Carnegie Mellon University

General Education Program
for Students Enrolled Prior to Fall 2021

The Dietrich College General Education program encompasses a set of requirements that provide a core foundation and knowledge for all students across the College, regardless of their primary major. 

During your four years of study, you are also expected to complete a series of elective courses in General Education. The range of courses from which you can choose is very wide. These options are designed to help you to maintain and enhance your intellectual breadth in ways that are more closely tailored to your particular interests. In your first two years, you should use your General Education courses to explore potential majors or interests that you might want to pursue as an additional major or a minor. In your third and fourth years, you can use your remaining General Education requirements to enhance your knowledge of disciplines beyond your chosen major(s) and minor(s). And, throughout your studies, we hope these courses will enhance your intellectual growth by creating stimulating comparisons and synergies from disparate fields of study.

Explore course options


How many General Education credits do you need?

  • Communicating: Language and Interpretations, 18 units. Courses in this category give special attention to the study of language as interpretation, expression and argument within and across multiple discourses. Students examine language for its internal logics and structures. They also explore its rhetorical, historical, cultural, or philosophical dimensions, assessing how it functions while expanding their writing skills and sharpening their analytical abilities.

  • Reflecting: Societies and Cultures, 18 units. This category emphasizes the study of history, society, and culture from local and global perspectives. Courses investigate contemporary societies and those of the past, along with their rich array of cultural products, artifacts, and ideas. They encourage a comparative and reflective approach to the understanding of the past and what it can bring to the constitution of present social relations and cultural outlooks.

  • Modeling: Mathematics and Experiments, 27 units. Courses in this category stress the interplay of mathematical (formal) theories and experimental work. Some courses investigate the internal structure of theories, whereas others use them as models for producing real-world knowledge. Such models may be drawn from a variety of disciplines including the natural sciences, but also, for example, psychology and computer science. The interactions between theorizing and experimenting (observing) can be understood within an intellectual framework that invites comparative assessment.

  • Deciding: Social Sciences and Values, 18 units. The theme of this category is the exploration of cognitive, behavioral and ethical dimensions of decision-making on both the individual and social level. Making decisions requires a broad understanding of human rationality and social interaction. Some courses examine also the critical collection and analysis of data for achieving such an understanding, whereas others emphasize the historical development of policies and values, which form the matrix for decision-making.

  • Creating: Designs and Productions, 18 units. In the arts, the humanities, the sciences, and in engineering, it is essential to produce artifacts: ex., a painting, a poem, a musical performance, a piece of technology, the design of an experiment, or the proof of a mathematical theorem. Courses may center on the students' creation of artifacts, but they may also analyze such creations by exploring creative processes at work within and across disciplines. Such explorations should be informed by a deep understanding of contexts of production and reception.

  • Plus, 18 additional units from any of the above categories.

  • University Requirement: Computing at Carnegie Mellon

  • First-Year Seminar: must be taken in the first year