General Education Program

Effective for undergraduate students who entered the university between Fall 1989–Spring 2018, the General Education Program was American University's liberal arts requirement (What some institutions call a core or distribution requirement). The General Education Program, or Gen Ed, was followed by the AU Core Curriculum in Fall 2018. As more students graduate and the need for Gen Ed courses gradually declines, a smaller number of courses and sections will be offered.


Schools with a core liberal arts program believe that there is a certain body of knowledge that all educated adults should possess. Those with distribution requirements think students should learn about subjects outside their main course of study. The General Education Program embodies both of those philosophies. We believe that our graduates should be equipped with certain intellectual skills and resources if they are to understand the complex dynamics of an increasingly connected global environment.