General Education Program

The goal of an AUP education is to nurture the development of individuals to become independent thinkers, adaptable lifelong learners, and active contributors to society. Students are encouraged to translate intellectual endeavor into civic responsibility, and to apply the lessons of history to today’s demands—and to those of the future.

AUP’s General Education Program is entitled “Envisioning a World of Interdependence.” This four-year program complements the specialized work in a major by running parallel to it over the course of a student’s academic trajectory.  We aim to foster a sense of belonging to the world—and prepare our students to take on the challenges of the twenty-first century.

The General Education Program includes five main components:

  • FirstBridge is a content-rich, team-taught, interdisciplinary first-year learning community focused on effective communication across cultures. Reading, writing, researching, and public speaking are central to the experience.
  • Speaking the World emphasizes the links between language and culture. We place a high value on speaking more than one language fluently, and on using second and third languages in research, travel, and internships.
  • Modeling the World includes scientific and mathematical investigations. We believe science and math are essential means of learning for informed, ethically aware world citizens.
  • Comparing Worlds is our humanities component, emphasizing historical and cross-cultural understanding. The ability to compare is a critical interpretative skill.
  • Mapping the World draws from the social sciences—and on the metaphor of mapmaking—to explore how human experience has been organized across time and place. 

The General Education Program is designed to produce students who will be active actors and agents in an increasingly complex world.

Education for global citizenship

Our student body is international and multilingual. It requires a special culture of literacy, one that respects the ongoing work of language acquisition—of both French and English—for nearly all our students.

We also emphasize other values in our quest to create informed, engaged global citizens. These values include:

  • Flexibility. We give our students choices as learning objectives may be reached by many different paths. Factors such as linguistic skills, background, and career interests may influence the series of choices made over the course of an AUP career.
  • Familiarity with new technologies. Technology continues to race forward. At AUP, we often embed technology skills within general education courses—from mastery of state-of-the-art software to data retrieval and evaluation, information gathering to advanced research methods.
  • Interdisciplinary modes of thinking. The broad exposure to a variety of different disciplines develops the power to synthesize, adapt, apply, and compare different approaches—all skills crucial in a globalized world.
  • Opportunities for autonomous—and team—work. We respect our student’s individual and intellectual freedom and offer opportunities to expand and challenge their horizons. We also emphasize work in cross-cultural groups where they must adapt to the pace, dynamics, worldviews, and demands of a diverse team.
  • Integration of work inside and outside the classroom. We encourage the integration of higher learning with real-life situations. Whether through editorships, internships, co-curricular opportunities, or interaction with communities beyond the university gates, this integration prepares students for their entrance into the “real world” after graduation.

A voluntary senior capstone allows students to reflect upon their entire AUP education—an experience, we’re sure, that will change their lives.