General education requirements

The College of Engineering has developed General Education Requirements designed to ensure that our students are ready to work effectively in the global economy and become the innovators and leaders of tomorrow. The listing below is for all students, unless specific graduation years are noted. 

Advising contacts

For advising questions on the general education requirements, please contact the following advisory if you last name begins with the letters indicated:

Complete the following requirements to graduate (72 units)

Interpretation and argument

Classes 2021 and Later:

  • 76-101, Interpretation and Argument (some students may need to take 76-100 first) *Another possibility is 76-102, which is an advanced Special Topics in Writing course that is by invitation only for select students.

Classes 2016-2020:

  • 76-101, Interpretation and Argument (some students may need to take 76-100 first)
  • One course from the following list:
    • 70-100
    • 73-100
    • 73-230
    • 79-104
    • 80-100
    • 84-104
    • 85-102
    • 100-level Modern Language course
    • or one other PPC or SDM course (defined below)


General education categories

Students must complete each of the categories (descriptions of categories follow below): **This is a 9-unit requirement. Any course taken on this list that is below 9 units must be combined with an additional course to total at least 9 units in order to complete this requirement. Note that the units from one course cannot be split to count for two General Education categories (eg PPC and General Education Elective).

Any course that is eligible to count for the General Education categories is also eligible for General Education Electives. However, one course cannot be counted for two General Education requirements simultaneously.


General education category descriptions

People, Places, and Cultures (PPC)
courses are designed to help you gain better understanding of the diversity of the world in which we live, and the way in which societal factors interact to shape that world.

Social Analysis and Decision Making (SDM)
courses are focused on helping you to gain an understanding of different ways in which individuals and societies approach and make decisions.

Innovation and Internationalization (I&I)
courses are intended to provide a broad perspective regarding the creation of pioneering ideas and their outcomes in a global context.

Writing and Expression (W&E)

Engineers must be able to communicate ideas, research, and directives to people with diverse backgrounds, languages, cultures, and demographics. Courses offered under the Writing and Expression category are aimed at building writing and oral skills, which are essential in today's global society.

Experiential Learning (EL)
Being curious and constantly looking for inspiration are critical parts of lifelong learning. To be successful as an engineer and as a citizen, your education must not stop when you graduate from Carnegie Mellon. The EL requirement aims to encourage a habit of lifelong learning about innovation and the growing internationalization in engineering and, indeed, of many other aspects of the modern world. The goal of this requirement is to help inspire the habits of being open to new ideas as successful, innovative engineers.

To do that, during both semesters of your sophomore year and the first semester of your junior year, we require you to choose a few related activities that are not part of your formal course work. Examples could include:

  • Attending approved seminars and then submitting a one-page write-up of your thoughts on what you heard;
  • Participating in one of the "country courses" or other weekend courses that the University runs (for details see:
  • Holding an official leadership position (e.g. President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer) in a student organization.

Students enrolled in Experiential Learning (39-210, 220 or 310) can find more information about completing the requirements on their Blackboard page (with the corresponding course numbers above).


Experiential learning advisors

Advisors are alpha split by last name:

A-Em: Kurt Larsen

En-Kn: Treci Bonime

Ko-Ne: Annette Jacobson

Ng-Si: Nisha Shukla

Sk-Z: Kourtney Bandish