General Education

"In all people there lies, in accordance with human nature, a desire to search out the truth which leads us on to have a longing for knowledge and learning and infuses into us a wish to seek after it. To excel in this seems a noble thing."

Ambrose of Milan de Officiis I.26.125

Courses aligned with St. Ambrose General Education Program Objectives and Requirements advance our mission by supporting students' achievement in skills and knowledge grounded in the liberal arts and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

Consult with an academic advisor and refer to the current university catalog for general education course offerings.

General Education Worksheet (pdf)

Purpose and Vision

With the support of the faculty, the General Education Committee envisions that all graduates of St. Ambrose University will possess fundamental skills and knowledge rooted in the liberal arts and catholic intellectual tradition needed to live in a rapidly changing and global world, as well as the ability to critically explore complex issues and solve complex problems.

Specifically, St. Ambrose University graduates possess the fundamental skills and knowledge needed for tomorrow's world, and are able to think critically about their lives and their work, as well as the lives of others. This means asking questions, collecting and interpreting data, drawing conclusions, evaluating results, and taking action. We envision that our graduates will communicate effectively both in writing and orally. Likewise, we expect them have been introduced to a second language.

Finally, we envision our graduate will have cultivated the personal dispositions, or 'habits' (from the Latin habitus, meaning 'virtue') necessary for a rich intellectual life as well as overall physical wellness.

Having been educated through a liberal arts curriculum, St. Ambrose University graduates will possess a general understanding of the disciplines of the Liberal Arts, including the Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Creative Arts, and Humanities. We envision our graduates will be able to identify themselves as heirs to culture and advance it through the exercise of their own intellectual curiosity. Likewise, our graduate will be comfortable exploring the cultural richness of our diverse society as well as those of the Global 'village' in which they live.

As members of a Diocesan institution, graduates of St. Ambrose University will be able to reflect critically on core truth claims, as well as the ethical and spiritual values derived from philosophy and theology, especially those that emanate from the catholic intellectual tradition. Likewise, our graduates will value diversity of perspectives, be active in the pursuit of justice and peace, and engage in service to their communities locally and globally.

Finally, it is our vision that graduates of St. Ambrose University will continue to develop learning skills and knowledge both out of necessity and for pleasure. Our graduates will continue to explore the breadth and depth of the liberal arts and catholic intellectual tradition as lifelong learners by reading, writing, speaking, researching, traveling, listening, creating, and engaging in our world. As such, we envision our graduates will shape for themselves a coherent, if always tentative, vision of the world by means of which they will enrich their own lives through enriching the lives of others.

Program Objectives

Ambrosian students will:

  • Develop fundamental skills and knowledge necessary to flourish in a rapidly changing world. (Fundamental Skills and Knowledge)
  • Develop competencies that produce Liberal Arts perspectives in order to influence culture. (Liberal Arts Perspectives)
  • Evaluate truth claims derived from Philosophy and Theology in order to scrutinize the relationship between faith and reason. (Catholic Intellectual Tradition)
  • Critically explore complex issues using knowledge and skills from the liberal arts and catholic intellectual tradition. (Integrative Learning)


Integrated Learning

Through participation in the General Education Curriculum, as well as major and co-curricular engagement, undergraduate students critically explore complex issues using knowledge and skills from the liberal arts and Catholic Intellectual Tradition. As such, students participate in a variety of integrated and multi-discipline approaches to learning, however, key assessments of students' abilities to practice critical thinking to solve problems and equips students for success will occur in 300-level philosophy and theology courses.


Fundamental Skills and Knowledge

Courses are offered in Communication, English, Math, Computer Science, Statistics, Spanish and Latinx Studies, Kinesiology, and Information Literacy (12-18 credits).

So that they can succeed in personal, educational, professional, and civic endeavors, St. Ambrose students will:

  • Create, deliver, and evaluate oral presentations that are both purposeful and ethical. (Oral Communication)
  • Use writing effectively as a means of research, exposition, communication, and expression. (Written Communication)
  • Use methods of mathematical inquiry to interpret data. (Quantitative Reasoning)
  • Achieve basic proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking a second language. (Second Language)
  • Demonstrate the skills, knowledge, and confidence to engage in physical activities. (Health and Wellness)
  • Seek and evaluate multiple perspectives during information gathering and assessment. (Information Literacy)

Liberal Arts Perspectives

Courses are offered by departments across the College of Arts and Sciences (14-16 credits):

  • So that they can better appreciate and express their own originality, St. Ambrose students will demonstrate artistic techniques through the production or performance of works of art. (Creative Arts)
  • So that they can assess their individual roles and responsibilities in the world, St. Ambrose students will evaluate perspectives on human experiences in cultural or historical contexts. (Humanities: History and Culture)
  • So that they can better appreciate expressions of human experiences, St. Ambrose students will analyze creative works in comics, film, literature, music, theatre, or other media. (Humanities: Literature and Film)
  • So that they can thoughtfully evaluate scientific content and ideas, St. Ambrose students will use evidence-based reasoning to explore questions about the natural world. (Natural Sciences)
  • So that they can navigate the world in which they live, St. Ambrose students will apply evidence-based reasoning to explain diverse human experiences. (Social Sciences)

Catholic Intellectual Tradition

Courses are offered in Philosophy and Theology (12 credits):

  • So that they can develop more clear and logically coherent worldviews, St. Ambrose students will use reasoning to evaluate Philosophical arguments. (100-200-level Philosophy courses)
  • So that they can recognize the impact belief has on engagement in the world and society, St. Ambrose students will evaluate the relationship between faith in God and just action. (100-200-level Theology courses)
  • So that they can better understand the relationship between faith and reason, St. Ambrose students will evaluate how worldviews shape interpretation. (Philosophy, Theology, Catholic Studies, and Justice and Peace)
  • So that they are prepared to make meaningful contributions to society and the world, St. Ambrose students will critically explore complex issues using knowledge and skills from the liberal arts and Catholic Intellectual Tradition. (Integrated Learning, 300-level Philosophy or Theology)

The material presented here is for informational purposes and does not substitute for the catalog. Consult the official university catalog for complete general education requirements and courses that qualify.


Ella Johnson, Ph.D. Director of General Education

General Education
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

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