Baccalaureate Degree Requirements

Baccalaureate degree requirements for General Education - Foundations
FOUNDATIONS (must be completed with a C or better) credits

Writing/Speaking (GWS)

9 credits

Quantification (GQ)*

6 credits


15 credits

Baccalaureate degree requirements for General Education - Knowledge Domains

Health and Wellness (GHW)

3 credits

Natural Sciences (GN)

9 credits

Arts (GA)

6 credits

Humanities (GH)

6 credits

Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS)

6 credits

Integrative Studies (either Inter-domain or Linked courses)

(6 credits)**


30 credits

Baccalaureate degree requirements for General Education - additional requirements
First-Year Engagement credits vary
United States Cultures (US) 3 credits***
International Cultures (IL) 3 credits***

Writing Across the Curriculum (W, M, X,Y)

3 credits***

* 3-6 credits are selected from mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics; 3 credits may be selected from computer science or symbolic logic.

** Integrative Studies may be completed within the 30 Knowledge Domain credits and must be completed with either Inter-domain or Linked courses, not a combination of both. For Inter-domain courses, credit may apply to both Knowledge Domain designations but does not reduce the total number of credits within the Knowledge Domains and at least 3 credits of single-domain coursework are required in each of the 5 Knowledge Domains. Linked courses used for the Integrative Studies requirement must represent two different Knowledge Domains.

*** May be completed by designated courses that also meet other degree or General Education requirements.

Flexibility of the Baccalaureate Degree General Education Requirements

Penn State wants students to use General Education to experiment and explore, to take academic risks, to discover things they did not know before, and to learn to do things they have not done before. To that end, the General Education program extends the concept of flexibility to all aspects of the degree program.

Students may, with the permission of their adviser and dean's representative:

  1. Substitute a 200- to 499-level course in an area of General Education for a course found on the General Education list. For example, a student may take a 400-level course in history and use it to meet the General Education requirement satisfied by a comparable lower-level history course.
  2. Substitute a foreign language at the twelfth credit level of proficiency, as measured by the Penn State foreign language offerings, for 3 credits in any of the categories of General Education. Baccalaureate degree students may substitute study in a foreign/second language at the twelfth credit level of proficiency or higher for any three credits in any of the categories of general education only if those three credits are in language study beyond their degree requirements.
  3. Substitute a course in one of the Knowledge Domains areas of Arts, Humanities, or Social and Behavioral Sciences, Natural Sciences, or Health and Wellness for a course in one of the other areas. For example, a student might take 3 courses in the Arts, and only one course in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. In another example, a student might take 2 courses in the Natural Sciences and 2 courses in Health and Wellness; or a student might take 2 courses in the Natural Sciences and 3 courses in the Humanities. This substitution is referred to as the Move 3 substitution.
  4. The use of these two substitutions (No. 2 and No. 3 above), either alone or in combination, may not lead to the complete elimination of any area in the Foundations or Knowledge Domains categories in the student's general education program, nor may they be applied to reduction of credits in the same domain.
  5. Meet the United States Cultures (US) and International Cultures (IL) requirement through completion of an experiential learning program or practicum (one-semester or year long) approved by their College Dean's Office. Approved Penn State Education Abroad Programs may be used to satisfy the International Cultures (IL) requirement.
  6. Meet First-Year Engagement Program requirements through completion of a First-Year Experience offered by any unit of the University. Thus, a student who successfully completes a First-Year Engagement Program in one college or campus, prior to transferring to another college or campus, will not be required to complete another First-Year Experience. However, since there are various modes of offering First-Year Seminars throughout the University, students transferring to a new college may find that a required course that is also a First-Year Seminar must still be taken.