Learning Goals

Learning Goals in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Communication Proficiency

The faculty of Iowa State University believes that its graduates should acquire competence in communication – written, oral, visual, and electronic – during their undergraduate careers. All students must earn an average grade of C- or better in required basic composition courses (e.g., Engl 104 and 105). This should be regarded as a minimally acceptable grade standard. Departments may have stricter criteria as appropriate to their disciplines.

The continued development of communication skills following the freshman year is the responsibility of the student’s major department. The department promotes this development by adopting measures to certify the writing proficiency of its own majors. Certification occurs a reasonable time before graduation and is based upon satisfactory completion of a designated course in the student’s program in which writing is evaluated or an advanced writing course offered in the English department (e.g. Engl 302, 305, or 314).

Library Proficiency

A library minimum proficiency requirement must be met by satisfactory completion of one of the following options:

1. Library 160

2. A test-out examination for credit to be administered by the library staff, who controls the testing procedure and determines those students who are eligible to take the examination.

Foreign Language Requirement

The faculty of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences believes that undergraduate students should acquire elementary practical experience in a second language, should be introduced to the theoretical study of language structure, and should begin to develop an understanding of a second culture through study of that culture’s language. As a means of achieving this objective, a student must satisfy a graduation requirement equivalent to the first year of university-level study in one foreign language (normally, completion of a two-semester sequence in any one foreign language).

Students who have completed three or more years of high-school foreign language study are deemed to have completed the LAS Foreign Language requirement. These students may not enroll in or receive credit for 101-102 or 110 in those languages; test-out credit may be obtained by passing an appropriate examination or by completing an advanced sequence (200-level or higher) in that language. 101-102 may not be taken on a remedial basis.

Students who have completed more than one year but less than three years of high-school foreign language study may not enroll in 101 in the same language. These students may satisfy the foreign language requirement by (a) passing the exam for credit at the 102 level, (b) receiving a passing grade in a 102 foreign language course, or (c) receiving a passing grade in a foreign language course at the 200-level or higher. For more information see Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. (Courses taught in English do not satisfy the foreign language requirement). Certification in American Sign Language is recognized by the University and satisfies the LAS foreign language requirement.

Students with disabilities who may not be able to satisfy the foreign language requirement may direct questions to the Advising Coordinator in the Foreign Language Department and the Disability Resource Office.

Credits applied toward the foreign language requirement cannot be used to satisfy the general education requirements, but students who have fulfilled the foreign language requirement may apply additional courses in foreign languages toward the appropriate general education groups.

Majors in any foreign language are deemed to have fulfilled the college foreign language requirement. International students for whom English is a second language may satisfy the foreign language requirement by completion of Engl 104 and 105 at ISU with an average grade of C– or better. See Foreign Languages and Literatures for additional information on international students.

Advanced Credit Requirements

To obtain a baccalaureate degree from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, curriculum in liberal arts and sciences, a student must earn at least 45 credits at the 300 level or above taken at a four-year college. Credits earned in electives taken on a pass/not pass basis or in the major or a minor may be used to meet this requirement.

Learning Goals of the Major

Students must show they have achieved depth in a specialized area by completing successfully the requirements and learning goals of a major. A major is comprised of 24 to 48 credits in a specific discipline as determined by the faculty. Tracks within a major must have a common 24 credit core. Some courses outside the major discipline may also be required as supporting work for the major. (See all of the majors and their requirements in the University Catalog.)

The major must contain at least 8 credits in courses taken at Iowa State University that are numbered 300 or above and in which the student’s grade is C or higher. In addition, the average grade of all courses in the major (those courses listed under major on the degree audit) must be 2.0 or higher. Courses in the first major listed on the degree program may not be counted in the general education groups.

Courses meeting the requirement of additional majors may be counted in the general education groups. When choosing an additional major, students must confirm that the additional major is allowable.