May 21, 2024  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Education: The Human Community

Dr. Margaret M. Mulrooney, Associate Vice Provost for University Programs

Mission Statement

In the liberal arts tradition, General Education: The Human Community aspires to create informed global citizens of the 21st century. We challenge our community of students and faculty 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 clusters, 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.


The Human Community credit hour requirements are:

Cluster Credit Hours  
Cluster One: Skills for the 21st Century   9 Credit Hours
Cluster Two: Arts and Humanities   9 Credit Hours
Cluster Three: The Natural World   10 Credit Hours
Cluster Four: Social and Cultural Processes   7 Credit Hours
Cluster Five: Individuals in the Human Community   6 Credit Hours

  Total: 41 Credit Hours

General Education Courses

General Education Cluster Areas Search Code
Cluster One: Critical Thinking C1CT
Cluster One: Human Communication C1HC
Cluster One: Writing C1W
Cluster Two: Human Questions and Contexts C2HQC
Cluster Two: Visual and Performing Arts C2VPA
Cluster Two: Literature C2L
Cluster Three: Quantitative Reasoning C3QR
Cluster Three: Physical Principles C3PP
Cluster Three: Natural Systems C3NS
Cluster Four: The American Experience C4AE
Cluster Four: The Global Experience C4GE
Cluster Five: Wellness C5W
Cluster Five: Sociocultural Dimension C5SD


Cluster Two: Arts and Humanities Courses

Cluster Three: The Natural World Courses

Lab Experience

This area emphasizes the observational and experimental nature of science. Through hands-on experiential learning, students will make observations and use them to test predicitons and hypotheses.

  • Physical Principles course with a lab
  • Natural Systems course with a lab