Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

C. Skip Trudeau

Second Advisor

Tim Herrmann

Third Advisor

Tom Jones


General education has always been an integral part of the college experience. It is at the very heart of what it means to be a liberal arts institution. Currently this curriculum is being revamped, revitalized and even questioned at many institutions. Many programs lack purpose and goals behind the curriculum. Ernest Boyer, through his work at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, created a unique vision and displayed exemplary passion for core curriculum in general education. This study focuses on Boyer's professional publications and highlights his work in higher education curriculum. His published works on general education through the Carnegie Foundation are synthesized to provide a literature review as a foundation for this project. Through archival research at the Boyer Center, a historiography using qualitative research methods analyzes certain influential events in Boyer’s life as well as major themes and subthemes that emerged as part of his general education vision. Archives used included published and unpublished works such as speeches, personal notes, articles and interviews. Themes that emerged from this research include coherence, two goals for education and six themes for learning. These overarching themes and practices are then used to create an application and provide recommendations for how educators can use Boyer’s vision to revitalize general education on college campuses today. Sections on limitations and further research provide areas of improvement on this topic and opportunities for future studies in regards to general education and Ernest Boyer.