The General Education Curriculum has two distinct but interrelated purposes. First, it is designed to ensure that students have a certain breadth of knowledge. That knowledge is drawn from the liberal arts and sciences, and extends beyond the specialization of a major field. Second, the General Education Curriculum is designed to ensure that students develop the basic competencies that support continued growth and achievement in careers and in the professions. To achieve these goals, the General Education Curriculum has been designed with the following components:
General Education Curriculum
Liberal Arts Core / Competency Skills
Liberal Arts Disciplinary Groupings
Choose three credits from each of the eight groupings:
Literature and Communication
Literature, Speech, Communication
Language and Cultural Perspectives*
Historical and Global Perspectives
History, Political Science
Mathematics and Information Technology
Mathematics, Computer Information Science
Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Exercise Science
Sociology, Psychology, Economics
Art, Art History, Music, Theatre, Film
Choose 18 credits with advisement from any combination of the eight groupings
(Note: Some 200-level major Prerequisite courses may be used to fulfill this requirement).
- For Language credit a student must have the equivalent of an intermediate (level 116 or higher) course.
Credit for any language course may be earned through traditional coursework, transfer credit or through an authorized proficiency exam.
Before being awarded a degree, all students are expected to demonstrate an appropriate level of competence in the essential skills of a college graduate. Assessments will occur in courses within the General Education curriculum — including the Critical Inquiry course and the Junior Seminar.
General education is the foundation for academic and career success and is intended to develop the skills and attitudes that Mercy’s faculty believes every educated person should possess. The courses provide the transferable skills that are required of students to be successful within their major study. General Education courses stimulate understanding of personal, social and civic values as well as scientific principles and ethics. The courses lead to the appreciation of diverse cultures and mastery of multiple modes of inquiry. They teach effective analysis and communication, and promote the importance of creativity to the human spirit. Through General Education, students acquire breadth of knowledge, gain competence to be lifelong learners and develop an awareness of how their entire college coursework shapes the quality of their lives.
The essential skills, as determined by the faculty of Mercy College, are:
- Written communication
- Oral communication
- Critical thinking
- Reading fluency
- Quantitative reasoning
- Information literacy
The pursuit of competence in these areas is a process of intellectual and personal growth.
Through regular assessment, students will come to recognize both their strengths and weaknesses, and learn to build on their achievements while improving the areas in which they are deficient.
Assessment begins with placement tests for freshmen that evaluate the student’s current level of accomplishment and indicate the appropriate initial course placement.
As freshmen, students register for a section of the Critical Inquiry course. In this course, students are introduced to the critical thinking, critical reading and information literacy competencies. Each course section focuses on a particular topic through which these competencies are achieved. Students analyze assigned readings, prepare and respond to arguments related to that topic, and complete projects that require research and assessment of relevant print and online sources. Many students in the Critical Inquiry course have the opportunity to express themselves through digital storytelling and the development of e-portfolios. The Critical Inquiry course helps students learn how to engage effectively with the learning environment and how to best grow academically through their Mercy education.
In their junior year (and after successfully completing the Critical Inquiry course and other Prerequisites), students register for the Junior Seminar General and Education capstone course. Junior Seminar helps ensure that students have achieved an acceptable level of performance, and practical application, of the competencies covered across the General Education curriculum. Topics for Junior Seminar sections are diverse, and students may choose their section according to their major, area of concentration or general interests. The course is conducted in intensive seminar format; students research various aspects of the seminar topic and give multiple presentations in written and oral form. Students also have the opportunity to express themselves through digital storytelling and the development of e-portfolios in the Junior Seminar course. Formative assessment continues throughout the students’ undergraduate experience. The process enables all students to monitor their progress in learning each skill. The College’s academic support services are available to assist students in their skill development, including the libraries, the Learning Centers, Career Planning and Placement, etc.
Written communication involves the ability to express ideas clearly and effectively through writing. At the completion of the General Education curriculum, students should be able to:
- Write appropriately to context, audience, and purpose
- Use appropriate content to illustrate comprehension of a subject
- Execute appropriate conventions particular to a specific discipline and/or writing task
- Use relevant sources to develop ideas that are appropriate for the discipline and genre of the writing
- Communicate meaning to readers with clarity and fluency
Oral communication involves the ability to comprehend and to speak in Standard English with precision and clarity. At the completion of the General Education curriculum, students should be able to:
- Create and communicate a compelling central message
- Use a discernible organizational pattern that makes the content of the presentation cohesive
- Select language choices that are appropriate for the audience
- Demonstrate delivery techniques appropriate for extemporaneous speaking
- Incorporate a variety of types of relevant, credible supporting materials
Critical thinking involves the ability to analyze and interpret insightfully and in depth. At the completion of the General Education curriculum, students should be able to:
- Evaluate the viewpoints or assumptions of others
- Evaluate their own viewpoints or assumptions
- Create a specific position (perspective, thesis/hypothesis) that takes into account the complexities of an issue
- Synthesize information from sources
- Draw logical conclusions and identify consequences and implications
Reading fluency involves the ability to read and understand primary and secondary sources. At the completion of the General Education curriculum, students should be able to:
- Evaluate the explicit message of a text and its main supporting elements
- Explain possible implications of the text beyond its explicit message
- Evaluate texts for significance and relevance
- Analyze text structure or other textual features
Quantitative reasoning involves the ability to use established methods of computation and contemporary technology to analyze issues and answer questions germane to their environment. At the completion of the General Education curriculum, students should be able to:
- Model relevant information into a mathematical representation
- Use logic and calculations to solve problems
- Use quantitative information to support an argument or make an inference
- Analyze quantitative data to make judgments and draw conclusions
- Use computing technology to solve problems efficiently and effectively
Information literacy involves the ability to identify, retrieve, evaluate, organize, cite properly and use a wide range of resources including print, graphic and electronic for independent learning and practical problem solving. At the completion of the General Education curriculum, students should be able to:
- Determine the nature and extent of the information needed
- Select the most appropriate investigative methods or information retrieval systems for accessing the needed information
- Evaluate information and its sources critically
- Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
- Access and use information ethically and legally
A student may meet the requirements of the general education curriculum through a combination of several approaches.
- Courses. The student earns credits by achieving a passing grade in the individual courses designated in the general education curriculum.
- Honors Courses. The student earns credits by achieving a passing grade in designated Honors courses that fulfill general education requirements:
- Credit-Bearing Exams. With the approval of individual schools, a student may earn credit for general education courses by successfully passing a standardized examination (for example, the Advanced Placement examination).
- Departmental Waiver. Departments responsible for general education courses may waive their general education courses for students who demonstrate exceptional skill or achievement according to departmental placement tests or other criteria established by the department.
- Transfer Courses. The student earns credits in the general education curriculum by transferring approved courses with a grade of C or better from accredited institutions of higher education.
- Associate’s Degrees. Mercy College recognizes an associate’s degree with 48 credits in the liberal arts and sciences from an accredited institution of higher education, and with an average grade of C or better, as equivalent to complete the requirements of the Mercy College general education curriculum. Exceptions may include ENGL 111 and ENGL 112 SPCM 110 and any general education course set out as a Prerequisite for a student’s major field of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees. Mercy College recognizes a bachelor’s degree with 48 credits in the liberal arts and sciences from an accredited institution of higher education, and with an average grade of C or better, as equivalent to completion of the requirements of the Mercy College general education curriculum. Exceptions may include ENGL 111 and ENGL 112 SPCM 110 and any general education course set out as a Prerequisite for a student’s major field of study.
- Learning on Location. This course is offered by different academic disciplines in various topics.
This course for general education credit is intended for students to take advantage of the rich opportunities for learning beyond the classroom presented in the New York Metropolitan area. Significant portion of class time will be spent at the actual location(s) around which the topic will be explored; examples are the courts, museums, the theater, the environment, ethnic neighborhoods, etc. Classroom time will cover preparation, critical reviews, writing and oral discussion as well as evaluation of student work. Prerequisites: ENGL 110 . 3 sem. hrs. 3 crs.
General Education Designated Courses
Oral Communications Requirement
Waived for transfer students with 30+ credits.
(Depending on Placement and Major) (3 crs.)
Junior Seminar Requirement
To be taken upon completion of ENGL 112 , SPCM 110 , Mathematics Requirement. Students will register for the course after completing 60 credits and before attaining 91 credits
Literature & Communication
Language & Cultural Perspectives
Choose one intermediate level language course
Historical and Global Perspectives
Additional Liberal Arts
Choose additional 18 credits from General Education Designated Courses in Disciplinary Groupings. These courses may be used to support a Minor.