Information for Faculty

New General Education Minimum Distribution Requirements Drafts


Petitioning for a Course to Fulfill the First-Year Seminar Requirement

Make sure your course satisfies the learning outcomes before you submit. For detailed information on learning outcomes, see the "Learning Outcomes of the General Education Core Curriculum" in the current catalog.

Fill out and submit the Petition for Course to Fulfill the First-Year Seminar Requirement. You will cut and paste a common course syllabus to the end of this petition (see below for definitions).

What is First-Year Seminar?

The First-Year Seminar (FYS) is an academically rigorous 2-3 credit course that introduces students to the five University Undergraduate Learning Outcomes (UULOs) of 1) intellectual breadth and lifelong learning; 2) inquiry and critical thinking; 3) communication; 4) global/multicultural knowledge and awareness; and 5) citizenship and ethics. The FYS also provides student with an understanding of the General Education curriculum, academic success strategies, an introduction to the research university environment and career exploration. All FYS courses use active learning, social interactions and collaboration, self-reflection, and critical thinking to help students develop a foundation for their undergraduate experience.

Colleges and departments offer FYS courses themed according to the contents of their disciplines. Currently approved FYS courses include: BUS 103, CFA 101, COLA 100, COLA 100E, EGG 101, GSC 100, HSC 100, SCI 101, and TCA 103.

To fulfill the General Education Core requirement, all students are required to take an FYS course before completing 30 credits. All approved FYS courses fulfill the General Education Core requirement. Students can choose to take an FYS course in their major, but are not required to do so. Students changing majors do not need to repeat the 2-credit University FYS requirement, but may be required to complete an additional 1-credit college or department requirement for their major.

The FYS fulfills 2-3 of the 18-21 required General Education Core credits. The FYS introduces students to the research university's academic expectations and prepares them for more intensive engagement with the UULOs in the Second-Year Seminar (SYS).

These courses are intended to:

  • Introduce students to the objectives of UNLV’s general education curriculum
  • Prepare students to succeed in other general education courses, including the Sophomore
  • Intensive Seminar; in their degree programs; and in the atmosphere of a competitive research university
  • Give students a stronger sense of community and of purpose, which will aid in retention from first to second year, higher overall graduation rates, and higher rates of student achievement in areas like writing and critical thinking
  • Communicate to students UNLV’s concern for their success – i.e. not leave them to “sink or swim”
  • Provide first-year students with both direct contact with university faculty and small group interaction with their peers (through small class sections and learning communities of linked classes)


Criteria for Acceptance as FYS:

To be designated as a first-year seminar, a course must:

  1. Explicitly introduce and explain, on the syllabus and in the course content, the five University Learning Outcomes (Intellectual Breadth, Inquiry and Critical Thinking, Communication, Global/Multicultural Knowledge, and Civic Engagement and Ethics) and the purpose and structure of general education at UNLV.
  2. Emphasize global awareness and civic engagement and ethics through college-specific content.
  3. Require at least five hours per week of individual study outside the classroom (readings, research, laboratory work, writing, preparation of a presentation or portfolio, etc.)
  4. Introduce students to the academic content area(s) of the college, as well as the academic resources available to aid student success. This includes (but is not limited to) the libraries, the Academic Success Center, the college-specific advising centers, The Writing Center, The Disabled Student Center, etc.
  5. Require at least one credit hour per week be taught by a full-time academic faculty member (can be more credit hours; faculty can rotate throughout the semester, etc.)
  6. Require at least one credit hour per week be taught in a small group (25 students maximum) setting. This need not be the hour taught by academic faculty; instead it could be a discussion section. (Within these parameters, colleges could opt for a mixed delivery model, e.g. faculty lecture + discussion sections)

Submit one hard copy and one electronic version of the following to the GEC Chair:

You must submit the form "Petition for Course to Meet First-Year Seminar Requirement. (Word Document)” 

Common Course Syllabus. Part of the syllabus for each course section must be the General Education Common Course Syllabus, which may also be downloaded at the above website. Elements of the common course syllabus are:

  1. The catalog description. For existing (or modified) courses, this description must be identical to what appears in the catalog (or has been approved by the curriculum committee).
  2. A detailed and descriptive topical outline of the course content.
  3. A matrix of the learning outcomes which map the course onto the General Education Learning outcomes listed in the catalog.

These common elements must be included on the syllabus for all sections of the course offered by the department after approval. This enables the committee to clearly evaluate the quantity and quality of the content, and ensure consistency across multiple sections.


Petitioning for a Course to Fulfill the Second-Year Seminar Requirement

Fill out and submit the Petition for Course to Fulfill the Second-Year Seminar Requirement. You will cut and paste a common course syllabus to the end of this petition (see below for definitions).

What is Second-Year Seminar?

The Second-Year Seminar (SYS) is a 3-credit course that explores issues relevant to contemporary global society through the reading of original literature from antiquity to the present day. Students study these issues within their larger contexts, which include aspects of literature, history, politics, economics, philosophy, and scientific discovery. The SYS reinforces the University Undergraduate Learning Outcomes (UULOs) introduced in the First-Year Seminar (FYS).

Students from any college or major may take any approved SYS. Currently approved SYS courses include: ENG 231 and ENG 232.

To fulfill the General Education Core requirement, all students are required to take an SYS course before completing 60 credits. Prerequisites for SYS are ENG 101, ENG 102, and FYS (or equivalent). All approved SYS courses fulfill the General Education Core 3-credit requirement. Students who have already successfully passed an SYS course do not need to retake an SYS course, even if they declare or change their majors.

The SYS fulfills 3 of the 18-21 required General Education Core credits. The SYS course's intensive engagement with literature, writing, and critical thinking develops students' understanding of the UULOs and prepares students to engage with the UULOs in their upper-division and major-specific courses.


Criteria for Acceptance as SYS

To be designated as a SYS - Sophomore Intensive Seminar, a course (or a section of a course) must:

  1. Address explicitly all General Education - University Undergraduate Learning Outcomes, but topics and readings for each section are selected by the faculty proposing the section. Topics will address content-specific Learning Outcomes (Global Awareness and Civic Engagement/ Ethics). Assignments will address competency-based Learning Objectives (Critical Thinking skills and Communication Skills).
  2. Sections will be of 25 students or fewer.
  3. SYS will be taught by full-time academic faculty members (these may include emeritus faculty, Faculty-in-Residence, Artist-in-Residence, or Scholar-in-Residence having achieved advanced candidacy status towards a terminal degree).
  4. SYS sections must be reading and writing intensive: reading assignments must average at least 40 pages of primary source material (ie excluding textbook) per week) and writing assignments must be at least 20 pages per semester. (These amounts are intended to be minima and are based upon the research of Arum and Roska.)
  5. Assign students work that intentionally enhances critical thinking performance (i.e., analysis of argument, evidence vs. opinion)

The above hallmarks are intended to prioritize:

  1. Small group interaction (sense of intellectual community)
  2. Faculty/student direct contact (exposure to expertise and passion of faculty )
  3. Improved critical thinking skills (intensive engagement with analysis of texts, use of evidence to construct argument)
  4. Exposure of students to breadth of cultures across geographic space and time.
  5. Greater presence, over time, full-time academic faculty in lower-division general education classrooms.
  6. Appeal to highest-achieving High School students considering UNLV
  7. Longer-term gains in UNLV's national reputation for academic rigor
  8. Distinguish UNLV general education curriculum from competitors in NSHE and in region, enhancing "value-added" of UNLV degree for graduates


Petitioning for a Course to Fulfill the Muticultural or International Requirement

Fill out and submit the Petition for Course to Fulfill the Multicultural or International Requirement.

Multicultural Courses

These courses examine cultural similarities and differences in the United States based upon attributes which may include, but are not limited to: ethnicity, race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation and disabilities. To be accepted, the course must demonstrate substantial content in both quality and quantity regarding at least two or more attributes.

International Courses

The primary purpose of these courses is to examine existing peoples and societies outside of the United States. Content may include, but is not limited to: current language, institutions, and culture. To be accepted, the course must demonstrate substantial content in both quality and quantity regarding at least one or more attribute.

Petitioning for a Course to Fulfill a Core or Distribution Requirement