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Previous General Education Requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences


CONTENTS       How to use this AIF
    College of Arts and Sciences
    Other colleges
    University general education requirements
Summary: previous Arts and Sciences requirements
    Basic skills
    General education
    Electing old requirements
    Eligibility for previous Arts and Sciences requirements
Pre-1962
    Pre-1936
    10-20-30
1962-1969
White list
Green list
    Distribution list revisions
    In summary ...
    The Humanities Grid
Blue list
    Basic skills
    Distribution
    The College Studies Alternative
Current requirements
Determining quarter of entry
    Quarter of UW entry
    Quarter of college entry

How to use this AIF

   

College of Arts and Sciences

This AIF includes details of early Arts and Sciences general education requirements and who is eligible for each one. It is of mainly academic and historical interest. Most Arts and Sciences advisers will never need to apply any of the requirements described below except the green list pre-1985 proficiency requirement, which is described in detail in a separate AIF, Pre-1985 General Education and Basic Skills Requirements.

The single date advisers need commit to memory is 1985. Virtually all A&S students who entered college before autumn 1985 use the current Areas of Knowledge requirement and the pre-1985 proficiency requirement. Virtually all A&S students who entered college in autumn 1985 or later use the current general education and skills requirements.

A summary of previous Arts and Sciences requirements, and what students are eligible for each set of requirements, is the the chart below. This is followed by a detailed description of each set of requirements and some information about how each evolved. The last section of this AIF is devoted to a discussion of how to determine the student's date of college entry when this may not be clear.

Other colleges

In some UW schools and colleges, students who started college before 1994 (and students who transferred to the UW before 1996) are eligible for the pre-1994 general education requirements of that school or college. In many instances, however, the previous requirements of colleges meet or exceed the current requirements, and there is no advantage to claiming eligibility for earlier requirements. Most schools and colleges expect students to meet their current general education requirements. A student requesting an exception should petition the college. The Undergraduate Advising Office has UW bulletins dating back to the early 1930s and can assist advisers from other colleges who wish to research previous requirements.

University general education requirements

Before autumn 1985 there was no University-wide general education requirement; each school and college set its own requirements. For University requirements from 1985 on, see the AIFs on current requirements.
  
  

Summary: previous Arts and Sciences requirements

    It is not uncommon for a student to start at the UW when one set of general education requirements is in effect and finish under a different set of requirements. The governing principle is that students are allowed to use the most liberal set of requirements available between the time the student entered college and the time the student graduates. Students are not allowed to elect a set of requirements that were retired before the student started college.

Basic skills

The current basic skills requirement (writing, math, and foreign language) was adopted in 1985 and is more rigorous than the previous requirement. Students who entered college before autumn 1985 are allowed to use the green-list, pre-1985 requirement, called "old proficiency," and to combine it with the current Areas of Knowledge requirement (or, if eligible, with the white list). Detailed information about the old proficiency requirement is in the AIF Pre-1985 General Education and Basic Skills Requirements.

General education

Because the current general education requirement (Areas of Knowledge) is more liberal than most earlier requirements, almost all students benefit from using the current requirement. This is certainly true for all students who started college in autumn 1980 or later. Students who are eligible for the pre-1980 white list and the even earlier 10-20-30 distribution plan may be better off following old requirements.

Electing old requirements

Students MAY choose to follow the requirement that was in effect when they started college, but those who choose to do so must follow the earlier requirement in its entirety, including the basic skills as well as the general education requirement.

The chart is followed by detailed descriptions of previous Arts and Sciences requirements. More information is available in a set of UW Bulletins ranging back to the 1930s, at the Undergraduate Advising Office.

Eligibility for previous Arts and Sciences requirements

Student started college ...RequirementRecommended substitutionComments
autumn 1994 or latercurrent requirements


autumn 1985 through summer 1994blue list
  • current English/W/QSR/foreign lang
  • current Areas of Knowledge
basic skills requirements same; AoK more liberal than blue list
autumn 1980 through summer 1985green list
  • old (green) proficiency
  • current Areas of Knowledge
old (green) proficiency more liberal than current requirement; AoK much more liberal than green list
autumn 1969 through summer 1980 (see *footnote)white list
  • old (green) proficiency
  • current Areas of Knowledge plus
old (green) proficiency more liberal than current requirement; eligible students may count some additional white-list courses toward VLPA
autumn 1962 through summer 1969no nickname, but this was the period when two college years of foreign language was required
  • old (green) proficiency
  • current Areas of Knowledge plus
old (green) proficiency more liberal than current requirement and the 62-69 requirement; eligible students may count some additional white-list courses toward VLPA
pre autumn 196210-20-30
  • old (green) proficiency
  • current Areas of Knowledge plus
  • OR 10-20-30 AND its skills requirement
student may be better off using the entire 10-20-30 requirement, but MAY use old proficiency plus AoK; eligible students may count some additional white-list courses toward VLPA

* Actually, it's a little more complicated. Students eligible for the white list are those who entered the UW as freshmen through summer 1980, or as transfer students through summer 1982. The date the student entered the UW, not the date the student started college, is the determining factor.

  
  

Pre-1962

   

Pre-1936

Before 1936, the College of Liberal Arts had the following Specific Requirements:

  • Composition 1 and 2 (10 credits)
  • Psychology 1 (5 credits)
  • Philosophy 1, 2, 3, or 5 (5 credits)
  • Foreign language - two high school years of Latin, Greek, French, German, Spanish, Scandinavian, or Italian, OR 20 college credits in one of these seven languages plus a passing score on a reading test

10-20-30

In 1936, the following Required Courses and Group Requirements were adopted. A few majors had "prescribed departmental curricula" which replaced the Group Requirements. These general education requirements remained in effect until autumn 1962.

  • Required Courses
    • English 101, 102, 103 (9 credits)
    • Physical Education 110 (women) or 175 (men) (2 credits), plus six quarters of physical education activity
    • All male students entering directly from high school must complete six quarters of military training.
  • Group Requirements
    • 60 credits from Group I (Humanities), II (Social Sciences), and III (Natural Sciences)
    • At least 10 credits from one group, 20 credits from a second group, and 30 credits from the third group
    • Individual courses were not listed; each Group consisted of departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. Thus, virtually all A&S courses counted toward Group Requirements.
    • Courses used to satisfy the Required Courses could not be used.
    • Courses in the student's major could be used.
  
  

1962-1969

    In 1962 both the basic skills and breadth requirements were revised. This period was the only time in the College of Arts and Sciences when two college years of foreign language were required of all students.

  • Basic Proficiencies
    • English 101, 102, 103, or exemption by WPCT or AP score
    • Math 101 or Philosophy 120, or placement into trigonometry or college algebra
    • Completion of the sixth college quarter of a foreign language, or placement into the seventh quarter
  • Distribution Requirement
    • 20 credits each of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences, plus an additional 20 credits. No more than 30 credits could count toward each group.
    • The lists included almost all courses in the College of Arts and Sciences.
    • Up to 15 credits in the major department could count.
    • Courses satisfying the Basic Proficiencies could not also count toward Distribution.
  
  

White list

    In autumn 1969 both the basic skills and general education requirements were changed. The distribution requirement was dropped from 80 credits to 60. The most substantial changes, however, were in the basic skills requirement. This 1969 proficiency requirement is what we now refer to as "old proficiency," and it is the basic skills requirement now followed by any student who started college before autumn 1985. Because we now see many more students eligible for the next general education plan, the green list, than students eligible for the white list, we have come to associate this basic skills plan (old proficiency) with the green list, but it actually originated with the white list.

The white list is more liberal than even the current Areas of Knowledge list in that it include English composition courses and all foreign language courses, including first-year courses and conversation courses. Students who are eligible for the white list AND who took these courses before autumn 1994 are allowed to count the courses toward VLPA. The College no longer maintains the white list, but many courses that counted toward the white list but do not count toward Areas of Knowledge are listed in the General Education Course Archives.

  • Proficiency requirement
    • 15 credits from a list including English composition, foreign language, and math.
    • Exemptions for students with a specified high school background or at least 85 transfer credits or an academic transfer associate degree from a Washinton community college.
    • For details see Pre-1985 General Education and Basic Skills Requirements.
  • Distribution requirement
    • 20 credits each Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences
    • Almost all courses in the College of Arts and Sciences are on the "college lists." Also provided were "special lists" of introductory and fundamental courses. Special-list courses were not required; they were recommendations to help students with program planning.
    • No courses from the student's major department counted.
    • No courses used to satisfy the proficiency requirement counted.
  
  

Green list

    A major revision of the distribution requirement was started in 1978. For a few years parts of the requirement were changed each year, resulting in a bewildering array of eligibility tables and flow charts to help advisers determine each student's requirements. Since the distribution lists became progressively more limited, each student wished to follow the earliest set of requirements for which he was eligible.

Although it was a challenge to follow the requirements at the time, when the revision of the basic skills and general education requirements was completed all the intermediate plans were discarded and all students were transferred to what we now refer to as the "pre-85" distribution requirement, or the "green list," which was the distribution plan finally achieved at the end of all the revisions that occurred during this period.

Throughout this period the 15-credit proficiency requirement described immediately above was maintained. Only the distribution requirement changed.

Distribution list revisions

The revisions actually started in 1978, although the changes made in 1978 and 1979 were eventually rolled back so that they applied only to students who started college in 1980 or later.

In 1978 a faculty committee was charged with the task of reducing the distribution lists. Ever since the institution of a breadth requirement in 1936, the lists of approved courses had included almost all courses taught in the College of Arts and Sciences. The committee was to limit the lists to courses with a strong general education component. For example, the revised social science list included, among other courses, six anthropology, four economics, five geography, and seven political science courses.

In autumn 1978 the revised social science list was instituted. Freshmen entering in autumn 1978 or later, and transfer students entering in autumn 1980 or later, were required to use the short social science list, but used the long humanities and natural science lists.

In autumn 1979 the revised natural science list was instituted. This list was not as restrictive as the social science list. It included, for example, 9 biology, 11 math, 23 chemistry, and 26 physics courses. Freshmen entering in autumn 1979 or later, and transfer students entering in autumn 1981 or later, were required to use the short social science and natural science lists, but continued to use the long humanities list.

In autumn 1980 the revised humanities list was instituted. By this time the standards had relaxed even more; this list included 23 art history, 21 music, and 66 English courses.

In autumn 1981 the intermediate lists were removed, the lists that were combinations of long and revised lists. Freshmen who entered in autumn 1980 or later, and transfer students entering in autumn 1982 or later, were required to use the shortened lists, which by now was referred to as the "green list," from the color of the 1980 Bachelor's Degree Planbook. Students who entered before those dates were eligible for the long list, now referred to as the "white list." This meant that quite a few students (those freshmen who entered in 1978 and 1979) were moved from the short lists back to the long lists.

In summary ...

All students who started college before autumn 1985 are eligible for the 1969 "old proficiency" list. Students who entered the UW as freshmen before 1980, and as transfer students before 1982, are eligible for the long "white" distribution lists. Students who entered the UW as freshmen after 1980, and as transfer students after 1982, were required to use the short "green" distribution list. Any of these students who graduate after 1994 are eligible to use instead the much more liberal Areas of Knowledge list.

The Humanities Grid

From 1978 through 1981 there was a faculty initiative called the Humanities Grid. This grouped humanities distribution courses by chronological period, geographical region, and type of expression, allowing interested students to structure the selection of their humanities distribution courses rather than choosing a random collection of subjects. A number of new Humanities course offerings were designed specifically to occupy cells of the grid.

Below is a sample humanities grid from the 1978 Bachelor's Degree Planbook.


AncientMedieval/RenaissanceModernAsianAfrica/Oceania/Americas
LiteratureCLAS 210
NE 220
HUM 212


IdeasHUM 231
HUM 233

ReligionRELIG 201

RELIG 202
Visual/Environmental ArtsART H 201ART H 202ART H 203ART H 204ART H 205
Interpretative/Performing ArtsHUM 291HUM 291
HUM 294
  
  

Blue list

    There were many changes in the period 1985-1994. During this time the basic skills requirement was revised into the current requirement of English composition, W courses, Q/SR, and foreign language. The distribution requirement during this period was significantly different than the requirements that came before and after. The lists were yet again revised to include many more courses than the green list, and requirements of subcategories and linked sets were added.

Basic skills

The revision of the basic skills requirement actually began in 1983 with the addition of a 10-credit W course requirement. This implementation was eventually rolled back and students who entered before autumn 1985 were not required to complete the W-course requirement.

The revised basic skills requirement took effect in autumn 1985. This requirement, with minor revisions, has remained in effect since autumn 1985.

  • English composition, 5 credits
  • W courses, 10 credits
  • Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (Q/SR), 5 credits
  • Foreign language, proficiency through the third college quarter

A minimum grade of 2.0 was required in English composition, the Q/SR course, and the third quarter of foreign language. The minimum 2.0 requirement was removed from the Q/SR in 1994, and the change was retroactive.

Distribution

The distribution requirement was extensively revised in 1983. The 1983 plan was referred to as the "yellow list:" old proficiency, W courses, and the new distribution plan. In 1985 the new proficiency described above was added and this 1985 collection of requirements was referred to as the "blue list:" new proficiency and new distribution. In 1994, when the requirements were revised yet again, the yellow list was eliminated and those students were rolled back to the green list: old proficiency and old distribution. It was at this point that 1985 became the major point of division that still remains: pre-1985 students do old proficiency (foreign language not required) and post-1985 students do new proficiency (foreign language required).

The 1985 distribution requirement, the blue list, was the most complex yet.

  • Group I - Humanities: 20 credits, including 5 credits in Language and Literature and 5 credits in Fine Arts
  • Group II - Social Sciences: 20 credits, including 5 credits in Social Sciences and 5 credits in History, Philosophy, and Civilization
  • Group III - Natural Sciences: 20 credits
  • Two linked sets required, one in natural sciences and the other in humanities, social sciences, or humanities/social sciences combined (crossover)

The distribution lists were somewhat expanded and included more courses than the previous "green list." The lists were still more restrictive, however, than the lists that preceded the green list and more restrictive than the current Areas of Knowledge list.

Blue-list students were allowed to complete as few as 15 credits in the Group in which the student's major fell, as long as the student presented additional credits in one or both of the other Groups so that the student still completed at least 60 total distribution credits. In departments that had courses in more than one Group, the student was allowed to choose the Group in which s/he would complete fewer credits, as long as the student completed at least one course in the major in that Group.

The yellow list required only one linked set, in natural sciences. The humanities/social science/crossover linked set was added in 1985, with the blue list. The linked sets were determined by the faculty and approved lists were provided along with the distribution lists. Linked sets were two or three courses. Examples: OCEAN 101 and FISH 101 (natural sciences), ART H 201 and 202 (humanities), ECON 200 and 201 (social sciences), ART H 202 and HST 112 (crossover).

The College Studies Alternative

College Studies was an alternative general education plan first offered in 1988 and available through 1997. Instead of 20 credits in each distribution area, students could complete a coordinated 15-credit sequence. For information, see The College Studies Program.
  
  

Current requirements

    The current basic skills requirements (English composition, additional writing, Q/SR, and foreign language) were adopted in 1985, as described above. All Arts and Sciences students who started college in autumn 1985 or later must follow the current basic skills requirements described in the AIF. See General Education Requirements.

The current general education requirement (Areas of Knowledge) was adopted in 1994. All Arts and Sciences students who started college in autumn 1994 or later must follow the current Areas of Knowledge requirement described in the AIF. See General Education Requirements.

  
  

Determining the quarter of entry

    Eligibility for distribution plans is determined by either the quarter the student first entered college or, for the white list, the quarter the student first entered the UW.

Quarter of UW entry

The quarter of entry can be determined easily from the student number. The first two digits of the student number are the year the student entered the UW, and the third digit refers to the quarter of entry: summer quarter is 1, autumn is 2 or 3, winter is 4, and spring is 5. A student number of 9133265, therefore, indicates UW entry in autumn quarter of 1991. Student numbers are assigned to nonmatriculated and credit-extension students, and are used to determine the date of UW enrollment for these students as well. An Arts and Sciences student who enrolls at the UW, then attends another college, and then returns to the UW, is assigned eligibility for requirements by the date of his/her first enrollment at the UW.

Quarter of college entry

This is the quarter in which the student first enrolled in a course at a college-level institution -- even if the course was not transferable to the UW, or even if the course was never completed.

THE FOLLOWING CONSTITUTE COLLEGE ENTRY.
Note: "Any course" means any credit or non-credit course.

  1. Enrolling in any course, including courses evaluated by the UW as vocational/technical, at an accredited college
  2. Enrolling in any course at a non-accredited college (e.g., a Bible college)
  3. Enrolling in any course as a nonmatriculated student
  4. Enrolling in a college-level course while still attending high school (even if the course was taught at the high school, as long as it appears on a college transcript)
  5. Enrolling in any college-level extension or correspondence courses, including MATH 098
  6. Completing a high-school course for which the student receives college credit, if that course was taught at the high school rather than at the college

ENROLLING IN OR EVEN COMPLETING THE FOLLOWING TYPES OF COURSES DOES NOT CONSTITUTE COLLEGE ENTRY:

  1. High school Advanced Placement courses, even if college credit is granted by the UW. (The credit is actually earned at the time of admission to UW, not before.)
  2. A course taken at a community college for high-school credit rather than college credit, even if others received college credit for the same course
  3. Non-credit UW Extension courses, except MATH 098
  4. UW Experimental College courses, or any similar general-interest courses offered to the community at large
  5. Non-credit vocational programs offered by proprietary schools, such as "beauty college," computer training, or real-estate classes.

In most cases, students transfer in credits and it is clear from the transfer evaluation when the student started college. When students have only non-credit courses, a good general rule is that they started college whenever they thought they did. For example, UW nonmatriculated students think of themselves as being in college, while a person taking a tour of the Arboretum from UW Extension does not. Since a student applying to the UW must submit transcripts from all other institutions attended, the adviser can in case of doubt verify enrollment from the transfer evaluation or by calling an admissions specialist in the Admissions Office. The adviser may need to have the student provide a transcript verifying enrollment in non-credit courses, although if the adviser feels the student is trustworthy this is not necessary. If the date of college entry is still unclear, contact one of the counselors at Undergraduate Advising.