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Eckerd College
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711

toll-free: (800) 456-9009

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General Education

General Education

General Education Curriculum

The general education curriculum at Eckerd College begins with a student's first course, usually an Autumn Term project or Life, Learning, and Vocation; in addition to a focus on a particular subject, these initial courses introduce you to the expectations of college-level academic work and to the educational support services available to them at the College. The two-semester, interdisciplinary freshman sequence, Human Experience, focuses on influential texts from western and non-western traditions and is designed in part to enhance students' cultural literacy. The emphasis is on enduring classics and widely influential materials that have contributed to their respective cultures. Because Eckerd College has a strong commitment to the liberal arts and sciences curriculum as the source of the College's learning community, every full-time member of the faculty teaches the course on a rotating basis, not only to provide students with a model of the educated mind at work, but also as a way of renewing his or her own liberal education. Thus, students observe Eckerd faculty modeling the kind of rigorous, open-minded, liberally educated approach to learning that we intend students to develop for themselves.

Our general education curriculum is also designed to expand your academic breadth through engagement with the arts, humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and foreign languages. Our Environmental and Global Perspectives requirements ask you to address two of the pressing issues that face our world: environmental problems and the interactions among different cultures and beliefs in our increasingly global society.

The required senior general education course, Quest for Meaning (QFM), is an interdisciplinary capstone to the general education curriculum. The structure of this course echoes the structure of the general education curriculum in order to help you answer for yourself the question of how one creates a meaningful life. In QFM, students explore issues of meaning, purpose, and value through the perspectives of different academic disciplines and various religious and ethical traditions. This course will ask you to consider your civic obligation to address issues having to do with the environment and with the conflicts among differing cultural, ethnic, and religious perspectives. As part of this course, you will also complete a service learning component, which will take you out into the local community and encourage you to consider the ways in which service to others contributes to an individual's creation of a meaningful life.

Finally, our general education program asks you to focus on improving your skills in writing, oral communication, quantitative reasoning, and information literacy. In addition, through the College Program Series you will be able to participate in a variety of intellectual and cultural events. And finally, reflective service learning will open up new ways of seeing and understanding our local, national and global community. The general education curriculum is thus central to the College's intellectual life and involves all students and all faculty in the on-going conversations about ideas and values that lie at the heart of a liberal arts and sciences education.

What is Autumn Term?