General Education Program

Advising Tips

Students take 3 types of General Education courses.

Foundation – 9 courses

  • Natural Sciences (one Natural Sciences course must include a lab)
    • 1 Physical Science
    • 1 Life Science
  • 1 Arts
  • 1 Mathematical Sciences (all courses in this category have a MTH 110 prerequisite)
  • 1 Philosophy and Literature
  • 1 Historical Perspectives
  • 2 Social Sciences – they must have two different prefixes
  • 1 Writing 

Cultures – 2 courses

  • 1 World Perspective
  • 1 U.S. Diversity 

Issues and Themes

NOTE:  Students who start at GVSU in Fall 2014 or later can only take Issues courses.  Themes are not available to them.  The following rules apply:

  • Student must choose 2 courses from 2 different disciplines. 
  • Issues courses can be chosen from the same category (Globalization, Health, etc.) or from different categories.
  • If a course is cross listed in two disciplines, the second course must be  taken from a third discipline.
  • Issues courses must be taken at GVSU.
  • Issues courses have a junior standing prerequisite.

Students who started at GVSU BEFORE Fall 2014 can still take Themes courses.  In addition to the Issues rules above, the following rules apply to these students:

  • Student can choose 2 Issues courses, or 1 Issues course and 1 Themes course, or 2 Themes courses.
  • Only 1 course can be taken at the 100 or 200 level.

Can a course count in more than one category (double-dip)? 
YES. This is most common with the Cultures category. Many Cultures courses double tip with an Issue, Theme,  or a Foundation course.

Can a course be used to meet a GE requirement as well as a major/minor requirement? 

Can a student get General Education credit if they study abroad?
YES.  Please see the Padnos International Center Study Abroad website for details.

The student transferred a course in which seems like it might fit in a GE category. What do I do?
Send the student to SASC in 200 Student Services to fill out a Student Concern form.

The student tells me a Special Topics course (380) can get GE credit. How do I know if that’s true?
See Recent Changes to General Education Courses.

How do Honors students get General Education credit?
Honors students need to contact the Honors College (181 NMR, 331-3219) to determine how the Honors curriculum fulfills the General Education requirements.


Page last modified June 12, 2014