May 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Education: The Human Community

Margaret M. Mulrooney, Senior Associate Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Equity

Mission Statement

In the liberal arts tradition, General Education: The Human Community aspires to create informed global citizens of the 21st century.

James Madison University’s General Education program is committed to creating an equitable and inclusive academic environment for all persons. We affirm that equity advances understanding and is integral to a liberal arts education. We acknowledge the history of exclusion and inequity nationally and at James Madison University. We embrace the process of making JMU’s General Education program accessible, affirming, and action-oriented.

By placing inclusion and equity at the center of our mission, we seek to implement strategies and diversity policies that reimagine the relevance of a liberal arts education. We challenge our community of students, faculty, and staff to engage in personal and collective reflection, development, and action.


General Education: The Human Community is the core academic program of James Madison University in which students come to understand how distinct disciplines look at the world from different vantage points. Courses in The Human Community are organized into five areas, each emphasizing unique tools, rationales and methodologies. Taken together, courses in a student’s chosen major and The Human Community complement and complete each other. Both are integral and essential components of a student’s full and proper education.


Students understand the historical and contemporary distinctions and interconnections among people, institutions, and communities that create, preserve and transmit culture and knowledge in the arts, sciences, mathematics, social sciences and humanities.

Students become skilled in questioning, investigating, analyzing, evaluating and communicating.

Students participate in a variety of aesthetic and civic experiences reflecting human concerns and values that transcend the limits of specialization.

Organization and Learning Outcomes

The Human Community is a coherent, learning outcomes-based academic program. These outcomes are met by completing 14 requirements organized in five areas.

Area Credit Hours

Madison Foundations  (formerly Cluster One: Skills for the 21st Century) 9 Credit Hours
Arts and Humanities  (formerly Cluster Two: Arts and Humanities) 9 Credit Hours
The Natural World  (formerly Cluster Three: The Natural World) 10 Credit Hours
American and Global Perspectives  (formerly Cluster Four: Social and Cultural Processes) 7 Credit Hours
Sociocultural and Wellness Area  (formerly Cluster Five: Individuals in the Human Community) 6 Credit Hours

Total: 41 Credit Hours