Academic Programs - Gen Ed Questions about your Undergraduate Education Office of Academic Affairs: General Education Q and A - IPFW
Office of Academic Affairs

Academic Programs - Gen Ed

An IPFW Education

Questions and Answers about Your Undergraduate Education at IPFW

What does it mean to earn an undergraduate degree from IPFW?

An IPFW undergraduate degree prepares you for life in the information age. Citizens of the 21st century must be able to adapt to rapid changes in their workplaces, keep up with continual revolutions in technology, communicate across physical and cultural boundaries, and cope with unprecedented masses of information. IPFW’s three-part program described below provides the knowledge and skills to meet those challenges.

I. General Education - The general-education program serves to provide the knowledge skills and awareness that you will use and live by during most of your life–whether as citizen, traveler, leader, volunteer, learner, teacher, artist, audience, or any other aspect of your multifaceted life. You will also be introduced to exciting and intriguing fields of study beyond the scope of your chosen major.

II. Major Area of Study - The major focuses on a specific academic discipline or professional field. You will study one area in depth, gaining specialized knowledge and learning the methods used by scholars to discover new knowledge. The major allows you to develop expertise in your field, opens communication channels with both specialists and nonspecialists, creates avenues for life-long learning and provides you with the skills you will need to function in our technological society..

III. Electives - You will complement the general education program and major area with additional knowledge and skills gained from a program of elective courses combining breadth of subject matter with specific study in depth.

What Are the Goals of General Education?

General Education is important for success in every academic subject and in all professions. You will acquire:

  • strong foundation skills in reading and writing, listening and speaking, and quantitative reasoning;
  • sharp critical-thinking skills to enable you to make good decisions and solve problems;
  • familiarity with cultures and traditions different from your own.

Employers from all fields tell us that these are qualities they look for in their employees.

Upon completion of the IPFW general education curriculum, you will be able to:

  • Identify substantive knowledge and disciplinary methods;
  • Gather, comprehend, and evaluate information;
  • Use information;
  • Analyze and synthesize information;
  • Evaluate and assess your own and others’ ideas.
  • Use knowledge and skills gained as a basis for life-long learning.

What does the IPFW General Education Program Include?

For a bachelor’s degree, the program will include courses from each of the following six areas. For an associate’s degree, you will need Foundation Skills and one or more other approved courses chosen in consultation with your advisor.

Area I Foundation Skills (9 cr.)

You should complete Area I during your first three semesters, because these courses–English composition, Fundamentals of Speech, and Math or Statistics–give you skills that are needed in most other courses you will take.

Area II Physical and Natural Sciences (6 cr.)

You will learn how scientific knowledge is developed–how observations are made, how hypotheses are formulated and tested, and how theories are developed. If you are majoring in a scientific or technological field, you should speak with an academic advisor before enrolling in any courses for Area II.

Area III The Individual, Culture, and Society (6 cr.)

Courses in the social, behavioral, or managerial sciences will help you understand the nature and diversity of individuals, cultures, and societies around the world.

Area IV Humanistic Thought (6 cr.)

Through courses in literature, philosophy, or arts appreciation you will learn about traditions and ways of thinking in various cultures and historical periods.

Area V Creative and Artistic Expression (3 cr.)

You will perform and/or create a work of personal expression.

Area VI Inquiry and Analysis (3 cr.)

You will complete a substantial research or creative project for this requirement. Before enrolling in an Area VI course, you must complete your Foundation Skills (Area I). Some Area VI courses also have specific prerequisites.

How many credits of General Education are required?

If you plan to get a bachelor’s degree, and you enrolled at IPFW for the first time in fall 2001 or later, your minimum General Education requirement is 33 credits. For an associate’s degree, it is 12 credits. Depending on your degree goal, other courses outside your major may be required as well. Your academic advisor will know if this applies to you.

Which courses count as General Education?

Courses approved for General Education credit are listed in the Schedule of Classes, in the IPFW Bulletin, and on the IPFW web site.

How do I know WHICH General Education courses to take?

Check with your academic advisor to find out if your major recommends specific courses in any of the areas. Otherwise, choose courses that interest you–and that take you to places you haven’t been before.

How does the General Education Program relate to my major?

Courses in Area I provide you with skills you will use not only throughout your college career, but throughout your life. Courses in the other areas will allow you to develop those skills as well as broaden your base of knowledge. Most importantly, you will learn how to learn–and that is the crucial ability everyone needs to function in our rapidly changing world.

How is the General Education Program assessed?

IPFW is always striving to improve the general Education program and to enhance student learning. In addition to receiving a grade in your course, your instructor may collect samples of student work and submit them for review to area assessment committees. You may also be asked to fill out a survey at various points during your college career.

Can I test out of General Education courses?

Yes, it is possible to test out of part or all of the Area I requirement. It is also possible to meet parts of the other Area requirements by such means as CLEP or AP testing. Check with your advisor if you believe you can test out of certain courses.

What about transfer credits? Can they count as General Education?

Yes, if they are comparable to IPFW courses that have been approved for General Education. Check with your advisor.

Are there any other special opportunities to enhance my education at IPFW?

Consider the following opportunities:

  • Honors Program - 260-481-6924
    The Honors Program is a certificate program for serious students who want the challenge of stretching their intellectual potential. If you are the type of person who likes to learn through participation and enjoys creativity, problem solving, and close contact with instructors, then IPFW’s Honors Program may be for you.(260) 481-6924
  • Co-operative Education - 260-481-6939
    Cooperative Education (co-op) is a nationally recognized academic training program that enables students to enhance their education through valuable employment experience related to their majors. Students are paid competitive wages and may earn academic credit.
  • National Student Exchange - 260-481-6595
    Through NSE, you can spend a semester or year of study in residence at one of more than 170 U.S. and Canadian institutions during your sophomore or junior year. You remain enrolled at IPFW while on exchange, and credit earned on exchange is recorded as regular credit toward your degree.
  • Study Abroad - 260-481-6836
    IPFW students have a wide range of study abroad opportunities available to them through Indiana University and Purdue University. Students can choose among summer, semester, and academic-year programs in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and South America as well as Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
  • Undergraduate Research Opportunities - 260-481-5750
    The Office of Research and External Support is committed to active learning by undergraduate students through original research and creative endeavor. The office sponsors summer stipends for undergraduate research, undergraduate travel grants, research mini-grants, and the Annual Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium
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