Obtaining higher education can be a daunting task, and often, planning a degree path can be just as stressful as the coursework itself. Not only do students need to determine their primary discipline, but also many colleges require their students to take general education courses. These generic course requirements vary across institutions, and it can be difficult to know which courses are necessary. In this article, we've provided a general education requirements template to help you plan your degree path stress-free!
What are general education courses?
General education courses are typically designed to teach diverse skills that students will need as valuable members of society. These skills, like civic knowledge and communication, are ones that every person should master, regardless of their chosen course of study. Colleges and universities often require students to take a certain number of classes that satisfy their general education requirements. The standard requirement is 40 credits. While course topics vary between schools, most general education classes focus on:
- Critical and analytical thinking skills
- Clear communication and the formation of logical arguments
- Understanding cultural diversity in society
- Problem-solving strategies
- Knowledge of emerging technologies
- Incorporating traditional information into new ideological perspectives
- Appreciation for the arts, humanities, and social sciences
- Evaluating biological and physical data, as well as environmental issues, to expand knowledge of the natural sciences
How do I know which general education courses to take?
When deciding which general education courses to take, know that typically, you must cover the following categories:
- Written Communication
- Oral Communication
- Civic Engagement
- Social Science
- Natural Science
- Natural Science with Lab
In addition to these subjects, you will need electives and courses that count towards your major area of study.
What is the breakdown of my credits when getting my bachelor's degree?
While credit breakdowns vary depending on the school you plan on attending and your major, you can expect to have to take 40 credits of general education, 24 credits of electives, 36 credits of major courses, and 20 credits of minor courses.
Here, we have created a template for what your degree plan could look like. We have included what your general education requirements may be but be sure to double check specific requirements of the college you intend on attending.
General Education Template: 60 Credits
|Subject Area||Degree Requirement||Course Example||Credits|
|Written & Oral Communication||Written Communication||College Composition I||3|
|Written & Oral Communication||Written Communication||College Composition II||3|
|Written & Oral Communication||Oral Communication||Public Speaking||3|
|Civic & Global Learning||Diversity||World Religion||3|
|Civic & Global Learning||Ethics||Ethics in America||3|
|Civic & Global Learning||Civil Engagement||American Government||3|
|Humanities/Social Science||History||U.S. History||3|
|Humanities/Social Science||Social Science||Psychology||3|
|Humanities/Social Science||Social Science||Geography||3|
|Humanities/Social Science||Foreign Language||Spanish||3|
|Natural Science & Mathematics||Natural Science with Lab||Biology with Lab||3|
|Natural Science & Mathematics||Natural Science||Chemistry||3|
|Natural Science & Mathematics||Mathematics||College Algebra||3|