Underlying the General Education program at NUS is the concept of an educated person, expressed as:
Regardless of the choice of the major, there is a broad range of knowledge, abilities, predispositions and attitudes that we expect of a university graduate, collectively serving as the hallmark of higher education.
General Education Modules are different from other modules in two respects. First, they are general in the sense that they aim at those aspects of knowledge and abilities that we expect of educated individuals in general, not the knowledge and abilities that are required in the specialisation in a particular discipline or profession. Second, they aim at education in the sense that they seek to inculcate higher order qualities of the mind and intellect that make a person educated, as opposed to the practical know-how and abilities that might be useful in one's daily life or contribute to success in career.
General Education (GE) connects disciplinary knowledge and perspectives with the skills needed for lifelong learning beyond the university. GE inculcates the qualities of mind that define a successful graduate and aims to help our students to become generalists, while disciplinary majors is about producing specialists. GE is not an extension of the disciplinary majors; it is above the distinction between science and humanities and not meant to compensate students from their supposed lack of knowledge in any disciplinary domain.
We expect well-trained scientists, doctors, historians, engineers, and lawyers to perform well in their domains of specialisation and to be able to continue learning; but we expect well-educated scientists, doctors, historians, engineers, and lawyers to have the capacity to engage in inquiry outside their own spheres, participate in controversies of general interest, have the academic literacy to read The Economist, Scientific American, and The Times Literary Supplement with critical understanding, hold an informed discussion with other educated people from various cultural backgrounds, and be able to critically evaluate the assertions in newspaper articles.