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General Education Program

Start Here, Go Anywhere! To help students understand and navigate MC’s Gen Ed course requirements, in this video, a student host presents a clear description of Foundation and Distribution course options and guidelines.

Whether the goal is to finish a two-year career program or transfernew window to another school, there are certain abilities that all students need to be successful.

To ensure all students gain a broad foundation of knowledge, MC and most two- and four- year schools have made the General Education Program a component of every degree program.

At MC, students are required to take a central group of courses in English, mathematics, arts, behavioral and social sciences, humanities, and science, and have the option to take additional courses in health and communications.

The skills learned in these courses provide the basis for excellence and success in all courses and allow students to explore how learning is integrated across their entire degree programs. 

Program Goals
Through engagement in high impact educational practices and completion of the General Education program, students will demonstrate ability in five areas of competency:
  • Written and oral communication
  • Scientific and quantitative reasoning
  • Critical analysis and reasoning
  • Technological competency
  • Information literacy

As proficiencies, students will also develop:

  • An awareness of the arts
  • An understanding of their personal, social, and civic responsibilities as members of a global communities

Upon completion of the General Education program, a student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an awareness of discipline specific inquiry and methodology to acquire foundation knowledge in content areas.
  • Apply integrative thinking across disciplines in order to solve complex problems through collaboration and the synthesis of knowledge.
  • Apply the principles and methodologies of a variety of disciplines to consider the ideas, history, values, and/or creative expression of various cultures within the global community.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the skills needed to become self-confident, independent, lifelong learners, in order to meet the mental, physical, and ethical demands of personal and professional life.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of leadership skills that foster an active commitment to civic and social responsibility.
Foundation and Distribution Courses and Global Cultural Perspectives Requirement

These requirements create a network of skills and abilities that successful students will draw on throughout their college experience and their careers after MC.

English Foundation (ENGF)new window: The English foundation requirement prepares students with a foundation of personal and academic writing.

English Foundation Outcomes:

Students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate understanding of writing as a series of tasks, including finding, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing appropriate sources, and as a process that involves composing, editing, and revising;
  2. demonstrate critical reading and analytical skills, including understanding an argument's major assertions and assumptions and how to evaluate its supporting evidence;
  3. demonstrate facility with the fundamentals of persuasion as these are adapted to a variety of special situations and audiences in academic writing;
  4. demonstrate research skills, integrate their own ideas with those of others, and apply the conventions of attribution and citation correctly; and
  5. use Standard Written English and edit and revise their own writing for appropriateness.

Mathematics Foundation (MATF)new window:  The mathematics foundation requirement prepares students with a foundation in mathematical concepts and skills upon which they may build in order to be successful in their chosen major, as well as to be prepared to live and work in an increasingly technological and quantitative world.

Mathematics Outcomes:

Students should be able to:

  1. interpret mathematical models given verbally, or by formulas, graphs, tables, or schematics, and draw inferences from them;
  2. represent mathematical concepts verbally, and, where appropriate, symbolically, visually, and numerically;
  3. use arithmetic, algebraic, geometric, or statistical methods to solve problems;
  4. use mathematical reasoning with appropriate technology to solve problems, test conjectures, judge the validity of arguments, formulate valid arguments, and communicate the reasoning and the results;
  5. use mathematical methods, including estimation and dimensional analysis, to check answers for reasonableness, and
  6. recognize and use connections within mathematics and between mathematics and other disciplines. 

Arts (ARTD)new window and Humanities (HUMD)new window: The arts and humanities are at the very core of a curriculum grounded in the liberal arts. The study of arts and humanities challenge students to think critically, to behave ethically, and to communicate effectively in a diverse world as they consider the various disciplines and methods through which people express themselves and relate to one another.

Arts and Humanities Outcomes:

Students should be able to:

  1. communicate effectively using the language of the arts and humanities;
  2. develop skills and awareness that enable them to study and research independently and produce an intellectual product of that process that is original;
  3. understand and apply ethical principles;
  4. develop skills, including but not limited to world language skills, and awareness that enable one to value cultural diversity;
  5. understand the problems of the past in order to be able to apply the historical lessons to the present and the future;
  6. develop skills and awareness to value and engage in creative activities.

Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSSD)new window: Behavioral and social sciences courses examine the ways in which individuals, groups, institutions, and societies behave, function, and influence one another. They introduce students to the variety of methods to collect, analyze, interpret, and apply qualitative and quantitative data as related to social phenomenon and individual behavior.

Behavioral and Social Sciences Outcomes:

Students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge of findings and theories in the social and behavioral sciences;
  2. demonstrate understanding of concepts, theories, research methods, and ethical decision making used in the social and behavioral sciences;
  3. demonstrate critical thinking about arguments in the social and behavioral sciences and evaluate an argument's major assertions, its background assumptions, the evidence used to support its assertions, and its explanatory utility;
  4. understand and articulate how culture, society, diversity, and globalization shape the role of the individual within society and human relations across cultures;
  5. explain how social science can be employed to (a) analyze social change, (b) analyze social problems, and (c) analyze and develop social, economic, and political policies; and
  6. apply technologies to conduct research on, and communicate about, social and behavioral sciences and to access, evaluate, and manage information to prepare and present their work effectively.

Natural Sciences (NSLD with Lab)new window (NSND Non-Lab)new window: Natural sciences courses examine living systems and the physical universe. They introduce students to the variety of methods used to collect, interpret, and apply scientific data, and to an understanding of the relationship between scientific theory and application.

Natural Sciences Outcomes:

Students should be able to:

  1. explain the basic principles and theories of one or more of the natural sciences;
  2. explain how natural scientists in a particular discipline conduct research;
  3. explain the fundamentals of experimental design;
  4. make observations, generate and analyze data using the appropriate quantitative tools, and draw a valid conclusion from the data;
  5. explain the conclusions of an experiment, consistent with the principles illustrated; and
  6. communicate the findings of science using appropriate oral and written means.

Global and Cultural Perspectives Designation
Students in associate of arts and associate of science programs will include one class designated as a “Global and Cultural Perspectives” course from within the General Education distribution areas. The course will have a primary focus or will provide in-depth study that leads students to an appreciation of the differences as well as commonalities among people by studying the ideas, history, values, and/or creative expressions of diverse groups from the perspectives of the groups under study. This additional designation was formerly called the "Multicultural Requirement." Students may choose any course from the course list designated with a [GCP] designation to fulfill this requirement.

Competencies and Proficiencies

General Education competencies and proficiencies are outcomes that are pervasive components of all courses and experiences. These competencies equip a student with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes for a full and productive life. They are not limited to instruction in one course or discipline; these competencies can be taught in all college courses and are suggested by Maryland Higher Education Commission for General Education programs.

General Education Competencies

  1. Written and oral communication includes the ability to communicate effectively in verbal and written language, the ability to use a variety of modern information resources and supporting technologies, the ability to differentiate content from style of presentation, and the ability to suit content and style to the purpose of the communication.
  2. Scientific and quantitative reasoning includes the ability to locate, identify, collect, organize, analyze, and interpret data and the ability to use mathematics and the scientific method of inquiry to make decisions, when appropriate.
  3. Critical analysis and reasoning include the application of higher order analytic and creative cognitive processes to arrive at reasoned and supportable conclusions, to synthesize and apply knowledge within and across courses and disciplines, and to develop creative solutions.
  4. Technological competency includes the ability to use computer technology and appropriate software applications to produce documentation, quantitative data presentations, and functional graphical presentations appropriate to various academic and professional settings.
  5. Information literacy includes the ability to identify, locate, and effectively use information from various print and electronic sources.

General Education Areas of Proficiency

  1. Arts and aesthetic awareness: Students will develop skills and acquire experiences that enable them to value, reflect upon, and appreciate the arts and role of the arts in the human experience.
  2. Personal, social, and civic responsibilities: Students will develop the skills and awareness necessary to live as responsible, ethical, and contributing citizens of the community, state, nation, and world.
General Education Program Requirements and Course Lists

You may follow the General Education program requirements for the year you first enrolled at MC OR choose the current academic year. Individual courses to meet those requirements that have not yet been completed should be chosen from the CURRENT year’s course list.

Program Requirements and Course Lists:

General Education Course Substitution Appeals

Following is information on how to request the use of a different course to fulfill a General Education requirement. Montgomery College is authorized to make decisions about the substitution of course credit to satisfy General Education requirements in an associate’s degree awarded by the College. In its decision, Montgomery College is bound by Code of Maryland Academic Regulations (COMAR) and by General Education course substitution criteria and procedures approved by College faculty. Appeals should be submitted no later than November 15 for the fall semester and April 15 for the spring semester. For assistance, email

Before submitting an appeal, read the instructions below in order to have the proper documentation for the appeal.

General Education Course Substitution Appeal Form
Instructions for Completing the General Education Course Substitution Appeal Form
  1. Meet with a program advisornew window and/or counselornew window
  2. Determine the catalog year being followed in the program. You may follow the General Education program requirements for the year you first enrolled at MC or choose the current academic year.
  3. Gather the required documentation from Montgomery College:
  4. Gather the required documentation if the course was taken at another institution:
    • Unofficial transcript
    • Course syllabus or course description
  5. Include a personal statement answering the following questions: Why is the course substitution needed? Why did you take the course and how did you determine you needed to complete a course substitution appeal?

Once you have submitted the appeal, you will receive email confirmation from the General Education committee that your packet is complete. The committee will submit a recommendation to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, who will contact you with the final decision. You will receive a final decision within fifteen business days. For assistance, email

General Education Course Substitution Appeal Criteria

Proposed General Education course substitutions must meet one of the following criteria:

  • The course was not on the General Education list at the time the student completed the course, or
  • The course has been added to the General Education list since the time the student completed the course. Additionally, the chair of the academic department must provide the student with a statement certifying that the course as taught at the time the student completed it was substantially the same then and now, or
  • The course has a General Education prerequisite from within the same academic discipline.

If a course substitution does not meet one of the above criteria, the appeal may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The student must receive a letter of support from the department chair of the academic department clarifying the course fulfills the learning outcomes of the foundation or distribution area and a letter of support from the program chair clarifying the course appropriately fits within the student’s major for any reason of appeal.

Students, Counselors, and Program Advisors Should Be Aware of the Following
  • Students are responsible for being informed of official policies, meeting all requirements relevant to degree completion, and selecting correct courses.
  • General Education requirements may change from catalog year to catalog year. To determine graduation requirements, the General Education committee bases a decision in part on the catalog year chosen by the student.
  • Appeals must include an accurate and complete transcript of all courses taken and grades earned. An unofficial transcript is acceptable.
  • All appeals must include a personal statement from the student explaining the circumstances surrounding the request.
  • The student personal statement and comments from the program chair are essential in helping the committee understand course content or the suitability of a substitution.
  • If the General Education course substitution appeal is denied, the decision is final and there is no further appeal process.
  • If the General Education course substitution appeal is approved, the graduation coordinator will provide the student with a revised graduation degree audit evaluation.
  • A separate DSS Course Substitution Request Form (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window) is required for disability-related General Education course substitutions for the math foundation. Students must first meet with a disability support services counselornew window to obtain eligibility criteria and the appropriate form. Email for questions or clarification.
  • The Academic Appeals new windowCommittee provides decisions regarding certain College academic regulations and those appeals are separate from General Education appeals. Misdirected appeals will be returned to the student.

Find resources and answers to frequently asked questions about the General Education program.

Gen Ed courses are a component of every associate and bachelor’s degree. The Gen Ed curriculum is mandated by the state of Maryland.

General Education courses are required for all MC degrees and General Studies is a degree program that has specific areas of concentration.

The General Education course list is available on the General Education program page. The foundation areas include English (ENGF) and Mathematics (MATF). The distribution areas include Arts (ARTD), Humanities (HUMD), Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSSD), Natural Sciences (NSLD/NSND), the General Education Institutional Requirement (GEIR), and the General Education Elective (GEEL).

The academic catalog page also lists the Gen Ed courses, as well as the required number of Gen Ed credits per degree. Click on ‘General Education Program’ on the right navigation pane. 

With a degree from MC, all General Education courses can transfer as a bundle. Check with your transfer institution, an MC counselor, or a program advisor about the transferability of an individual class to a specific institution outside of Maryland. For more information, check out the transfer page.

Typically, a degree includes about 30 General Education credits. Check with an MC counselor, a program advisor, your major’s advising worksheet to determine the number of General Education credits required to graduate.

General Education courses marked with GCP status have a primary focus or provide in-depth study that leads students to an appreciation of the differences, as well as commonalities, among people by studying the ideas, history, values, and/or creative expressions of diverse groups. These courses are required by the state of Maryland and also by MC’s regional accreditor, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.