Penn State's General Education program is designed to enable students to:
- acquire knowledge through critical information gathering, including reading and listening, computer-assisted searching, and scientific experimentation and observation;
- analyze and evaluate, where appropriate in a quantitative manner, the acquired knowledge;
- integrate knowledge from a variety of sources and fields;
- make critical judgments in a logical and rational manner;
- develop the skills to maintain health and understand the factors that impinge upon it;
- communicate effectively, both in writing and orally, and using the accepted methods for presentation, organization, and debate particular to their disciplines;
- seek and share knowledge, independently and in collaboration with others;
- gain understanding of international interdependence and cultural diversity and develop consideration for values, lifestyles, and traditions that may differ from their own;
- comprehend the role of aesthetic and creative activities expressing both imagination and experience.
Courses within the structure of General Education become an integral part of the overall educational experience. These courses may be relevant to a major or to an individual's interests, and students are encouraged to consider how a course might be useful to their current interests and goals. An important part of academic planning is working with an academic adviser not only to understand the role of General Education requirements, but also to make sure that course selections complement the academic requirements of a student's specific major.
General Education requirements will change for students who start at Penn State beginning summer 2018 or after. If you are currently a student, your requirements will not change. If you are interested in taking advantage of some of the changes, you are welcome to enroll in a new Integrative Studies course to satisfy one of your existing General Education requirements. All Integrative Studies courses have knowledge domains (GA, GH, GS, etc.) listed to help identify how a new course may apply to your requirements. Speak with your academic adviser for more details.