Jul 15, 2024  
UofM 2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
UofM 2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

University General Education Requirements

General Education Requirements for all Undergraduate Degree Programs

The general education core at the University of Memphis is designed to ensure that college students have the broad knowledge and skills to become life­long learners in an ever-changing global community. Because courses in general education should emphasize breadth, they should not be reduced in design to the skills, techniques, or procedures associated with a specific occupation or profession.  Courses in this 41 hour core are distributed over the following disciplines:

Baccalaureate Degrees*

Communication 9 hours
Humanities / Fine Arts 9 hours (At least one course must be in literature.)
Social / Behavioral Sciences 6 hours
History# 6 hours
Natural Sciences 8 hours
Mathematics 3 hours
Total 41 hours

Courses designated to fulfill general education at the University of Memphis can be found at University General Education Program  . A listing of courses that fulfill general education requirements across many Tennessee institutions is available at https://www.tbr.edu/academics/transfer-and-articulation.

*Foreign language courses are an additional requirement for the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees. The B.A. degree requires proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to completion of two years of college-level work.

Six hours of English Composition and three hours in English oral presentational communication are required.

#Students who have not completed one year of American History in high school must complete 6 credit hours of American History or 3 credit hours of American History plus 3 credit hours of Tennessee History in order to satisfy the History General Education requirement. Students who plan to transfer to University of Tennessee System universities or to out-of-state or private universities should check requirements and take the appropriate courses.


The University of Memphis is committed to helping our students succeed, and with that comes a commitment to seamless transferability. Under the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) system, transfer equivalences were established among many Tennessee Higher Education Council institutions to ensure transferability across all Tennessee Board of Regents institutions. These were assured not just through the recognition of common General Education courses, but through a common agreement about the “blocks” or numbers of credits in each General Education category with common learning outcomes.  The University of Memphis plans to retain the blocks from the Tennessee Board of Regents general education program in order to maintain transferability with our community college and locally governed institutions (LGI) partners as far as possible and will make every effort to find equivalences within our program for general education courses taken at accredited institutions within Tennessee and beyond.

Although courses that fulfill the requirements of general education subject categories vary, transfer of the courses is assured through the following means:

  • Upon completion of an associate’s degree designed for transfer at a regionally accredited college or university (A.A. or A.S.), the requirements of the lower-division general education core will be complete and accepted by the University of Memphis in the transfer process.
  • If an A.A. or A.S. is not obtained, transfer of general education courses will be based upon fulfillment of complete subject categories. (Example: If all eight hours in the category of Natural Sciences are complete, then this “block” of the general education core is complete.) When a subject category is incomplete, course-by-course evaluation will be conducted. 
  • A student who has successfully completed 6-8 hours of natural science coursework from an accredited college or University but who has not successfully completed natural science labs because their institution does not (or did not) require labs for their general education program, will not be required to take labs (or repeat a course with a lab) at the University of Memphis in order to fulfill natural science general education requirements. Documentation that the student’s previous institution does not or did not require labs is required. Please note that some programs require labs for their degree requirements. This means that students will have to take the labs if they want to pursue degrees in those programs.

  • Institutional/departmental requirements of the grade of “C” will be honored. Even if credit is granted for a course, any specific requirements for the grade of “C” by the receiving institution will be enforced.
  • There are some courses in the general education program that are required for certain majors. It is important that students and advisors be aware of any major requirements that could be fulfilled by general education courses. 

Philosophy of General Education

The University of Memphis’ general education core ensures that college students have the broad knowledge and skills to become life­long learners in an ever-changing global community. Because courses in general education should emphasize breadth, they should not be reduced in design to the skills, techniques, or procedures associated with a specific occupation or profession.

General education provides the critical thinking skills necessary to seek truths, to discover answers to questions, and to solve problems. More specifically, the general education program develops students’ abilities to become thoughtful readers and effective communicators who recognize their place in the history, culture, and diverse heritages. They appreciate the web of commonality of all humans in a multicultural world and are prepared for the responsibilities of an engaged citizenship. They recognize the ethical demands of our common lives. They demonstrate an ability to use the skills and knowledge of the social and behavioral sciences to analyze their contemporary world. They are familiar with the history and aesthetics of the fine arts. They understand and practice the scientific and mathematical view of the world.

Finally, the University of Memphis’s general education core provides students with the means to flourish as human beings. A college education doesn’t just enable one to make a better living. It also enables its citizens to make a better life for both individual and community.

Characteristics of General Education Courses

  • The General education component is based on a coherent rationale.
  • General education courses are college level.
  • In order to promote intellectual inquiry, general education courses present a breadth of  knowledge, not focusing on skills, techniques, and procedures specific to the student’s occupation or profession, and are drawn from specific academic areas.
  • The general education component constitutes a minimum number of semester hours, or its equivalent, and comprises a substantial component of each undergraduate degree.”