No matter what major you choose, and no matter what you do with your degree, a common set of skills will set you on the path to personal fulfillment, professional success and engaged citizenship. This is what you get in Albright’s General Education Curriculum. This page includes information about General Education Program Goals, Program Requirements (including First Year Seminars, English Composition, Foreign Language, Foundations Courses, Connections Courses, Synthesis Courses, and Experience Events).
Communication. Critical thinking. Analytical adeptness. Flexibility. Adaptability. Teamwork. These skills form the basis for developing intellectual, civic and practical capacities. Together they are the product of a timeless and enduring liberal arts education. According to multiple surveys, these are also the skills that employers say that they most desire in their employees.
Albright’s General Education Curriculum was designed specifically to help you learn and develop these skills. Through a dynamic and inclusive sequence of courses and educational experiences, the curriculum sets the stage for in-depth study in your major and illuminates linkages among fields of study. These linkages build on Albright’s longstanding commitment to interdisciplinarity, as represented by the stack of books in Albright’s seal.
The path described by the General Education Curriculum follows a progressive intellectual development program. The Foundations Courses introduce you to knowledge in the disciplines, and help you to develop the conceptual and analytical tools for accomplishing the more complex tasks of comparison and integration. In the Connections and Synthesis courses, you will apply increasingly sophisticated understanding to intellectual and practical engagements with the world.
This General Education Curriculum represents an updated approach to general education that took effect starting with the first year class entering Albright in the fall of 2013.
Through a progression of courses aimed at intellectual development, the General Education Curriculum has three overarching goals: helping you know the world, engage the world and understand the world.
- Knowing the World – You will learn about different disciplines, their objects of study, and their approaches to knowledge, establishing a broad foundation for engaging and understanding the world.
- Engaging the World – By looking at different perspectives and contexts that shape our world and recognizing the importance of social and ethical engagement in local and global contexts, you will understand cultures as well as the differences within and among them.
- Understanding the World – Finally, you will learn to think critically, communicate effectively, and solve problems creatively by acquiring intellectual, practical and integrative skills. By interpreting, synthesizing and adapting knowledge and skills to different situations, you prepare yourself for an informed engagement with the world.
Through these goals, you will learn and develop your skills in communication, critical thinking, analytical adeptness, flexibility, adaptability, teamwork–skills that are essential for success in life and career, no matter what your major or job path.
Components of the General Education Curriculum
The seven General Education Curriculum components are arranged so that you follow a logical path of intellectual and skills development, with each component building on those that came before it. You’ll take 11 to 13 courses.
First-Year Seminar (1 course)
A liberal arts-oriented introduction to critical reading and writing skills and critical thinking in a seminar setting of approximately 15 students. All students take one of these courses during their first year.
Courses vary by instructor. Examples include: Neuroethics; Digital Art; Psychoanalysis in Literature and Film; Perfect Children – New Eugenics; Community Politics in Pennsylvania; Experimental Fiction; Science and the Liberal Arts; Japanese Culture; Coming of Age in African American Texts; Memory and Violence in Latin America; American Schools and the Culture of Violence; Water: the Next Oil?
Composition (1-2 courses)
Composition courses are aimed at developing the critical communication skill of writing. Composition is taken during the first year.
- English 101, Composition, focuses on thesis-driven essays
- English 102, Writing About Texts, emphasizes research writing and information literacy
Experience Events (16 events)
The Albright Experience allows you to take advantage of some of the large number of cultural and academic events ranging from lectures and exhibitions to concerts and theatrical performances on the Albright campus. Each Experience Events aims to complement the learning in other components along your General Education path.
Examples include presentations by speakers of the results of research or inquiry of some kind; the performance of a scholarly, cultural or artistic production; and the critical engagement of some facet of the liberal arts:
- “The Fragile Sex: Understanding Excess Male Mortality with an Evolutionary Framework,” Daniel Kruger, Ph.D., University of Michigan
- Annual Fashion Showcase and Runway Show, highlighting the work of Albright’s student fashion designers
- A Conversation with Bob Spitz ’71, author and music journalist (The Beatles: The Biography) and a former manager for Bruce Springsteen and Elton John
- A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, presented by Albright’s acclaimed Domino Players
- “Stone Cold Science: Bose-Einstein Condensation and the Weird World of Physics a Millionth of a Degree above Absolute Zero,” Eric Cornell, Ph.D., 2001 Nobel Laureate in Physics.
- “Confronting Holocaust Denial and Distortion in Today’s World,” Mark Weitzman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center
- Learning from Mandela, Rita Barnard, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
- Cinema Soloriens: An Avant-garde Music/Media/Performance Project, James Harrar
Students entering in Fall 2019 or later: 2 courses
Students entering prior to Fall 2019: 1-3 courses
Foundations (5 courses)
In Foundations courses, the different approaches to knowledge, or different ways of knowing the world, are explored through the major disciplinary areas. During your first two years, you’ll take one approved course in each of five areas:
- Natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geology)
- Social sciences (anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics, political science)
- Quantitative studies (mathematics, statistics in math or the social science disciplines, computer science)
- Humanities (literature, history, religious studies, philosophy)
- Fine arts (art, music, theatre)
Connections (2 courses)
Connections courses are focused on different ways of living in, engaging with, and relating to the world. These courses will help you pull together knowledge from your Foundations courses, in order to develop better social and ethical engagement You will take two Connections courses, typically in your second and third years. At least one course will include global content and engagement and at least one from the humanities
Courses may be drawn from a variety of fields, from history to gender studies, literature, international relations, business, sociology, environmental studies and many others
Synthesis (1 course)
The Albright College Synthesis course is the General Education curriculum capstone. This course, taken in your junior or senior year, integrates learning from your others courses, including your major and addresses the idea and practice of interdisciplinarity–different ways of understanding the world.
Examples of Synthesis courses include Food and Culture; Self Awareness; Global Health; Baseball and American Culture; Aesthetic Rebels; Constructing Reality; Cross-Cultural Diversity; and Religion and the Environment