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Why do I have to take a 300 level course in GenEd?

If you did not complete your Cluster One Critical Thinking class in your first year, OR, if you are a transfer student entering the university and need to complete Cluster One Critical Thinking, you must take a 300 level course rather than the 100 level course offered to first year students.  As one of those students, these courses are designed to help you connect knowledge and skills from across general education at a level appropriate to your class level.

What is the benefit of taking a GenEd 300-level integrative class?
Integrative courses are typically small (25-40 seats), incorporate hands’ on or applied projects, and promote faculty-student interaction. National studies show that students demonstrate improved written and oral communication skills (beyond intro-level), enhanced ability to collaborate with others, and an increased sense of self-efficacy for learning among other things.  In other words, these classes may help you in other JMU classes.
Additionally, integrated learning may help you prepare for life after JMU.  Recent students show that the major is no longer a guarantor of lifelong job security and that the skills most needed for post-graduation success are the cross-cutting ones associated with integrated general education experiences.
Are 300-level courses harder than 'normal' general education classes?

Previous students report that they were nervous about taking their 300-level, but by the end of the class they describe these classes as:

  • I thought his was a great class … it makes learning so much better when you learning about something you want to learn about and understand.
  • It was a really good experience … important … enhanced my learning.
  • It was an awesome experience.  Not only extremely fun, but I learned a lot.
  • I learned a ton of information and gained skills for my resume.
  • I loved this class! It was culturally and intellectually engaging.
  • I would take a course like this again.

These courses are less about memorizing facts and figures and more centered on thinking deeply or analyzing.  In other words, you’ll use the knowledge you’ve already gained in other university courses and experiences to examine a topic in depth.

How many credits is the 300-level class?
Can I take more than one 300-level class?
While registration for the 300-level classes is restricted to students needing to fulfill the critical thinking area of Cluster One during advance and transfer registration, students can enroll in these classes for elective credit if there are seats available.
Some of these classes look pretty cool! Can I take a 300-level class as a first year student?
Sadly, no.  Students with less than 45 credits and/or without coursework in 4 of the 5 clusters, are prevented from registering for these integrative general education courses.