The vision of General Education (GE) is to ensure that all CSUN students have a broad background in disciplines at the University level in order to appreciate the breadth of human knowledge and the responsibilities of concerned and engaged citizens of the world. Students must become lifelong learners and leave the University with a set of skills that includes the ability to read critically, to write and communicate orally with clarity and persuasiveness, to evaluate and draw appropriate inferences from limited information, and to access the wealth of technical, scientific and cultural information that is increasingly available in the global community. Students must gain an understanding of the major contributions made by individuals from diverse backgrounds in the sciences, business and economics, the arts, literatures, politics and technologies. It is through the GE Program that CSUN ensures that all students gain a sincere appreciation of how the diverse cultures housed in the United States, and specifically Southern California, lead to creative thinking and expression during a time in human history when cultural diversity provides different perspectives and insights from which to view human endeavors.

General Education Required Pattern of Courses

The required pattern of General Education consists of 48 units distributed among these areas:

Subject Area Units
Basic Skills 12 units
Subject Explorations:
Natural Sciences 8 units
Arts and Humanities 6 units
Social Sciences 6 units
Lifelong Learning 3 units
Comparative Cultural Studies/Gender, Race, Class, and Ethnicity Studies, and Foreign Languages 6 units
U.S. History and Government (Title 5) 6 units
Total Units Required General Education Units* 48 units

*Note: The sum of the minimums for each section is 47 units. After completing the course requirements for all sections, if fewer than 48 units have been completed, then one additional GE course selected from any of the GE sections must be completed to meet the 48-unit requirement.

Information Competence Requirement

Students are required to take Information Competence (IC)-designated courses. Students will progressively acquire information competence skills by developing an understanding of information retrieval tools and practices, as well as improving their ability to evaluate and synthesize information ethically.

Students must take two IC-designated courses, one course in the Basic Skills section and one course in the Subject Explorations section.

Basic Skills (12 units)

Basic Skills coursework provides students with the knowledge and abilities that they will find useful and necessary for other GE and University courses and in their pursuits after graduation. These fundamental courses in Analytical Reading and Expository Writing, Critical Thinking, Mathematics and Oral Communication will teach students how to read to understand and write about complex topics, how to distinguish correct from faulty reasoning, how to study and appreciate mathematical ideas and quantitative reasoning, and how to make public presentations of their own thoughts and research. Students should complete this section within their first 60 units. One course in this section must include the Information Competence (IC) designation.

Basic Skills Policy

All four sections of GE Basic Skills coursework must be completed by students within their first 60 units. All first-time freshmen will have mandatory advisement starting with their initial enrollment at the University and continuing each semester until the completion of Basic Skills.

Coursework must be completed as follows:

Students will enroll in the appropriate writing and math courses as advised until they complete GE Writing and GE Math within the first four semesters or 60 units, whichever comes first. Students will enroll either simultaneously or within two consecutive semesters in GE Oral Communication and GE Writing. Students will enroll in GE Critical Thinking after completing GE Math (within their first 60 units).

  1.  Students will take the appropriate course in the GE Analytical Reading and Expository Writing (AREW) sequence during their first semester at CSUN. Students will continue to enroll in the appropriate GE AREW course until they have satisfied the GE AREW requirement.
  2. Students will take either a GE Math course or a Developmental Math course during their first semester at CSUN. Students will continue to enroll in a developmental or GE Math course each semester until they have satisfied the GE Math requirement.
  3. Students will complete coursework in GE Critical Thinking after they complete GE Math but still within their first 60 units.
  4. Students will complete coursework in GE Oral Communication within their first 60 units.

Subject Explorations (29 units)

Subject Explorations coursework provides courses in the Natural Sciences; Art and Humanities; Social Sciences; Lifelong Learning; and Comparative Cultural Studies/Gender, Race, Class, and Ethnicity Studies, and Foreign Languages. At least one course taken to fulfill Subject Explorations must be designated as an IC course.

Natural Sciences (8 units)

Natural Sciences coursework provides students with a fundamental knowledge in the sciences, an understanding of how scientific knowledge moves forward using the scientific method, and an understanding of the role of science in a world that is increasingly reliant on scientific and technological advances.

Arts and Humanities (6 units)

Arts and Humanities coursework helps students to appreciate the rich history and diversity of human knowledge, discourse and achievements of their own and other cultures as they are expressed in the arts, literatures, religions and philosophy.

Social Sciences (6 units)

Social Science coursework will give students an understanding of the behavior of humans as we relate to each other, to ourselves and to our environments as we create the structures and values that govern our lives in the present and through time. These courses will give students an appreciation of the areas of learning concerned with human thought and an understanding of the nature, scope and limits of social-scientific study.

Lifelong Learning (3 units)

Lifelong Learning coursework encourages students to develop an appreciation for the importance of the continued acquisition of new and diverse knowledge and skills, and offers opportunities to integrate personal, professional, and social aspects of life.

Comparative Cultural Studies/Gender, Race, Class, and Ethnicity Studies, and Foreign Languages (6 units)

Comparative Cultural Studies coursework provides students with an introduction to the cultures and languages of other nations and peoples, the contributions and perspectives of cultures other than their own, and how gender is viewed in these cultures. Courses in this section will be referred to in this Catalog with the abbreviated phrase Comparative Cultural Studies.

U.S. History and Government (6 units)

U.S. History and Government is prescribed by California law (Title 5) and meets 6 of the 48 units required for General Education. U.S. History and Government courses cannot be used to fulfill the requirements of Subject Explorations.