May 26, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Institutional Learning

University Learning Goals | Program Learning Outcomes | GE Learning Goals | Course Learning Outcomes


In collaboration with nearby industries and communities, SJSU faculty and staff are dedicated to achieving the university’s mission as a responsive institution of the state of California: To enrich the lives of its students, to transmit knowledge to its students along with the necessary skills for applying it in the service of our society, and to expand the base of knowledge through research and scholarship.

The significance of centering an image of students at Commencement is to remind us that student success is at the center of our mission, goals, and outcomes assessment efforts.

University Learning Goals (ULGs)

Developed in 2013 and revised in 2017, University Learning Goals (ULG) define the skills and knowledge of San José State University graduates at both the graduate and undergraduate level. These goals help students understand the purpose of their time at SJSU and guide academic planning and curriculum development. 

The SJSU experience is designed to ensure that students have the power to be lifelong learners and have successful futures. At the baccalaureate level this preparation begins as students complete their general education requirements, and continues through SJSU Studies and their majors. For graduate students, these goals are integrated throughout their coursework and research.

University Goals Power Lifelong Learning

The student learning experience at SJSU is centered on helping students achieve five important goals. These goals represent the skills and knowledge that power lifelong learning and career success. San José State University graduates will have developed:

1. Social and Global Responsibilities. An ability to consider the purpose and function of one’s degree program training within various local and/or global social contexts and to act intentionally, conscientiously, and ethically with attention to diversity and inclusion.

2. Specialized Knowledge. Depth of knowledge required for a degree, as appropriate to the discipline.

3. Intellectual Skills

  1. Fluency with specific theories, assumptions, foundational knowledge, analytical and interpretive protocols, tools, and technologies appropriate to the discipline or field of study. 

  2. Skills necessary for mastery of a discipline at a level appropriate to the degree and leading to lifelong learning, including critical and creative thinking and practice, effective communication, thorough and ethical information gathering and processing, competence with quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies, and productive engagement in collaborative activities. 

  3. For undergraduate students in a baccalaureate program: an understanding of critical components of broad academic areas, including the arts, humanities, social sciences, quantitative reasoning, and sciences. 

4. Integrative Knowledge and Skills

  1. Mastery in each step of an investigative, creative, or practical project (e.g., brainstorming, planning, formulating hypotheses or complex questions, designing, creating, completing, and communicating) with integration within and/or across disciplines. 

  2. An ability to articulate the potential impacts of results or findings from a particular work or field in a societal context.

5. Applied Knowledge. An ability to apply theory, practice, and problem solving to new materials, settings, and problems.  

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

University Undergraduate Graduation Requirement

General Education Learning Goals

Students who complete the General Education curriculum should be able to demonstrate:

Goal 1: To develop students’ core competencies for academic, personal, creative, and professional pursuits. Goal 1 has five learning outcomes (PLOs 1-5):

PLO 1. [Oral Communication] 
Create and deliver logically-organized, well-supported, and compelling messages both in presentation and in conversation for specific audiences and diverse settings. 

PLO 2. [Written Communication] 
Develop and practice a writing process that accounts for the goals, dynamics, and genres of written communication, with special attention to the conventions of writing at the university.

PLO 3. [Critical Thinking]
Identify and analyze a subject/topic/issue/problem of significance by evaluating the merits of different positions or perspectives; support the analysis with relevant evidence and information while stating assumptions; and draw evidence-based conclusions.

PLO 4. [Quantitative Reasoning]
Analyze, interpret, and represent quantitative information in various forms to examine a question; explain the processes behind data collection and generation; and communicate evidence in support of an argument or purpose while stating assumptions, limitations, and biases, and drawing appropriate conclusions.

PLO 5. [Information Literacy]: Identify information needs, locate and access relevant and credible information while accounting for bias, and use information legally and ethically.

Goal 2: To enact the university’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and justice by ensuring that students have the knowledge and skills to serve and contribute to the well-being of local and global communities and the environment. Goal 2 has two learning outcomes (PLOs 6 and 7):

PLO 6. [Diversity, Inclusion, and Justice]
Examine diverse cultures, communities, and environments; explore different perspectives; analyze connections to issues of justice/injustice; and prepare to live and work responsibly and cooperatively in multicultural societies. 

PLO 7. [Civic and Global Engagement]
Engage with global perspectives and knowledge; develop civic skills, interests, and values; and apply knowledge, skills and values to multicultural, community, and environmental interests. 

Goal 3: To offer students integrated, multidisciplinary, and innovative study in which they pose challenging questions, address complex issues, and develop cooperative and creative responses. Goal 3 has two learning outcomes (PLOs 8 and 9):

PLO 8. [Integration and Application]
Integrate and apply knowledge and methods from more than one discipline or area of study to explore a complex question, address an issue, or produce a creative work.  

PLO 9. [Reflection and Self-Assessment]
Evaluate and reflect on one’s own learning while building on prior knowledge and life experiences.

Developing Educated Persons

Each of the General Education areas develop students to become educated persons.

Fundamental Skills of an Educated Person

Fundamental Skills  courses (A1-3, B4) develop students’ communication and analytical skills. An educated person can communicate ideas effectively verbally and in writing. An educated person must also have strong reasoning powers in order to analyze all types of information. Per CSU policy, each Fundamental Skills course must be passed with a grade of C- or better to fulfill graduation requirements.

Fundamental Knowledge of an Educated Person

Fundamental Knowledge  courses (B1-3, C1-2, D, E, F) develop students’ understanding and appreciation of the fundamentals of science, arts and humanities, and the forces that shape the individual and modern society throughout the lifespan. This fundamental knowledge is crucial to understanding more advanced topics, including a major field of study.

Integrated Knowledge of an Educated Person

SJSU Studies courses (R, S, V)  help students integrate knowledge between and among disciplines. An educated person is able to apply concepts and methods learned in one area to other areas as part of a lifelong learning process. SJSU Studies courses develop abilities that enable students to live and work intelligently, responsibly, and cooperatively in multicultural societies and to develop abilities to address complex issues and problems using disciplined analytical skills and creative techniques.

American Institution Learning Outcomes

US1. American Institutions - U.S. History

To fulfill the requirements for U.S. History, students should be able to explain and evaluate the principal events, developments, and ideas covering a minimum time span of approximately one hundred years in all the territories now in the United States (including external regions and powers as appropriate).

As students explore the historical development of the United States, they should be able to evaluate and synthesize different positions, support analysis with relevant evidence, and create evidence-based interpretations of:

  1. Major subtopics in United States history, such as Native Americans and their interactions with the U.S. government; slavery and its legacies; the foundational ideals of the American Republic; colonization and territorial expansion; economic development; political reform and reaction; immigration to the United States and the experiences of immigrants; foreign relations; wars and conflicts; movements including religious, labor, civil rights, feminist, and environmental.

  2. Multiple perspectives related to, for example, diverse cultures, communities, and environments; age, gender, and sexuality; the history and experience of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities; the experiences of people with disabilities; and patterns of race and class relations. 

US2. American Institutions - U.S. Constitution

To fulfill the requirements for U.S. Constitution, students should be able to explain how political decisions are made, what the consequences of such decisions are for individuals and society, and how individuals and groups may affect the decision-making process. As students explore the meaning and content of the democratic process as it has evolved in the United States and California, at a minimum, they should be able to evaluate:

  1. The foundations of the political system, including the evolution of the U.S. Constitution, political culture, separation of powers, federalism, and relations among various levels of government. Students will also analyze the evolving institutions of government, including a study of the powers of the President, Congress, and the Judiciary as well as the bureaucracy;

  2. The links between the people and the political system of the United States, including voting, and other forms of participation, as well as other content areas such as tribal governments, political parties, interest/lobbying groups, and public opinion and socialization. Students should also analyze the rights and obligations of citizens, which may include the tension between various freedoms of expression, including issues related to censorship and freedom of speech, due process and the maintenance of order; and

  3. Connections to issues of justice/injustice, including the efforts to end racial, gender and other forms of discriminatory practices in both the public and private sectors.

US3. American Institutions - California Government

To fulfill the requirements for California government, students should be able to explain how political decisions are made at the state and local level, taking into account the diverse cultures, communities, and environments of California, including the impact of demographic changes on the history and politics of the state and the nation.

As students explore the operations of government at the state level, they should be able to evaluate: 

  1. The foundations of the California political system, the similarities and differences between the California and U.S. Constitutions, and the relationship between state and local government in California; and

  2. The evolving relationships of state and local government with the federal government, such as the relationship with tribal governments; the generation and resolution of conflicts; the establishment of cooperative processes under the constitutions of both the state and nation; and the political processes involved.

Physical Education Goals 

The goals of the Physical Education Requirement are to: 

  1. Provide a fundamental understanding of the influence physical activity has on physical and mental well-being;
  2. Promote development of a repertoire of skills for constructive leisure activity and a physically active lifestyle important to maintaining health;
  3. Provide an understanding of the guidelines for developing and maintaining physical fitness throughout the lifespan;
  4. Provide exposure to a variety of lifetime fitness activities and sports; and
  5. Enhance the student’s liberal arts education and develop a well-rounded individual.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

Course Learning Outcomes are identified on each course syllabus (per University Policy S16-9).