The Purposes of a University Education

UND’s Philosophy of Essential Studies

As a Liberal Arts institution, UND believes that the Essential Studies (General Education) program is the foundation of a student’s degree, regardless of their specific major. While completing their Essential Studies courses, students are encouraged to explore a range of content areas and to develop broad learning abilities. Students’ Essential Studies courses should anchor their future university work and provide a model for life-long learning. Students are encouraged to consult with their academic advisor when choosing Essential Studies courses and to be particularly mindful of the ES program’s special emphasis on specific learning skills. (These courses are designated on the website.) Finally, all UND Students will complete an Essential Studies Capstone course, to be taken no earlier than the second semester of their junior year. By choosing courses that complement each other, students can reinforce and enhance the knowledge and abilities acquired in each course, as well as develop the ability to recognize relationships.

Oversight of the Essential Studies Program is the responsibility of the Senate Essential Studies Committee, a committee of the University Senate comprising student, faculty, and administrative representatives from across campus. UND’s full philosophy of Essential Studies, the specific requirements of the program, as well as the current and archival lists of courses ( that satisfy the requirements, can be found at the ES committee website: