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. 

Course search

The Course Search feature allows you to find approved courses for the General Education curriculum. You can search for courses using the filters at the top. Click on a course to read the detailed information in the Course Profiles.

Please note: this course search currently only includes courses that have been officially approved as General Education courses. As more courses get approved in the new curriculum, we will update this directory.

Advising contacts

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

Complete the following requirements to graduate (72 units)

Interpretation and argument

Classes 2021 and Later:

All undergraduate students must complete the First-Year Writing requirement—the Department of English does not accept any Advanced Placement exemptions. This requirement can be completed in two different ways.

Option one: Enroll in one of two full-semester courses (9 units each)

  • 76101: Interpretation and Argument
  • 76102: Advanced First-Year Writing (by invitation only)

Option two: Enroll in two of three half-semester “mini” courses* (4.5 units each)

  • 76106: Writing About Literature, Art and Culture
  • 76107: Writing About Data
  • 76108: Writing About Public Problems

*Minis should be completed back-to-back within a single semester.

Students for whom English is a second language may need to first take 76-100 before option one or two (the English department will contact all those students who need to take 76-100 first). 76-100 cannot fulfill the First-Year Writing requirement or the Writing & Expression requirement, but can work as a general education elective or free elective.

General education categories

Students must complete each of the categories (descriptions of categories follow below): **This is a 9-unit requirement. Any course taken from this list that is below 9 units will require additional coursework in that category to complete the 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.

  • Peoples, Places, and Cultures (PPC)
    • 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.
    • 9 units from the PPC list; or a 9-12 unit course in a modern language (Students can receive exemption through an approved study abroad program. These students would have three General Education Electives to complete instead of two.)
  • Social Analysis and Decision Making (SDM)
    • SDM courses are focused on helping you to gain an understanding of different ways in which individuals and societies approach and make decisions.
    • 9 units from the SDM list of courses
  • Innovation & Internationalization (I&I)
    • I&I courses are intended to provide a broad perspective regarding the creation of pioneering ideas and their outcomes in a global context.
    • 9 units from the I&I list of courses
  • 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.
    • 9 units from the W&E list of courses (in addition to 76-101)
  • General Education Electives
    • Classes 2021 and later (3 total):
      At least 27 units from any non-technical academic courses from the Dietrich College or the College of Fine Arts. A maximum of 18 units of these units may be fulfilled via AP/IB/Cambridge non-STEM exam credit.
  • 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;
      • 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 Canvas page (with the corresponding course numbers above).
    • 6 points by participating in a variety of approved activities in the following timeframe under the designated course number:
      • 2 points sophomore fall semester (Course 39-210)
      • 2 points sophomore spring semester (Course 39-220)
      • 2 points junior fall semester (Course 39-310)

Experiential learning advisors

Advisors are alpha split by last name:

A-Em: Kurt Larsen

En-Kn: Treci Bonime

Ko-Ne: Conrad Zapanta

Ng-Si: Nisha Shukla

Sk-Z: Kourtney Bandish