Liberal Education at Miami

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

The Miami Plan: Global. Innovative. Impactful.

Miami University was founded in 1809 on the belief that a liberal education provides the best possible experience for life in a changing world. “Liberal,” from the Latin liberalis, means “free” - the kind of education that free and democratic citizens should attain. Miami’s emphasis on an innovative approach to the total curriculum continues and is now referred to as the Miami Plan (MP). 

The Miami Plan is not a list of courses; rather, it is a philosophy that binds your coursework together. It enhances specialized studies in any major or professional field and provides contexts for exploring social, academic, political, and professional choices. The Miami Plan empowers students to creatively transform the future with the tools to question assumptions, design solutions, exchange views with others, and become better global citizens. This experience develops transferable skills in Miami’s “Four Pillars” that embody the values and mission of a Miami education.

  • Civic-Mindedness and Social Engagement

  • Critical and Integrative Thinking

  • Collaboration and Innovation

  • Communication and Expression

The three main components of the Miami Plan are the Perspectives Areas, Signature Inquiries, and Knowledge in Action.

1. Perspectives Areas (39 hours*)

These courses broaden students' intellectual skills by equipping them to examine issues from the perspectives of different academic disciplines and interdisciplinary departments and to engage with different cultural perspectives. The Global Citizenship Perspectives Area sets Miami's liberal education experience apart from programs at other universities. Students will be prepared to bring new perspectives to bear on problems addressed in their future professional and civic life.

*Note: Advanced Writing may be completed without an additional 3 hour class.

Formal Reasoning and Communication (9 hours)

  • Composition (3 hours)
  • Advanced Writing (3 hours)
  • Mathematics and Formal Reasoning (3 hours)

Science and Society (12+ hours minimum)

  • Social Sciences (6 hours)
  • Natural Sciences (6 hours minimum; must include one laboratory course).

Arts and Humanities (6 hours)

  • Creative Arts (3 hours)
  • Humanities (3 hours)

Global Citizenship (12 hours)

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (3 hours)
  • Intercultural Consciousness (3-6 hours)
  • Global Inquiry (3-6 hours)

2. Signature Inquiries (9 hours)

Miami’s Signature Inquiries are curricular innovations designed around 5 major areas for topic-based inquiry, pushing the boundaries of pedagogy. These courses encourage faculty and students working in different academic areas to connect in addressing vital and important needs in today's world that require understanding and solutions from a variety of disciplines. Signature Inquiries guide students to areas of study beyond their primary major(s). They feature authentic, active learning and application of knowledge, and are interdisciplinary at minimum in the course readings, activities, or methodologies. Best of all they are designed for the benefit of non-majors who can employ prior knowledge or skills from these courses into other fields.

Requires 9 hours minimum from 3 different departments/programs that can overlap (i.e. "double dip") with the Perspectives Areas requirement. Students may choose to concentrate on one topic, or they can take hours from different topic areas that include:

  • Sustainability and Resilience
  • Power, Justice, and Social Change
  • Technology, Information, and Society
  • Creativity, Storytelling, and Design
  • Global Health and Wellness

3. Knowledge in Action (3+ hours minimum)

Throughout their education, but especially as they approach graduation, students are encouraged to look to the horizons at their future in the world. Students participate in experiential learning and, as culmination of their Miami education, a Miami Senior Capstone course. These experiences place a special emphasis on applying knowledge and skills they’ve gained during their time at Miami to settings beyond Miami.

Experiential Learning (0+ hours)

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

Senior Capstone (3 hours)

  • The SC requirement is met by completing 3 hours in an approved Senior Capstone course during a student's senior year (minimum of 93 hours registered or earned).

Global Miami Plan Students (Pre-2023)

For students who enrolled prior to Fall 2023, please see the Bulletin from your appropriate Bulletin Year for Global Miami Plan requirements. Students enrolled under the Global Miami Plan (pre-2023) may opt to fulfill their liberal education requirements with the new Miami Plan outlined here. Contact the Divisional advising offices for details.

For more information regarding the Miami Plan, or the old Global Miami Plan (pre-2023), please visit the Office of Liberal Education website: