General Education Program

UDC’s General Education Program is rooted in both the classical ideals of undergraduate liberal education and UDC’s unique history, mission, and student population. It gives students a solid foundation in the liberal arts and sciences, helping them develop the intellectual tools they need to excel in any endeavor they pursue. It exposes students to the wisdom and perspective of a variety of disciplines, and it builds fundamental skills that they will be able to use no matter what their ultimate major or career. In a rapidly-changing, increasingly complex world in which our graduates may change careers multiple times, a strong general education is needed more than ever.

The GEP is built on three values that are fundamental to UDC:


Freedom is at the heart of the GEP. UDC traces its roots back to the antebellum era, when abolitionist Myrtilla Miner challenged the conventions of her time by founding the “School for Colored Girls.” For Miner and her teachers, education and freedom were inextricably intertwined: education offered hope for the future and provided a solid foundation for a fruitful life of freedom. At UDC today, we embrace the idea that education broadens our world and makes us more free – free to think and act, to analyze and question, to explore and discover. Through interdisciplinary courses that build foundational skills and encourage intellectual inquiry, the GEP helps students appreciate the opportunities and confront the challenges of freedom.


The GEP supports UDC’s mission to serve the city. As the only public university in our nation’s capital, UDC has a special responsibility to the people of the city and to the country. We expect our students not only to excel academically and professionally, but also to become community leaders. With courses that foster ethical awareness, global engagement, and civic responsibility, the GEP challenges students to take responsibility for themselves, participate fully in civic life, and contribute meaningfully to our democracy.

The Pursuit of Learning

The GEP encourages our students to be lifelong learners who pursue educational opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. UDC students come from a variety of backgrounds and arrive on campus at varying stages in their lives, and their needs and interests change over time. By offering a broad array of interdisciplinary courses that emphasize independent inquiry, the GEP helps students learn to ask relevant questions, find and evaluate answers to those questions, and use the answers to make informed intellectual, social, and ethical decisions about local, national, global, personal, and professional issues throughout their lives.