Current Gen Ed

The Rice Curriculum

Rice Distribution System

Rice’s current general education curriculum is a distribution system whereby students are required to take 3 courses (3 credit hours each, designated as eligible for Distribution) in each of the following areas:

  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Natural Sciences/Engineering.

Students also take three required courses:

  • First-Year Writing Intensive Seminar (FWIS) (3 credit hours)
  • Analyzing Diversity (AD) requirement (no additional credit hours required because all AD courses are also classified as Distribution or FWIS)
  • Lifetime Physical Activity Program (LPAP) course (1 credit hour)

The total credit hour requirement for general education is 31 hours.

SACSCOC Requirements

Having a general education curriculum at Rice is not optional; our accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) requires it. SACSCOC defines general education as an "integral component of an undergraduate degree program through which students encounter the basic content and methodology of the principal areas of knowledge.” This general education component (Standard 9.3) must:

  • be based on a coherent rationale;
  • be a substantial component of the undergraduate degree program; for baccalaureate programs, a minimum of 30 semester hours; and
  • ensure breadth of knowledge by including at least one course from humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences/mathematics.

Note: SACSCOC also requires that “general education competencies are specifically addressed by establishing expected learning outcomes, assessing these outcomes, and providing evidence of seeking improvements based on the findings.” (Standard 8.2.b)