Colleges must offer degree programs that reflect coherent courses of study that are compatible with their own missions, that are based upon fields of study appropriate to higher education, and that include general education components ensuring a breadth of knowledge that promotes intellectual inquiry and critical thinking. Thus, each degree must consist of coursework from each of the following five areas as defined by the Alabama Articulation and General Studies Committee (AGSC):
AREA I: Written Composition. Study in this area ensures effective written communication skills, which are essential in a literate society.
AREA II: Humanities and Fine Arts. Study in the humanities addresses the ability to deal with questions of values, ethics, or aesthetics as they are represented in literature, philosophy, religion, and the arts, and is fundamental to general education. In addition to literature, disciplines in the humanities and fine arts include, but are not limited to, area/ethnic studies, philosophy, religious studies, speech, foreign languages, art and art history, music and music history, theatre, and dance.
AREA III: Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Study in the natural sciences and mathematics emphasizes the scientific method and quantitative reasoning. Disciplines in the natural sciences included, but are not limited to,astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth science, geology, physical geography, physics, and physical science.
AREA IV: History, Social, and Behavioral Sciences.Study in history and the social and behavioral sciences deals primarily with the study of human behavior, social and political structures and economics. Disciplines other than history in this area include, but are not limited to, anthropology, economics, geography, political science, psychology,and sociology.
AREA V: Pre-Professional, Major, and Elective Courses. Area V is designated for courses appropriate to the degree/major requirements of the individual student.