The courses that college students take fall into three broad categories that sometimes overlap:
a) Courses that are required for their major. These courses are typically within the same field; for example, a computer science major will take computer science courses.
b) Courses that fulfill the university’s General Education requirements. Such courses serve to ensure that undergraduates get a well-rounded education by studying a well-balanced array of subjects. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, we have seven Gen Ed areas:
- Composition (i.e., critical thinking and academic writing)
- Quantitative Reasoning (e.g., math)
- Humanities and the Arts (e.g., history)
- Social and Behavioral Sciences (e.g., anthropology, political science)
- Natural Sciences and Technology (e.g., chemistry, biology)
- Cultural Studies:
- Western/Comparative (e.g., European history)
- Non-Western (e.g., African studies)
- U.S. Minority (e.g., Asian American History)
- Language Other Than English
c) Courses that are electives. Electives allow a student to explore subjects simply for the pleasure of being exposed to new ideas and for the opportunity to learn something different from what they are required to learn for their major or Gen Ed courses. These include any courses that count towards the minimum number of hours required for graduation that do not fall into the categories of "Courses that are required for their major" or "Courses that fulfill the university's General Education requirements."
For the purposes of this legislation discussion, major and Gen Ed credit awarded on the basis of an AP or IB test score will correspond to an actual course when the content of the AP or IB course and the student’s mastery of that material corresponds closely to the content of a course taught on this campus. For example, an AP Psychology score of 5 earns credit for our PSYC 100 course. In contrast, elective credit awarded on the basis of an AP or IB test score will typically indicate that the content of the AP or IB course does not correspond to the content of a specific course taught on this campus. For example, scores of 3, 4, and 5 on the AP Seminar exam will earn 3 hours of elective credit.