Student Senate, the Deans, and the Provost
Declare 2008 the Year of Liberal Arts

Ever wonder how that General Education class is going to help you in the future?
Ever wonder what you might do with a major in English Literature or Sociology?
Ever feel like there must be more out there to learn and to live?
Ever wonder how you can best present yourself and your education to future employers, graduate schools and scholarship committees, and beat out the competition?
Now is your chance to find out!
To help you answer these questions and to commemorate the 2008 Year of Liberal Arts, we have created this website, which is part of a larger attempt by students, faculty and administrators to get back to the roots of what really defines Ohio University… what really defines us.
We have, each of us, experienced what it is like to be put into boxes, labeled, confined, narrowed. It’s time we shatter those boxes. It is through the liberal arts that we will do so.
We all have gotten into conversations about politics, religion, science, and many other issues, which just seemed to go nowhere because no one understood the other’s perspective, as if everybody was speaking a different language. It’s time we learned one another’s language. It is through the liberal arts that we will do so.
Check out the links on this page to find out more!

FAQ and information.

What do we mean when we say ‘liberal arts’?

     The term “liberal arts” is rightfully surrounded in ambiguity, as a liberal arts education is in part meant to teach the student to abide by and excel in a state of ambiguity, seeing as it is that very ambiguity which contributes to the processes of learning. It is therefore important to attempt a definition while understanding that the importance lies more in the attempt – the process – than in the answer.

     Harvard University defined general education as “a program of learning and teaching that aspires to an overview of knowledge and insists on the value of learning in more than one discipline or specialization,” and a liberal arts education as “a process of learning and teaching that postulates the value of ‘disinterested learning’-knowledge for self-development- aside from any specific informational or use value the learning may also supply” (Report of the Committee on General Education, Nov. 2005).

     The Association of American Colleges and Universities defines a “liberal education as a philosophy of education that empowers individuals with broad knowledge and transferable skills, and a strong sense of value, ethics, and civic engagement.”

     The Ohio University Catalog states that “undergraduate programs, designed to contribute to intellectual and personal development and career goals of students, emphasize liberal studies.”

     Given the Latin etymological root of the word “liberal,” i.e. liberalis, we should understand the purpose of a liberal arts education as being to free or liberate the student – to liberate him or her from narrow perspective, from limited thinking, from categorical posturing and rhetoric – and to open that student to the academic process of thinking and living, which is perhaps embodied best in the dialectic, the rational exchange of two or more parties engaged in the mutually productive search for truth.

     The “liberal arts” thus extends to cross-disciplinary studies, cultural exchange, and community and campus involvement, where the student learns to enact the ideas learned in the classroom, or in other words, to “liberate” the contemplative from the purely theoretical and to connect it with the active.

     In order for that to occur, a process of learning, which incorporates multiple perspectives and a synthesis of those perspectives and approaches to academia, is needed. We call that system “General Education.”

     The liberal arts approach, with its practical manifestations in General Education, is the province of all academic colleges, for it will only be through their combined curricula and disciplines that a student will achieve a totality of experience and knowledge.

Why do I have to take all these general education requirments?

     Ohio University is a liberal arts institution with General Education requirements. A liberal arts education is unique because it offers students the opportunity to take a wide variety of classes in areas they may not have even thought possible. It also may open doors to a variety of career choices and it serves as a community builder for OHIO students.

     Classes that you can take at OHIO range from: History of Rock ‘n Roll; Comedy Writing; Gender and Sexuality; African Dance; History of Baseball; Political Campaigns; to courses in ceramics, speech communication, economics, and philosophy of ethics. The list is seemingly endless.

     Now you might say, “That is all well and good, but I want to focus on the classes that are going to take me to the career I want. The rest just seems like filler, a bunch of requirements that only serve to distract me from what I really want to do and what I really care about.” It’s a fair statement.

     But many OHIO alumni have entered into career fields in diverse areas that were not directly related to their degree. This is made possible because a liberal arts education prepares its students to think outside the box by exposing them to multiple areas of study. So you don’t have to be anxious about deciding your future at Ohio University, because Ohio University makes any future possible. In today’s world, people are less and less likely to go into fields that directly stem from their major. People often change careers or have to combine many disciplines in order to be successful.

     The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, for instance, got his undergraduate degree in Accounting, went on to get a PhD in Psychology, and now has a rewarding career in higher education. He was able to do that because of the liberal arts. We have alumni who are now CEOs of multi-million dollar companies but who majored in Philosophy or Literature or Biology. Again, because of the liberal arts. Many businesses are soliciting English majors because they want students who can write and communicate well. Many medical schools are looking for students who went beyond biology or chemistry and have a foundation in language. One of our Student Liberal Arts Task Force members is pre-med but has a major in a foreign language and in Fine Arts. On the other hand, English majors hoping to go into editing and publishing would be well advised to take some courses offered by the College of Business.

     N. Victor Goodman, former Ohio University Board of Trustee member, and prominent attorney, spoke to our graduating class of 2004 and said that "as our world becomes ever more specialized and complex, as technology threatens to outrun our ability to understand it, it is more important than ever to gain the perspective and utilize the judgment that a lifelong liberal arts education provides."

     The answer, therefore, to the question, "How does a liberal arts degree relate to a career?" is that is that it prepares you for all potential careers. In most cases, it is a mistake to attempt to draw a direct connection between "major" and "job". Students graduating with an undergraduate major are not yet professionals in a specific field. As you may be aware, the average American changes careers an average of five times over a lifetime. In the world of work, a college degree, along with your own salesmanship, wins the job race. Even more than a major, what matters most in building a lifetime of successful careers, is your ability as an educated person to learn "on the job," and your capacity to adjust to and thrive in new and challenging environments. Employers value employees who have good critical thinking and decision-making skills, the ability to communicate effectively (written and verbal), know how to research subjects, have the ability to work with others, and who are committed to a life-time of independent learning. These skills are hallmarks of a liberal arts degree.

     The liberal arts – at least the kind you will find at OHIO – prepares you for the real world, for all of its unexpected turns and for all of its expectations. You will graduate and you won’t just be a physicist or a marketing major; you will have foreign language skills to compete in a global market; you will have technology skills to thrive in the 21st century; you will have training in diversity, writing, communication, ethics, leadership, scientific literacy, all those skills that are going to help you succeed. And that’s what Ohio University is all about: giving you the tools you need to become the person you want to be.

All About General Education

(1) University General Education Requirements
Check out the Undergraduate Catalog at:
And find course descriptions at:

Ohio University believes that, as an educated person, you need certain intellectual skills in order to participate effectively in society. These include the following:
1. The ability to communicate through the written word and the ability to
use quantitative or symbolic reasoning.
2. Broad knowledge of the major fields of learning.
3. A capacity for evaluation and synthesis.
To help you meet these objectives, Ohio University has instituted a three-tiered General Education requirement that all baccalaureate degree students (except those in Honors Tutorial College) must fulfill. Tier I course requirements build your quantitative and English composition skills; Tier II course requirements increase your breadth of knowledge; and the Tier III course requirement develops your ability to interrelate, synthesize, and integrate knowledge from different academic disciplines.

Tier I Requirements
Quantitative Skills. You must demonstrate or acquire an acceptable level of quantitative skills to satisfy graduation requirements. A math placement test determines your skill level for placement or exemption unless the Tier I quantitative skills requirement has been satisfied by transfer or advanced placement credit. (Students in some majors are required to take a math placement test regardless of transfer or advanced placement credit.) The choice of the course in which you enroll may depend on your major and should be discussed with your advisor.
Any Ohio University MATH course numbered 109 or above, PHIL 120, PSY 120, and PSY 221 satisfies the Tier I quantitative skills requirement (1M). To enroll in any MATH or other quantitative skills course, you must either place at the specific level required for that course or satisfy the appropriate prerequisites.

Placement levels are:

DV1 and DV2 (Developmental): Indicate inadequate preparation to enroll in a Tier I–level course. You must complete MATH 101 (and/or 102 on regional campuses) before enrolling in a Level 1 course.
PL1 (Placement Level 1): Indicates preparation for any of the following Tier I–fulfilling courses: MATH 109; MATH 113; MATH 117, 118 (available only on regional campuses and through correspondence); MATH 120 (early childhood, middle childhood, and intervention specialist education majors only); MATH 147; PHIL 120; PSY 120.
PL2 (Placement Level 2): Indicates preparation for Level 1 courses as well as these additional Tier I–fulfilling courses: MATH 115 (recommended only for students who plan to enroll in MATH 263A or 266A), MATH 150, 163A, 250, and PSY 221.
PL3 (Placement Level 3): Demonstrates competence sufficient to fulfill the Tier I quantitative skills requirement. If your major requires that you enroll in a quantitative skills course, placement at Level 3 indicates preparation for MATH 263A, MATH 266A, and any course in Levels 1 or 2.
English Composition. A first-year composition course and an advanced junior-level composition course are required. Any English 151, 151A, 152, 153, 153A, or 153B will satisfy the University’s General Education first-year writing requirement (1E). These courses are alternative, not sequential, courses in writing. You should select your course by looking at the descriptions and choosing the one that appeals to you. (All regional campus students are given a placement test.)

In your junior year, you must take an approved advanced writing course unless you demonstrate advanced writing proficiency by passing the junior-level exemption exam. The following courses fulfill the junior-level composition requirement:
Art 300J

Business Administration 325J

Classics and World Religions 385J

English 305J, 306J, 307J, 308J, 309J,384J

Environmental and Plant Biology 418J

Film 344J

Human and Consumer Sciences - General Education 345J

History 301J, 396J

Health Sciences - Health 370J

Interdisciplinary Arts 360J

Journalism 441J

Modern Languages 321J, 370J

Political Science 305J

Communication, Introduction to Professional 325J

Recreation and Sport Sciences - Recreation 370J

These courses are marked in this catalog with the designation (1J) following the title and credit hours.

If you are a transfer student, your requirements are determined by when you enroll and the number and type of credit hours transferred.

Tier II Requirements

Students are required to complete a total of 30 credit hours from an approved list of courses in the following five distribution areas:

Applied Science and Technology (2A)

Cross-Cultural Perspectives (2C)

Humanities and Fine Arts (2H)

Natural Sciences and Mathematics (2N)

Social Sciences (2S)

You are required to take at least four credit hours in four of the five areas and may satisfy no more than two of the required four areas with courses from the same department. You may satisfy no more than 12 of the 30 hours with courses from the same department.

You may apply one approved Tier II course in your major department or area of concentration (for B.S.S. students) toward partial fulfillment of the Tier II requirement.

Approved courses are marked in the Courses section with (2A), (2C), (2H), (2N), or (2S) following the title and credit hours. The following courses fulfill the Tier II breadth of knowledge requirement:

Applied Science and Technology (2A)

Biological Sciences 205, 220, 221, 222, 225, 235

Chemical Engineering 331

Chemistry and Biochemistry 101

Computer Science 230

Electrical Engineering 101

Engineering and Technology 280, 320, 350, 470

Environmental Health 260

Environmental and Plant Biology 103, 160

Geography 201, 260, 268

Geological Sciences 170, 215, 231

Health Sciences 202

Hearing, Speech, and Language Sciences 108

Human and Consumer Sciences–Food and Nutrition 128

Industrial and Systems Engineering 200

Industrial Technology 110

Information and Telecommunication Systems 101, 201

Mechanical Engineering 100

Cross-Cultural Perspectives (2C)

Anthropology 101, 202

Art History 214, 330, 331

Classics and World Religions 311, 321, 331

Dance 351, 352, 353

English 331, 332, 333

Foreign Languages and Literatures

Arabic 111, 112, 113, 211, 212, 213

Chinese 111, 112, 113, 211, 212, 213

French 111, 112, 113, 211, 212, 213

German 111, 112, 113, 211, 212, 213

Greek 111, 112, 113

Indonesian/Malaysian 111, 112, 113, 211, 212, 213

Italian 111, 112, 113, 211, 212, 213

Japanese 111, 112, 113, 211, 212, 213, 252, 253

Japanese Culture 250

Latin, 111, 112, 113

Russian 111, 112, 113, 211, 212, 213

Spanish 111, 112, 113, 211, 212, 213, 349

Swahili 111, 112, 113, 211, 212, 213

Geography 131

History 132, 133, 246, 323ABC, 335AB, 341ABC, 345ABC

International Studies 103, 113, 118, 121

Music 121

Political Science 340

Humanities and Fine Arts (2H)

African American Studies 110, 150, 210, 211, 250, 350

Art 110

Art History 211, 212, 213

Classics and World Religions 181, 301, 302

Communication Studies 101

Dance 170, 171, 271, 471, 472, 473, 474

English 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206

Film 201, 202, 203

Fine Arts 150

Foreign Languages and Literatures

Classics in English 127, 231, 234, 235, 236, 237, 252, 253, 254, 255

Greek 211, 212, 213

International Literature: Modern Languages 335, 336, 337, 338AB

Latin 211, 212, 213

History 121, 122, 123

Human and Consumer Sciences - Interior Architecture 185

Humanities 107, 108, 109, 117

Interdisciplinary Arts 117, 118, 211, 212, 213, 270, 271, 272

Music 100, 120, 124, 125

Philosophy 101, 130, 216, 232, 240, 260, 310, 311, 312, 314

Theater 170, 171, 172, 270, 271, 272

Women’s Studies 100

Natural Sciences and Mathematics (2N)

Anthropology 201

Astronomy 100, 100D

Biological Sciences 100, 103, 170, 171, 172, 173, 202, 203, 204, 206, 210, 275; and 130, 131; and 201

Biology 101

Chemistry and Biochemistry 121, 122, 123, 151, 152, 153

Environmental and Plant Biology 100, 100L, 102, 109, 114, 115, 209

Geography 101, 202

Geological Sciences 101, 120, 130, 208, 211, 221

Mathematics 163AB, 263ABC, 266AB

Physical Science 100, 100D, 101, 101L, 105, 105L, 140, 200, 205; and 121/121L, 122/122L, 123/123L

Physics 201, 202, 203, 251, 252, 253, 262

Social Sciences (2S)

African American Studies 101, 202

Classical Archaeology 211, 212, 213

Communication Studies 351, 352, 353

Economics 103, 104, 240

Geography 121, 132

History 101, 102, 103, 200, 201,315A

Human and Consumer Sciences–Child and Family Studies 160

Human and Consumer Sciences–Retail Merchandising 250

Journalism 105

Linguistics 270

Management 202

Political Science 101, 102, 103, 150, 210, 230, 250, 270, 331

Psychology 101

Social Work 101

Sociology 101, 201

Telecommunications 105

Tier III Requirement

Students are required to take one Tier III interdisciplinary course after attaining senior rank (135 hours). A complete list of Tier III and equivalent courses is available by searching for "T3" or by looking in the course descriptions section of this catalog. Students may fulfill this requirement by taking a Tier III-equivalent course in their major; they should see their major advisor for information as to whether their discipline offers such a course.

(2) College of Arts and Sciences General Education Requirements

The University General Education Requirements (Tiers I, II, and III) are similar to, but lesser in scale than, the Arts and Sciences requirements. You may select courses that, while fulfilling University General Education Requirements, can partially satisfy Arts and Sciences distribution requirements in foreign languages, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and courses above the 199 level. The following lists for humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences indicate specifically, and without exception, the courses that fulfill the three Arts and Sciences areas. Many of these courses also satisfy Tier II requirements.

All courses that fulfill General Education Requirements, even if they are not Arts and Sciences courses, apply toward the 192 credit hours needed to graduate from Ohio University.

Some courses designated for Tier I quantitative skills and freshman composition (including any skills courses needed as prerequisites) apply only to hours for graduation and do not apply to Arts and Sciences distribution requirements. MATH 163A-B and PSY 221 may fulfill multiple requirements.

Arts and Sciences courses that fulfill the Tier I advanced composition requirement at the junior level can apply to the humanities distribution area and, in certain cases, to your major.

Courses designated as Tier III do not fulfill Arts and Sciences requirements except when they are taught by Arts and Sciences faculty. In this case, the course contributes to the hours-above-200-level requirement. Courses designated as “Tier III equivalents” may count both for Tier III and toward the major.

Transfer students whose credit is equated as comparable to Tier I level composition or to quantitative courses are considered to have met that Tier I requirement. Transfer students without comparable transfer credit in composition and/or quantitative courses must complete the requirement.

The College of Arts and Sciences requires that all candidates for a B.A. or B.S. degree successfully complete two years of foreign language equivalent to or at the college level. The type of degree (B.A. or B.S.) determines how the two-year requirement is completed. These requirements are determined by the degree program (B.A. or B.S). (Transfer students should refer to the “Transfer from Other Universities” section for specific information about transferring foreign language credits to Arts and Sciences.)

Not all language courses taught at Ohio University meet the curricular guidelines of the foreign language requirement. Acceptable languages include: Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian/ Malaysian, Japanese, and Swahili (African and Asian); Greek and Latin (classical); German (Germanic); French, Italian, and Spanish (Romance); and Russian (Slavic). The first or beginning year of language at Ohio University is represented by the course numbers 111, 112, and 113, while the second or intermediate year is represented by the course numbers 211, 212, and 213. (See the Courses section for a complete description of language courses.)


Find out what the Student Liberal Arts Task Force is doing

Fall Quarter 2007-08

      In the Fall of the 2007-08 academic year, Ben Ogles, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Patrick Heery convened the Student Liberal Arts Taskforce charged with the following mission: to formulate a plan for creating a permanent structure which will effectively educate students on the value and nature of a liberal arts general education.

      The Taskforce proceeded to identify priorities for this mission and to begin a long planning period. In the meantime, the Taskforce created a lesson plan for a UC 190 class period and, with the help of Learning Communities Director Wendy Merb-Brown, went to a variety of these classes and taught the curriculum. Surveys were given to the freshmen. The Taskforce took a modified curriculum to the residence hall, Washington, on East Green where we put on a program for two learning communities.

      The Taskforce proposed that the year of 2008 be declared the Year of Liberal Arts, a proposal which met with unanimous support from the Academic Deans, the Provost, and the Ohio University Student Senate. Additionally, meetings were held with a variety of faculty and administrators to discuss potential avenues for communicating our message.

Winter Quarter 2007-08

      The Taskforce reconvened at the beginning of Winter Quarter, following the break. Its first agenda item was to define a set of practical action items for the academic colleges as a part of the Year of Liberal Arts. Four recommendations were identified, and are currently being distributed to the academic colleges piece-mail: academic advising, communication networks, alumni discussions with current students, and the development of websites. The Taskforce also developed a variety of appendices to assist with this endeavor, explaining, for instance, the Taskforce’s definition of the Liberal Arts. Its second agenda item was to plan a major marketing campaign for the Year of Liberal Arts, including the creation of a variety of posters, the planning of a potential reception, the formation of a slogan, and so on.

      Work has begun or been completed on producing: a short 5-10 minute, student-produced film which will visually document, in an exciting and aesthetic way, the nature of a liberal arts education; a Liberal Arts, student-designed website; a brief script for the Office of Admissions to incorporate (potentially) in their high school visits and other promotions; a training module for PreCollege Student Advisors who will then carry this message to the incoming freshmen; the continuation of designing learning modules for Learning Community participants; and the identification of potential themes or clusters for current general education (specifically Tier II) courses, such as an international or environmental or social policy theme. We continue to explore many additional venues for educating students. Additionally, we are working on bringing in a speaker for Fall Quarter.

Contact students from the Student Liberal Arts Task Force

Student Liberal Arts Taskforce Membership:

Patrick Heery (Chair):
     Honors Tutorial College and College of Arts and Sciences, Phi Beta Kappa, Previously Member of Student Senate and General Education Learning Outcomes Committee

Elisha Bender:
     College of Business, Student Senate

Michelle Connavino:
     College of Education, Student Senate

Lydia Gerthoffer:
     College of Arts and Sciences, Student Trustee, PreCollege Advisor and Learning Community Mentor

Robert Leary:
     Honors Tutorial College, Student Senate

Curt Nash:
     College of Communication, Learning Community Mentor, Previous R.A and Student Senate Member

Markee Speyer:
     College of Fine Arts, Student Senate

Matt Tokarsky:
     Honors Tutorial College, Student Senate

Kim Vandegrift:
     College of Fine Arts and College of Arts and Sciences, Phi Beta Kappa

College Websites

College of Arts and Sciences:

The liberal arts, choosing a major, and finding a career:

College requirements:

College of Business:


Integrating the liberal arts and programs:

College of Education:


Core principles in line with the liberal arts:

College of Fine Arts:

College of Health and Human Services:

Vision and Mission:

Honors Tutorial College:

Liberal Arts goals:

Russ College of Engineering and Technology:

Scripps College of Communication:

Mission Statement in line with the liberal arts:

University College:

Bachelor of Specialized Studies – a liberal arts degree:

Other links for liberal arts opportunities:

Arts for Ohio:

Community Service Opportunities:

Education Abroad:

Learning Communities:

The Library:

Office for Diversity:

Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs: