About General Education.

General Education: Distributive Studies

Distributive Studies courses expose students to a variety of disciplines even as they concentrate on a chosen field of study. The goal is a wide-angle view of the fields of learning, both established and emerging, that are pursued at a major university; however, this sampling must be more than cursory. Distributive Studies courses offer insights into the methods of the different disciplines, the kinds of questions disciplines ask, and their standards for judging the answers. Courses lead students to new perspectives and also challenge students to apply their new understandings.

The following four areas comprise the Distributive Studies requirement for all University of Maryland students. Refer to the Summary Chart for a breakdown of the requirements.

Natural Sciences introduces the concepts and methods of the disciplines that study the natural world. Natural Sciences include courses in the traditional physical and life sciences, environmental science, animal and avian science, and plant science, among others. They also include a requirement for a substantial, rigorous laboratory experience.

History and Social Science courses introduce students to history and to the social science disciplines, with their combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. They includes courses in criminology, economics, history, psychology, sociology, and other social sciences.

Humanities courses are in the foundational humanities disciplines that study the history and the genres of human creativity. They includes courses in literatures in any language, art and art history, classics, and music and music history, as well as in the disciplines of linguistics and philosophy, among others.

Scholarship in Practice speaks to the process whereby abstract knowledge is transferred into some tangible form. Through courses in this area, students learn by applying a body of knowledge to create professional products or works of art. More information for students and faculty --»

The Distributive Studies requirement:

  • Students must complete two courses in each area for a total of eight courses in Distributive Studies. One of the courses in the Natural Sciences must include a laboratory experience.

  • Two of the eight courses must be I-Series courses. AP credit may not be used to satisfy the I-Series requirement.

  • AP credit for Distributive Studies is limited to six of the eight courses. At least two of the courses (the I-Series courses) must be taken at the University of Maryland, College Park.

  • Coursework within one's major is permitted to satisfy both the major and general education requirements.

  • Distributive Studies courses do not necessarily have to be at the 100 or 200 levels, but ideally they should be courses with few or no prerequisites outside Distributive Studies to satisfy general education requirements.

  • A Diversity requirement may be fulfilled by a course that is approved for both a Diversity category and for a Distributive Studies category.

  • Distributive Studies courses that include an internship or research or service-learning project may be used to meet any Distributive Studies requirement.