Apr 14, 2021  
2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog 
2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

General Education Program

View the General Education Summit Program .


The curriculum of general education is central to the mission of CSU Stanislaus and to the explicit commitment to a quality liberal arts education. Subject and/or unit requirements may be fulfilled according to the University’s credit-by-examination policies.

The purpose of general education is to provide a common educational experience for students, regardless of major field of study. The faculty are committed to ensuring that the general education program cultivates knowledge, skills, and values that are characteristic of a learned person.

The general education program is organized into five subject areas of communication skills, natural sciences and mathematics, humanities, social sciences, and individual resources for modern living. The general education program also includes required courses in history and government. The multicultural education requirement offers students course work which addresses multicultural, ethnic studies, gender, or nonwestern cultures issues.

The academic goals of the University specify that the University will guide students to attain mastery in the search for knowledge and to become critical thinkers who have attained effective levels of expressive and scientific literacy. Those who graduate will be versatile in their approach to problems and refined in their ability to frame and test intellectual arguments and hypotheses. They will have knowledge of the arts, history, and cultural identities of past and current societies. They will understand the value of being caring and humane citizens engaged by the challenges facing their evolving communities.

The University provides curricular and co-curricular activities to enhance global thinking and environmental awareness, and to cultivate respect for cultural diversity, both within and beyond the boundaries of its educational community.

The University collaborates with partners in its surrounding communities to provide “service learning” opportunities for enhancing the educational experiences and civic awareness of our students. (See Service Learning in the Student Affairs section of this catalog.)

Goals of the General Education Program

The general education program is designed to ensure the following goals:

  1. Subject Knowledge.  To provide an educational experience that will enhance students’ understanding of the disciplines’ basic principles, methodologies, and perspectives.
  2. Communication.  To provide an educational experience that will enhance the ability to communicate.
  3. Inquiry and Critical Thinking.  To provide an educational experience that will enhance critical thinking skills and will contribute to continuous inquiry and life-long learning.
  4. Information Retrieval and Evaluation.  To provide an educational experience that will enhance the ability to find, understand, examine critically, and use information from various sources.
  5. Interdisciplinary Relationships.  To provide an educational experience that will enhance students’ understanding of a discipline’s interrelationships with other disciplines.
  6. Global or Multicultural Perspectives.  To provide an educational experience that will enhance the ability to look at issues from multiple perspectives and/or that will describe the discipline’s impactton or connection to global issues, AND/OR
  7. Social Responsibility.  To provide an educational experience that will help students understand the complexity of ethical judgment and social responsibility and/or that will describe the discipline’s impact on or connection to social and ethical issues.

Credit Policy for General Education

The Schedule of Classes Informational Guide and the catalog designate the current courses offered at CSU Stanislaus which are applicable to General Education requirements. Only courses so designated are approved for credit applicable to General Education. All enrolled undergraduates should, therefore, refer to the current General Education Curriculum which lists acceptable General Education courses.

Breadth Requirements for General Education

The University’s General Education requirements are prescribed by the California Code of Regulations. It consists of a minimum of 51 semester units as described below, including at least 9 upper-division units. At least 9 of these 51 semester units shall be earned at the University. However, credit earned in fulfillment of the upper-division writing competency graduation requirement is not applicable to this 51-unit General Education program. The University accepts certification of General Education— Breadth requirements by a California Community College or a CSU campus, according to CSU regulations. Upon request, the University will report completion of these requirements to another CSU campus.

CSU General Education-Breadth Requirements are designed so that, taken with the major depth program and electives presented by each baccalaureate candidate, they will assure that graduates have made noteworthy progress toward becoming truly educated persons. Particularly, the purpose of these requirements is to provide means whereby graduates:

  • Will have achieved the ability to think clearly and logically, to find information and examine it critically, to communicate orally and in writing, and to reason quantitatively;
  • Will have acquired appreciable knowledge about their own bodies and minds, about how human society has developed and how it now functions, about the physical world in which they live, about the other forms of life with which they share that world, and about the cultural endeavors and legacies of their civilizations;
  • Will have come to an understanding and appreciation of the principles, methodologies, value systems, and thought processes employed in human inquiries.


General Education Curriculum

A. Communication Skills

(9 units minimum)

B. Natural Sciences and Mathematics

(9 units minimum)

Note: Complete at least one course from each of the 3 groups listed below. This must include a laboratory course from either group 1 or 2.


All the above MATH courses require an ELM score of 50 or above prior to enrollment.

C. Humanities Requirement

(9 units minimum)

Requirements may be satisfied partially by acceptable scores on the CLEP Humanities General Examination.

Note: Include at least 3 units from group 1, and 3 units from group 2, below.

3. Foreign Language

D. Social, Economic, and Political Institutions and Human Behavior

(12 units minimum)

1. United States History and Constitution/California State and Local Government:

Students may satisfy subject requirements in United States History and Constitution and California State and Local Government by passing departmental examinations in these fields.

The California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 40404, requires “…appropriate courses in the Constitution of the United States, and in American history, including the study of American institutions and ideals, and of the principles of state and local government established under the Constitution of this State…” Completion of one course under (a) and the course under (b) below satisfies these requirements.


One course covering United States Constitution and California State and local government:

2. A minimum of one course from each group is required.

Requirements may be satisfied partially by acceptable scores on the CLEP Social Sciences General Examination.

E. Individual Resources for Modern Living

(3 units minimum)

Note: Include one course from each group of courses:

F. Upper-Division General Education Requirements

(9 units minimum)

Each student is to complete a minimum of 9 units of upper-division level GE coursework. These courses may be taken no earlier than the term in which upper-division status (completion of 60 semester units) is attained.

The General Education Summit Program offers an alternative way to fulfill 6 of these 9 units.  Click here for more information .

Students will not be given upper-division General Education credit for coursework in the discipline(s) of their major or concentration. The distribution of the 9 units must include 3 units from each of the three following areas:

1. Natural Science and Mathematics

2. Humanities

3. Social, Economic, and Political Institutions and Human Behavior

G. Multicultural Requirement

(3 units minimum)

Within General Education selections, students must complete at least 3 units of the following coursework that addresses multicultural, ethnic studies, gender, or nonwestern cultures issues. Courses that fulfill both the multicultural and another General Education area requirement are indicated below and are cross-referenced above with a “(G)”: