academic catalog

Enduring Values General Education Program

Bluffton University is a liberal arts institution which prepares students for a future that will be different than anyone can imagine. The Bluffton University Enduring Values General Education Program is at the core of the university curriculum and reflects the mission and values of the institution. The curriculum includes two main component areas: the Bluffton Blueprint and the Competencies.

Bluffton Blueprint

The Bluffton Blueprint provides a yearly sequence of shared experiences for students to develop a core of resiliency. This core includes a first-year and a capstone course, reflecting research that shows the importance of these bookend courses. the sophomore and junior courses offer significant experiential components to student learning.

First-year: Discovery
    BENV 100 Becoming a Scholar (3 hours)
   Ponder the big questions in life.
Sophomore: Community
    BENV 200 Learning in Community (5 hours)
    Work with community partners to see how coming together can bring about change.
Junior: Respect
    BENV 300 Cross-cultural (3 hours)
     Take a personal journey into the richness and challenges of other cultures.
Senior: Service
    BENV 400 Enduring Values Capstone (2 hours)
     Discover how your purpose in life can serve the greater global community.

The Competencies

The competencies provide for broad liberal arts learning while offering a great deal of flexibility. Students must take one course per competency and may only use the same prefix twice to meet competencies.

Writing Well (3 hours)   
CMP 110 College English
CMP 120 Advanced College English

Speaking and Listening (3hours)
COM 120 Communication for the Common Good
COM 195 Interpersonal Communication
HFS 170 Sport Communication
HON 200 Honors Seminar in Rhetoric and Argumentation
NTR 250 Nutrition Education and Communication

Living Well (2-3 hours)
HFS 120 Team and Individual Sports 1
HFS 130 Team and Individual Sports 2
HFS 155 Adventures in Outdoor Recreation
HFS 205 Leadership
HFS 220 Personal and Community Health Concerns
HFS 255 Competitive Strength Training
HFS 266 Personal Wellness and Exercise
MED 242 Social Media
NTR 105 Introduction to Foods
NTR 225 Fundamentals of Nutrition

Creative Expression (3 hours)
ART 135 Introduction to Visual Arts
ART 204 Drawing
ART 214 Watercolor
ART 217 Ceramics 1
ART 225 Printmaking 1
ART 227 Printmaking 3: Silkscreen
EDU 288 Developmental Curriculum: Learning and the Art
ENG 202 Introduction to Fiction Writing
ENG 203 Creative Writing: Poetry 
ENG 205 Creative Writing: Non-Fiction
HON 130 Art as Transformation
MUS 101, 103, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110 Applied Music
MUS 010, 021, 022, 024, 033, 035 Ensembles
MUS 136 World Music
MUS 161 Digital Music
THE 135 Introduction to Theatre
THE 136 Theatre for Social Change
THE 257 Performance Studies
THE 258 Acting

Reading the Bible (3 hours)
HON 120 Honors Seminar in Biblical Worldview and Hermeneutics
REL 100 Introduction to Biblical Worldview

Understanding self and society (3 hours)
COM 300 Gender and Communication
CRJ 180 Law, Justice and Society
ECN 141 Principles of Macroeconomics
ENG 312 Language Variation
HON 310 Junior Honors: In Search of Purpose
MED 240 Media and Culture
PLS 100 Introduction to Political Science
PLS 251 American Political Process
PSY 110 Introduction to Psychology
SOC 152 Introduction to Sociology
SOC 162 Anthropology
SOC/SWK 185 Women in Society
SWK 120 Introduction to Social Work
SWK 141 Social and Economic Justice

Exploring the Past (3 hours)
ART 327 Art History 1
ART 328 Art History 2
ENG 240 Survey of American Literature (beginning fall 2023)    
ENG 243 Studies in American Literature 
ENG 256 Survey of English Literature 1 (beginning fall 2023)   
ENG 257 Survey of English Literature 2 (beginning fall 2023)
HIS 200 Foundations of American Civilization
HIS 201 Contemporary America
HIS 210 World History 1

HIS 212 World History 2
HIS 252 Ohio and the Old Northwest
HIS 301 Studies in American History
HIS 302 Studies in European History
HIS 305 African-American History
HIS 312 European Women's History
HIS 320 Civil War and Reconstruction
HIS 325 The Great Depression and World War II
HIS 329 World War I and the Rise of Extremism
HIS 331 Nazi Germany and the Holocaust
HIS 332 Cold War Germany and Europe
HIS 340 Regional/National Studies
HIS 345 Food: A History
HON 210 Honors Seminar in the Humanities
HON 320 Nazi Germany and the Holocaust
MUS 321 Music History

Scientific Inquiry (4 hours)
BIO 105 Biological World
BIO 135 Botany
CEM 105 Experiential Chemistry
CEM 121 General Inorganic Chemistry
HON 240 Searching for Aliens
PHY 105 Physical World
PHY 202 Astronomy
PHY 211 Physics for Scientists and Engineers

Critical Analysis (3 hours)
BIO 230 Anatomy and Physiology
BUS/PSY/SOC 284 General Statistics
EDU 283 Teaching Children to Read: Elementary Education
EDU 297 Teaching Children to Read: Middle Childhood
ENG 160 Approaches to Literature
ENG 180 Themes in Literature
ENG 240 Survey of American Literature (through spring 2023)
ENG 252 Introduction to Linguistics
ENG 256 Survey of English Literature part 1(through spring 2023)
ENG 257 Survey of English Literature part 2(through spring 2023)
ENG 261 Studies in English Literature
ENG 271 English Grammar
HON 220 Great Writing: The Dream of a Common Language
HON 230 The History of Climate Change Science
MAT 135 Calculus 1
MAT 220 Discrete Mathematics
MUS 135 Introduction to Music
NRS 408 Current Trends and Issues in Nursing
NSC 106 Human Biology Today
NSC 107 The Science of Global Climate Change
NSC 109 Energy

Religious Understanding (3 hours)
HON 250 From Apocalypse to Zombie
HON 313 Whither the Sacred? Change and Continuity in the Sociology of Religion
REL 115 World Religions
REL 242 Spiritual Disciplines in the Life of the Church
REL 245 Spiritual Formation
REL 248 Principles of Youth Ministry
REL 250 Introduction to the Old Testament
REL 252 Introduction to the New Testament
REL 273 Christian Theology
REL 274 Christian Ethics
REL 275 History of Christianity
REL 276 War, Peace, and Nonviolence
REL 322 Methods of Biblical Interpretation
REL 334 Foundations in Christian Ministry
REL/HIS 359 Mennonite History and Thought

Cross-cultural requirement

Students meet this requirement in one of four ways: (1) completing  BENV 300 Cross-cultural Experience; (2) participating in the Washington Community Scholars' Center (WCSC) semester program, the Chicago Center or the Guatemala semester program; (3) participating in an approved semester abroad program; or (4) electing a minimum of six hours of one foreign language. International students may complete the requirement by completing SOC 162 Anthropology.

The majority of students meet their cross-cultural requirement through experiences offered during the May term. These experiences take place in international locations (e.g., Central America, Europe, Israel/Palestine, China, Trinidad, Botswana) and in domestic settings (Chicago, San Antonio, New York and Native American communities in the Southwest). The experiences available each May are announced on the Bluffton website or in the course listing found on

Please note: a cross-cultural experience will not fulfill the foreign language entrance requirement.

It is recommended that students who have matriculated at Bluffton and plan to use a language to meet the cross-cultural requirement take the language at Bluffton because of the unique experiential component as part of the language class. If students wish to seek permission to take a language course through another college to meet the cross-cultural requirement, the student must bring a proposal to the director of global education, explaining how the experiential component will be met before the course is taken. Following the completion of the language course and experiential component, a two page summary of the experiential component must be submitted to and approved by the director of global education before transfer credit will be accepted.

Foreign language course options:
SPA 111 Beginning Spanish 1 (3)
SPA 121 Beginning Spanish 2 (3)
SPA 225 Intermediate Spanish (3)
SPA 307 Advanced Grammar and Composition (3)
SPA 311 Survey of Peninsular Spanish Literature (3)
SPA 312 Survey of Spanish American Literature (3)
SPA 240 Spanish Conversation: Story of the Spanish Speaking World (3) 
SPA 242 Spanish Conversation: Music, Film, and Popular Culture in the Spanish Speaking World (3)
SPA 244 Spanish Conversation: Conflict and Social Change in the Spanish Speaking World (3)   

Arts and Lecture Credit requirement

The Bluffton University Arts and Lecture program provides an opportunity for shared academic and cultural experiences among faculty, staff and students across departments and disciplines. Lectures present ideas, issues and problems significant for general education and society at large.

All undergraduate students are expected to earn a total of 2 credits by graduation. Students earn 0.5 of an academic credit for every 15 unique Arts and Lecture events they attend. At least one-third of the Arts and Lecture credit earned must be from attendance at Tuesday morning Forums.

Students do not register for Arts and Lecture credit, nor will they be charged for this credit. Students accumulate event credit by scanning into and out of an event with their own student I.D. cards.

Seniors need to complete this requirement two weeks before graduation in order to receive their diploma at graduation.

LAS 101, 102, 103, 104 Arts and Lecture Credit (.5 each)
This credit is awarded to students who attend 15 unique events approved for arts and lecture credit. Five of the events must be part of the Forum series. Students are not billed for arts and lecture credit.

Language study requirement

Bluffton University requires all students to have a minimum exposure to a language other than English. This requirement may be met in several ways. Students who have completed a minimum of two years of high school language with grades of C- or higher (even if they have studied two different languages) have met the language study requirement. Students who have taken no high school language are required to take six semester hours of a foreign language at the college level.  Students who have taken one year of high school language are required to take three semester hours of a foreign language at the college level.

Students who transfer to Bluffton with at least 58 accepted transfer hours are exempt from this requirement. Students who have become proficient in a language other than English through intercultural experiences have met this requirement. 
Students completing two semesters of modern language study at the university level have met both the language study and the cross-cultural requirements. Completing a cross-cultural experience does not fill the language study requirement.

Students may enroll in Spanish without taking a placement test, using these guidelines:

Students who would like to attempt to place into a higher level of Spanish may take a Spanish placement exam (free, online, ungraded, and not recorded on the transcript). Performance on the placement exam will not lower the entry level course.

July 2023