The components of an undergraduate education include the major, in which the student acquires depth of knowledge, electives that allow a student to explore personal or career-related interests, and General Education (GE). General Education allows students to develop competency in academic skills that are essential to all academic majors. In addition, General Education offers students broad knowledge beyond the focus of the major, as well as exposure to the rich diversity of the human experience.
The General Education program at CSULB sequentially introduces students to the mastery of academic skills along with a pattern of course work that will provide graduates with an understanding of self, the physical world, the development and functioning of human society, and its cultural and artistic endeavors, as well as an understanding of the methodologies, value systems, and thought processes employed in human inquiries. It involves three stages: Foundation, Explorations, and Capstone. Students who begin their college careers at CSULB will complete all three stages, while transfer students who enter the university with a Full General Education Certification will be expected to complete the final (Capstone) stage only.
General Education Breadth requirements are specified pursuant to Title 5, California Code of Regulations, Sections 40402.1, 40403, 40405, 40405.1, 40405.2, 40405.4, and 40508, and Sections 1 and 2 of Chapter III of the Standing Orders of the Board of Trustees of the California State University, and Executive Order 1033. CSU General Education Breadth requirements have been designated to complement the major program and electives completed by each baccalaureate candidate to assure that graduates have made noteworthy progress toward becoming truly educated persons. These requirements are designed to provide the knowledge, skills, experiences, and perspectives that will enable CSU students to expand their capacities to take part in a wide range of human interests and activities; to confront personal, moral, and social problems that are an inevitable part of human life; and to cultivate both the requisite skills and enthusiasm for lifelong learning.
Upon completion of the GE Breadth requirements, CSU students should show mastery in each of the following:
Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World
Achieved through study in the Sciences and Mathematics, Social Sciences, Humanities, Histories, Languages, and the Arts
Each California State University, Long Beach baccalaureate graduate shall have completed a minimum of 48 semester units of GE courses distributed as described below. The GE program includes three (3) units of approved course work in U.S. History and three (3) units of approved course work in U.S. Constitution and American Ideals required by Section 40404 of Title 5 and EO 405.
The General Education curriculum is organized as three sequential phases. The first is the Foundation, a group of courses designed to provide fundamental learning skills. The second is Explorations, courses distributed across the curriculum that are intended to provide an opportunity to explore the various way of acquiring and examining knowledge while continuing to develop learning skills. The third is the Capstone, designed to integrate knowledge and skills developed earlier in the curriculum.
In completing the Foundation, Explorations, and Capstone phases of the General Education program, all students must complete a distribution pattern described below.
Within the Explorations and Capstone courses of the General Education program, all students must take one 3 unit course of instruction that focuses on instructive examples of human diversity in the United States (Human Diversity in the U.S. courses). All students must also take one three (3) unit course of instruction that focuses on global issues or world societies and cultures (Global Issues courses).
At least nine (9) units of the General Education program must be approved upper-division Capstone courses taken after the student achieves upper-division standing (completion of 60 semester units) and must normally be completed at California State University, Long Beach.
Only courses on the General Education Master Course List at the time the student takes the course shall count for General Education.
Because the program is intended to provide breadth, no more than 10 units of General Education courses in the student's major department may be used to satisfy the GE requirements. “Courses in the major department” include all courses housed in the department offering the major, regardless of prefix. There is no limit to the number of units outside the major department that may be used to satisfy both the requirements for the major and the requirements for General Education.
A cross-categorized course may be counted (at the student's option) in any one of the approved categories A-E, but not in more than one.
Where appropriate exams exist, Foundation and Explorations requirements may be met by external examinations, such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams.
The first-year program at CSULB should pay special attention to the development and improvement of fundamental academic skills that are critical to student success in college. Every CSULB student will be expected to demonstrate mastery of key academic skills early in the course of study at CSULB, ideally within the first year. Among the skills most central to success are communication in English, both written and oral, mathematical concepts and quantitative reasoning, and analytical and critical thinking. Students also need a solid foundation in skills for learning, including the ability to read for information, information retrieval literacy skills, and basic technology skills.
All students are assessed at entry into the university for readiness for baccalaureate-level work in English composition and mathematics. The first priority for any student who is not prepared for baccalaureate-level work is to become fully prepared for college. Accordingly, students who have not demonstrated readiness for baccalaureate-level English or mathematics must complete the appropriate pre-baccalaureate courses within the first- year after admission to CSULB. A student who is required to take either pre-baccalaureate mathematics or pre-baccalaureate composition may register for other 100-level Foundation or other General Education classes only if those courses do not have pre- or co-requisites in the area of deficit.
The following courses make up the Foundation curriculum and must be completed with a grade of at least "C":
The Foundation curriculum must be completed by the time the student has completed 36 units of baccalaureate-level work at CSULB.
Courses in the Foundation curriculum will be numbered from 100 to 199. All other General Education courses must have pre- or co-requisites from the Foundation curriculum, and all General Education courses numbered 300 or higher must have the entire Foundation curriculum as prerequisites. A Foundation course may have a pre- or co-requisite of another Foundation class, if educationally justified.
After an early focus on fundamental learning and academic skills, students will have an opportunity to explore human knowledge in many disciplines. The Explorations stage encompasses all areas outside the Foundation curriculum, as described under "Distribution." It excludes the final nine (9) units of General Education, described under "Capstone."
General Education courses numbered from 100 through 199 may be appropriately taken at the same time as courses in the Foundation curriculum.
Although the primary purpose of Explorations is the development of breadth of knowledge, it is expected that all courses will offer opportunities for continued development of foundational skills. Reading, writing, oral discussion and presentation, problem solving, quantitative reasoning, and critically- and analytically based research are central to the learning of content. For this reason, all courses outside the Foundation must have pre- or co-requisites from the Foundation, and all courses numbered 300 or higher must have the entire Foundation curriculum as prerequisites.
In addition, as students progress through their Explorations, they will be expected to develop additional skills and attributes, including ethical reasoning, analytical reading, creativity, respect for difference, awareness of other cultures, questioning of stereotypes, the values of citizenship, negotiating skills, and other attributes of use in a diverse society.
The final nine (9) General Education units form the Capstone. All students, including transfer students who have completed a certified lower-division General Education program, must complete nine (9) units of Capstone courses. The purpose of the Capstone is to bring the strands of the General Education experience into focus, to reinforce knowledge and skills acquired from many areas, and to incorporate depth in the form of more sophisticated tools and analysis. For transfer students, the Capstone may offer an opportunity to connect to the campus in a learning community outside of the major department.
Students must complete a minimum of 48 units of approved General Education courses, distributed as follows:
Category A -- Communication in the English Language and Critical Thinking (all included in the Foundation) -- At least nine (9) units to include:
Category B -- Natural Sciences and Mathematics -- At least nine (9) units to include
Category C. -- the Arts and Humanities -- At least nine (9) units to include:
Category D -- Citizenship and Social and Behavioral Sciences and History -- At least 12 units to include
Category E -- At least three (3) units chosen from approved courses in Self-Integration
GE Electives – At least six (6) units required to meet 48 total units in GE. Additional courses to reach the minimum total of 48 units may be chosen from any courses approved for General Education credit in categories B, C, and D. This includes both courses that fit the specific designations above and other approved courses, designated as B.3 or C.3, that meet the general headings of category B or C but do not fit one of the specific required categories. Excess units from all or any combination of Category B or C or D, may be applied to this section.
Special requirements -- All students, including all transfer students, must complete:
Capstone Requirements -- All students, including all transfer students, must complete at least nine (9) units of Capstone 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.
Students are expected to complete the Capstone requirement at CSULB. An exception will be made for students who transfer from another CSU campus after completing some of the upper-division GE requirement at that campus. To be accepted toward the Capstone requirement at CSULB, the transfer course must be approved for upper division general education credit at the campus offering the course. Other courses may be used, on an individual basis, to meet the requirement if they are approved for General Education at the campus offering the course and if the purpose of the course meets the criteria for a CSULB Capstone course.
Students who transfer from baccalaureate institutions other than the CSU after completing upper-division General Education courses may petition to have one or more such courses accepted toward the Capstone requirement. Such petitions will be evaluated on the basis of the criteria above.
Students who have not maintained continuous attendance status shall be subject to the General Education requirements in effect at the time of their reentry to the university, with the following exceptions.
Previous CSULB students who were under earlier General Education requirements and who before breaking continuous attendance needed no more than three additional courses to complete the entire General Education requirement shall be allowed to complete the General Education requirement in effect at the time of the previous attendance. However, all students must complete at least 9 units of upper division General Education courses, of which a minimum of 6 units must be Capstone courses.
Previous CSULB students who were under the earlier General Education requirements and who before breaking continuous attendance completed one or more upper-division GE courses shall be required to complete additional Capstone courses as needed to complete the total of 9 upper-division units. At least two of the courses in the overall program must be Capstone courses.
Transfer students who enter CSULB with full GE certification from a California Community College must complete both the Human Diversity in the U.S. and the Global Issues requirements if these requirements were not met through transfer, but these students need not complete any other GE courses except the Capstone, which cannot be met through transfer from a community college. Transfer students who enter CSULB without full GE certification or subject-area (partial) certification from a California Community College must either complete the CSULB GE requirements, or complete and obtain a GE certification from a California Community Colelge which will be honored as meeting CSULB's lower-division GE requirements.