General Education Requirements

The General Education Requirements (also known as GER) provide structure to your education while giving you the freedom to design an individual academic program.

What are General Education Requirements?
The competency requirements assure basic student competencies in English composition, mathematics, and foreign language. The GER mathematics and English composition requirements should be completed early in the academic career to ensure acquisition of critical skills for subsequent coursework. Many UWM schools/colleges require completion of the competencies prior to advancing to the professional portion of the major. Completion of the relevant competency is also a prerequisite for some intermediate and advanced courses.

The distribution requirements provide a broad body of knowledge in the arts, humanities, natural and social sciences as a foundation for specialization. You need to complete these requirements for graduation.

In general, the GER apply if your first semester in a degree program at UWM or any other accredited school was September, 1986 or later. You are not responsible for the GER if you are a Second Degree Candidate.

All degree programs have specific requirements beyond GER. It is important to work with your advisor to design an appropriate course of study.

Competency Requirements
English Composition
You can complete the English composition requirement with one of these options:
  • earning a grade of "C" or higher in English 102*
  • transferring a grade of "C" or better in a course equivalent to English 102 or a higher level expository writing course
  • earning an appropriate score on the English Placement Test (EPT)
Mathematical Skills
You can complete the mathematics requirement with one of these options:
  • earning at least three credits with a grade of "C" or higher in Mathematical Sciences 105, 106, 175 or equivalent*
  • achieving a placement code of at least 30 on the mathematics placement test
*You may not take these courses on a credit/no credit basis if you are using them to satisfy the English composition and/or mathematics requirements.

Foreign Language Requirement
You can complete the foreign language requirement with one of these options:
  • completing with passing grades at least two years of high school level instruction in a single foreign language prior to your enrollment at UWM
  • completing with passing grades at least two semesters (minimum of six credits) of college-level instruction in a single foreign language
  • demonstrating foreign language ability equivalent to two semesters of college-level instruction by means of a satisfactory score on an approved placement, proficiency, departmental or other appropriate examination
Students who entered UWM as freshmen prior to September 1999 or earned transferable credit prior to September 1999 are not responsible for the foreign language requirement.

College of Letters and Science (L&S) students should consult an advisor for L&S foreign language requirements.

Distribution Requirements
You can satisfy the distribution requirements by successfully completing courses in the following areas:
  • ARTS:
    Three credits in a course about the history, philosophy, theory, or practice of the creative and interpretive arts (e.g., visual arts, dance, music, theatre, creative writing).
    A total of six credits in at least two courses.
    A total of six credits in at least two courses. At least one course must include laboratory or field experience involving the generation and testing of data, and the application of concepts and knowledge to the solution of problems.
    A total of six credits in at least two courses.
    Three credits in a course relating to the study of life experiences of African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians or Asian Americans. Many, but not all, courses which satisfy Cultural Diversity also satisfy one of the required distribution areas. (You will need to satisfy this requirement if you started attending UWM in fall 1989 or thereafter.)

Cultures and Communities (CC)
Students may choose the Cultures and Communities option to satisfy their GER distribution requirements. CC courses emphasize diversity and crosscultural literacy, multicultural arts, global studies, and the cultural contexts of science, health care, and technology. A Service Learning course is also required. Students who complete the CC program receive the Cultures and Communities Certificate upon graduation. For more information, contact the Cultures and Communities Program, 414-229-5960.

GER Course List
Courses which have been approved as satisfying the GER distribution requirements are listed on the Courses Approved for GER Distribution pages. A course can be counted in only one of the main distribution areas (Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences or Social Sciences), but may also satisfy the Cultural Diversity requirement if it is on the approved list.

Consult the Schedule of Classes to determine specific courses being offered this semester. Courses which satisfy the GER distribution requirements are annotated as follows directly below each course number:
  • (A) = satisfies Arts requirement
  • (A&) = satisfies Arts/Cultural Diversity requirement
  • (HU) = satisfies Humanities requirement
  • (HU&) = satisfies Humanities/Cultural Diversity requirement
  • (NS) = satisfies Natural Sciences requirement
  • (NS+) = satisfies Natural Sciences lab/fieldwork requirement
  • (SS) = satisfies Social Sciences requirement
  • (SS&) = satisfies Social Sciences/Cultural Diversity requirement
Consult with your academic advisor if you have questions about the General Education Requirements.