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General Bulletin 2004-2006

The Miami Plan for Liberal Education

The Miami Plan for Liberal Education

Liberal education complements specialized studies in your major and provides a broadened context for exploring personal and career choices. Every student, regardless of major, is required to participate in the Miami Plan for Liberal Education. Liberal education course work and co-curricular programming emphasize four basic goals:

  • Thinking Critically. Students achieve perspective by combining imagination, intuition, reasoning, and evaluation. Critical thinking develops the ability to construct and discern relationships, analyze arguments, and solve complex problems.
  • Understanding Contexts. Because how we know may be as important as what we know, examining assumptions is an important part of learning. Knowledge of the conceptual frameworks and achievements of the arts, sciences, technology, and the character of global society is crucial to our future.
  • Engaging with Other Learners. A healthy exchange of different ideas and viewpoints encourages rethinking of accepted perspectives. Therefore, diversity among learners, a supportive atmosphere of group work, active listening, and opportunities to critique results encourage learning through shared efforts.
  • Reflecting and Acting. By making thoughtful decisions and examining their consequences, students may enhance personal moral commitment, enrich ethical understanding, and strengthen civic participation.

Requirements of the Miami Plan

All students must complete courses identified as parts of the Miami Plan as well as courses in the major. The Miami Plan has two parts: Foundation and Focus. The Foundation requirement is met by taking 36 semester hours of Foundation courses in five specific areas. The Focus requirement is met by a minimum of nine hours in a Thematic Sequence outside your department of major and a minimum of three hours in a Senior Capstone Experience taken in your final year of study. The Field includes courses required by your major and division; it also includes electives. If you choose to declare a minor and complete all the requirements for that minor, it will be posted to your academic record.

The Miami Plan is an expanding liberal education curriculum. Additions to its range of courses or modifications of its requirements may be learned by contacting the Office of Liberal Education, any divisional advising office, or by visiting our web page at www.muohio.edu/led.

Extended Study and Service-Learning in Miami Plan Courses

Students may gain an extra credit hour in any Foundation course, Thematic Sequence course, or Capstone for academic work and/or service-learning activities directly connected to the content and objectives of these courses. Students are responsible for initiating the extra-hour proposals. Instructors will determine whether the proposed work represents an extra credit hour and if their teaching schedules and related professional activities will permit them to sponsor and monitor these projects. The maximum number of hours of extended study or service-learning that can be applied to graduation is four; students may propose and enroll in such courses no more than once each semester.

An instructor should write a memo of understanding—preferably with the student—outlining expectations that must be fulfilled either by the end of the current semester or the semester immediately succeeding for the extra hour to be awarded. The academic department approves this memo before the project begins. Two grades are assigned: one for the primary course and one for the extended study and/or service-learning project. Credit/no-credit may be used for extended study and/or service-learning projects in Foundation courses and Thematic Sequence courses; credit/no-credit cannot be used in required Capstones in the student's department of major.

Extended study and/or service-learning permits, which must be completed by students and endorsed by sponsoring instructors and department chairs, are available from the Office of Liberal Education. For more information, consult the Office of Liberal Education or the Office of Service Learning and Civic Leadership.

Foundation Courses (36 semester hours)

Ordinarily, Foundation courses should be completed in your first two years.

Foundation courses must be taken in the following areas:

I. English Composition (6 hours)

II. Fine Arts, Humanities, Social Science (12 hours)
   A. Fine Arts (3 hours minimum)
   B. Humanities (3 hours minimum)
   C. Social Science (3 hours minimum)

III. Cultures (6 hours)
   A. United States Cultures (3 hours minimum)
   B. World Cultures (3 hours minimum)

IV. Natural Science (9 hours, must include
one laboratory course)
   A. Biological Science (3 hours minimum)
   B. Physical Science (3 hours minimum)

V. Mathematics, Formal Reasoning, Technology (3 hours)

Historical (H) Requirement

All students must take at least one Foundation course that presents a historical perspective (H). Students satisfy this requirement by taking an appropriately designated course in any Foundation area. The same course may meet both a Foundation area requirement and the Historical perspective requirement.

First-Year Seminar Requirement (3 hours)

All students must complete a seminar course in their first year. This requirement is met by completing ENG 112 or ENG 113, or a first-year honors seminar, or the Western College Program core curriculum, or other designated first-year seminars. Students can also complete the first-year seminar requirement if they have received credit for English 112 through Advanced Placement or the portfolio program of the Department of English.

Advanced Placement Credit

Advanced Placement credit may be used to satisfy Foundation course requirements, including the first course in a Thematic Sequence. Advanced Placement credit cannot be used for advanced, non-Foundation courses in a Thematic Sequence.

Course Descriptions and Abbreviations

Foundation courses are listed below according to the area they satisfy (English composition; fine arts, humanities; etc.). Some Foundation courses will appear in two or more Foundation areas. For example, ARC 188 is classified as a course in the fine arts as well as one in the humanities; it appears, then, in Foundation IIA (fine arts) and Foundation IIB (humanities). Students who take such courses may use them to fulfill one Foundation area requirement only.

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