General Education Program

Requirements by Content Category


The GEP requirements are arranged in two levels. You should complete requirements at the Foundational Level before you take courses that satisfy the Integrative Level of the program. Courses at the Foundational Level are subject to the university’s restrictions on repeating courses (see Academic Policies and Programs <>). Also, it is suggested that you begin by taking courses in English and mathematics and continue to take courses in these areas until you have completed requirements in English composition and quantitative reasoning.

A more complete description of each category follows. Specific course descriptions are found in their own section of the catalog.

Foundational Level:
English Composition Minimum 6 Hours
Quantitative Reasoning Minimum 3 Hours
Natural Sciences Minimum 7 Hours
Fine and Performing Arts 3 Hours
Social Studies 3 Hours
Integrative Level:
Cultural Perspectives Minimum 6 Hours
Ethics 3 Hours
Capstone 3 Hours
Total Hours Required 34 Hours

Note: It should be noted that in cases where a single course meets both the General Education Program and requirements of the major, the total number of hours required for the GEP will be reduced by the number of related course hours. The minimum credit hours required for the baccalaureate degree shall not, however, be less than 120.

English Composition (6 Hours Minimum)

These courses provide an opportunity for you to develop as a writer. Their goal is for you to learn to write clearly, concisely, and creatively in a variety of formats.

Take one of the following courses:

ENGL 1101 - Discourse and Composition (A)  Depending on placement
ENGL 1102 - Discourse and Composition (B)
ENGL 1105 - Composition and Argumentation

Note: Two English composition courses must be completed prior to taking coursework at the Integrative Level of the GEP.

Quantitative Reasoning (3 Hours Minimum)

This component of the General Education Program addresses the nature of mathematical thought and its impact on modern life. To fulfill the quantitative reasoning component of the GEP, each course contains active communication about mathematics (which includes reading and/or writing and/or speaking), exercises designed to stimulate critical thinking, the use of mathematical-related technology, and an emphasis on problem solving. In addition, each course stresses data and data analysis, demonstrates the application of mathematics to a variety of disciplines, and incorporates activity based learning.

Choose one course from the following list:

MATH 1100 - Mathematics Core Course
MATH 1200 - College Algebra
MATH 1300 - Precalculus
MATH 1500 - Principles of Statistics
MATH 1700 - Applied Finite Mathematics
MATH 2110 - Calculus 1

Fine and Performing Arts (3 Hours)

You should leave the GEP with a greater appreciation of how the arts contribute to an enriched quality of life. Courses in this category include either an art history, art appreciation, music, or theater component.

Choose one course from the following list:

ARTH 1101 - Introduction to Art
ENGL 2275 - American Film History
MUSI 1201 - Music Appreciation
MUSI 2211 - Music History 1
PHIL 3300 - Philosophy and Film
THAR 1000 - Introduction to Theater

Social Sciences (3 Hours)

The goal of this GEP category is to expose students to at least one discipline within the social sciences, including methodologies used in the social sciences and application of social sciences concepts to contemporary life.

The objectives of the category are as follows:

  1. Students will demonstrate proficiency in use of terminology within a social science discipline as evidenced by performance on exams and/or additional assignments.
  2. Students will demonstrate understanding of basic concepts within a social science discipline as evidenced by performance on exams and/or additional assignments.
  3. Students will demonstrate an ability to apply basic social science concepts to contemporary life as evidenced by performance on exams and/or additional assignments.
  4. Students will be exposed to basic methodologies used in the social sciences as evidenced by course syllabus and/or assigned readings.

Choose one course from the following list:

ANTH 3350 - Biological Anthropology
GOVT 2250 - Introduction to Political Science
HIST 2430 - World History I
HIST 2440 - World History II
HIST 2530 - World Prehistory and Archaeology: Origins and the Development of Human Societies
HIST 4110 - Intellectual History
PHIL 3360 - Social and Political Philosophy
PSYC 1101 - Introduction to Psychology
SOCI 1101 - Introduction to Sociology
SOSC 1110 - Foundations of Social Science

Natural Sciences (7 Hours Minimum)

The natural science component of the General Education Program addresses scientific reasoning.

Choose two courses for a minimum of seven semester hours from the following list. At least one course must have a lab (all courses have a lab component except for NTSC 1110). (These eight courses are recommended for students who are not science majors and for students who do not have science courses required in support of their majors BIOL 1120, CHEM 1121, GEOL 1201, NTSC 1110, NTSC 3850, PHYS 2210, PSCI 2251, PSCI 2252.)

BIOL 1120 - Concepts in Biology
BIOL 1130 - Principles of Anatomy & Physiology 1
BIOL 1131 - Principles of Anatomy & Physiology 2
BIOL 1151 - General Biology 1
BIOL 1152 - General Biology 2
BIOL 2252 - Dendrology
BIOL 2253 - Practical Horticulture
BIOL 3355 - Ornithology (Bird Study)
BIOL 3560 - Principles of Anatomy
BIOL 3630 - Kinesiology
BIOL 3750 - Microbiology
BIOL 3852 - Marine Biology
CHEM 1121 - Principles of Chemistry (non-majors)
CHEM 1141 - General Chemistry 1 (majors)
CHEM 1142 - General Chemistry 2 (majors)
CHEM 2200 - Introduction to Organic Chemistry
GEOL 1201 - Physical Geol/Human Environment
GEOL 1202 - Historical Geology
NTSC 1110 - Scientific Reasoning & Methodology
NTSC 2850 - Intro. to Environmental Science
NTSC 3850 - Ohio’s Natural Heritage
PHYS 2201 - Physics 1 (Mechanics & Energy)
PHYS 2202 - Physics 2 (Energy/Elec/Magnet)
PHYS 2210 - Introductory Astronomy
PHYS 2211 - Calculus-Based Physics 1
PHYS 2212 - Calculus-Based Physics 2
PSCI 2251 - Physical Science by Inquiry 1
PSCI 2252 - Physical Science by Inquiry 2

Note: Credit is not allowed for both CHEM 1121/2200 and CHEM 1141/1142.

Cultural Perspectives (6 Hours Minimum)

The goal of this GEP component is to help you understand aspects of culture from humanistic and social science perspectives and to appreciate the multicultural nature of modern society. Courses may vary as to discipline, content, and approach, but each instills some comprehension of the complex historical, cultural, or sociological contexts which inform contemporary experience.

Note: Students are required to take a course that has the Western flag and a course that has the Non-Western flag.

All courses within this category must contain a writing component. The minimum writing requirement is around 3000 words. Note that a page of double spaced type has an average of around 250 words. The writing component must include at least one example of researched writing, as defined below. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 2 writing assignments or one writing assignment with multiple drafts.

Examples of the types of writing that could be found in courses in this catalog are listed below.

  1. Informal Writing: Informal writing may include responses to prompts, discussion questions, or discussion boards.
  2. Formal Writing: Formal writing requires that the writer will demonstrate control of standard usage, grammar, and mechanics. Formal writing will be broken into two categories.
    • Researched writing. This may only involve assigned texts, but this writing will include a bibliography, proper citation of sources, and a thesis.
    • Response paper essays. These may be part of exams as long as students are given the topics in advance, and are asked to write on a topic that requires a thesis statement. These essays may be evaluative, analytic, or argumentative.
Western Flag

Students will be able to:

  • describe and explain major philosophical, religious, social, or cultural ideas, theories, and movements central to the development of Western civilization;
  • explain and analyze how these ideas developed across time, including transitions between at least two of the following periods: the Classical Greco-Roman Period, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance/Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and the 20th century;
  • apply their historical and cultural understanding to contemporary culture, and analyze and evaluate how at least some of these ideas, etc., affect the way we think and live today.
Non-Western Flag

Students will be able to:

  • describe and explain major philosophical, religious, social, or cultural ideas, theories, and movements central to the understanding of at least one non-Western civilization;
  • apply their historical and cultural understanding to contemporary culture, and analyze and evaluate how at least some of these ideas affect how Western and non-Western cultures understand one another, and the way Western and non-Western cultures interact.

Western Perspective:

Choose one course from the following list:

FREN 1111 - Elementary French 1 *
HIST 3300 - Christianity in Early America
HIST 3520 - History of the Crusades: The Crescent and the Cross
IDST 2225 - Civilization and Literature 1
IDST 2226 - Civilization and Literature 2
PHIL 2200 - Introduction to Philosophy
RELI 2230 - History of Christian Thought
SPAN 1111 - Elementary Spanish 1 *

*Note: FREN 1111 and SPAN 1111 will no longer be included in the GEP in the 2012-2013 Catalog

Non-Western Perspective:

Choose one course from the following list:

ANTH 2250 - Principles of Cultural Anthropology
ARTH 3366 - Non-Western Arts Survey
GEOG 2201 - Cultural Geography
GEOG 3351 - Regional Geography of the Middle East
GOVT 3320 - Third World Politics
HIST 3410 - East Asian History
HIST 3430 - Ancient Indian Culture and Society
HIST 3432 - Gandhi and Modern India
HIST 3500 - History of Southern Africa
HIST 4420 - Middle East in Modern Times
IDST 2227 - Civilization and Literature 3
PHIL 2284 - Asian Philosophy

Ethics (3 Hours)

The requirement in Ethics serves several purposes within the GEP’s broader goal of enabling students “to function effectively in the multiple roles demanded by contemporary life.” First, students are introduced to the most influential moral theories of western civilization. These theories attempt to answer what constitutes the good life and what makes an action ethical, as well as introduce ways of reasoning about the moral life. Second, students learn how these theories affect how we think about public life, including the relationship of morality to law and public policy. Third, students engage in a thorough and careful analysis of contemporary moral issues in order to arrive at a rationally defensible, well-informed conclusion within a context of open and civil dialogue with others. Evaluation is based, first and foremost, on how well students reason about moral issues, not on the particular conclusions.

Choose one course from the following list:

PHIL 3320 - Ethics in Public and Private Life
ROCI 4485 - Reflections on Community Involvement

Capstone (3 Hours)

Senior Seminar (IDST 4490) comes late in your university experience and gives you the opportunity to write, speak, think, analyze, synthesize, and integrate. A central part of the seminar is the research and writing of a major paper and an oral presentation of your findings. The prerequisites for Senior Seminar are senior standing and completion of all prior GEP requirements, including Ethics (31 semester hours).

Choose one course from the following list:

IDST 4490 - Senior Seminar
PSYC 4179 - Psych Study of Contemp (This course is available to PSYC majors only.)
ETEC 4301 - Design Lab 1 (This course is available to ETEC majors only.)
ETPL 4490 - Senior Design Lab (This course is available to ETPL majors only.)

General Education Program

Contact Information

Phil Blau, Director
Vern Riffe Center for the Arts, Room 313

Shawnee State University
940 Second Street
Portsmouth, OH 45662

Phone: (740) 351-3443

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