This requirement is designed to assure that each student attains a minimum level of competency in foreign language, quantitative reasoning & mathematical skills, and written communication. Students may not use a course to fulfill any area of the Skills requirement and also use this course to fulfill part of the Distribution or Diversity requirements. This restriction applies to first- and second-semester foreign language courses taken as prerequisites to a third-semester language course that is satisfying the Foreign Language area of this requirement.

1. Foreign Language (third-level proficiency)

All students are required to demonstrate, while in high school, third-level proficiency in a single modern or classical foreign language. Students who have not met this requirement at the time of matriculation will have a MAPS deficiency. They may make up the deficiency only by passing an appropriate third-semester college course that is part of a three-course sequence of at least 12 semester credit hours or by passing a CU Boulder approved proficiency examination.

The goal of the language requirement is to encourage students to examine the formal and semantic structure of another language, significant and difficult works in that language, and one or more aspects of the culture lived in that language. This examination enables students to understand their own language and culture better, analyze texts more clearly and effectively, and appreciate more vividly the dangers and limitations of using a translated document. The language requirement concentrates on reading, although in some languages other abilities may be emphasized as well. Understanding what it means to read a significant text in its original language is essential for a liberal education according to the standards of this university.

Students who are subject to the General Education requirements but not subject to MAPS must complete the Foreign Language Gen Ed Skills requirement to meet degree requirements.

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2. Quantitative Reasoning and Mathematical Skills (QRMS) (3 – 6 credit hours)

This requirement has two principal objectives. The first is to provide students with the analytical tools used in core curriculum courses and in their major areas of study. The second is to help students acquire the reasoning skills necessary to assess adequately the data that will confront them in their daily lives. Students completing this requirement should be able to construct a logical argument based on the rules of inference; analyze, present, and interpret numerical data; estimate orders of magnitude as well as obtain exact results when appropriate; and apply mathematical methods to solve problems in their university work and in their daily lives.

To fulfill the QRMS Gen Ed Skills requirement, students must do one of the following:

  • pass one of the approved QRMS courses or sequences of courses
  • pass any 3 credits of mathematics courses numbered MATH 1300 or higher or applied mathematics courses numbered APPM 1350 or higher
  • pass the CU-Boulder QRMS proficiency exam

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3. Written Communication (3 lower-division and 3 upper-division credit hours)

Writing is a fundamental skill. In fulfilling this requirement, students hone their communication skills by writing for various purposes (informing, instructing, persuading) and audiences (academic, civic, professional). They learn to design their message ethically and effectively using appropriate evidence and technologies.

Lower-division Written Communication courses focus on the central rhetorical elements of purpose, audience, and context to help students craft effective writing in a variety of situations. They emphasize the relationships among these elements, including a writer’s choices of content, structure, style and use of language conventions. In addition, courses in this area develop students’ analytical reading skills and introduce them to principles and practices of information literacy.

In upper-division Written Communication courses, students apply the rhetorical elements of purpose, audience, and context to investigate and practice writing using disciplinary language, forms, and genres. These courses emphasize the application of students' disciplinary knowledge to a variety of writing situations, adjusting content, format, style and language conventions to accomplish specific purposes and communicate with specific audiences.

To fulfill the lower-division part of the Written Communication Gen Ed Skills requirement, students must pass or receive placement credit (as determined, for example, by scores on AP or IB exams) for a 3-credit course approved as Skills-Lower-Division Written Communication, or earn an International Baccalaureate diploma. To fulfill the upper-division part of this requirement, students must pass a 3-credit course approved as Skills-Upper-Division Written Communication, or pass a Written Communication proficiency exam.

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