The Purpose of General Education

I would like to begin by talking about General Education in America. General Education plays a very particular and interesting role in American Higher Education. A typical undergraduate at one of our colleges or universities is expected to satisfy a range of requirements in his or her major area of study (mathematics, economics, philosophy, etc.); and they will also take a range of electives – courses that are not required for graduation but in which the student might want to explore a developing interest. In addition to both of these, however, most undergraduate institutions (though not all) require that students satisfy a range of general education requirements as well. These are the requirements that must be satisfied for the student to count – in the opinion of the institution – as generally educated. They are the requirements, in other words, that every student must fulfill regardless of their areas of interest or specialty in order to be prepared to enter the broader world and to aspire to live a good life in it
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