Liberal Education at Miami

Office of Liberal Education
315A and 315B Laws Hall
Phone: 513-529-7135

Global Miami Plan for Liberal Education

Miami University was founded on the belief that a liberal education provides the best possible framework for life in a changing world. At Miami, liberal education complements specialized studies in the major. It is designed to help students understand and creatively transform human culture and society by giving students the tools to ask questions, examine assumptions, exchange views with others, and become better global citizens.

Toward that end, from 2012-2014, the university devoted considerable energy and time to revising its Global Miami Plan requirements. Key goals of the revision were to:

  • Advance 21st century learning outcomes (based on employer studies);
  • Enable greater flexibility in degree options and ease advisement; and
  • Include a meaningful and efficient assessment plan so that we can ensure we are reaching our goals.

All Miami undergraduate students who enter in fall 2015 and thereafter will be required to complete the GMP requirements.

Grounded in the "Liberal Education & America’s Promise (LEAP)" framework developed by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), the newly revised Global Miami Plan is comprehensive, spanning all four years of a student’s undergraduate education and involving:

  • foundation courses that focus on the humanities, arts, natural science, mathematics & quantitative reasoning, composition, and global perspectives;
  • a thematic sequence (or a series of courses which include some upper-level ones) focused on a topic of study;
  • an advanced writing course, an intercultural perspectives course, and an experiential learning requirement; and
  • a culminating capstone experience that includes a student-led project.

The signature feature of the revised Global Miami Plan is its emphasis on critical thinking and written communication, which are embedded in all components of the plan. Critical thinking is defined as the habit of mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion. Written communication is the development and expression of ideas in writing in many genres and styles.

The Global Miami Plan also advances other learning objectives and competencies such as:

  • Civic Knowledge & Engagement
  • Creative Thinking
  • Ethical Reasoning
  • Global Learning
  • Intercultural Knowledge & Competence
  • Integrative Learning
  • Information Literacy
  • Inquiry and Analysis
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Oral Communication
  • Problem-Solving
  • Teamwork
  • Quantitative Literacy

Requirements of the Global Miami Plan

All students must complete liberal education requirements as well as courses in the major. The Global Miami Plan has six parts: Foundation Courses, a Thematic Sequence, Advanced Writing, Intercultural Perspectives, Experiential Learning and a Capstone Course.

The Foundation (MPF) requirement is met by taking a minimum of 27 semester hours of Foundation courses across five specific areas:

  1. English Composition (3 hours)
  2. Creative Arts, Humanities, Social Science (9 hours)
    1. Creative Arts (3 hours)
    2. Humanities (3 hours)
    3. Social Science (3 hours)
  3. Global Perspectives (6 hours)
    1. Study Abroad (6 hours fulfills requirement), or
    2. Global Courses (6 hours)
  4. Natural Science (6 hours, must include one laboratory course)
    1. Biological Science (3 hours minimum)
    2. Physical Science (3 hours minimum)
  5. Mathematics, Formal Reasoning, Technology (3 hours)

The Thematic Sequence (MPT) requirement is met by completing related courses (at least nine hours) in an approved Thematic Sequence outside the student's department of major. This requirement can also be fulfilled by a second major or a minor outside the student’s department of major.

The Advanced Writing Course requirement is fulfilled by completing three hours in an approved advanced writing course or a series of courses per department requirements.  These courses are typically at the 200-300 level and focus on writing instruction.

The Experiential Learning Requirement carries no specific credit hour minimum and can be fulfilled by coursework, service learning, independent study, internships, student teaching, performance or portfolio projects.

The Intercultural Perspectives Requirement is fulfilled by completing three hours in an approved Intercultural Perspectives course.

The Capstone Course (MPC) requirement is met by completing three hours in an approved Capstone course during a student's senior year.

Extended Study and Service-Learning in Global Miami Plan Courses

Students may gain an extra credit hour in any Foundation course, Thematic Sequence course, or Capstone for extended academic work and/or Service-Learning activities directly connected to the content and objectives of these courses. Students are responsible for initiating the extra-hour proposals. Instructors will determine whether the proposed work represents an extra credit hour and if their teaching schedules and related professional activities will permit them to sponsor and monitor these projects. The maximum number of hours of extended study or Service-Learning that can be applied to graduation is four; students may propose and enroll in such courses no more than once each semester.

Extended study and/or Plus One Option forms, which must be completed by students and endorsed by sponsoring instructors and department chairs, are available from the Office of Community Engagement and Service. For more information, consult the Office of Liberal Education, the Office of Community Engagement and Service or