Perspectives (one 5-credit course or equivalent from any of the three following categories):

Perspectives: Environmental Awareness (PE-E code). Courses that carry the PE-E GE designation teach students about the complexity of particular ecosystems and/or people’s interactions with nature so that students will better understand the environmental issues and trade-offs that are likely to arise in their lifetimes. The interactions between people and the Earth’s environment are subtle, complex, and influenced by a variety of natural, scientific, economic, cultural, and political factors. Courses deal with one or more of the following topics:

  1. The study of particular ecosystems or environments
  2. Natural forces, processes, and their effect on ecosystems
  3. Climates, climate models, and climate change
  4. Evolution and adaptation to the environment
  5. Bio-diversity and/or the robustness of nature and its feedback mechanisms
  6. How cultures relate to their natural environments
  7. Human efforts to create, preserve, and modify environments
  8. Management of natural resources (such as fossil fuels, forests, and fisheries)
  9. Issues of sustainability (such as sustainable agriculture or renewable energy)
  10. Pollution and its effect on ecosystems
  11. Ecological impacts of non-native species and other ecological disasters

Perspectives: Human Behavior (PE-H code). Courses that carry the PE-H GE designation help students to prepare for a world in which many of the most pressing challenges (such as genocide, environmental degradation, poverty) are impacted by human thoughts, decisions, or practices. As well, they provide a kind of “owner’s manual” for students to assist them in understanding themselves, their roles (for example, parent, partner, leader), and their social groups (family, workplace, neighborhood, nation). These courses impart specific knowledge about some aspect of individual human behavior or the operation of human groups. As well, they are likely to provide an introduction to one or more specific methodologies, such as ethnography, longitudinal analysis, or experimentation. A central aim, however, is to help students appreciate that better solutions to problems (whether global or personal) can often be found by incorporating information about how humans think, feel, and act.

Perspectives: Technology and Society (PE-T code). Courses that carry the PE-T GE designation focus on understanding technological advances, how they are developed, and their impacts on society. Imparting a basic understanding of the dynamic technological society in which we live is an essential goal of academic institutions. The study of technology helps satisfy the need of society for knowledgeable people able to understand, participate, and guide the rapid technological advances that play such a vital role in our world.