General Education Requirements for Georgia Tech Graduates

Final Report of the ad-hoc Subcommittee on General Education

January 2002

Committee Members:  Bethany Bodo (Assistant Director, Office of Assessment), Carol Carmichael (Senior Research Scientist, Manufacturing Research Center), Fred Andrew (Professor, Mathematics), Bryan Church (Professor, Management), David Collard (Associate Professor, Chemistry), James Craig (Professor, Aerospace Engineering), Kurt Eiselt (Associate Dean, Computing), George Johnston (Associate Chair, Architecture), Gordon Kingsley (Associate Professor, Public Policy), Peter McGuire (Professor, Literature, Communication, and Culture), Scott Wills (Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chair)


General Education Mission Statement


General Education at the Georgia Institute of Technology is essential to the development of our extraordinary students beyond the deeply rigorous technical and applied education they receive. 


General Education at Georgia Tech is designed to produce student who are:

·        Mathematically, scientifically, and technically competent;

·        Competent in information research;

·        Literate in reading, writing, and presenting; and

·        Literate in the use of a computer.


Georgia Tech General Education is also designed to produce students who are able to:

·        Think critically and

·        Effectively collaborate with others.


Additionally, it strives to:

·        Enhance students’ awareness of scientific values and ethics;

·        Enable them to articulate their personal and social values and how these values are shaped by the world around them;

·        Encourage them to examine individual and social behaviors; and

·        Develop their ability to effectively work in group settings.


General Education at Georgia Tech seeks to develop students who have an appreciation for technology, society, and their interaction and to produce students who will utilize these talents to substantially impact the future as leaders and lifelong learners.

Objectives and Outcomes


The committee identifies the following general education objectives for all students who earn a Georgia Tech baccalaureate degree.  The objectives represent an effort to integrate the BOR general education requirements with the unique mission of Georgia Tech.  Specifically, the objectives call for:

·        Technical, mathematical, and scientific competence

·        An ability to communicate to and productively interact with others

·        An awareness of culture and values in a diverse world

·        An understanding of ethical issues surrounding one’s personal and professional activities


It is the opinion of the committee that a great strength of the Georgia Tech degree lays not only in the content but also in the exceptional quality of the programs and units that support these General Education requirements. The committee recommends these outstanding elements remain a part of all Georgia Tech degrees.


It is the recommendation of the committee that these objectives be implemented, whenever possible, in an integrated fashion through interdisciplinary courses, certificate programs, and minors.


Mathematics Objective: Georgia Tech students will be proficient in basic mathematical skills, be able to formulate problems mathematically, be able to use mathematical methods to solve original problems, and demonstrate an understanding of the nature of mathematical reasoning.


Students will be able to:

  1. Use the elements of differential and integral calculus
  2. Use the elements of basic linear algebra
  3. Explain and use specific mathematical concepts such as induction, recursion, estimation, and approximation
  4. Critically analyze quantitative information (interpreting, making judgments, and drawing conclusions from quantitative material)
  5. Extend course material to identify, formulate, and solve original mathematical problems


Communication Objective: Georgia Tech students will be able to read a variety of documents critically and effectively, acquire and synthesize information, and shape a written or oral presentation that accommodates audience needs and shows a mastery of basic communications skills.



Students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a competence in reading skills, including the ability to locate the thesis, understand the logical development of the work, and identify generic and rhetorical strategies
  2. Judge the validity of an argument
  3. Make connections among multiple documents


Students will be able to:

  1. Collaborate, both on-line and in the classroom setting, on-line with their peers to generate ideas, collect information, and edit the documents
  2. Produce documents based on as understanding of the needs and expectations of both a lay audience and their specific professional audience
  3. Construct and develop a clear argument, exposition, or analysis
  4. Use principles of document design to create a document appropriate for their specific audiences
  5. Provide clear and appropriate explanatory graphics as needed
  6. Demonstrate competence in the fundamentals of effective writing, including clear prose, effective organization, varied syntax, clear logic and standard spelling, punctuation, and grammar

Oral Presentation

Students will be able to:

  1. Understand and meet the needs and expectations of a specific audience and occasion
  2. Create and use appropriate visual aids (including graphics and multi-media)
  3. Deliver presentations, both collaboratively and individually, that demonstrate a competence in the core presentation skills, including focus, organization, and delivery
  4. Summarize the main points of an oral presentation, judge the appropriateness of the presentation for the given audience, and judge the validity of the argument and supplemental material

Information Literacy and Critical Thinking

Students will be able to:

  1. Conduct an effective information search that includes a variety of reference sources, including, indexes and library catalogs, bibliographies, statistics sources, government publications, and resources available on the Internet
  2. Read and analyze a range of literary, scientific, social / cultural, and technical documents in terms of accuracy, authority, bias, and relevance
  3. Complete basic analytic tasks including determining between relevant and irrelevant information and data, analyzing a situation and determining possible outcomes, prioritizing project tasks, and proposing solutions to problems
  4. Formulate and defend an opinion based on a variety of information sources


Computer Literacy Objective: Georgia Tech students will be able to use appropriate software applications effectively, demonstrate an understanding of the organization and operation of computer systems, and apply programming techniques to solve problems.


Students will be able to:

  1. Use software to develop, modify, edit, visualize, transform, transmitshare, and present graphical and textual information
  2. Use numerical analysis and database software to organize, process, and analyze information
  3. Describe the basic operation and organization of major computer hardware and software components, and the networking environments in which they operate.
  4. Design and implement algorithms to solve problems using structured programming techniques
  5. Design and implement a data representation that facilitates problem solving
  6. Estimate the complexity of basic algorithms and distinguish between reasonable and unreasonable approaches


Science Objective: Georgia Tech students will demonstrate an understanding and application of scientific methodology, laboratory techniques, quantitative problem solving, modeling skills, and experimental design to formulate and evaluate hypotheses.


Students will be able to:

1.      1. Formulate hypotheses to explain natural phenomena

2.      Design experiments identifying and implementing appropriate controls

32. Design experiments to evaluate hypotheses

43. Execute experiments designed to validate hypotheses

54. Understand and apply mathematical concepts to evaluate experimental results

65. Critically analyze quantitative information obtained from experiments

  1. Model natural phenomena based on currently accepted hypotheses
  2. Demonstrate knowledge and application of the theories of specific areas of science and technology


Scientific Culture and Values Objective: Georgia Tech students will demonstrate knowledge of the dynamic relationships among science, technology, cultural values, and creative expression and how these relationships must be framed by ethical principles.


Students will be able to:

  1. Identify the effects of science and technology on social, historical, political, and economic values
  2. Identify the effects of social, historical, political, and economic values on science and technology
  3. Identify, comprehend, analyze, and articulate ethical issues surrounding science and technology


Global Awareness, Human Values, and Culture Objective: Georgia Tech students will be able to articulate their personal and social values, articulate how those values have been informed by both humanistic and social perspectives, understand how these shape their view of the world, and compare these with other world values.



Students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the diversity of values and traditions, including the contributions of diverse groups, which shape American society and institutions
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the diverse values and cultures shaping societies and institutions in other countries including the contributions of diverse groups
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of contemporary, historical, social and political issues
  4. Interpret and evaluate issues from distinctive and differing points of view
  5. Develop an understanding from humanistic and social perspectives of how the interaction of technology, social forces, and culture shape their world
  6. Develop an informed appreciation of aesthetic or artistic expressions of material culture, their history and development
  7. Explain how texts and artifacts manifest, reflect, and critique culture and values
  8. Identify, comprehend, analyze, and articulate coherent arguments on ethical issues


Individual and Society Objective: Georgia Tech students will be able to examine and conceptualize individual and social behaviors in disciplined and critical ways.


Students will be able to:

  1. Identify and engage in distinctive modes of scientific and humanities-based inquiry appropriate to studying individual and social behavior
  2. Appropriately use concepts and theories of human and social behavior in the construction of arguments
  3. Identify the effects of science and technology on individual and social behaviors, and, conversely, the effect of individual and social behaviors on science and technology
  4. Identify and describe the formal and informal social forces, structures and processes that contribute to the functioning of markets, governments, and other social systems
  5. Demonstrate dimensions of creativity, beyond analytic thought, including imagination, intuition, and metaphor


Group Involvement Objective: Georgia Tech students will demonstrate their ability to work effectively in both face-to-face and electronic group contexts in order to achieve specified objectives.


Students will be able to:

  1. Lead group discussions and presentations
  2. Contribute effectively to the overall knowledge/ skills set of the group
  3. Solve complex problems in a multi-disciplinary group context
  4. Identify group conflicts and resolve the conflicts in an acceptable manner
  5. Recognize and accommodate the needs and utilize the abilities of the other group members


(This section needs to be added back in –it is important in terms of BOR requirements and therefore needs to be part of general education and needs to be assessed)

Health and Wellness Objective: Georgia Tech students will develop an understanding of the psychological and physiological bases of a healthy mental and physical lifestyle.


Students will be able to:

  1. Explain the elements necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle
  2. Describe of the impact of diet, activity, and genetics on health