Degree Requirements

UW-La Crosse General Education Program

General Education
Associate Degree
Baccalaureate Degrees

General Education is the common educational experience for all undergraduates at UW-L. It is uniquely concerned with the broad education of the whole person, and plays a vital role in preparing students for life beyond the university.

The primary purpose of General Education is to cultivate knowledge, skills, and dispositions essential for independent learning and thinking. As a result of General Education, students will be more knowledgeable in a wide variety of subject matter areas, and also better able and more willing to ask significant questions, seek appropriate solutions to complex problems, make sound judgments and formulate rational beliefs.

To these ends, the goals of General Education at UW-L are to develop:

  1. Communication skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening
  2. Skills in analytical, logical and critical thinking in various branches of knowledge accomplished in part by each student completing at least one mathematics course
  3. Oral and written communications skills in a second language for students who elect to do so
  4. Knowledge of the development and interaction of human cultures
  5. Understanding of concepts, ideas and systems of thought that underlie human activities
  6. Understanding of and sensitivity to cultural diversity in the United States
  7. Understanding of the social, political, and economic frameworks of societies within the global context
  8. Understanding and appreciation of the arts
  9. Understanding of nature, including the role of science and technology in environmental and social change
  10. Knowledge and skills essential to the physical well-being and a healthy lifestyle.

The General Education program places special emphasis on helping students to become more intellectually skilled through inquiry-based teaching and learning. Inquiry-based General Education engages students actively in learning and thinking about essential knowledge, issues and questions. Each General Education course enhances students' intellectual growth in some way. As students gain knowledge they also learn to use knowledge more effectively, to ask and answer questions, solve problems, develop ideas and make sound judgments.

The UW-La Crosse General Education program consists of two major components: skills and liberal studies. Skills courses improve students' abilities to learn, think, and communicate effectively. Liberal studies courses engage students in the study of important areas of knowledge and experience and focus on central questions, issues, and problems we share as people and as members of the same society.

The General Education director, in conjunction with the General Education committee, is responsible for coordination, review, and assessment of the General Education curriculum. Membership of the committee consists of eight faculty, including at least one from each college and the director of General Education. The provost, registrar, and deans of each college serve as administrative consultants.

General Education Requirements

  1. Students must earn a minimum of 48 credits of General Education courses.
  2. Students must earn the minimum credits within each category (totaling 39 credits.)
  3. Students earn the remaining credits from any combination of categories.
  1. Skills

    Fundamental skills are those central to learning, analyzing, evaluating, integrating and communicating information and knowledge. These skills are essential in all fields of study and their development should be enhanced and refined throughout the college years.

    (Proficiency tests are available in skills courses. Contact appropriate department for information.)

    1. Literacy: Tools for Skilled Communication

      Reading, writing, speaking and listening are the tools by which a person becomes educated. General Education skills courses improve students' abilities to read, write, speak and listen with clarity, precision and depth of understanding. Courses in this area include writing, composition and oral communication. In addition, the program includes writing emphasis courses which enhance students' abilities to communicate and learn through writing. (6 credits required)

      CST 110: Public Oral Communication
      ENG 110: College Writing I

      Note: Students receiving less than a grade of "C" in CST 110 must repeat the course. Students receiving a grade lower than "BC" in their initial enrollment in ENG 110 also must take one of the following:

      • ENG 303: College Writing II
      • ENG 304: Writing in the Arts and Humanities
      • ENG 305: Creative Writing
      • ENG 306: Writing for Teachers
      • ENG 307: Writing for Management, Public Relations and the Professions
      • ENG 308: Technical Writing
      • ENG 309: Writing in the Sciences


      Second writing course does not count toward General Education.

        Writing Emphasis Courses
      • (2 courses required)

        All students must either complete two writing emphasis courses or complete a major that has a writing-in-the-major program. If completing two courses, they must be at the 200 level or above, one of which must be at the 300 level or above. One course must be in the major, (not core.) See the Timetable for information on offerings each semester.

        The following departments have writing-in-the-major programs: art, biology, clinical lab science, communication studies, computer science, exercise and sport science, health education/health promotion, mathematics, microbiology, modern languages, psychology, radiation therapy, recreation management/therapeutic recreation, sociology/archaeology, and theatre arts. They incorporate writing requirements across their curriculum rather than identifying specific classes as writing emphasis classes. Students with majors in these departments will fulfill their writing emphasis requirement by completing that major. Transfer students who transfer courses from another institution that are applicable to the major should consult the department about fulfillment of the writing emphasis requirement.


        Writing emphasis courses do not count toward the 48-credit General Education requirement unless identified in one of the General Education categories.

    2. Mathematical/Logical Systems and Modern Languages: Tools for Structured Analysis and Communication

      General Education enhances students' abilities to think, reason and solve problems with precision and clarity. Study in this area helps students to understand that words and symbols can have exact definitions and usage, analyses of some problems require strict use of structured rules, and that discoveries, results and ideas must be communicated clearly to others who may be unfamiliar with such rules or language. This area of study includes courses in mathematics, computer science, logic and foreign languages. Although these fields differ in many respects, each emphasizes the skilled use of symbols or language to analyze, evaluate or communicate more effectively.

      (Minimum of 7 credits required; a minimum of 3 credits must be taken in mathematics from List 1. In List 1, only one course in each of the "or" pairs may be used to meet General Education.)

      • 1.  MTH 126:  Mathematics for Elementary Teachers II
        MTH 150:  College Algebra
        MTH 151:  Precalculus
        MTH 175:  Applied Calculus
        MTH 207:  Calculus I
        MTH 145:  Elementary Statistics
        MTH 208:  Calculus II
        2.  C-S 101:  Introduction to Computing
        C-S 120:  Software Design I
        CHI 102:  Elementary Chinese II
        CHI 201:  Intermediate Chinese I
        CHI 202:  Intermediate Chinese II
        FRE 102:  Elementary French II
        FRE 201:  Intermediate French I
        FRE 202:  Intermediate French II
        GER 102:  Elementary German II
        GER 201:  Intermediate German I
        GER 202:  Intermediate German II
        MLG 102:  Elementary (world language) II
        MLG 201:  Intermediate (world language) I
        MLG 202:  Intermediate (world language) II
        PHL 101:  Introduction to Logic
        RUS 102:  Elementary Russian II
        RUS 201:  Intermediate Russian I
        RUS 202:  Intermediate Russian II
        SPA 102:  Elementary Spanish II
        SPA 201:  Intermediate Spanish I
        SPA 202:  Intermediate Spanish II


      Nonnative speakers of English may satisfy modern language option by exhibiting proficiency (a score of 70 or above) on the La Crosse Battery of exams for nonnative speakers of English. (Contact the English as a Second Language Institute for eligibility and regulations.)


    The liberal studies component of General Education engages students in the study of major areas of knowledge and experience. Liberal studies courses afford opportunities for students to evaluate critically their heritage and see beyond the boundaries of their culture, to think scientifically in both the natural and social spheres, to explore texts thoroughly and imaginatively, to respond sensitively to the expressive arts, and to plan a life which makes the best possible use of work and leisure time. The thematic categories and inquiry-based teaching and learning in liberal studies courses help students to see connections among fields of knowledge, and to understand different perspectives and ways of thinking about important questions.

    1. Minority Cultures or Multiracial Women's Studies

      An essential goal of General Education is to improve students' understanding of and sensitivity to cultural diversity in the United States. All students take at least one course that focuses on minority cultures in the United States or women in the United States from a multiracial perspective. All courses in this category fulfill the UW System ethnic studies requirement. (Minimum of 3 credits required)

      ECO 336: Women in the U.S. Economy
      EFN 205: Understanding Human Differences
      ENG/ERS 207: Multicultural Literature of the U.S.
      ENG/ERS 210: Literature of Black America
      ENG/ERS 215: African American Authors
      ERS 100: Introduction to Minority Cultures in the U.S.
      HIS 306: History of Ethnic America
      HIS 336: Hispanics in the United States
      HON 207: Gender, Race, Power, Privilege
      HON 220: Global Roots of U.S. Literature
      MUS 209: History of Jazz Culture
      POL 205: Women and Politics
      PSY 285: Culture and Mental Health: An Applied Perspective
      PSY 318: Psychology of Women
      SAH 307: Changing the Culture: Women in Science
      SOC 225: Racial and Ethnic Minorities
      WS 100: Gender, Race and Class in American Institutions
      WS 230: Women's Diversity: Race, Class and Culture

    2. International and Multicultural Studies: Becoming World Citizens

      Knowledge about the variety of human experience is an integral part of liberal education. Moreover, the international dimensions of politics, commerce, economics, and culture touch our lives every day. We live in an interdependent world in which understanding of other cultures and societies is essential. These General Education courses include world history and global studies courses that focus on the peoples, cultures and societies of the world. Some courses in this category fulfill the UW System ethnic studies requirement. (Minimum of 6 credits required)

      1. World History (One course required)
        HIS 101: Global Origins of the Modern World or
        HIS 102: Global Transition and Change
      2. Global and Multicultural Studies (One course required)
        ANT, ECO, GEO, HIS POL, or SOC 202: Contemporary Global Issues
        ART 201: Multicultural Survey of Art
        ECO 120: Global Macroeconomics
        ENG 208: International Studies in Literature
        ENV 201: Introduction to Environmental Studies
        FRE 220: France and the Francophone World
        GEO 110: World Cultural Regions
        GEO 200: Conservation of Global Environments
        HIS 101 or HIS 102: whichever was not taken from list above
        HIS 220: The United States in the Global Community
        INS 250: Orientation to Study Abroad and
        INS 251: Study Abroad Practicum: Journaling and
        INS 252: Cross-Cultural Re-entry from Study Abroad (must complete all three courses to count)
        MUS 201: Musical Cultures
        MUS 204: Latin American Music: Its Context and Impact
        PHL 230: Multicultural Philosophy
        PHL 234: Comparative Political Systems
        PSY 280: Cross-Cultural Development
        THA 351: World Theatre

    3. Science: Understanding the Natural World

      As the health and prosperity of our society becomes more dependent on science and technology, our future becomes increasingly dependent upon a scientifically literate population. Individuals in our society must be sufficiently knowledgeable about scientific facts and applications to make skilled decisions concerning their use in addressing society's problems. Courses in this area include the study of basic scientific knowledge, the role of applied science and technology as agents of change in society, and a laboratory component to develop an understanding of scientific inquiry. (Minimum of 4 credits required; one course must be a Natural Laboratory Science from List 1.)

      1. Natural Laboratory Science
        ANT 102: Introduction to Physical Anthropology
        BIO 103: Introductory Biology
        BIO 105: General Biology
        CHM 100: Contemporary Chemistry
        CHM 103: General Chemistry I
        ESC 101: Earth Environments
        HON 290: Science: Creative Search for Understanding
        MIC 100: Microbes and Society
        PHY 103: Fundamental Physics I
        PHY 106: Physical Science for Educators
        PHY 125: Physics for the Life Sciences
        AST/PHY 155: Solar System Astronomy
        AST/PHY 156: Stars, Galaxies and the Universe
        PHY 203: General Physics I

      2. Science, Technology and Society: Emphasizing the Role of Applied Science and Technology as Agents of Change in Society
        BIO 102: Contemporary Issues in Biological Sciences
        BIO/PSY 107: Brain Basics: Linking Society and Neuroscience
        HON 295: Decisions in a World of Science and Technology

    4. Self and Society: Understanding Oneself and the Social World

      Each person, although unique, lives in a social world that exerts profound influence upon his or her attitudes, values and behavior. It is important to gain a sound understanding of oneself in relation to others and an understanding of the social institutions that people create and which serve to influence our lives. Courses in this area focus on the study of human behavior and social institutions. (Minimum of 3 credits required)

      • ANT 101: Human Nature/Human Culture
      • ARC 100: Archaeology: Discovering our Past
      • ECO 110: Microeconomics and Public Policy
      • ENG 220: Women and Popular Culture
      • ERS 110: Myth and Reality: An Introduction to Ethnic and Racial Stereotyping
      • FIN 207: Personal Finance
      • GEO 102: Maps and Society
      • HIS 206: Life in Twentieth Century America
      • HON 204: Human Nature, Culture and Reality
      • HON 206: Human Nature and Political Life
      • POL 101: American National Government
      • POL 102: State and Local Government
      • PSY 100: General Psychology
      • SOC 110: The Social World
      • SOC 120: Social Problems
      • UWL 100: First Year Student Seminar

    5. Humanistic Studies: The Search For Values and Meaning

      Academic study of the humanities involves the study of language as a medium for recording human experience and of the major forms of such records: philosophical, historical, and literary. Students have the opportunity to test specialized knowledge and personal experience of humanity. These courses focus on what it means to be human, and what was, is, and should be valued by human beings. (Minimum of 3 credits required; one course must be a literature course from List 1.)

        • ENG 200: Literature and Human Experience
        • ENG 201: American Literature I
        • ENG 202: American Literature II
        • ENG 203: English Literature I
        • ENG 204: English Literature II
        • ENG 205: Western Literature I
        • ENG 206: Western Literature II
        • GER 399: German Literature in Translation
        • HON 203: Literary Studies: The Battle of the Books
        • HON 205: Classical Myths and Modern Literature
        • MLG 299: Foreign Literature in Translation
        • HIS 205: History of Ethical Values in World Religions
        • HON 100: Search for Values: The Enduring Quest
        • PHL 100: Introduction to Philosophy
        • POL 251: The Individual and the State: Values and Power

    6. Arts: The Aesthetic Experience

      The arts represent a fusion of the emotional, spiritual and intellectual realities of the human condition. Study of the arts leads to heightened aesthetic experiences and deepens cultural understanding. This includes courses that focus on understanding, appreciating and experiencing the fine and performing arts. (Minimum of 4 credits required)

      • APH 102: Photography Appreciation
      • ART 102: Art Appreciation
      • ESS 104: Dance Appreciation
      • HON 201: Dramatic Literature and Theater Arts
      • MUS 105: Music Appreciation
      • MUS 110: The Listening Experience in Music
      • PHL 332: Philosophy of Arts
      • THA 110: Theatre Appreciation

    7. Health and Physical Well-Being: Learning to Create Healthy Lives

      The miracles of modern medicine exist side by side with many kinds of limiting physical conditions such as heart disease and obesity. Many health problems could be prevented or ameliorated by alterations in the ways that people live. The courses in this area focus on knowledge and skills necessary for the appreciation and enhancement of a healthful lifestyle. They emphasize health and physical wellbeing throughout the life span and explore major health issues, physical fitness and effective use of leisure. (3 credits required)

      • HON 202: Body, Mind and Well-Being
      • HPR 105: Creating a Healthy, Active Lifestyle
      • SAH 105: Analysis of Health, Wellness and Disease for the Healthcare Consumer



Candidates for the associate degree must complete the following:

  1. Earn a total of 60 or more semester credits applicable to a bachelor's degree at UW-L. (At least 15 credits must be earned at UW-L.)
  2. Achieve a 2.00 cumulative grade point average.
  3. Complete a minimum of 13 credits in General Education Skills courses (see SKILLS below)
  4. Complete a minimum of 36 credits of General Education Liberal Studies courses (see LIBERAL STUDIES below)
  5. Complete one two-semester sequence of courses.
  6. File an application for the associate degree with the Records and Registration Office.
  7. Remove all indebtedness to the university


(Proficiency tests are available in skills courses. Contact appropriate department for information)

Literacy: Tools for Skilled Communication (6 credits required)

ENG 110, 3 cr.; CST 110, 3 cr.

  • Notes:
  • Students receiving a grade lower than C in CST 110 must repeat the course.
  • Students receiving a grade lower than BC in their initial enrollment in ENG 110 must also take one of the following (3 cr. each):
    • ENG 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, 309
  • Second writing course does not count toward General Education.

Mathematical/Logical Systems and Modern Languages:

Tools for Structured Analysis and Communication (minimum of 7 cr. required; minimum of 4 cr. must be taken in mathematics from List 1)

    List 1 Mathematics

    • MTH 150 or 151, 175 or 207, 126, 145, 208.

      List 2 Logical Systems and Modern Languages

    • CHI 102, 201, 202
    • FRE 102, 201, 202
    • GER 102, 201, 202
    • RUS 102, 201, 202
    • SPA 102, 201, 202
    • MLG 102, 201, 202
    • CS 101, 120
    • PHL 101


Science: Understanding the Natural World (minimum of 8 cr. required; one course must be from List 1)

List 1 Natural Laboratory Science

  • ANT 102; BIO 103 or 105; CHM 100, 103; ESC 101; HON 290; MIC 100; PHY 103, 106, 125, 203; AST/PHY 155 or 156

List 2 Science, Technology and Society: Emphasizing the Role of Applied Science and Technology as Agents of Change in Society

  • BIO 102; BIO/PSY 107; HON 295

International and Multicultural Studies/Self and Society (Minimum 9 credits required from two disciplines. Must take at least one course from List 1, 2 and 3. Max. 15 cr.)

List 1 World History

  • HIS 101 or 102

List 2 Global and Multicultural Studies

  • ANT/ECO/GEO/HIS/POL/SOC 202; ART 201; ECO 120; ENG 208; ENV 201; FRE 220; GEO 110, 200; HIS 101 or 102 (whichever not used above), 220; MUS 201, 204; PHL 230; POL 234; PSY 280; THA 351 (INS 250, INS 251 and INS 252 can satisfy this requirement if all three courses are completed successfully).

List 3 Self and Society

  • ANT 101; ARC 100; ECO 110; ENG 220; ERS 110; FIN 207; GEO 102HIS 206; HON 204, 206; POL 101, 102; PSY 100; SOC 110, 120

List 4 Freshman Seminar

  • UW-L 100

Humanistic Studies and the Arts

(Minimum of 9 credits required. One course must be from List 1. Two courses must be from List 3, although no more than 6 credits may be from List 3)

List 1 Literature

  • ENG 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206; GER 399; MLG 299; HON 203, 205

List 2 Humanities

  • HON 100; HIS 205; PHL 100; POL 251

List 3 Arts: the Aesthetic Experience

  • APH 102; ART 102; ESS 104; HON 201; MUS 105; MUS 110; PHL 332; THA 110

Integrated Studies (Minimum of 3 cr. required) Minority Cultures/ Multiracial Women's Studies

  • ECO 336; EFN 205; ENG/ERS 207; ENG/ERS 210; ENG/ERS 215; ERS 100; HON 207; HON 220; HIS 306; HIS 336; MUS 209; POL 205; PSY 285; PSY 318; SAH 307; SOC 225; WS 100; WS 210; WS 230.

Health and Well-Being (one course required)

  • HON 202; HPR 105; SAH 105

TWO SEMESTER SEQUENCE OF COURSES (One two-semester sequence required)

  • ACC 221 and ACC 222
  • ART 104 and ART 106
  • BIO 312 and BIO 313
  • CHM 103 and CHM 104
  • CS 120 and CS 220
  • ECO 110 and ECO 120
  • ENG 201 and ENG 202
  • ENG 203 and ENG 204
  • ENG 205 and ENG 206
  • ESS 205 and ESS 206
  • HIS 101 and HIS 102
  • HON 204 and HON 207
  • MUS 201 and MUS 202
  • MUS 235 and MUS 236
  • PHL 205 and PHL 206
  • PHY 103 and PHY 104
  • PHY 203 and PHY 204
  • PSY 210 and one from PSY 310, PSY 311 or PSY 312
  • PSY 212 and one from PSY 310, PSY 311 or PSY 312
  • THA 250 and THA 251
  • THA 350 and THA 351


Candidates for the bachelor of arts or the bachelor of science degrees must accomplish the following:

  1. Fulfill the General Education requirements.
  2. Complete at least one ethnic studies (diversity) course.
  3. Complete the courses prescribed by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for the degree desired in the respective school or college. (Note: No substitutions for graduation may be made in course requirements for a major or minor after the fourth week of the last semester of the senior year.)
  4. Earn a minimum of 120 semester credits with at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA.* At least 40 credits must be earned in 300 and 400 (senior college) level courses.
  5. Complete major and minor requirements with at least a 2.00 GPA* in each major and minor (and concentration or emphasis, if selected.)
  6. Fulfill the minimum requirements for study in residence. (See below)
  7. File a completed "Intent to Graduate" form online via the TALON system as soon as you have registered for, but no later than two weeks after the beginning date of the final semester or summer session in residence.

Note:  No degree will be awarded unless all requirements are fulfilled and recorded within thirty (30) days after the official ending date of each term.

Second Baccalaureate Degree

A graduate who has earned one baccalaureate degree at UW-L and who subsequently becomes a candidate for a second baccalaureate degree must meet all core, professional and major requirements for the second degree and must earn at least 30 resident credits ** beyond the first degree. Students with a previously earned baccalaureate degree from another regionally accredited institution must meet all core, professional and major requirements for the second degree and must earn at least 30 resident credits beyond the first degree. Students wishing to use credits from their first degree to fulfill requirements of a second degree must obtain approval from the dean of the college in which they are enrolled. All General Education requirements are satisfied by students who have completed the first baccalaureate degree. UW System policy requires that every student complete a diversity course. If this was not done as part of the first degree, it must be fulfilled for the second degree.

Second Major

A graduate who has earned one baccalaureate degree at UW-L who wishes to complete the requirements for another major, must meet all professional and major requirements. A notation will be made on the student's transcript that an additional major has been completed. Students with demonstrated evidence of a previously earned baccalaureate degree from another regionally accredited institution, who wish to complete the requirements for another major at UWL must enroll as a special non-degree student and fulfill all professional and major requirements. If all required courses are earned in residence, a notation will be made on the student's transcript indicating an additional major has been completed.

*Grade point average requirements for some programs will be considerably higher than 2.00. Reentering students may be required to earn credits in excess of the 120 needed for graduation In any curriculum in order to replace credits earned in courses in which the content has changed substantially in recent years. Each case will be judged on its own merit.

**Resident credit means credit registered for and earned through UW-L.

Undergraduate Residence Requirement

A minimum of 30 semester credits in residence at UWL is required for graduation. The last 24 credits to be applied toward a degree must be earned as resident credits.** The Records and Registration Office and the appropriate academic dean may give permission for seniors to earn not more than the last ten credits at another institution. A request to earn more than the last ten credits at another institution must be submitted to and approved by the faculty through an appeal by petition to the Committee on Academic Policies and Standards (CAPS).

Four-Year Graduation Agreement

Entering freshmen are offered the opportunity to participate in an agreement that ensures graduation within four years of your initial enrollment. If you satisfy all of the conditions of the agreement, but degree completion is delayed because the university did not fulfill its requirements of the agreement, then UW-L will relieve you of tuition for the required course(s) remaining after the four-year time period. Not all UW-L academic programs are included as part of this formal agreement. More information about the conditions of the four-year agreement is available from the dean's office in each college. The agreement must be signed within the first seven weeks of your initial enrollment when you meet with a four-year agreement adviser.

Graduation Fee

Upon completion of 95 semester credits toward the bachelors degree, each individual will be billed a graduation fee. This is a onetime fee assessed regardless of whether or not a student chooses to attend the commencement ceremony. Students earning a second degree are also assessed the graduation fee.

Commencement Honors

Commencement honors determine which students may wear an honor cord (foragers) during commencement exercises. Commencement honors are noted beside students' names in commencement programs. Calculations for commencement honors and highest honors are based on grade point averages earned at the end of the last term in residence prior to the term of graduation. To be eligible, you must have earned no fewer than 45 semester credits in residence at UW-L prior to the beginning date of the term in which you intend to graduate. You must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 to wear the honor cord or at least 3.75 to wear the cord designating highest honors. Only resident credits are used in the GPA calculation.

Graduation Honors

Graduation honors are posted on permanent academic records if students have earned no fewer than 60 semester credits in residence at UWL. You must have a cumulative grade point average of

3.50 for graduation with honors or at least 3.75 for graduation with highest honors at the end of your last term in residence. Only resident credits are used in the GPA calculation.

Mailing Diplomas

Diplomas earned by graduates will be sent approximately six weeks after the ending date of the semester a student graduates, to the current legal address on the university computer system unless the Records and Registration Office has been notified differently. All indebtedness to the university must be cleared before a diploma will be released.