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General Education Requirement Changes Summary

[Changes that will apply to students starting in summer 2018 and after are in strikedout or Green]

THE BACCALAUREATE DEGREE GENERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM

The baccalaureate degree General Education program consists of 45 credits that are distributed among two General Education components: (1) Foundations Skills (15 credits) and (2) Knowledge Domains (30 credits) in the Natural Sciences, Arts, Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Health and Wellness Physical Activity. Every baccalaureate degree student also completes the First-Year Seminar, United States Cultures and International Cultures, and Writing Across the Curriculum requirements.

A restriction is placed on students in majors that are closely linked to the Knowledge Domains of Natural Sciences, Arts, Humanities, and Social and Behavioral Sciences to ensure that they participate in the full breadth of General Education. These students may not use a course in their academic major to satisfy one of the Knowledge Domains requirements. For example, an Economics major may not use an economics course to fulfill his/her social and behavioral sciences requirement. Also, students may not count courses cross-listed with courses in their major to fulfill one of the General Education Knowledge Domain requirements, e.g., a Theatre major may not register for THEA 208 (GA; US; IL) / AAAS 208 (GA; US; IL) and have it count in the Arts requirement.

BACCALAUREATE DEGREE REQUIREMENTS GENERAL EDUCATION

General Education Baccalaureate Degree Requirements

SKILLS FOUNDATIONS (must be completed with a C or better)

credits

Writing/Speaking (GWS)

9 credits

Quantification (GQ)*

6 credits

total

15 credits

 

KNOWLEDGE DOMAINS

credits

Health and Physical Activity (GHA) 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)**

total

30 credits

 

ADDITIONAL UNIVERSITY GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

 

First-Year Engagement, United States Cultures (US), International Cultures (IL) Writing Across the Curriculum (W, M, X, Y)

Have not changed and are University requirements not General Education

*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 thirty 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 five knowledge domains. Linked courses used for the Integrative Studies requirement must represent two different Knowledge Domain areas.

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 third course in one of the Knowledge Domains areas of Arts, Humanities, or Social and Behavioral Sciences, Natural Sciences, or Health and Wellness for a second course in one of the other areas. For example, a student might take three courses in the Arts, two courses in the Humanities, and only one course in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. In another example, a student might take two courses in the Natural Sciences and two courses in Health and Wellness; or a student might take two courses in the Natural Sciences and two courses in the Humanities. This substitution is often referred to as the Move 3 substitution 9-6-3 sequence, representing the 9 credits, 6 credits, and 3 credits completed in place of the specified 6-6-6.*
  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.

THE ASSOCIATE DEGREE GENERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM

The Associate degree General Education program consists of 21 credits that are distributed among two General Education components: (1) Foundations Skills: 6 credits in courses that develop communicative and quantitative skills; and (2) Breadth Across Knowledge Domains: 12 credits in the Natural Sciences, Arts, Humanities, and Social and Behavioral Sciences, with an additional 3 credits in any General Education area.

Associate degree students have a 3-credit requirement and may choose either a United States Cultures (US) course or an International Cultures (IL) course, and must complete a 3-credit writing intensive course (W).

A restriction is placed on students in majors that are closely linked to the Knowledge Domains areas of Natural Sciences, Arts, Humanities, and Social and Behavioral Sciences, in order to ensure that they participate in the full breadth of General Education. These students may not use a course in their academic major to satisfy one of the Knowledge Domains area requirements. For example, an Economics major may not use an economics course to fulfill his/her social and behavioral sciences requirement.

ASSOCIATE DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

GENERAL EDUCATION

General Education Associate Degree Requirements

SKILLS FOUNDATIONS

credits

Writing/Speaking (GWS)*

3 credits

Quantification (GQ)*

3 credits

total

6 credits

 

KNOWLEDGE DOMAINS

credits

Natural Sciences (GN)

3 credits

Arts (GA)

3 credits

Humanities (GH)

3 credits

Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS)

3 credits

total

12 credits

SKILL OR KNOWLEDGE DOMAINS

credits

Any General Education course, including Integrative Studies, can be taken to satisfy these 3 credits

3 credits

total

15 credits

 

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

credits

United States Cultures (US), or International Cultures (IL) or combined designation (US; IL)

3 credits**

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

3 credits**

total

6 credits

 

 

*  C or better required

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

 

Flexibility of the Associate Degree General Education Requirements

The General Education program extends the concept of flexibility to all aspects of the degree program. Penn State wants students to use General Education as an opportunity 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 these ends, students may, with the permission of their adviser and dean's representative:

  1. Substitute a 200- to 499-level course for an Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences, or Social and Behavioral Sciences 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. 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.
  3. Three credits of the required 21 credits of General Education courses are to be selected from any of the following General Education areas: Writing/Speaking, Quantification, Natural Sciences, Arts, Humanities, or Social and Behavioral Sciences.