What is General Education?
To have a successful career, be a responsible member of our diverse society, and lead a fulfilling life, requires a wide range of skills and familiarity with a wide range of topics and issues. General Education is the part of a college degree that is dedicated to providing these skills and this knowledge base for all students.
Through General Education students gain skills that employers value. This includes learning to:
- Communicate effectively both orally and in writing
- Think creatively and critically
- Understand numerical data and its uses (quantitative literacy)
- Locate and use information efficiently and responsibly (information literacy)
- Work effectively with others in diverse groups.
Click here for an article on what employers are looking for in college graduates.
General Education typically includes courses in the Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences. These courses provide students with the knowledge they need to understand contemporary issues and teach them to approach these issues from a variety of different points of view. These courses also introduce students to the ways in which scholars make new knowledge in each of these fields and so prepare them to understand our rapidly changing world. Courses in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences also introduce students to different cultures and traditions and so prepare them to participate in our increasingly diverse society and interconnected world.
General Education at CSU
The General Education program at Cleveland State is distinctive in its emphasis on skill development and its focus on educating students for success in diverse workplaces and communities. Click here for a summary table of CSU’s General Education requirements.
Students take two courses each in
- Arts and Humanities: click here for a list of courses
- Natural Sciences: click here for a list of courses
- Social Sciences: click here for a list of courses
One of the four courses in Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences must focus on Africa, Asia, Latin America, or the Middle East. Students also take one course focused on African-American experiences and one on social diversity in the United States (click here for a list of courses in these two areas).
Each of the courses in these areas also works to build at least two of the following six skills:
- Critical Thinking
- Group Work
- Information Literacy
- Oral Communication
- Quantitative Literacy
Special emphasis is placed on quantitative skills and skills in writing. Students take either two Math courses or one Math course and one approved Quantitative Literacy course (click here for a list of courses). And students take two courses in English Composition (click here for a list of courses) and three Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) courses. Faculty members from across the university teach WAC courses that emphasize how writing works in their specific areas of expertise. Students can substitute a Speaking Across the Curriculum (SPAC) course for one WAC course (click here for a list of WAC and SPAC courses).
Each major includes at least one WAC course that focuses on writing for that specific field. This is just one of the ways in which General Education works with students’ educations in their majors. Depending on the major, some General Education requirements may be fulfilled by courses that also count towards the major. And each major includes a Capstone course that polishes the skills that are most relevant to that major.
Students who have questions about their General Education requirements should meet with their academic advisor. For more information on determining which Advising office you should visit, click here