Oct 18, 2021  
2021-2022 Academic Catalog 
    
2021-2022 Academic Catalog

General Education Requirements Video

General Education Requirements



A university brings together many separate areas of learning, yet it is more than just a collection of specialized disciplines. SJSU’s general education program establishes a strong foundation of versatile skills, fosters curiosity about the world, and prepares students to engage and contribute responsibly and cooperatively in a multicultural, information-rich society. General education classes integrate areas of study and encourage progressively more complex and creative analysis, expression, and problem solving. The program aims to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and values they need for a lifetime of intellectual and personal growth. Review the learning goals and outcomes policies academic advisement information , and previous requirements .

Undergraduate Graduation Requirements

To qualify for a baccalaureate degree, students must satisfy the major degree requirements  and the Undergraduate University Graduation Requirements , which include the following minimum degree requirements and 51 units of coursework:

1. Academic Unit Requirements  (120 units total with an average 2.0 GPA - “C” or better)
2. General Education Requirements  (48 units)
3. American Institutions Requirement  (0-6 units) (may be satisfied in GE Area D)
4. Physical Education Requirement  (0-2 units)
5. Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)  3 unit(s) (see SJSU Studies - Area Z)

Exceptions for University Graduation Requirements  apply to some majors. 

General Education Unit Overview 

General Education Core - Lower Division Requirements (39 units)

Area A. English Language Communication and Critical Thinking (9 units)
1. Oral Communication 3 unit(s) (“C-” or better)
2. Written Communication I 3 unit(s) (“C-” or better)
3. Critical Thinking and Writing 3 unit(s) (“C-” or better)

Area B. Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning (9 units)
1. Physical Science 3 unit(s)
2. Life Science 3 unit(s)
3. Laboratory in either Physical or Life Science 0 unit(s)
4. Mathematical Concepts 3 unit(s) (“C-” or better)

Area C. Arts and Letters (9 units)
1. Arts 3 unit(s)
2. Letters 3 unit(s)
One additional 1. Arts or 2. Letters 3 unit(s)

Area D. Social Sciences (6 units)

Area E. Human Understanding & Development (3 units)

Area F. Ethnic Studies (3 units)

SJSU Studies - Upper Division Requirements (9 units) 
(minimum aggregate GPA of 2.0 for areas R/S/V)

Area R. Earth and Environment (3 units)

Area S. Self, Society & Equality in the U.S. (3 units)

Area V. Culture, Civilization & Global Understanding (3 units)

Area Z. Written Communication II (0 units) (“C” or better)

General Education Requirements


General Education Core - Lower Division Requirements

Students must complete 39 units of Core GE courses. Courses that must be completed as a part of a sequence or are designed for specific majors only are identified in parentheses next to the course. Students may satisfy an Intensive GE sequences in science, math, or music.

Humanities Honors Sequence: GE Areas A/C/D, and the American Institutions (US123)  may be entirely satisfied when completing HUM 1A HUM 1B HUM 2A , and HUM 2B  with grades of “C- or better.

A. English Language Communication and Critical Thinking


9 units

Complete one course each in 1. Oral Communication, 2. Written Communication I, and 3. Critical Thinking and Writing. 

Minimum Grade: A minimum grade of “C-” or better (per the CSU General Education Breadth Requirements).

1. Oral Communication


Oral Communication courses should cultivate an understanding of the social, psychological, political and practical significance of communication, with special emphasis on the roles of public communication in a free society.

2. Written Communication I


Written Communication I courses should cultivate an understanding of the writing process and the goals, dynamics, and genres of written communication, with special attention to the nature of writing at the university. First year students are expected to complete this requirement within their first two semesters at SJSU.

3. Critical Thinking and Writing


Critical Thinking and Writing courses should help students learn to recognize, analyze, evaluate, and produce reasoning.

B. Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning


9 units

Complete at least one course in 1. Physical Science, 2. Life Science, and 4. Mathematical Concepts. At least one lab course (L) must be completed.

In Physical, Life, and Laboratory Science courses (B1-3), students should master sufficiently essential quantitative and qualitative skills that are necessary to understand scientific knowledge and methods. Students should be able to incorporate scientific knowledge into the workplace and everyday life experiences.

1. Physical Science


Intensive Science: Students who have completed the Intensive Science courses with a “C- or better”, will be allowed to use these courses to fulfill the requirement in B1/B3 or B2/B3. Students may petition to have (1) grades below C- (very rarely approved), or (2) other Intensive Science courses not on the list approved as intensive science courses. Additionally, the following packages of courses, all completed with “C- or better”, will satisfy Areas B1, B2, and B3: Two courses from PHYS 50 , PHYS 51 , or PHYS 52 , and CHEM 1A ; or PHYS 2A  and PHYS 2B  and CHEM 1A ; or CHEM 1A  and CHEM 1B , plus a physics course. See details on the Office of Undergraduate Education’s Student Petitions website.

2. Life Science


Intensive Science: Students who have completed the Intensive Science courses with a “C- or better”, will be allowed to use these courses to fulfill the requirement in B1/B3 or B2/B3. Students may petition to have (1) grades below C- (very rarely approved), or (2) other Intensive Science courses not on the list approved as intensive science courses. Additionally, the following packages of courses, all completed with “C- or better”, will satisfy Areas B1, B2, and B3: Two courses from PHYS 50 , PHYS 51 , or PHYS 52 , and CHEM 1A ; or PHYS 2A  and PHYS 2B  and CHEM 1A ; or CHEM 1A  and CHEM 1B , plus a physics course. See details on the Office of Undergraduate Education’s Student Petitions website.

3. Laboratory


The following courses meet the Lab requirement only.

4. Mathematical Concepts


Mathematical concepts courses enable students to use numerical and graphical data in personal and professional judgments and in coping with public issues. First year students are expected to complete this requirement within their first two semesters at SJSU.

Minimum Grade: A minimum grade of “C-” or better (per the CSU General Education Breadth Requirements).

Intensive Math: Students who have completed an Intensive Math course with a “C- or better”, will be allowed to use these courses to fulfill the requirement in B4: MATH 30 , MATH 30X MATH 31 MATH 31X MATH 32 MATH 32X MATH 70 MATH 71 , or MATH 71X .

C. Arts and Letters


9 units

Complete no fewer than 9 semester units, with at least one course in the Arts (C1) and one in the Letters (C2).

Arts and Letters courses should give students knowledge and understanding of significant works of the human intellect and imagination. Courses should enable students to participate in social and cultural communities associated with artistic and literary endeavors, enriching their personal and professional lives.

Intensive Music: Students who have completed the Intensive Music courses, MUSC 4A , MUSC 4B  and MUSC 12 , with a “C or better”, will be allowed to use these courses to fulfill the requirements of Area C. Students may petition to have (1) grades below C (very rarely approved), or (2) other Intensive Music courses not on the list approved as intensive music courses. See details on the Office of Undergraduate Education’s Student Petitions website.

2. Letters


D. Social Sciences


6 units

Complete no fewer than 6 units in at least two different subject prefixes (for example, ANTH and POLS). To earn American Institutions (US123)  credit, students may complete two D courses. Some courses may require completion of a 2-semester sequence in order to receive American Institutions credit (AFAM 2A /AFAM 2B AAS 33A /AAS 33B CCS 10A /CCS 10B ).

Social Science courses should increase the student’s understanding of human behavior and social interaction in the context of value systems, economic structures, political institutions, social groups, and natural environments.

Courses in the Social Sciences must be completed in at least two different disciplines. Students may meet this requirement by either (1) Taking two lower-division Area D courses in different disciplines, or (2) Taking two lower-division Area D courses in the same discipline and an Area S upper-division GE course in a different discipline.

E. Human Understanding & Development


3 units

Complete one course.

Human Understanding and Development courses will enable students to understand themselves as integrated physiological, social, and psychological entities who are able to formulate strategies for lifelong personal development. Students will also learn skills to employ available university resources to support academic and personal development.

F. Ethnic Studies


3 units

Complete one course. 

Ethnic Studies courses will give students the knowledge and skills necessary for comprehending settler colonial histories, the racial and ethnic dynamics, and continued sovereignty and social justice movements in the United States. Students will gain the skills to better operate as responsible, informed, and constructive citizens in an evolving multiracial and multicultural democracy.

Transfer students may have catalog rights  to the General Education pattern that was in place when they started their college education - see your advisor. 

SJSU Studies - Upper Division Requirements


Students complete 9 to 12 units of SJSU studies: 9 units of upper division general education courses (Areas R/S/V) and 0 to 3 units of 100W (Area Z). In some cases, SJSU Studies areas are integrated in a single course or overlap with the major .

Grade Option: Areas R, S, V, and Z must be taken for a letter grade.

Second baccalaureate students who earned their first bachelor degree from a regionally accredited institution in the U.S. are not required to take SJSU Studies unless specific courses are required by the major.

Transfer students who complete any portion of upper division GE at another CSU campus may request equivalency for coursework in SJSU Studies. Contact the Undergraduate Education  Office for evaluation of coursework.

Areas R, S, and V

9 units

Complete one course from each area.

Minimum Prerequisites:

  1. Completion of core GE;
  2. Satisfaction of Writing Skills Test (temporarily suspended - see the Writing Across the Curriculum website). Students who fail the WST may satisfy this requirement by passing ENGL 100A  or LLD 100A  with a grade of “C or better.”;
  3. Upper division standing; and,
  4. Pre/Corequisite: a 100W course is strongly recommended.

Minimum Grade: minimum aggregate GPA of 2.0 for areas R, S, and V. If more than one course is taken in any of the individual R, S, or V areas, then the highest grade in that individual area will be used to calculate the aggregate SJSU Studies GPA. If any student took one or more Area R/S/V courses in the Spring 2020 semester (regardless of whether the student chooses to receive a grade or opts for Credit/No Credit), the requirement for a minimum aggregate 2.0 GPA in R/S/V courses will be waived.

Year-Long Course Sequences: Students enroll in 6 units in the fall and 3 units in the spring. Must earn a grade of “C” or better in each course to satisfy R/S/V.

R. Earth and Environment


Courses in Earth and Environment will cultivate a student’s knowledge of the scientific study of the physical universe and its life forms. Students will understand and appreciate the interrelationship of science and human beings to each other.

S. Self, Society & Equality in the U.S.


Students in courses in Self, Society & Equality in the U.S. will study the interrelationships of individuals, racial groups, and cultural groups to understand and appreciate issues of diversity, equality, and structured inequality in the U.S., its institutions, and its cultures.

Courses in the Social Sciences must be completed in at least two different disciplines. Students may meet this requirement by either (1) Taking two lower-division Area D courses in different disciplines, or (2) Taking two lower-division Area D courses in the same discipline and an Area S upper-division GE course in a different discipline.

V. Culture, Civilization & Global Understanding


Students in courses in Culture, Civilization & Global Understanding should receive an appreciation for human expression in cultures outside the U.S. and an understanding of how that expression has developed over time. Additionally, students should understand how traditions of cultures outside the U.S. have influenced American culture and society.

Z. Written Communication II


3 units

All students must satisfy the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)  by earning a “C” or better in a 100W course, OR earn a waiver score on the Writing Skills Test (WST). WST temporarily suspended - see the Writing Across the Curriculum website.

In Written Communication II courses, students will develop advanced proficiency in college-level writing and appropriate contemporary research strategies and methodologies to communicate effectively to both specialized and general audiences. For most degree programs, students should take the 100W course that is required as part of the major  program.

Minimum Prerequisite: A passing score on the WST or a grade of “C” or better for ENGL 100A  or LLD 100A 

Minimum Grade: A minimum grade of “C” or better (C- not accepted per the Undergraduate University Graduation Requirements ).

Waiver of the 100W Course: A waiver score on the WST satisfies Area Z without the need to complete a 100W course only in majors that permit a waiver score. 

Majors that require students complete the 100W course and do not accept the waiver score on the Writing Skills Test include:

 

Transfer students who complete the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)  while matriculated at another CSU, or equivalent coursework at another university prior to SJSU enrollment.

100W Courses