Jul 24, 2024  
University Catalog 2017-2018 
University Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

The General Education Program


The California State University (CSU) requires that each baccalaureate graduate have completed a program of general education breadth requirements in addition to a major program of study. The general education program is designed to ensure that graduates “have made noteworthy progress toward becoming truly educated persons.” Although the general areas of study and minimum unit requirements within them are prescribed by the CSU Board of Trustees, the individual campuses are given the authority to set course requirements within those areas, to add other requirements, and to enact other regulations. California State University, Los Angeles has designed its general education program within these guidelines.

Each baccalaureate student who entered Cal State LA Fall 2016 or later and who is subject to requirements in the 2016-17 or any later catalog shall complete the general education program described below., in consultation with an adviser. The requirements include a minimum of 39 lower division units and 9 upper division units, selected from the three areas (Natural Sciences and Quantitative Reasoning; Arts and Humanities; and Social Sciences) for a total of 48 semester units. In addition, at least 9 of the total units must be earned at Cal State LA. Students must complete two diversity (d) courses (at least one of which meets the (re) requirements) which may be completed at either the lower or upper division level of the General Education program. Students are urged to consult an academic adviser in their major department/division/school or college-based advisement center in selecting general education courses. Please consult the current Schedule of Classes for specific information about distribution requirements, unit requirements, and current general education courses.

Departments, divisions, and schools that require of their majors specific courses that are certified by the offering department, division or school as at least equivalent to the general education courses in a given subject may permit approved G.E. replacements courses.

Certification of General Education

Under the provisions that govern general education within the CSU, regionally accredited, participating colleges and universities may certify the completion of a portion of the 48 semester units required in general education. Cal State LA will accept up to 40 semester units of course work certified by another authorized institution. However, acceptance of those transfer units is limited to: (1)  the number of units required in each area, and; (2) to a maximum of 27 semester  units combined in Areas B through D as described in the Cal State LA GE requirements. Course work completed by students whose general education requirements are not certified by the transfer institution is evaluated in terms of Cal State LA’s current general education requirements.

Certification is not automatic; each student must request it. In addition, all participating colleges and universities have their own policies governing certification. Students are strongly advised to read their college or university catalog carefully and to consult an advisor for details about individual regulations and restrictions.

Students who transfer to Cal State LA who were certified as having completed the lower division general education requirements under previous requirements by the institution where they took those classes but who have not maintained continuous attendance must complete Cal State LA’s upper division general education requirements..

Philosophy and Goals of the General Education Program

California State University, Los Angeles is a comprehensive institution that offers educational  opportunities to its students who are as varied as the city’s population. Cal State LA. has a special mission to provide an educational experience that recognizes and takes full advantage of this diversity, while emphasizing the knowledge, experiences, and ethical concerns common to all people.

The General Education program enriches the lives of students as they acquire knowledge, learn to think critically, and use methodologies of the various disciplines. Students also learn to prepare for participation in a democracy, to appreciate a sense of shared cultural heritage, and to understand the environment. Students experience self-discovery and personal growth and recognize them as lifelong processes.

General Education Mission Statement

General Education prepares students for advanced study in their chosen academic disciplines and provides a broad foundation for a lifetime of intellectual discovery and personal and professional development. The mission of the General Education program is:

•    to prepare students with the intellectual skills and habits necessary for success;

•    to provide students with a breadth of knowledge through focused study in a range of disciplines and disciplinary-specific
     ways of knowing;

•    to encourage students to bridge disciplines and disciplinary-specific ways of knowing;
     to develop students who are informed citizens and reflective and ethical thinkers actively
     committed to improving their local and global communities; and         

•    to encourage students to become self-motivated and self-directed lifelong learners and leaders
      in their communities.

Outcomes of the General Education Program

The General Education program at Cal State LA is defined by a set of learning outcomes that are aligned with the Cal State LA Institutional Learning outcomes and the Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) outcomes promoted by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and adopted by the California State University System.

Knowledge: Mastery of Content and Processes of Inquiry

Students who successfully complete GE will be able to:

•    demonstrate understanding of the physical and natural world.

•    demonstrate understanding of contemporary events within political and historical contexts.

•    demonstrate understanding of the diversity of cultures and communities in the United States and abroad.

•    demonstrate understanding of constructions, institutions, and structures of power and privilege in societies as well as
     strategies used to challenge existing inequalities.

•    demonstrate understanding of a range of disciplinary ways of knowing.

•    demonstrate understanding of creative expression in the context of the relevant art form and intellectual history.

•    demonstrate understanding of race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic class

Proficiency: Intellectual Skills

Students who successfully complete GE will be able to:

•         demonstrate civic literacy that would enable them to participate effectively in a democratic society  

•          use inquiry processes, including quantitative and qualitative reasoning and critical and creative thinking, to engage
           with contemporary and enduring questions.       

•          find, use, evaluate and process information in order to engage in complex decision-making and problem solving.

•         read, speak and write effectively.

•         demonstrate an ability to work collaboratively.

Engagement: Local and Global Communities

Students who successfully complete GE will be able to:

•    demonstrate the capacity to engage meaningfully with diverse communities.

•    demonstrate understanding of how individuals affect society and the environment.

•    demonstrate the capacity to make well informed, ethical, and socially responsible decisions.

•    demonstrate understanding of the interconnectedness of local and global communities.

•    demonstrate literacy in the perspectives and needs of individuals and groups.

Transformation: Integrative Learning

Students who successfully complete GE will be able to:

•    integrate academic learning with life through project-based experiences.

•    integrate their knowledge, skills and experience to address complex, enduring, and emerging issues.

The Structure of the General Education Program

The general education breadth requirements are structured so that introductory courses are taken prior to participation in integrative experiences. Students are expected to complete the general education requirements in written and oral communication, critical thinking, and mathematics, and general education prerequisite courses before enrolling in any upper division general education course. All courses approved for general education credit, including those lower division courses that also earn credit toward a major, are mandated to require the practice of writing in English including, where appropriate, library assignments. Evaluation of writing is included in all courses. Students must also earn minimum C grades (2.0 G.P.A.) in all basic subjects courses (A1, A2, A3 and B4). A grade of C- or better is needed to satisfy the GE requirement for these courses. All basic subjects must be completed within the first 30 semester units counted toward the baccalaureate degree.


GE Program

GE Program (48 units)

Required Courses Units GELOs

EO 1065

Lower Division (39 units) IHE-civic and community-based learning at CSULA 3 E E
Oral Communication 3 P A1*
Written Communication 3 P A2*
Critical Thinking and Composition 3 P A3*
Quantitative Reasoning & Mathematical Concepts 3 K,P B4*
American Institutions - US History 3 K,P C
American Institutions - US Constitution and State/Local Govt. 3 K,P D
Natural Science - including two courses, from at least two categories: physical science (B1); biological science (B2); or interdisciplinary physical-biological science (B3) 6 K,P B
Arts & Humanities (1 arts and 1 humanities) 6 K,P,E C
Social Science 6 K,P,E D
** Upper Division (9 units)
Three of the 9 units (one course) must include a civic and community- based learning component.
Natural Science and Quantitative Reasoning 3 K, P, E, T B
Arts & Humanities 3 K, P, E, T C
Social Science 3 K, P, E, T D

* A grade of C- or better is needed to satisfy the GE requirement for these courses. This does not apply to meeting prerequisite for courses that require these courses to be completed with a grade of C or better.

** Temporary Change: FOR TRANSFER STUDENTS with the GE Catalog Year of Fall 2016 and beyond: The three GE Upper Division courses may be taken from ANY of the three breadth areas.

GELO Abbreviations:
K = Knowledge: content and processes of inquiry; P = Proficiency: Intellectual Skills; E = Engagement: Local and Global Communities; T = Transformation: Integrative and Lifelong Learning


Configuration of the Content Areas (blocks) in the GE Program

Communication and Critical Thinking, Block A. (9 units)

Oral Communication [Block A1 (3 units)]*

Written Communication [Block A2 (3 units)]*

Critical Thinking and Composition [Block A3 (3 units)]*

American Institutions (6 units)

Natural Sciences and Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning, Block B (9 units)

6 units from the following (all areas include a laboratory):

Physical Science [B1 (3 units)]

Biological Science [B2 (3 units)],

Interdisciplinary Physical/Biological Science [B3 (3 units)]
3 units in:
Mathematics or Quantitative Reasoning [B4 (3 units)]*

Arts & Humanities, Block C (6 units)

One course each from the following areas:

•     Arts, Block C1 (3 units)
•    Humanities, Block C2 (3 units)

Social Sciences, Block D (6 units)

One course each from any two disciplines that address social science issues.

Lifelong Understanding and Self Development, Block E. (3 units)

Upper Division GE Requirement (9 units)

Students will be required to complete one upper division GE course in each of the three following breadth areas, (Natural Sciences and Quantitative Reasoning; Arts and Humanities; and Social Sciences). Completion of basic subjects requirements (A1, A2, A3 and B4) and at least one course each from blocks B, C, and D are prerequisites to all upper division GE courses.

Diversity Requirement (6 units)
Students will be required to complete two courses (six units) certified as diversity courses (designated with (d)), at least one focusing on issues of race and ethnicity and their intersectionality with other social categories that structure inequality in society (designated with (re)). These courses can be completed either at the lower division or upper division level from among courses satisfying GE requirements.

Civic Learning/Community Engagement Requirement (3 units)
Students are required to complete at least one course (three units) containing a Civic Learning or Community Engagement component (designated as (cl)) at the upper division GE level.

Writing Intensive (WI) Courses
In addition to composition courses taken for Blocks A2 and A3, students will complete at least two writing intensive (designated as (wi)) courses with at least one in the major.