Skip to main content

Success of CMU's baccalaureate programs requires participation in the Essential Learning curriculum, which at many institutions is identified as General Education. This change in CMU's description of its lower division curriculum to Essential Learning represents a faculty and staff belief that these lower division courses, in which students begin to develop skills in written and oral communication, quantitative literacy, and critical thinking, form an important foundation for all majors.

Learn. . . Express. . . Do. . . : CMU's Integrated Curriculum Model for a Baccalaureate Degree

The expectation of CMU is that students will emerge with a well-developed capacity for analytical thought and a heightened awareness of their world. In the university environment, students are expected to embrace great ideas and expressions of creative energy that define the human condition. CMU baccalaureate students explore learning in a variety of fields of knowledge while also focusing their attention on a particular area of interest. This combination produces graduates with an adaptable skill set for both their personal and professional lives.

Upon graduation, a CMU baccalaureate student will be able to:

  • construct a summative project, paper or practiced-based performance that draws on current research, scholarship and/or techniques, and specialized knowledge in the discipline (applied learning--specialized knowledge).
  • analyze data critically, reason logically, and apply quantitative analysis methods correctly to develop appropriate conclusions (intellectual skills--quantitative fluency).
  • make and defend assertions about a specialized topic in an extended well-organized document and an oral presentation that is appropriate to the discipline (intellectual skills--communication fluency).
  • describe reasoned conclusions that articulate the implications and consequences for a particular decision by synthesizing information and methodologies (intellectual skills-critical thinking).

Essential Learning Program Requirements

The Essential Learning curriculum provides students with a foundation in the arts and sciences-derived from a range of courses in mathematics, natural sciences, fine arts, humanities, and social sciences--that complements and enhances their academic emphases. The exposure to multiple fields of study promotes intellectual respect for diverse people, ideas and cultures. This path of study develops skills critical to academic, personal, and professional success while cultivating a passion for life-long learning. Essential Learning courses provide important tools that enable students to fully realize their potential at the baccalaureate level.

Essential Learning Core

31 semester credit hours

See the CMU Catalog for the list of course choices in each category:

6 semester credit hours

3 semester credit hours

3 semester credit hours

3 semester credit hours

Social and Behavioral Sciences:
6 semester credit hours

Fine Arts:
3 semester credit hours

Natural Sciences:
7 semester credit hours

Essential Learning Capstone

4 semester credit hours

Students are required to complete between 45 and 75 credit hours of coursework before enrolling in the four credit hours associated with the co-requisite Milestone and Speech courses:

ESSL 290     Maverick Milestone:
3 semester credit hours

ESSL 200     Essential Speech:
1 semester credit hour

Applicability of the Essential Learning Program Requirements

The Essential Learning Capstone requirement applies to all baccalaureate-seeking students who enroll for the first time in Summer/Fall 2015 or later.  Students who enrolled or declared a major at the baccalaureate level prior to Summer/Fall 2015 may choose between the former General Education requirements and the new Essential Learning program, but must be continuously enrolled as defined in the CMU Catalog.

Further details are available from a faculty advisor, the CMU Catalog, and/or the program sheet for each major.