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California State University, Long Beach

Overview of General Education Requirements (Effective Fall 2008)

The following is an overview of the General Education requirements beginning with the Fall 2008 catalog. Click the link in the "List of Approved Courses" column to see current lists of all courses approved for that requirement. Refer to the online schedule of classes to see which specific sections of courses are being offered for a specific term. You can also run your Degree Progress Summary in MyCSULB to see your current status in completing General Education requirements.

Be Aware: students may use no more than 10 units from the department of their major in meeting General Education requirements.

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The Foundation

Basic essential skills of a college-educated person that includes written communication and oral communication in the English language, critical thinking, and mathematics.

Purpose: In these courses, you will develop and improve fundamental academic skills that are critical to success in college.

BE AWARE: All GE Foundation Courses must be completed with a grade of ‘C’ or better within the first 36 CSULB baccalaureate units.

The Foundation
Area of Study GE Category Units Required List of Approved Courses
Written Communication in English A1 3 A1 courses
Oral Communication in English A2 3 A2 courses
Critical Thinking A3 3 A3 courses
Mathematics B2 3 B2 courses


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These courses will provide you with opportunities to explore human knowledge in a variety of disciplines.

Purpose: You will be able to select courses from all across the university, so the topics you can explore are nearly unlimited. You will also refine the skills you developed in the Foundation courses, and you will be expected to practice additional skills like ethical reasoning, solving complex problems, creativity, respect for different points of view, and understanding your part in a democratic society and global community.

Natural Sciences (B1)
Area of Study GE Category Units Required List of Approved Courses
Biological Sciences with Lab B1a 3 B1a courses
Physical Sciences with Lab B1b 3 B1b courses
The Arts (C1)
Area of Study GE Category Units Required List of Approved Courses
The Arts C1 3 C1 courses
The Humanities (C2)
Area of Study GE Category Units Required List of Approved Courses
Humanities: Literature, Philosophy, Foreign Languages C2 6 total (covering 2 different disciplines)
U.S. Citizenship (D1)
Area of Study GE Category Units Required List of Approved Courses
U.S. History D1a 3 D1a courses
Constitution and American Ideals D1b 3 D1b courses
Other Explorations
Area of Study GE Category Units Required List of Approved Courses
Social and Behavioral Sciences and History D2 6 total
(covering 2 different disciplines)
D2 courses
Self-Integration E 3 E courses
GE Electives   6 total
(any combination from Category B or C or D, including Excess Units above requirements)

Special Requirements

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While you are fulfilling the GE Category requirements given above, you must select courses that also complete a few special requirements for completion of GE.

Be aware that courses satisfying the Special Requirements below fit into the category requirements given above, so with careful planning, you can avoid taking "extra" courses to meet these requirements.

These requirements include:

  • GLOBAL ISSUES (3 units)
  • UPPER DIVISION CAPSTONE (minimum 9 units)

Global Issues

A course in Global Issues is designed to introduce you to cultures and places beyond the boundaries of the United States.

Purpose: This is your opportunity to explore worldviews that often contrast greatly with those of our own Western traditions.

Global Issues - 3 Units Required

Human Diversity in the United States

The learning goals of the CSULB faculty include fostering respect for human diversity in the USA and to promote the understanding of diversity to encourage tolerance and acceptance of others.

Purpose: A course in Human Diversity is designed to introduce you to life experiences of others who are less familiar to you. This course will help you to recognize the significant influence of diverse populations and cultures within the USA.

Human Diversity - 3 Units Required


These last nine units in GE represent the culmination of the GE experience and are designed to reinforce knowledge and skills acquired from many areas.

Capstones are designated as Interdisciplinary, Service Learning, or Advanced Skills. You can take as many interdisciplinary Capstones as you wish, but you may take NO MORE THAN ONE Service Learning and NO MORE THAN ONE Advanced Skills courses. Capstone courses may be used to meet the specific category requirements and the Global Issues and Human Diversity in the U.S. requirements, if those have not been met by other courses.

Purpose: All capstone courses must reinforce advanced college skills, including writing, synthesis and application of knowledge, analysis, critique, and research.

You are required to take 9 units of Capstone classes:


Service Learning - 3 Units Maximum

Advanced Skills - 3 Units Maximum