Objectives and Outcomes

Objectives and Outcomes

General Arts and Sciences Majors

Program Learning Objectives, Outcomes, and Assessment Measures

Assessment Goals Applicable to All Graduates

  • The liberal arts core of the GAS program requires students to take courses in writing/speaking, quantification, natural sciences, arts, humanities, social/behavior sciences, a foreign language, and other cultures. Taken together, these should lead students to acquire the following:
  • Knowledge
  • Students should acquire a broad but not superficial understanding of the Western intellectual tradition in its cultural, scientific, aesthetic, rhetorical, ethical, and linguistic aspects.
  • Students should acquire a basic understanding of at least one non-western culture.


  • As with all programs in the liberal arts, students should emerge with the abilities to read with comprehension, write with clarity and correctness, listen actively to the opinions and ideas of others, articulate clearly their own ideas and opinions, evaluate evidence and logic, make moral judgments and ethical decisions, and think logically and critically.
  • Students should also be able to use, evaluate, and integrate published scholarship into their own papers, reports, and essays.
  • Students should be able to use and apply basic mathematical and computational skills.
  • Students should be able to demonstrate a basic mastery of one foreign language.
  • Students who take advantage of internship or experiential learning programs should be able to relate classroom knowledge and theories to “real life” situations.


  • Students should acquire a tolerance for diverse opinions, cultures, races, ethnic, and religious ideas without sacrificing the ability to form and defend their individual ideas and values.
  • Students should acquire openness to new ideas in all fields of intellectual endeavor.
  • Students should acquire and develop curiosity about the world and a willingness to incorporate new knowledge into their existing patterns of thought and behavior.

Assessment Goals for the Humanities Option

  • Students should build upon the basic knowledge and skills as outlined above and develop a deeper level of expertise in a specific discipline (e.g. history), period, methodology, or theme.
  • Students should be able to do independent research in a humanities discipline.

Assessment Goals for the Science/Quantification Option

  • Students should demonstrate an understanding of scientific methodology, concepts, and problem-solving approaches.
  • Students should master sufficient mathematics to be functionally literate in the basic sciences.
  • Students should master basic laboratory techniques within at least one discipline (e.g. chemistry).

Assessment Goals for the Social/Behavioral Science Option

  • Students should understand the basic methodologies of social science research.
  • Students should be able to carry on independent research in a social or behavioral science discipline.

Assessment Goals for the Liberal Studies Option

  • Students should be able to articulate a unifying idea or theme in the courses selected for this option.

Measuring Outcomes

  • Obviously, one measure of a student’s success in this program is his or her performance as measured by grades and the student’s overall grade point average.
  • Of the remaining available measures, the most direct and practical would be a brief survey of students about to graduate from the program. This could be done in conjunction with the student’s degree audit, and completing the survey either in person or on-line could be strongly encouraged by the program chair conducting the degree audit.
  • Follow-up studies of students’ employment or advanced degree study is a less reliable (because of the difficulty to maintaining accurate mailing lists and obtaining responses) but also possible method of evaluation.