Liberal Education Program

View/Print PDF

The Liberal Education Program (LEP) is designed to help each student become an educated person in the contemporary world. It focuses on competencies (What should an educated citizen be able to do?), areas of knowledge (What should an educated citizen know?), and discussions of values (How do values inform one's perspective and decisions?). Students in the Liberal Education Program progress through three tiers, each one focusing primarily on one of the three goal groups, while addressing the other two groups as well. Tier 1 provides foundations for learning, Tier 2 expands students' knowledge of the world, and Tier 3 integrates skills, knowledge, and values discussion with high-level critical thinking.  

Tier 1 (6 courses) emphasizes college-level competencies that form the foundation of a liberal education. Tier 2 (8 courses) explores Areas of Knowledge needed by educated people in the twenty-first century. The Tier 3 (1 course) capstone seminar emphasizes Discussions of Values in the context of LEP Areas of Knowledge and a related contemporary issue.  Please refer to the Degrees and Requirements: Curriculum section for more information on the guiding principles of the Liberal Education Program. 

LEP courses are offered by a variety of departments across the university. While the choice of courses that fulfill the requirements is generally left up to students, many majors recommend specific courses offered within the categories of the three LEP tiers that will also satisfy major/cognate requirements. These shared courses are recommended in the program outlines, although the course is only counted once towards the 120 credits required for graduation.  Students should plan their course work with their adviser in order to ensure that they meet the appropriate requirements needed for their intended major.

Transfer students should check the Transfer and Alternative Credit section of this catalog for waiver policies that may apply to any of the Liberal Education Program and/or Writing Requirements.

Tier 1: Foundations

In the first tier, small classes help students develop foundational competencies essential to academic discourse. These classes also introduce students to areas of knowledge and discussions of values. Tier 1 foundations prepare students to have a rich experience and to perform to high standards in the rest of their university education. As students’ progress from Tier 1 into Tiers 2 and 3, their liberal education continues to build upon and strengthen these competencies.  Select one from each category.

First Year Experience (T1FY)

  • INQ 101 – Intellectual and Creative Inquiry

Critical Thinking (T1CT)

  • ANT 100 – Interpreting Cultures
  • ART 106 – Critical Thinking in the Visual Arts
  • ECO 110 - Social Issues and Economic Thinking
  • ENG 125 - Reading Sexism and Homophobia Critically
  • ENV 101 – Critical Thinking: Global Environmental Issues
  • FIN 200 - Critical Thinking in Finance
  • GEO 105 – Food Systems: A Geography
  • HIS 150 – Critical Thinking through Historical Biography
  • JST 110 – Narrating the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
  • JST 125 - Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism
  • MDS 101 – Media Persuasion and Everyday Life
  • MGT 202 - Introduction to Conscious Capitalism
  • PHI 100 – Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHY 111 – Physics for Today
  • PHY 123 – Critical Thinking and Science for Future Leaders
  • PSC 150 – Thinking about Politics
  • SOC 102 – Exploring Social Issues

Multilingual Communication (T1MC)

Students fulfill the Tier 1: Multilingual Communication requirement by successfully completing a World Languages and Literatures (WLL) course at the 200-level, an American Sign Language course at the intermediate level, or by passing the Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency test (STAMP) for Western languages at the intermediate low level or non-Western languages at the novice high level.

All students are required to take the STAMP upon completion of a 200 level WLL course; however, students who feel that they can demonstrate proficiency prior to this may choose to take a STAMP at any time. For languages that are not offered by STAMP, students will be required to take the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Interview and Written Production tests and pass them at the required proficiency levels outlined above.

Students who plan to continue the study of the same world language that they started in high school will be required to take an electronic placement exam. The STAMP does not serve as a placement exam.

  • ARB 200 – Arabic III
  • CHI 200 – Chinese III
  • FRE 200 – French III
  • FRE 201 - Feasting on France and the Francophone World
  • FRE 202 - First Responders:  French Language for a Global World
  • GER 201 – Continuing German: Contemporary German Culture
  • GER 202 – Continuing German: Exploring a German City
  • HBR 200 – Hebrew III
  • ITA 200 – Italian III
  • ITA 202 - Italian Language and Culture for Pleasure
  • ITA 204 - Made in Italy: Italian Language and Culture for a Global Society
  • JPN 200 – Japanese III
  • LAT 200 – Latin III
  • POR 200 – Portuguese III
  • RUS 200 – Russian III
  • SED 205 – Intermediate American Sign Language
  • SPA 200 – Spanish III
  • SPA 220 – Medical Spanish

Quantitative Reasoning (T1QR)

  • MAT 103 – Mathematics for Liberal Arts
  • MAT 106 – Mathematics for Elementary Education II
  • MAT 107 – Elementary Statistics
  • MAT 108 – Mathematics for the Natural Sciences
  • MAT 120 – College Algebra
  • MAT 122 – Pre-Calculus
  • MAT 125 - Applied Business Mathematics
  • MAT 139 – Short Course in Calculus
  • MAT 150 – Calculus I

Technological Fluency (T1TF)

  • COM 135 – Introduction to Computer Mediated Communication
  • CSC 101 – Introduction to Computers and Applications
  • CSC 104 – Web Technology
  • CSC 200 – Information Management and Productivity Software
  • EDU 106 – New Literacies: Digital Text and Tools for Learning
  • GEO 110 – Geography and Conflict: Ethnicity, Race, and Economy in the US
  • GEO 170 - Basic Drone Technology
  • JRN 135 – Digital Media
  • JRN 170 - Basic Drone Technology
  • MUS 117 - Introduction to Music Technology
  • PHY 103 – Physics and Technology for Health Professionals
  • PHY 120 – Physics for Tomorrow: Nanotechnology
  • WLL 108 - Technology and Language Learning
  • WGS 150 – Women, Gender, Community, Technology

Written Communication (T1WC)

  • ENG 112 – Writing Arguments
  • ENG 120 - Writing Arguments for Bilingual Students

Tier 2: Explorations

Areas of knowledge prepare students for active citizenry and serve as the basis for lifelong learning. Tier 2 courses continue to develop and reinforce the competencies introduced in Tier 1. All courses in this tier incorporate Intellectual Foundations and must include at least one primary expository text.  All students must complete both Natural World I and II, complete any 6 of the 7 remaining areas of knowledge, and only two courses per subject may be taken within Tier 2.

All current students who study abroad for the span of a semester or year shall have the opportunity to use two of their successfully completed courses from their study abroad experience for up to two Tier 2 requirements.  These must be courses taken during the study abroad experience that are otherwise counting only for elective credits.  Students, however, may not use study abroad courses to substitute for departmental degree requirements in the LEP, unless authorized by the department, nor may they use study abroad courses to substitute for both of the Natural World science requirements, unless approved by the LEP Director.

Natural World I: Physical Realm

  • CHE 103 – Crime Scene Chemistry
  • CHE 120 – General Chemistry I
  • ESC 103 – General Geology
  • ESC 105 – General Meteorology
  • ESC 106 – General Oceanography
  • ESC 107 – General Astronomy
  • ESC 200 – Physical Geology
  • ESC 205 – Principles of Meteorology
  • ESC 220 – Principles of Oceanography
  • GEO 201 – Physical Geography
  • PHY 100 – Physics through Inquiry
  • PHY 101 – Inquiries in Elementary Physics
  • PHY 200 – General Physics I
  • PHY 210 – College Physics
  • PHY 230 – Physics for Scientists and Engineers I

Natural World II: Life and Environment

  • ANT 102 – Biological Anthropology
  • BIO 100 – General Zoology
  • BIO 101 – General Botany
  • BIO 103  - Botany
  • BIO 120 - Microbiology
  • BIO 200 - Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • BIO 201 - Human Anatomy and Physiology II
  • CHE 101 – Introduction to Environmental Chemistry
  • CHE 121 - General Chemistry II
  • CHE 125 – Principles and Applications of General, Organic, and Biochemistry
  • ESC 104 – Geohazards: The Impact on the Environment
  • ESC 111 – Life through Time
  • ESC 201 – Historical Geology
  • MAR 210 – Coastal Marine Studies

American Experience

  • ANT 321 – Indians of North America
  • ENG 218 – American Experience and Literature
  • FIN 250 - U.S. Financial Industry Through Film
  • GEO 104 - Sustainability in America: Challenges and Solutions
  • HIS 110 – United States History I
  • HIS 111 – United States History II
  • HIS 248 – American Constitution in Historical Perspective
  • ITA 250 - Italians in America: The Italian-American Experience
  • JRN 101 – The Media: Freedom and Power
  • JRN 350 - American Journalism History
  • JST 210 – Jewish American Literature
  • PSC 210 – American Political Experience
  • PSC 220 - Grassroots Democracy:  City and States
  • PSC 260 – US Government
  • SPA 210 – Spanish IV: Latino America

Creative Drive

  • ANT 211 – Writing Culture: The Art of Ethnographic Writing
  • ART 113 – 3-Dimensional Design
  • ART 150 – Introductory Drawing I
  • ART 151 – Introductory Drawing II
  • ART 201 - Visual Art and the Studio Experience
  • ART 220 – Introductory Painting
  • ART 225 – Creative Drawing
  • ART 233 – Jewelry/Metals I
  • ART 236 - Ceramics I: Hand-Building
  • ART 240 – Sculpture: Construction and Subtraction
  • ART 241 – Modeling and Casting
  • ART 250 – Intermediate Drawing
  • ART 260 – Etching, Woodcut, Collograph
  • ART 261 – Lithography and Silkscreen
  • ART 264 – Introduction to Digital Photography
  • COM 228 – Capturing, Analyzing, and Presenting Family Stories
  • ENG 201 – Introduction to Creative Writing
  • ENG 209 – Lyrics as Literature: Reading and Writing Song Lyrics
  • EXS/HMS 293 - Movement Foundations
  • GEO 270 - Designing Maps
  • IDS 110 – Experiencing the Arts
  • JRN 270 – Introduction to Photojournalism
  • JRN 306 - Digital News Design
  • MAT 260 – Geometry and the Arts
  • Select 3 Credits from Among (counts as one MUS course toward rule*)
    MUS 102 – University Choir
    MUS 104 – University Band I
    MUS 105 – University Band II
  • MUS 230 – Introduction to Musical Improvisation
  • MUS 235 – Guitar I
  • MUS 237 - Fundamentals of Piano I
  • MUS 250 – Arts and Ideas: Experiencing the Arts in New Haven
  • MUS 251 – Music and Movement in Early Childhood
  • PHI 222 – The Creative Process
  • PHI 242 – Death and the Meaning of Life
  • REC 220 - Inclusive Recreation
  • THR 121 - Introduction to Performance
  • THR 131 - Principles of Theatrical Design
  • THR 224 - Beginning Tap and Jazz Dance
  • THR 227 – Oral Interpretation
  • THR 228 – Shakespeare Workshop

Cultural Expression

  • ART 104 – History of Western Art I
  • ART 105 – History of Western Art II
  • CHI 120 - World Languages and Literatures
  • CHI 210 – A Taste of China: Culture through Food
  • ENG 217 – Introduction to Literature
  • GEO 200 – Human Geography
  • ITA 210 – Italian Language through Culture
  • JPN 210 – Heart and Soul of Japan
  • JST 200 – Jewish Stories
  • LIT 308 – Spanish National Cinema
  • MDS 224 - Reading Film: Form, Genre, Culture
  • MUS 110 – Music History of the Western World
  • MUS 210 - Music History I
  • PHI 270 - Philosophy of Education
  • PSC 240 – Introduction to Political Thought
  • THR 100 – Understanding Theatre

Global Awareness

  • ANT 201 – The Global Community
  • ANT 222 - Modern Human Variation
  • ECO 101 – Principles of Microeconomics
  • ENV 220 – Global Climate Change
  • FRE 210 – Continuing French
  • HIS 104 – Islamic Civilization
  • HIS 105 – Introduction to Southeast Asia: Southeast Asia to 1500
  • HIS 106 – East Asia to 1850
  • HIS 127 – Colonial Latin America
  • HIS 128 – Modern Latin America
  • ITA 220 – Italian Food Culture in Italy and America
  • JST 204 – Introduction to Holocaust and Genocide Studies
  • MUS 115 – Music in World Culture
  • PHI 211 – Asian Philosophy: India
  • PHI 212 – Asian Philosophy: China and Japan
  • PSC 230 - War
  • PSC 270 – International Relations
  • WLL 208 – Contemporary Chinese Society and Culture

Mind and Body

  • ANT 224 – Children, Language, and Socialization
  • ANT 382 - People and Weight
  • EXS/HMS 212 – Lifetime Physical Fitness
  • EXS/HMS 380 – Sport Psychology
  • NUR 250 - Health Care Has a Narrative
  • PCH 201 – Wellness
  • PHI 207 – The Religious Dimension of Human Existence
  • PHI 220 – Ethics: Know Thyself
  • PSY 100 – Introduction to Psychology
  • REC 120 – Leadership Development
  • SHE 203 – School Health
  • SOC 265 – Self and Society

Social Structure, Conflict, and Consensus

  • ACL 200 - Civic Leadership and American Society
  • ANT 101 – Cultural Anthropology
  • ECO 100 – Principles of Macroeconomics
  • EDU 200 – Teachers, Schools, and Society
  • EDU 206 – Principles of Early Childhood Education
  • GEO 260 – Population Geography
  • HIS 235 - The Holocaust
  • HIS 241 - The Modern Middle East
  • PSC 200 – Political Change and Conflict
  • SOC 203 – Social Organizations
  • SOC 216 – Men’s Studies
  • SOC 235 – Environmental Sociology
  • SOC 251 – Sociology of Religion

Time and Place

  • ANT 205 – Archaeology and the Human Past
  • ENG 219 – Time and Place in Literature
  • ESC 210 – Principles of Astronomy
  • GEO 100 – People, Places, and Environments
  • HIS 100 – Western Civilization I
  • HIS 101 – Western Civilization II
  • ITA 270 - Italian Cities
  • PHI 296 – Ancient Philosophy: Pre-Socratics to Plotinus
  • PHI 297 – Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
  • REC 241 - Outdoor Adventure Leadership
  • SOC 250 – Apocalypse Now?

Tier 3: Connections

The LEP Capstone Seminar integrates all three goal categories of the general education program: competencies, areas of knowledge and experience, and discussions of values. It addresses both the role of values in decision-making and relationships among the values. Particular focus is on a substantial contemporary issue and how values inform one's perspectives on the issue. The course emphasizes all competencies but especially critical thinking with analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. The LEP seminar allows students to integrate their liberal education learning experiences and may involve a community or service component. Some Tier 3 capstone seminars integrate the major capstone with the LEP. The values emphasized in all tiers, but especially in Tier 3, are:

  • Aesthetic Sensitivity
  • Civic Engagement
  • Environmental Awareness
  • Ethical Judgment
  • Human Diversity
  • Rational Thought

All Tier 1 courses and 6 of the 8 Tier 2 courses must be completed before completing the Tier 3 capstone.  In addition, all Tier 1 courses must either be completed prior to taking a Tier 3 course or be taken concurrently with Tier 3.

Students in the Honors College taking a Tier 3 course for their major must satisfy the following prerequisite:  completion of 15 credits of HON courses or 45 total credits, and prior or concurrent completion of Tier 1, Multilingual Communication and Quantitative Reasoning. 

Students may replace a Tier 3 course with the completion of a departmental honors thesis, HON 495.  This option is available to all students and not only those in the Honors College.  If Tier 3 is restricted for the student's major, the department chairperson can decide whether to allow HON 495 to replace the required departmental Tier 3 course.

Note: Tier 3 courses will be open to all students as marked by an asterisk (*).  Some majors will offer other Tier 3 courses for their students only.

  • ACL 390 - American Studies and Civic Leadership Symposium
  • ANT 311* – Applied Anthropology
  • ANT 470 – Ethnographic Fieldwork Methods
  • ANT 390 - Ethics in Anthropology
  • ART 401 – History of Art since 1945
  • ART 414 - Socially Engaged Art Education
  • ART 415 - Professional Practice in Graphic Design
  • ART 493 - Studio Art Capstone
  • BIO 396* – Synthetic Biology: Engineering Life
  • All of:
    • CHE 301 – The Preparation of Scientific Documents for Chemistry
    • CHE 445 – Chemical Hazards and Laboratory Safety
    • CHE 496 – Chemistry Seminar
  • CSC 400 – Computer Science Project Seminar
  • DSC 490 - Data Science Capstone Project
  • ECO 450 – Seminar in Applied Economics
  • EDU 322 – Family, School, and Community Partnerships
  • EDU 415 – Responsive Curriculum and Assessment
  • EGR 471 - Capstone Experience in Engineering
  • ENG 318* - Writing for the Web
  • ENG 496 - Student Teaching Seminar - English
  • ENV 491 – Environmental Problem Solving
  • ESC 332 – Invertebrate Paleontology and the Fossil Record
  • EXS/HMS 403 – Athletic Training Clinical Practice VI – Capstone in Athletic Training
  • EXS/HMS 442 – Practicum Seminar in Physical Education
  • EXS/HMS 492 – Principles of Sport Studies
  • FIN 450 - Finance Capstone
  • FRE 410* – French and Francophone Studies
  • FRE 415 – Sexual Citizenship in the French-Speaking World
  • GEO 311* – The United States and Canada
  • GEO 315* – Geography of Connecticut
  • GEO 325* – Latin America
  • GEO 330* - Europe
  • GEO 341* - Asia
  • GEO 343* – Former Soviet Union
  • GEO 345* - Africa
  • GEO 357* – Coastal and Marine Geography
  • GEO 400* – Geography of Wine
  • HIS 367* – The 20th Century World
  • HIS 450* – Narrative History: Telling the Story of Our Past
  • HIS 496 - Student Teaching Seminar — History
  • HON 495 - Honors Thesis
  • IDS 320* - Human Flourishing in the 21st Century
  • IDS 401 – Interdisciplinary Investigations of Globalization
  • IDS 405* - In a World:  Capstone Experience
  • ITA 380* – Contemporary Italian Culture
  • JRN 490 – Capstone Seminar in Journalism
  • JST 303* - The Israeli Short Story
  • JST 304* - A Socio-History of the Jewish People
  • MAT 342* - Statistical Decision Making
  • MAT 496 – Service Learning for Mathematics Education
  • MDS 320* – Propaganda in the Media
  • MDS 385* - Political Satire and New Media
  • MGT 400 – Business and Society
  • MGT 460 - International Business
  • MKT 325 – Managing for People, Planet, and Profit
  • MUS 330* – Improvisation and Contemporary Music Culture
  • MUS 490 - Music Technology in the Classroom
  • NUR 443 – Nursing Capstone
  • PCH 353* – Global Health
  • PCH 371* - Food Systems and Food Justice
  • PHI 300* - Human Rights and Human Wrongs
  • PHI 309* – Women and Religion: The Old and New Eve
  • PHI 323* - Ethical Individualism
  • PHY 471 - Capstone Experience--Physics
  • PSC 475 – Political Science Capstone Seminar
  • PSY 306 – Understanding Intelligence
  • PSY 307 - Motivation and Self-Regulation
  • PSY 308 - Psychology of Social Bias
  • REC 381 - Leisure in Contemporary Society
  • RSP 445 - Respiratory Care Seminar
  • SOC 394 – Civic Engagement Service Learning
  • SPA 410 - Theory and Practice of Translation
  • THR 415* - The Critical Eye
  • TSL 321* - Assessment of English Language Learners
  • WLL 403 – Introduction to Second Language Acquisition
  • WGS 309* – Women and Religion: The Old and New Eve
  • WGS 435 - Women's and Social Movements:  Gender and Resistance

Writing Course Requirements

So that all students continue to strengthen their ability in written language, they are required to select and pass a minimum of three "W" courses. These may not be taken until after a student has passed ENG 112: Writing Arguments.