Curricular Requirements

Alma College aims to provide each student with a broad education, which includes knowledge, skills and understanding.

The purpose of the general education program is to provide each student with a broad liberal arts education and a solid foundation for all fields of concentration. The following goals have been established for the general education curriculum:

  1. Depth of knowledge in one or more disciplines. Through majors, minors and POEs, all students will achieve mastery in one or more focused disciplinary or approved interdisciplinary path(s) of study.
  2. Breadth of knowledge in the Liberal Arts tradition. Students will demonstrate comprehension and application of the different ways of knowing in disciplines from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences.
  3. Effective communication. Students will demonstrate abilities to communicate effectively in a variety of settings and for diverse audiences through writing, speaking and other forms of expression.
  4. Development of intellectual tools. Students will demonstrate skills in critical analysis, quantitative and qualitative analysis and synthesis, scientific methods, and the use of information resources and technology.
  5. Understanding of societies and cultures. Students will develop understanding of
    • the variety in human cultures, societies, histories and aesthetic and ethical systems both within their own nation and in the larger global community;
    • the interrelationships between different parts of the global community;
    • their own place within and responsibility to this community.

To achieve the major objective of each area outlined above, student must complete courses or demonstrate proficiency in a variety of disciplines, known as the distributive requirements. Transferred courses must be approved for application.


Alma College assumes that incoming students will have developed the basic skills for reading, listening and studying to a level adequate for success at the beginning level of college. The Center for Student Opportunity offers programs to support students who wish to improve their skills in these areas.


The writing competency of entering students is evaluated and freshmen are required to enroll in an English composition class during their first or second term. Most students demonstrate proficiency by completing ENG 101 with a “C” (2.0) or better grade. Exceptionally qualified first-year students (as determined by ACT English sub-scores) may choose ENG 201 in place of ENG 101.

As a requirement for graduation, each student will successfully complete 16 credits of designated Quill writing courses. These credits will include ENG 101 (or its equivalent) during the first year of residency as well as at least one upper-level Quill course (2 or 4 credits) in the student’s major field of study.

By definition, a Quill course is designed to improve the quality of student writing. To qualify as a Quill course, at least 25 percent of the final course grade must be based on written work, and at least 15 percent of the final course grade must be based on written work that has been submitted, evaluated, revised and resubmitted for final evaluation.


All students are required to successfully complete at least four credits of college-level mathematical or computational science coursework as part of the distributive requirements. To ensure that all entering students are prepared for college-level work in mathematics, the college will determine the mathematical competency of all entering first-year and transfer students. Students who are not exempt on the basis of a qualifying ACT sub-score are required to take a placement exam to determine a recommended initial course. MTH 101 (or demonstrated competency) is a prerequisite for many other courses. Credit for MTH 099 does not count toward the minimum degree requirements.