Jun 05, 2023  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog | Expires Aug. 2030 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog | Expires Aug. 2030

General Education

General Education Requirements

General education refers to that part of a student’s education that contributes to the breadth of knowledge needed to be a more effective citizen of a complex and culturally diverse world. It supports the student with the skills and perspectives that will not always be gained from a specialized program of study and provides a basis for a common educational experience all students and graduates of the University can share. It is intended to help students become more broadly knowledgeable, adaptable, and capable in their many life roles. By graduation, students will have been given opportunities to develop their insight, creativity and intellectual curiosity, as well as analytical and critical skills. The General Education Program is designed to develop in each student:

  • Appreciation of a wide range of perspectives and experiences
  • Acquaintance with the many ways of experiencing and acquiring knowledge
  • Broad knowledge about the human and natural world
  • Understanding of the structure and order of the natural world, including human thought processes
  • Appreciation of the arts for aesthetic value and for their usefulness in exploring complex human truths
  • Knowledge of the history of civilizations
  • Competence in communication
  • Exploration and development of individual values and ethics

The major goal of General Education, therefore, is to develop students’ capacity to think critically, reason logically, and communicate effectively in a wide range of disciplines beyond their major field. A general education program cannot satisfy all of an individual’s lifelong general education needs. SVSU’s General Education Program enhances the graduate’s ability to learn and function as an educated person in the many demanding roles of contemporary life.

The General Education program comprises 35 credit hours in 10 categories, each with a learning objective, a required number of credit hours, and an approved group of courses from which to choose. Two courses chosen from Categories 2 through 8 must be Communication Intensive (CI) Courses (designated with an ! in the course number). Categories 3, 9, and 10 must be completed in the student’s first 75 credit hours. General Education courses and their category are noted with parentheses behind the name of the course. Example: ENGL 202 (GEC1)



Category 1 - Literature (3 cr)

Student Objective: To read major literary works critically with appreciation and understanding.

Category 3 - Numerical Understanding (4 cr)

Student Objective: To understand and manipulate numerical data; to respond to arguments and positions based on numbers and/or statistics.

Category 4 - Natural Sciences (7 cr, including one lab course)

Student Objective: To understand basic scientific concepts; to appreciate how these concepts are verified through experimentation and observation; and to become knowledgeable and responsible citizens in dealing with the challenges of a sophisticated technological society.

Minimum of two departments; must include at least one laboratory course.

Category 5 - Historical and Philosophical Ideas (3 cr)

Student Objective: To identify and subject to analysis the significant ideas and events of human history by understanding cause and effect relationships through historical and logical investigation, narration and synthesis.

Category 6 - Social Sciences (3 cr)

Student Objective: To analyze and interpret social phenomena and human thought processes using the techniques and procedures of the social sciences.

Category 7 - Social Institutions (3 cr)

Student Objective: To identify, describe and understand the workings of important social, economic and political institutions and the relationship of the individual to these institutions.

Category 8 - International Systems (3 cr)

Student Objective: To understand the nature of significant international systems and to step outside of the constraints of one’s own society.

Category 10 - Written Communication (3 cr)

Student Objective: To write effective, researched academic texts in English.


  • ENGL 111  is a prerequisite to all courses in Objective Categories 1 and 10 and for all courses with a CI suffix.
  • Requirements for Objective Categories 3, 9, and 10 must be completed within a student’s first 75 credit hours or registration will be blocked.