Undergraduate Catalog

General Education

Dr. Miako Villanueva, Director
General Education 

Gallaudet University welcomes students into a unique learning environment, designed for deaf scholars and those who wish to engage deeply with deaf communities. Within this context, Gallaudet’s Core curriculum provides learning opportunities that support the ability to be healthy, productive agents of positive change in all of our communities. We do so by deeply respecting our Deaf and other interacting identities, and grounding into them as we explore ways to engage more deeply with each other and the world.

Three components

  • Experience: welcoming ourselves and each other to this journey of deaf academic co-creation; setting the foundation for continuously striving to better understand ourselves, in relation to each other, and the skills we all continually strive to improve
  • Exploration: challenging ourselves to consider myriad possible ways of thinking, learning, interacting, innovating, and creating that lead toward positive advancement of deaf and other communities
  • Engagement: practicing deep and positive interaction with each other and honing our skills for long-term engagement with our communities throughout our lives

The Core curriculum begins and ends with VEE*.

Our two semesters of first-year seminar (VEE101 and VEE102) welcome students into Gallaudet’s unique educational environment with deep dives into Deafhood, our bilingual identities as ASL and English users, and multi-cultural and multi-identity exploration, all grounded in personal wellness and self-discovery, which lead toward exploration of the academic possibilities Gallaudet has to offer while opening up thinking about myriad career opportunities beyond.

VEE300 caps off each student’s Core experience with deep self-reflection on how they have grown and will continue to develop as Gallaudet scholars:

wellness-grounded, proudly bilingual, career-ready critical thinkers, who are digitally aware, ethical, scientifically literate global citizens

Core Requirements

Requires 43 credits (some credits may also count toward the student’s major or minor)

Three components of the Core curriculum:

  • Experience (18 credits):
    • This is the “freshman foundation”
    • First year seminar
      • Two semesters (6 credits)
      • VEE101 & VEE102
    • Pathways
      • Bilingual pathway:
        • ASL course: ASL 125 (3 credits)
        • English course: GSR 102 (3 credits)
        • Bilingual course: VEE 150 (3 credits)
      • Math pathway:
        • 3 credits
        • GSR104 or MAT130 (depending on future goals)
  • Explore (24 credits):
    • Purpose: allow students the freedom to determine and follow their own interests while gaining the skills needed to explore big questions, develop foundational competence in discipline-specific methodologies and create new knowledge or novel solutions
    • CORE: EXPLORE - electives overview
    • 4 Areas of Inquiry
      • Creativity & Communication
      • Identities & Cultures
      • Ethics & Civics
      • Science & Technology
    • Two courses (6 credits) required from each Area
    • These may also count toward the student’s major or minor
  • Engage (participation milestones plus 1 credit):
    • Purpose: To foster a sense of belonging, develop relationships, build an ethic of civic responsibility and service, and gain practical experience
    • At least two semesters of active participation on campus
    • At least one semester of active participation off campus
    • A final culmination one-credit online course
      • VEE300
      • Completion of both on- and off-campus engagement as prerequisites
      • Focused on developing a reflective portfolio, integrating learning from throughout the EXPERIENCE, EXPLORE, and ENGAGE components of the Core curriculum
      • Connecting Core learning to the student’s major and future plans
      • Using the Core SLOs as the touchstone


*VEE is the label for an ASL sign that doesn’t have a direct English translation. Its meaning incorporates the concepts of “notice, be fascinated, find interesting, analyze, observe, and watch”. When we use VEE as the name for our Core curriculum courses, we are celebrating our bilingualism and encouraging our students to be intellectually curious in both ASL and English and whatever languages they bring with them.