General Education Learning Outcomes

Note: New General Education requirements and learning outcomes will become effective Fall 2023. Please refer to Fall 2023 SUNY Guidelines page for more information. 

Approved Learning Outcomes

General Education learning outcomes (revised May 6, 2015) (PDF format)

Language and Communication

Creating a Global Vision

Liberal Arts

Physical Activity/Wellness

General Education Guidelines + Learning Outcomes: Language and Communication

Composition Courses 

  • Composition courses require at least 20 pages of formal expository writing, which must count for at least 50 percent of the course grade.
  • The course must include a longer paper of at least 7 pages or at least two papers of at least 5 pages.
  • One paper of at least 5 pages must undergo a substantial revision process based on instructor feedback (not just peer feedback).
  • Composition courses should be limited to 25 students per class when taught without teaching assistants. Larger courses may be designated as Composition courses so long as they divide into regularly scheduled discussion sections in which composition and/or oral communication is emphasized. In such courses teaching assistants assigned to lead multiple discussion sections should be responsible for no more than 50 students in all.

Notes:

  • Formal writing is understood to mean finished prose intended to communicate fully developed ideas in clear and well-organized English. Informal writing (such as free-writing and discussion board posts) is intended to help students develop ideas, reflect on course material, and communicate in a spontaneous and unstructured way. Informal writing, while encouraged as a useful exercise in C courses, does not count toward the 20-page formal writing requirement.
  • One page is presumed to represent about 250 words, assuming 12-point type, double line spacing, and one-inch margins.
    Revised pages don't count: if students write a 5-page draft and a 7-page final paper, only the 7 pages count toward the 20. If students rework a short paper into a longer paper, only the longer paper counts toward the 20 pages.
  • The Composition requirement focuses on expository writing, not fiction, poetry, plays, etc.
  • Team or group papers cannot fulfill the requirement for the Composition unless the instructor demonstrates that each student completes the requirements for the Composition and that each student's contribution is individually evaluated.

Learning Outcomes:

Students in Composition courses will 

  1. Demonstrate understanding of course content through formal academic writing;
  2. Construct effective prose that demonstrates critical thinking and advances sound conclusions, appropriate to the course and discipline; and
  3. Demonstrate the ability to revise and improve their writing in both form and content.

Foreign Language Courses

Foreign Language courses are designated FL1 (first-level course), FL2 (second-level course) or FL3 (third-level course).  Courses at the fourth level (i.e., GERM 204, FREN 215, etc. can also be designated FL3.  If students take a course above FL3 to fulfill the Foreign Language requirement, it is handled via degree audit exception as few students select this option.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who satisfy the Foreign Language requirement will demonstrate

  1. Basic proficiency in the understanding and use of a foreign language.
  2. Knowledge of the distinctive features of cultures(s) associated with the languages they are studying.

Joint Composition/Oral Communication Courses

  • Joint Composition/Oral Communication must fulfill the requirements for both Composition and Oral Communication courses.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Faculty teaching Joint Composition/ Oral Communication courses must include the learning outcomes for Composition and Oral Communication courses in their syllabi.

Oral Communication Courses

  • are discipline (or program) based, just like Composition courses.
  • require that each student give at least 2 presentations.
  • base at least 15% of the course grade on oral presentations, including critiques of such presentations and other listening skills.
  • provide ample opportunity for students to critique presentations, based on criteria such as: rapport with audience; voice, projection, and audibility; clarity of purpose; originality of ideas; organization; persuasiveness of evidence; and ability to respond to questions.
  • provide as much opportunity as possible for students to improve their oral presentations in response to feedback.
  • should emphasize listening as well as speaking skills.
  • should be limited to 25 students per class. Larger class sizes will be considered if evidence is provided that additional arrangements have been made to assure that each student is getting equivalent additional attention from the instructor or TA.

Notes: 

  • Oral Communication courses may be 4-, 3-, 2-, or 1-credit courses.
  • Presentations must be in English
  • The UUCC has developed guidelines for submitting requests for Oral Communication or Joint Composition/Oral Communication courses using video or online presentations. To be approved as meeting the Oral Communication or Joint Composition/Oral Communication requirement, online courses must meet the following additional requirements:
    1. Require that each student record at least two presentations on two distinct topics. At least one of these presentations must be done in a live (synchronous) session with a previously identified subset of the students in the class present.
    2. Require that students must appear on camera for at least half of the required presentation time, unless agreed upon by the instructor ahead of time.
    3. Provide ample opportunity for students to critique presentations, based on criteria such as: rapport with digital audience; voice, projection, and audibility; clarity of purpose; originality of ideas; organization; persuasiveness of evidence; production quality of the video; and/or ability to respond to questions.
    4. Provide as much opportunity as possible for students to improve their oral presentations in response to feedback, encouraging students to go watch and re-record their videos for improvement. 

Learning Outcomes: 

Students in Oral Communication courses will demonstrate

  1. Proficiency in oral presentations.
  2. The ability to improve oral presentations in response to critiques.
  3. Skill in listening to and critiquing oral presentations. 

General Education Guidelines: Creating a Global Vision

Global Interdependencies Courses

The primary focus of Global Interdependencies courses is to study how two or more distinctive world regions have influenced and interacted with one another and how such interactions have been informed by their respective cultures or civilizations. 

Notes: (1) Global Interdependencies courses must focus on at least one non-Western region, because Binghamton's Global Interdependencies requirement meets SUNY's Other World Civilizations requirement. (2) Global Interdependencies courses may focus on more than one non-Western region. (3) Global Interdependencies courses may focus on distinctive cultural regions, at least one of which must be non-Western. A "cultural region" is a portion of Earth's surface that has common cultural elements. 

Learning Outcomes:

Faculty teaching Global Interdependencies courses must include the following learning outcomes in their syllabi. Students in Global Interdependencies courses will demonstrate:  

  • knowledge of how two or more distinctive world regions have influenced and interacted with one another and how such interactions have been informed by their respective cultures or civilizations.

Pluralism in the U.S. Courses

Binghamton University designates two types of Pluralism courses:

Pluralism Courses

Students who scored 85 or above on the Regents exam in U.S. History (or the equivalent) must take a Pluralism course that meets the following criteria:

Pluralism courses must consider United States society by paying substantive attention to three or more of the following groups and to how these groups have affected and been affected by basic institutions of American society, such as commerce, family, legal and political structures, or religion, and by issues involving inequality.

Required groups/identities
(at least 2):
Additional groups/identities:
African Americans Disability status
Arab Americans Gender and gender identity
Asian Americans Immigrant status/issues
European Americans Language and language identity
Jewish Americans Religious/spiritual identities
Latin@ Americans Sexual orientations
Native Americans Socioeconomic status/class
Pacific Islander Americans  

US History Pluralism Courses

Students who have not scored above an 84 on the Regents exam in U.S. History (or the equivalent) must take a US History Pluralism course that meets both the above criteria and the following additional criteria. (These courses were formerly referred to as "specialized P" courses, but we will be phasing in the USP designation in the schedule of classes and Degree Works prior to the 2021-22 academic year.)

  • The course must present an historical narrative of the United States and its institutions. This narrative must include several themes that have shaped the development of American society, such as the struggle for democracy, citizenship, racial and gender equality, religious freedom, civil rights, etc.; the conflicts that have erupted over these issues; and the consensus, if any, that has been reached on each of them.
  • The narrative must cover at least a century of American history and connect that period to periods before and after it.
  • The course must situate the history of the U.S. within the context of world history or of two or more regions of the world, as a means of understanding America's evolving relationship with the rest of the world.

Learning Outcomes:

Students in all Pluralism courses will demonstrate an understanding of:

  1. United States society by paying substantive attention to three or more of the groups in the table above,
  2. How these groups have affected and been affected by basic institutions of American society, such as commerce, family, legal and political structures, or religion, and by issues involving inequality.

In addition, students who have not scored 85 or above on the New York State Regents examination in United States history (or its equivalent) must take a US History Pluralism course where they also will demonstrate knowledge of:

  1. An historical narrative of the United States and its institutions over a period of at least a century, including connections to prior and subsequent periods, with this narrative including several themes that have shaped the development of American society, such as the struggle for democracy, citizenship, racial and gender inequality, religious freedom, and civil rights; the conflicts that have erupted over these issues; and the consensus, if any, that has been reached on each of them.
  2. How the history of the United States relates to the history of at least two other regions of the world, as a means of understanding America's evolving relationship with the rest of the world. 

General Education Guidelines + Learning Outcomes: Liberal Arts

Aesthetics Courses

  • enhance students' understanding of the creative process and the role of imagination and aesthetic judgment in at least one principal form of artistic expression in such fields as art, art history, cinema, creative writing, dance, graphic design, music, and theater.

Notes: (1) Although the artistic work studied may include language, courses focusing exclusively or primarily on pre-existing written texts would be designated as Humanities rather than Aesthetics

Learning Outcomes 

  1. Faculty teaching Aesthetics courses must include the following learning outcomes in their syllabi. Students in Aesthetic courses will demonstrate:
    an understanding of the creative process and the role of imagination and aesthetic judgment in at least one principal form of artistic expression in such fields as art, art history, cinema, creative writing, dance, graphic design, music, and theater.

Humanities Courses

  • enhance students' understanding of human experience through the study of literature or philosophy.

Learning Outcomes:

Faculty teaching Humanities  courses must include the following learning outcomes in their syllabi. Students in Humanities courses will demonstrate: 

  1. an understanding of human experience through the study of literature or philosophy.

Laboratory Science Courses

  • emphasize the formulation and testing of hypotheses and the collection, analysis and interpretation of data.
  • include a minimum of 10 laboratory meetings, exercises, field studies, or practica.

Note: Lab courses of less than 4 credits are acceptable if paired with a pre- or co-requisite lecture course. The paired lab/lecture sequence needs to be at least 4 credits in order for students to receive the Laboratory Science credit.

Learning Outcomes:

Faculty teaching Laboratory Science courses must include the following learning outcomes in their syllabi. Students in Laboratory Science courses will demonstrate:

  1. Understanding of the methods scientists use to explore natural phenomena, including the formulation and testing of hypotheses and the collection, analysis and interpretation of data.
  2. Knowledge of concepts and models in one of the sciences.

Mathematics/Reasoning Courses

  • include any course in the Mathematics Department numbered 130 or above, any of several designated statistics courses (ANTH 200, BIOL 458, CQS 112, ECON 366, PSYC 243), or PHIL 121, 122 or 200.

Learning Outcomes:

Faculty teaching Mathematics/Reasoning courses must include the following learning outcomes in their syllabi. Students in Mathematics/Reasoning courses will demonstrate: 

  • competence in an area such as calculus, symbolic logic, the logic of computers, the logic of deductive and inductive reasoning, or probability and statistical inference.

Social Science Courses

  • impart a knowledge of major concepts, models and issues of anthropology, economics, geography history, political science, and/or sociology as recognized academic disciplines.
  • provide an understanding of the methods used by social scientists to explore social phenomena including, when appropriate to the discipline, observation, hypothesis development, measurement and data collection, experimentation, evaluation of evidence, and employment of mathematical and interpretive analysis.

Notes: (1) If the course is not at the introductory level, it includes the above content in a form accessible to and effective for a student who has not already completed an introductory social science course.

Learning Outcomes: 

Faculty teaching Social Sciences courses must include the following learning outcomes in their syllabi. Students in Social Sciences courses will demonstrate:

  1. Knowledge of major concepts, models, and issues (and their interrelationships) of at least one of the social sciences: anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, or sociology.
  2. An understanding of the methods used by social scientists to explore social phenomena, including, when appropriate to the discipline, observation, hypothesis development, measurement and data collection, experimentation, evaluation of evidence, and analysis by mathematics or other interpretive frameworks.

General Education Guidelines: Physical Activity/Wellness

Both Physical Activity/Wellness Courses

  • fulfill the requirements for both Wellness and Physical Activity courses.

Learning Outcomes: 

Faculty teaching Both Physical Activity/Wellness courses must include the learning outcomes for Wellness and Physical Activity courses in their syllabi.

Wellness Courses

  • focus on developing a healthy lifestyle, rather than on simply providing information about the human body.
  • deal with such topics as diet and nutrition, physical development, substance abuse, human sexuality, relaxation, or physical, mental and emotional fitness.

Learning Outcomes: 

Faculty teaching Wellness courses must include the following learning outcomes in their syllabi. Students in Wellness courses will demonstrate:

  1. knowledge of such topics as diet and nutrition, physical development, substance abuse, human sexuality, stress and stress reduction techniques, relaxation methods, or the characteristics that define physical, mental or emotional fitness/wellness.

Physical Activity Courses

  • devote at least 50% of their time to the performance of physical exercise.
  • are designed to develop one or more of the following attributes: neuromuscular skill, muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility.

Learning Outcomes: 

Faculty teaching Physical Activity courses must include the following learning outcomes in their syllabi. Students in Physical Activity courses will demonstrate: 

  1. one or more of the following attributes: neuromuscular coordination, muscular strength and muscular endurance, cardio-respiratory endurance, or flexibility.

General Education at Binghamton University is assessed according to the legislation of the Faculty Senate. For the most recent revision approved by the Faculty Senate, please see the Policy on the assessment of General Education and procedures for assessment of General Education.