Tier Two Guidelines

Guidelines for Tier Two Proposal


as adopted by the University-wide General Education Committee

Tier Two Course Guidelines

Tier Two courses should be advanced beyond Tier One courses in conceptual level, if not always in specific content. Such courses may provide exposure to the primary aspects of a discipline, but they are not to be constructed as introductions to a major. The prerequisites for Tier Two courses are Tier One courses (or their transfer equivalents) in the same subject areas; Humanities Tier Two courses require the completion of the Tier One Traditions and Cultures requirement, and Natural Science and Individuals and Societies courses at the Tier Two level require the completion of the corresponding Tier One segment. Only the Tier Two Arts segment is not specifically sequenced after any Tier One courses. However, Tier Two courses in all four segments may, in some cases, list as prerequisites certain basic requirements in mathematics and/or composition that can be satisfied through earlier coursework or its equivalent. Tier Two Natural Science courses may include a laboratory component.

The four segments of Tier Two (Natural Sciences, Individuals and Societies, Humanities, and Arts) must also offer honors experiences, but these could be localized to some courses rather than being required in all.

Arts, Tier Two


Art courses emphasize verbal, visual, musical, spatial or kinesthetic forms of expression. Components of these courses will either emphasize student creativity, expression, and production or require students to identify and analyze the impact of cultural and historical factors on the creation and reception of artistic works. All Arts courses ask students to develop critical thinking and interpretive abilities.

Learning Outcomes

After taking Tier Two courses in the Arts students will be able to:

  • identify and analyze basic formal elements, principles and compositional structures in the fine arts of cinema, dance, music, theater, and the visual arts
  • identify and analyze the impact of cultural and historical factors on the creation and reception of artistic works
  • evaluate the significance of artistic works both metaphorically and in larger cultural contexts
  • in writing and speaking use appropriate vocabulary to describe and analyze artistic works
  • identify and analyze similarities, differences, and interrelationships among the arts

Humanities, Tier Two


Humanities courses explore aspects of human culture such as religion, history, philosophy, literature and languages. In general, these courses will deal with these aspects in an interdisciplinary fashion, rather than as discrete phenomena. All Humanities courses ask students to develop critical thinking and interpretive approaches to culture and cultural productions.

Learning Outcomes

After taking Tier Two courses in Humanities students will be able to:

  • identify and analyze the impact of cultural and historical factors on the creation and reception of artistic and literary works
  • relate arguments and ideas from literature and historical documents to the circumstances under which they were written; read primary documents and be able to place them in their historical context; identify disparate ideas from the evidence of these documents
  • describe how the development of philosophical and religious thought has influenced human civilization
  • use appropriate vocabulary for written and oral descriptions and analyses of literary works 

Natural Science, Tier Two


A Tier Two Natural Science course must build on concepts developed in Tier One Natural Science courses. Tier Two courses may be discipline-based (e.g. chemistry or molecular and cellular biology) or integrate physical and biological sciences. A Tier Two course need not advance all concepts from Tier One physical and biological sciences, but proposals must make clear which concepts are being advanced. Tier Two natural science courses should be designed for non-science majors.

Learning Outcomes

After taking Tier Two courses in Natural Science students will be able:

  • read and understand scientific literature from journals and other scholarly works 

Individuals & Societies, Tier Two


Tier Two courses in Individuals & Societies study human behavior and the cognitive models and societal constructs that humans create. These courses may have a disciplinary focus (e.g. anthropology, linguistics and economics), so long as they are designed broadly enough to address the needs of students who may take only a single course within this area. Tier Two Individuals & Societies courses should focus on self-contained topics that develop one or more of the theories or to which student were exposed at the Tier One level.

Approved 05-29-96
Amended 02-19-97
Amended 11/19/97