MSUB General Information

The MSU Billings General Education Program

The baccalaureate degree includes three distinct and required areas of study: general education, concentration (major), and electives. General Education provides for breadth of study across many areas of knowledge. All students are required to complete the General Education program as an essential component of the baccalaureate degree. An area of concentration provides for depth of study within a chosen discipline (major). Students choose their major, but the specialized, in-depth courses they take are determined by the department which is responsible for the major. Electives guarantee that students have the opportunity to study areas of personal interest in their own academic pursuits. Students are allowed to choose courses (electives) from any discipline that interests them.

The Purpose of General Education


The objectives of General Education are to help students develop and demonstrate an understanding of humanity and what it means to be members of the global community. Students completing General Education will reflect upon the evolution of culture, and learn to identify and value responsible roles for the human being in the physical, social, and intellectual worlds.



General Education is structured to fulfill the objectives by addressing essential components of human development: (1) Skills Development and Application, (2) Cultural Development, and (3) Intellectual Growth and Development. Specific courses applicable to General Education are arranged in categories and selected to ensure that students completing General Education are intellectually engaged in each of these areas of human development.

  1. Skills Development and Application ensures that students will develop effective writing, mathematical, reading and oral communication skills.
  2. Cultural Development ensures that students will develop an understanding of the evolution of human culture and social organizations, and an appreciation of cultural diversity.
  3. Intellectual Growth and Development ensures that students will pursue knowledge, integrate knowledge among disciplines, apply knowledge to the identification and solving of problems, understand the importance of personal and societal ethics, and reflect on and appreciate the diversity of human endeavors. 

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Students will complete 31 credits of General Education with either traditional courses, discipline-specific courses, or integrated courses.


Required Category Credits

  1. Global Academic Skills (9 credits)
    1. Mathematics (3 credits)
    2. English (3 credits)
    3. Communication & Information Literacy (3 credits)
  2. Natural Sciences (7 credits)
    1. Life Sciences (3-4 credits)  
    2. Physical Sciences (3-4 credits)
  3. Social Sciences and History (6 credits)
    1. Social Sciences (3 credits)
    2. History (3 credits)
  4. Cultural Diversity (3 credits)
  5. Arts and Humanities (6 credits)
    1. Fine Arts (3 credits)
    2. Humanities (3 credits)

Total Required Credits: 31 


Category Descriptions


Global Academic Skills

The ability to read, write, calculate, and assess sources of information are fundamental and necessary human skills. These skills are prerequisite to effective communication of ideas and the creative solving of qualitative and quantitative problems. These skills are important for their own sake but mastery of them is also required for a university graduate to be considered an educated person.

  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively in written form by writing papers which effectively develop and support theses, tell stories, describe events, or express personal insights or values,
  • Read and evaluate research materials and incorporate them into informative, argumentative, or analytical writing and oral presentation,
  • Read and evaluate problems and quantitatively solve those problems using mathematical reasoning,
  • Demonstrate how mathematical modeling or statistical designs are used to obtain knowledge.

The Natural Sciences

The diversity of species in the biosphere, including humans, interact with their environment, changing it and being changed in the process. Science is a creative human endeavor devoted to discovering the principles that rule the physical universe. The natural world is law-driven and science is limited to investigating by asking and answering questions, processes that can be observed and measured to help us understand the laws of nature and the physical universe.

  • Understand the experimental basis of science and how scientists accumulate new knowledge,
  • Appreciate the goals and limitations of science,
  • Develop an understanding of important scientific facts and how those facts help us understand our observations and the laws that govern the natural world,
  • Appreciate the role of science in the development of modern technological civilization.

Social Sciences and History

Humans are social beings. Through their various relationships they create social life and are, in turn, influenced and transformed by the social life they create and maintain. Social sciences represent those disciplines that apply scientific methods to study the intricate and complex network of human relationships and the forms of organization designed to enable people

to live together in societies. History is the record of human activity. History presents us with an overview of this activity with the intent that past accomplishments and failures will serve to inform present issues.

  • Understand the evolution of social institutions and the development and maintenance of individual and social behaviors,
  • Develop perspectives about the nature of psychological and social processes and the structure of society,
  • Identify and comprehend theories of human behavior and of the participation of individuals in psychological and social processes,
  • Practice the basic methodologies involved in the social sciences,
  • Develop a view of current social conditions and events within a chronological and historical context,
  • Understand social, cultural, political and economic changes over time,
  • Comprehend the international ramifications of domestic policies and how these may affect and be experienced by people in other cultures.

Cultural Diversity

Cultural diversity presents us with an awareness and understanding of the variety of human experience, especially as manifested among cultures, both present and past.

  • Understand social, cultural, political and economic changes over time,
  • Comprehend the international ramifications of domestic policies and how these may affect and be experienced by people in other cultures,
  • Appreciate and be sensitized to world cultures.

Arts and Humanities

Through the arts and humanities, students will explore and experience the sensory and perceptual capacities and potentialities that are shared by people and that define us as humans. The expressive arts include visual, performing, and language-based activities in celebration of multiple perspectives. The humanities address qualitative relationships wherein judgments are made but change with time and circumstances.

  • Develop an appreciation of the varied cultural artifacts of humans throughout history,
  • Foster an understanding of the variety of human expressive experiences in relation to ourselves, other cultures and the physical environment,
  • Utilize the basic methodologies and practices endemic to the various disciplines,
  • Explore human characteristics especially considered desirable through expressive communicative systems about how to live fully. 

General Education Assessment Objectives


  1. Global Academic Skills
    1. Mathematics
      1. Demonstrate ability to solve problems quantitatively.
      2. Solve problems with various mathematical methods of the discipline.
      3. Communicate using mathematical terminology.
    2. English
      1. Demonstrate knowledge of and competence in the use of conventional written forms: mechanics, spelling, punctuation, syntax, grammar, etc.
      2. Demonstrate ability to apply knowledge of writing strategies.
      3. Demonstrate the ability to undertake and accomplish original work in written form.
    3. Communication & Information Literacy
      1. Engage in hands-on research as a process of gathering, assessing, interpreting, and using data from multiple sources to express ideas.
      2. Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose in oral or written form.
      3. Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally.
  2. Natural Sciences
    1. Life Science
      1. Demonstrate an understanding of knowledge related to the life sciences.
      2. Demonstrate the ability to synthesize knowledge from different subject areas concerning the life sciences.
      3. Demonstrate the ability to use logical or quantitative approaches to solve problems related to the life sciences.
    2. Physical Science
      1. Demonstrate an understanding of knowledge related to the physical sciences.
      2. Demonstrate the ability to synthesize knowledge from different subject areas concerning the physical sciences.
      3. Demonstrate the ability to use logical or quantitative approaches to solve problems related to the physical sciences.
  3. Social Sciences and History
    1. Social Sciences
      1. Analyze human behavior, ideas, and social institutions for historical and cultural meaning and significance.
      2. Gather information, analyze data, and draw conclusions from multiple hypotheses to understand human behavior.
      3. Synthesize ideas and information with regard to historical causes, the course of events, and their consequences, separated by time and place.
    2. History
      1. Demonstrate an ability to use analysis of a variety of types of sources to construct historical knowledge.
      2. Demonstrate an ability to organize a variety of historical sources and express them effectively in written form.
      3. Demonstrate basic understanding of the historical context of events.
  4. Cultural Diversity
    1. Demonstrate an ability to identify and solve problems relating to cultural diversity within the discipline.
    2. Demonstrate the ability to communicate and analyze effectively concerning cultural diversity within the discipline
    3. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the importance of awareness of cultural diversity within the various disciplines.
  5. Arts and Humanities
    1. Fine Arts
      1. Demonstrate cultural awareness through fine arts at the local, regional, national, and international levels.
      2. Demonstrate an awareness of the power of imagination and expression.
      3. Demonstrate an appreciation for the fine arts and what that appreciation can mean as a quality of life issue.
    2. Humanities
      1. Develop an awareness of the role that the humanities play in culture, i.e., politics, philosophy, economics, science, math, etc.
      2. Create an awareness of how to cross- relate/reference humanities-based information.
      3. Demonstrate an awareness of issues surrounding life, death, and morality. 

General Education Courses


I. Global Academic Skills (9 credits)
Regarding Global Academic Skills, students are required to take 1 course from Mathematics, 1 course from English, and 1 course from Communication & Information Literacy.


     A. Mathematics (3 credits)


M 105 Contemporary Mathematics (3 credits)

Surveys the foundations of mathematics with an emphasis on the unity of the subject.


M 114 Extended Technical Mathematics (3 credits)

Develops and/or enhances critical thinking skills as students analyze problems and utilize mathematical skills of applied algebra, geometry, and trigonometry to solve such problems.


M 121 College Algebra (3 credits)

College algebra introduces functions and surveys the basic algebraic functions.


M 122 College Trigonometry (3 credits)

Along with College Algebra, covers the trigonometry, series, and

sequences needed for the calculus series.


M 131 Mathematics for Elementary Teachers II (3 credits)

Provides an in-depth survey of the mathematics necessary to teach through eighth grade.


M 143 Finite Mathematics (4 credits)

Surveys a number of topics in discrete and continuous mathematics that are applicable in the life, management, and social sciences.


M 161 Survey of Calculus (3 credits)

A survey of basic calculus concepts and their applications.


M 171 Calculus I (4 credits)

Introduces and explores the mathematics of change.


STAT 141 Introduction to Statistical Concepts (3 credits)

Surveys the basic ideas statistics has to offer.


STAT 216 Introduction to Statistics (4 credits)

Provides an introduction to the basic practice of statistics and data analysis.


     B. English (3 credits)


WRIT 101 College Writing I (3 credits)

Helps students acquire the basic writing skills expected in college-level academic writing.


WRIT 121 Introduction to Technical Writing (3 credits)

Develops and/or enhances writing skills for various real-life work situations that emphasize technical fields.


WRIT 122 Introduction to Business Writing (3 credits)

Develops and/or enhances writing skills for various real-life work situations in the business world.


WRIT 201 College Writing II (3 credits)

Introduces students to the expectations, conventions, and requirements of undergraduate academic research writing.


WRIT 220 Business & Professional Writing (3 credits)

Emphasizes accurate and precise writing for the business audience.


WRIT 221 Intermediate Technical Writing (3 credits)

Introduces students to the creation and evaluation of several kinds of written technical communication.


     C. Communication & Information Literacy (3 credits)


BMIS 150 Computer Literacy (3 credits)

Explores access to, retrieval of, and organization of information in a wide variety of environments and formats.


COMX 111 Introduction to Public Speaking (3 credits)

This a public speaking skills acquisition course with a two-part objective: (1) improving abilities to access, retrieve, and evaluate information (2) in order that the information might be used in effective public performance.


COMX 115 Introduction to Interpersonal Communication (3 credits)

This is a communication skills acquisition course with a two-fold objective: identifying theories and patterns of communication within specific social contexts and improving communication competence within those social contexts.


LSCI 125 Research in the Information Age (3 credits)

Introduces students to the organization, retrieval, and evaluation of both electronic and print sources; covers concepts of the research process, methods, and ethics of information research, the evolving nature of information resources, and appropriate information citation. 


II. Natural Sciences (7 credits)
Regarding Natural Sciences, students are required to take one course from Life Sciences and one course from Physical Sciences. At least one course must include a corresponding laboratory. Students can satisfy Natural Sciences by taking SCIN 101, 102, 103, and 104. 


     A. Life Sciences (3-7 credits)


BIOB 101 Discover Biology (3 credits)

Provides students with academic foundation in major concepts of biology from a historical perspective and as they relate to contemporary issues in the world today.


BIOB 102 Discover Biology Laboratory (1 credit)

This course is designed to help non-majors understand basic biological concepts such as cellular biology, metabolism, genetics, and population ecology among others through hands- on laboratory exercises and demonstrations.


BIOB 160 Principles of Living Systems (3 credits)

Provides students with academic foundation in major concepts of biology from a historical perspective and as they relate to contemporary issues in the world today.


BIOB 161 Principles of Living Systems Laboratory (1 credit)

Provides students exposure to major concepts of biology through hands-on lab investigations and application of the scientific method. 


     B. Physical Sciences (3-4 credits)


ASTR 110 Introduction to Astronomy (3 credits)

Provides students with an understanding of the historical development of astronomy and an understanding of our place in the universe.


ASTR 111 Introduction to Astronomy Lab (1 credit)

Provides the students with empirical observations to corroborate astronomical theories developed in Introduction to Astronomy (ASTR 110).


CHMY 121 Introduction to General Chemistry (3 credits)

This course focuses on understanding fundamental chemical principles.


CHMY 122 Introduction to General Chemistry Laboratory (1 credit)

Provides students with the opportunity to empirically verify concepts learned in Introduction to General Chemistry (CHMY 121).


CHMY 141 College Chemistry I (3 credits)

Provides students with a foundation in qualitative and quantitative chemistry and relates chemistry to other academic disciplines and to everyday life.


CHMY 142 College Chemistry Laboratory I (1 credit)

Provides students with the opportunity to empirically verify concepts learned in College Chemistry I (CHMY 141).


GEO 101 Introduction to Physical Geology (3 credits)


GEO 102 Introduction to Physical Geology Laboratory (1 credit)


GPHY 111 Introduction to Physical Geography (3 credits)


GPHY 112 Introduction to Physical Geography Laboratory (1 credit)


PHSX 103 Our Physical World (3 credits)

This course develops a basic understanding of the principles of “everyday physics.”


PHSX 104 Our Physical World Laboratory (1 credit)

This course provides students with laboratory experience in physics.


PHSX 105 Fundamentals of Physical Science (3 credits)

Demonstrate physical science awareness and an appreciation of laboratory practice.


PHSX 106 Fundamentals of Physical Science Lab (1 credit)

Provides students with the opportunity to empirically verify concepts learned in PHSX 105.


PHSX 205 College Physics I (3 credits)

Provides students with a foundation in the physics of motion and an understanding of the consequences of forces and conservation laws.


PHSX 206 College Physics I Laboratory (1 credit)

Provides the students with empirical observations to corroborate physical theories developed in College Physics I (PHSX 205).


     A. and B. Integrated Sciences (7 credits)


SCIN 101 Integrated Sciences I (3 credits)

The first half of a two-semester integrated course in the sciences, where core principles of scientific knowledge are integrated across scientific disciplines, while also integrating applications of science into the lives of students whose very existence is impacted by science and its technological applications.


SCIN 102 Integrated Sciences Lab (1 credit)

A course that complements Integrated Sciences lecture (SCIN 101).


SCIN 103 Integrated Sciences II (3 credits)

The second half of a two-semester integrated course in the sciences.


SCIN 104 Integrated Sciences Lab II (1 credit)

A course that complements Integrated Sciences lecture (SCIN 103).


III. Social Sciences and History (6 credits)


     A. Social Sciences (3 credits)


ANTY 217 Physical Anthropology and Archeology 3

Surveys the structure, evolution, and history of humans as biological and cultural beings.


BGEN 105 Introduction to Business (3 credits)

Surveys aspects of business using concepts and tools for business decision making.


COMX 106 Communicating in a Dynamic Workplace (3 credits)

Aims to develop students’ perception and expression skills as used in a diverse workplace.


ECNS 201 Principles of Microeconomics (3 credits)

The analysis of individual decisions and their impact on social organizations and structures.


ECNS 202 Principles of Macroeconomics (3 credits)

The behavior of markets in the context of a national economy.


EDU 105 Education and Democracy (3 credits)

This course explores democracy as a form of government, and the critical relationship between democracy and education in the United States.


GPHY 141 Geography of World Regions (3 credits)

As an overview of the major continents and regions of the world, this course provides a broad survey of how globalization processes are influencing local identities, modes of life, and standards of living.


HTH 110 Personal Health and Wellness (3 credits)

Covers contemporary health issues and explores individual and community based solutions.


PSCI 210 Introduction to American Government (3 credits)

Covers the American political system relative to central government and institutions.


PSCI 220 Introduction to Comparative Government (3 credits)

Introduces the ideas behind the democratic and non-democratic forms of political life in the modern world.


PSYX 100 Introduction to Psychology (3 credits)

Introduces students to the foundations of human psychology including topics such as the biological basis of behavior, learning, memory, problem solving, motivation, developmental process, and social behavior.


PSYX 231 Human Relations (3 credits)

Applies psychological insights and principles to daily life and personal growth with an emphasis on Positive Psychology.


SOCI 101 Introduction to Sociology (3 credits)

The course examines the basic elements of the relationship between self and society, the patterns of human activity, and how these are maintained.


SOCI 201 Social Problems (3 credits)

Survey of contemporary social problems in the U.S.


     B. History (3 credits)


HSTA 101 American History I (3 credits)

Survey of United States history from the colonial era to the end of the Reconstruction.


HSTA 102 American History II (3 credits)

Survey of United States history from the end of Reconstruction to the present.


HSTR 101 Western Civilization I (3 credits)

Survey of world history from Antiquity to the Reformation.


HSTR 102 Western Civilization II (3 credits)

Survey of world history from the Italian Renaissance to the present.


HSTR 103 Honors Western Civilization I (3 credits)

Honors survey of western civilization from Antiquity to the Peace of Westphalia.


HSTR 104 Honors Western Civilization II (3 credits)

Honors survey of the history of western civilization from the Italian Renaissance to the present.


PSCI 230 Introduction to International Relations (3 credits)

Various dimensions of international politics.<


IV. Cultural Diversity (3 credits)


Regarding Cultural Diversity, students are required to take one course from the following:


A&SC/WGSS 274 Women, Culture and Society (3 credits)

Employs the sociological perspective to analyze the lives of girls and women in North America.


ANTY 220 Culture and Society (3 credits)

Surveys the basis and diversity of human behavior from a multicultural perspective.


ARTH 160 Global Visual Culture (3 credits)

Examines visual culture, which includes painting, sculpture, photography, the Internet, performance, cinema, advertising, and television, as our primary means of communication and of understanding our postmodern world.


COMX 212 Introduction to Intercultural Communication (3 credits)

Explores culture as both producer and product of communication, creating an appreciation of communication processes as essential factors in promoting positive intercultural relations.


GPHY 121 Human Geography (3 credits)

This course focuses on how the cultural values and practices of people from a variety of places have shaped the various regional landscapes.


HTH 270 Global Health Issues (3 credits)

Explores relationships between human behavior, economics, history, culture, politics, policy formation, and the environment, while investigating the impact of these elements on the quality of health within our global community.


LIT 230 World Literature Survey (3 credits)

Provides a comparative basis for understanding different cultures through their literary traditions.


MUSI 207 World Music (3 credits)

Introduces students to the uses and functions of music in various cultures.


NASX 105 Introduction to Native American Studies (3 credits)

Survey course covering the cultures, sociology, and history of American Indian peoples.


NASX 205 Native Americans in Contemporary Society (3 credits)

 Addresses the issues raised at the interface of Native American culture and the values with the majority culture of the United States.


PHL 271 Indian Philosophies and Religions (3 credits)

Course explores, compares, and contrasts philosophies and religions of India, starting from 3000 BCE and working up to the present; exploring such subjects as scripture, art, social justice, and politics; noting how India has influenced other nations and how other nations have influenced India; and examining our own beliefs and practices through the lens of Indian philosophies and religions.


PHL 272 Chinese Philosophies and Religions (3 credits)

Course explores, compares, and contrasts philosophies and religions of China (including Tibet) and Japan from ancient history through to the present, exploring such subjects as scripture, art, social justice, and politics, noting how China has influenced other nations, most notably Japan and modern America, and examining our own beliefs and practices through the lens of Chinese philosophies and religions.


REHA 201 Introduction to Diversity in Counseling (3 credits)

The course focuses on perspectives for interacting with diverse cultures, based on understanding of cultural characteristics and differences related to disability, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, geography, advanced aging, and social class.


RLST 170 The Religious Quest (3 credits)

Fosters careful and sensitive listening and thinking on diverse and other divisive religious issues.


SPNS 150 The Hispanic Tradition (3 credits)

This course introduces students to various Hispanic traditions and cultures throughout history.;


V. Arts and Humanities (6 credits)
Regarding Arts and Humanities, students are required to take one course from Fine Arts and one course from Humanities. 


     A. Fine Arts (3 credits)


ARTZ 101 Art Fundamentals (3 credits)

Encourages enhancement of two- and three-dimensional artistic skills for the general student.


ARTZ 105 Visual Language-Drawing (3 credits)

Introduces the beginning student to the basic fundamentals of drawing and linear perspective.


ARTZ 131 Ceramics for Non-Majors (3 credits)

Develops the ability to design three-dimensional clay forms using manual dexterity.


CRWR 240 Introductory Creative Writing Workshop (3 credits)

Provides students with the basic skills for self-expression.


FILM 160 Introduction to World Cinema (3 credits)

Examines films that speak in their own way to issues of arts appreciation, feminism, diversity, and the human condition.


LIT 270 Film & Literature (3 credits)

Provides students with thinking and writing skills focused on a visual art form.


MART 260 Computer Presentation and Animation (3 credits)

This course explores the arts through digital three-dimensional environments and animations.


MUSI 101 Enjoyment of Music (3 credits)

Designed to assist students in developing the ability to effectively perceive the aesthetic and structural qualities of music.


MUSI 114 Band: MSUB Symphonic (1 credit)


MUSI 131 Jazz Ensemble I: MSUB (1 credit)


MUSI 147 Choral Ensemble: University Chorus (1 credit)


PHOT 154 Exploring Digital Photography (3 credits)

Introduces technical and aesthetic ways of creating digital photographic images. Emphasis is on the production of photographic images, from acquiring them with digital cameras to manipulating them using computer software, such as Adobe Photoshop.


THTR 101 Introduction to Theatre (3 credits)

Introduces students to the complexities of performance theory and criticism.


THTR 120 Introduction to Acting I (3 credits)

Explores both collaborative and individual projects in the areas of comedy, tragedy, and social and political drama; students will find opportunities for personal expression, ensemble building, problem solving, and multi-cultural activities.


     B. Humanities (3 credits)


ARTH 150 Introduction to Art History (3 credits)

Surveys world art from prehistory through the present day with the objective of developing a critical understanding of art forms in their historical and cultural context.


HONR 111 Perspectives and Understanding (3 credits)

This course explores classic and contemporary works of literature, art, and philosophy with an emphasis on cultural and historical contexts in order to develop critical and multi- disciplinary analytical skills.


LIT 110 Introduction to Literature (3 credits)

Students build and expand their knowledge to the extent that reading literature is a discovery process for the engaged mind.


LIT 240 The Bible as Literature (3 credits)

Examines the Bible as a work of literary art.


PHL 110 Introduction to Ethics: Problems of Good and Evil (3 credits)

Students analyze divergent moral views and assess the strengths and weaknesses of these views in order to form their own point of view.


PHL 111 Philosophies of Life (3 credits)

Students evaluate the diversity, intrinsic value, and consequences of various philosophical points of view to develop their own philosophy of life.


General Education Minimum Satisfactory Course Grade


By action of the University’s Academic Senate, the minimum satisfactory grade students must earn in a General Education course is “C-” or better. However, students must earn an overall GPA of 2.0 in the General Education core. (11/10/05 memo #473 p. 1770)