hour areas of inquiry requirement.

CourseTitleHours
Humanities/fine arts
This requirement is fulfilled by these courses included in the four areas of inquiry. Select one of the following.3
Introduction to Africana Studies
Rethinking Popular, Visual and Media Culture
Banned! Art and Controversy
The Creative Economy
Dance in Hollywood
Reading Literature
Reading Film
The Art of Historical Detection: ____
History Without Borders: ____
What is Good Design? A Survey of 20th- and 21st-century Design
American Popular Music
Soundscapes
Reading Technology, Media and Culture
Introduction to Ethics
Critical Thinking
Human Spirituality
Live Theatre Now
What's the Big Idea?
Cultural Texts and Contexts: ____
Introduction to World Cinema
Natural sciences
This requirement is fulfilled by these courses included in the four areas of inquiry. Select one of the following.3
Biological Concepts
Global Environmental Biology
Introduction to Biological Sciences I
Disease and Human Ancestry
General Chemistry I
Chemistry and Society
General Chemistry Laboratory I
Earth System Science
Crime and Science
Energy!
Foundations of Physics
Elementary Astronomy
General Physics I
University Physics I
Social/behavioral sciences
This requirement is fulfilled by these courses included in the four areas of inquiry. Select one of the following.3
Introduction to Anthropology
The Science of Resilience and Holistic Health
Introduction to Economics
The Economics of Product Development and Markets
Principles of Microeconomics
Pop-cultural Foundations of Education: Film/TV, Music, Literature and Schooling in the U.S.
Introduction to Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies
Human Societies and Globalization
Mass Communications
Global Communications
Diversity in the Media
U.S. Government
International Relations
Introduction to Psychology
Science in Society: Values, Ethics and Politics
Preparing Diverse Learners From Multicultural and Global Perspectives
Building a Just Society
Human Sexuality
Introduction to Sociology
Confronting Climate Crisis
Urban Awareness and Urban Education
Debunking Classroom Myths: How and Why Do We Learn Ideas Incorrectly?
Total Hours9
2

Courses taken to fulfill the three breadth of knowledge requirements categories also count toward the general education curriculum’s four areas of inquiry.

Areas of inquiry (17-18 credits total, including the nine credits from breadth of knowledge)

The remaining course work in the general education curriculum must be divided among the four areas of inquiry below, with at least three, and no more than nine, credits from each of the four areas. In fulfilling these requirements, students may apply no more than six credits with the same four-letter prefix (ex. RELS, MGMT) to the 17-18 credit total requirement, regardless of the area of inquiry under which they are listed. Courses taken to complete the breadth of knowledge requirements also fulfill area of inquiry requirements.

CourseTitleHours
Creativity, innovation and aesthetic inquiry
Courses in this area encourage students to examine the circumstances that produce creative work; investigate the criteria used to judge creative work; and consider the role of imagination in expressing the human condition.3-9
Rethinking Popular, Visual and Media Culture
Banned! Art and Controversy
The Creative Economy
Dance in Hollywood
Pop-cultural Foundations of Education: Film/TV, Music, Literature and Schooling in the U.S.
Reading Literature
Reading Film
What is Good Design? A Survey of 20th- and 21st-century Design
The Innovation Intersection: Industry and Entrepreneurship
American Popular Music
Soundscapes
Reading Technology, Media and Culture
Oral Communication and Presentation
Live Theatre Now
Cultural Texts and Contexts: ____
Introduction to World Cinema
Diversities in the human experience
These courses will introduce students to the modes of inquiry used in the study of social institutions and human behavior. Students enrolled in these courses will seek to investigate the relationship between the individual and society and the varieties of human psychology and development.3-9
The Science of Resilience and Holistic Health
Race and Racism in America
Disrupting Ageism: An Exploration of Diversity and Aging
Introduction to Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies
The Art of Historical Detection: ____
Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
Mass Communications
Diversity in the Media
Culture, Diversity and Communication in Health Care Settings
Conceptualizing Mental Illness in Western Culture
Introduction to Ethics
U.S. Government
Introduction to Psychology
Human Spirituality
Building a Just Society
Human Sexuality
Introduction to Sociology
Urban Awareness and Urban Education
What's the Big Idea?
Global perspectives
Through these courses students will encounter and comprehend cultures and contexts outside the U.S.; develop an understanding of how the world is interconnected; and consider alternative viewpoints among disciplines, histories and cultures.3-9
Introduction to Africana Studies
Introduction to Anthropology
Introduction to the World of Business
Introduction to Economics
The Economics of Product Development and Markets
Principles of Microeconomics
History Without Borders: ____
Human Societies and Globalization
Global Communications
International Relations
Preparing Diverse Learners From Multicultural and Global Perspectives
Confronting Climate Crisis
Great Cities of the World
Scientific and logical reasoning
These courses examine how logical and empirical methods can be used to form and revise beliefs; use scientific concepts to describe the world and formulate questions; and model phenomena through the use of mathematics, computer programs and physical representations.3-9
Biological Concepts
Global Environmental Biology
Introduction to Biological Sciences I
Disease and Human Ancestry
General Chemistry I
Chemistry and Society
General Chemistry Laboratory I
Computers and Programming
Introduction to Biomedical Engineering
Successes and Failures in Biomedical Technologies
Earth System Science
Personal Financial Planning
Crime and Science
Fitness and Health
Energy!
Seeing, Playing, Deciding – This is Math?
Critical Thinking
Foundations of Physics
Elementary Astronomy
General Physics I
University Physics I
Science in Society: Values, Ethics and Politics
Debunking Classroom Myths: How and Why Do We Learn Ideas Incorrectly?
Total Hours17-18

VCU’s general education learning goals, definitions and outcomes 

Communicative fluency 

Communicative fluency is understanding and creating shared meaning with effective use of language and communicative practices, intentional engagement of audience, cogent and coherent iteration and negotiation with others, and skillful translation across multiple expressive formulations and modes.

  1. Develop and present cogent, coherent and error-free written communication with general and specialized audiences

  2. Develop and present cogent, coherent and error-free oral communication with general and specialized audiences

  3. Recognize and use other modalities of communication (e.g. digital, expressive and scientific) effectively and appropriately 

  4. Understand and effectively uses genre and disciplinary conventions for communication, including syntax and mechanics, for a variety of purposes

  5. Choose a variety of sources of evidence appropriate to the audience and purpose; selects sources after considering the importance of multiple criteria, such as relevance, currency, authority, scholarliness, and bias or point of view

  6. Achieve positive outcomes with others through interpreting both verbal and nonverbal information, social perceptiveness, empathy, persuasion and negotiation; able to select key pieces of a complex idea to express in words, sounds and images, in order to build shared understanding

Ethical reasoning 

Ethical reasoning includes judgments of right and wrong, good and bad, related to human conduct especially concerning matters of justice, fairness, equity and social responsibility. Value systems, both culturally inherited and different from students’ own experiences, inform the deliberations regarding the quality of life and social goods necessary to employ ethical decision-making. 

  1. Recognize ethical issues 

  2. Identify one’s culturally inherited beliefs through self-awareness and civic identity

  3. Understand the different ethical perspectives/concepts and diversity of communities and cultures

  4. Apply beliefs and ethical perspectives

  5. Demonstrate the impact of ethical decision-making on civic contexts and structures

Global and cultural responsiveness and agility 

Global and cultural responsiveness and agility requires (1) suspension of judgment in valuing interactions with culturally different others and (2) empathic and flexible responsiveness to unfamiliar ways of being, recognizing that all actions have correlative intercultural effects. This competency’s primary goal, achievable only after several courses with this competency, is for students to advance equity and justice on local and global levels, well-informed by historical and political contexts.

  1. Demonstrate understanding of relevant historical, cultural and political contexts

  2. Compare and contrast practical and ideological differences among cultures

  3. Show appropriate contexts and methods for suspending value judgments

  4. Demonstrate capacity for empathy

  5. Demonstrate sensibility to actions’ consequent reciprocal reactions

Information literacy 

Information literacy is a set of integrated abilities to solve problems and generate new knowledge that encompasses recognizing an information need; critically identifying, locating and evaluating appropriate resources; and responsibly and effectively synthesizing, applying and sharing information.

  1. Recognize an information need and determine extent and type of information needed 

  2. Identify and locate appropriate sources 

  3. Critically evaluate information and its sources 

  4. Effectively synthesize, apply and share information to accomplish a specific purpose 

  5. Demonstrate understanding of relevant legal and ethical issues for information use

Problem solving (critical and creative)

Problem solving is the process of designing, evaluating and implementing approaches to open-ended questions in order to achieve a desired outcome or goal, based on both (1) the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion and (2) the synthesis of ideas, images or expertise, and imaginative thinking characterized by innovation, divergent thinking and risk-taking.

  1. Define complex problems, issues or questions

  2. Identify and seek out approaches, information, skills and relevant resources

  3. Develop and propose multiple solutions (demonstrating intellectual risk-taking and tolerance for ambiguity)

  4. Evaluate potential solutions with awareness of contradictions, competing assumptions and consideration of context

  5. Analyze the implications, consequences and outcomes of solutions

Quantitative literacy 

Quantitative literacy is the knowledge of mathematical/statistical operations and graphical representations of numerical data; the knowledge of how to represent real-world objects, events, information and problems as symbolic data sets;, the ability to recognize which mathematical/statistical operations are applicable to given data sets; and the ability to analyze, interpret and explain the output of mathematical/statistical operations performed by the student or presented in the published literature. 

  1. Convert information into mathematical/symbolic forms

  2. Recognize the appropriate mathematical/statistical operations for the analysis of given information/data sets

  3. Perform mathematical/statistical operations

  4. Extract the meaning of a quantitative analysis, draw inferences and produce appropriate conclusions

  5. Express the rationale for the application of specific operations to specific data sets and the validity of conclusions derived from analyses