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General Education Program

Each candidate for the bachelor's degree must complete a series of broad and rigorous learning experiences crossing disciplinary lines. The requirements for general education are designed so that students have core courses in common; other requirements offer a selection of courses so that students can follow their interests. Many courses are sequenced to allow for a progression in students' learning acquisition. The curriculum highlights particular content areas and skill development, especially critical thinking, researching, writing, and speaking.

The requirements for the general education program include 22 courses, totaling 65 to 66 units.

First-Year Seminar*  
Skill Development
English Composition*   
Junior Writing Portfolio*
Writing Intensive Requirement
Speech and Rhetoric*
Research Methods/Presentation Skills Requirement
Foreign Language
Knowledge—Knowing Self, Others, and God
Christianity and Culture
Western Heritage*
American Experience*
Non-Western Cultures
Fine Arts
Health and Lifestyles*  
Laboratory Science
Human Institutions and Behavior
*core course

Requirement Descriptions and Goals

 First-Year Seminar (3)

This requirement introduces the student to both the college experience and to academic inquiry. Topics vary from section to section, but all sections strive to build learning communities, to sharpen critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, to enhance effective communication, to improve information literacy, to apply the university's Christian mission, and to hone life-management skills.

Courses fulfilling the First-Year Seminar requirement: GS 199. Students must take this course during the first semester of college work. Students who enter with thirty or more transferable semester units or who enroll in either the Great Books* or Social Action and Justice Colloquia** in the first semester of their first year are not required to take this course. International students enrolled in ENG 110 will satisfy this requirement. Students may not withdraw from their First-Year Seminar course unless they are withdrawing completely from the university.

In the First-Year Seminar requirement, students will:

  • Share one substantial reading assignment to help build learning communities among all first-year students.
  • Sharpen critical-thinking and problem-solving skills through study within a specific academic discipline.
  • Use written assignments and oral presentations to become more effective written and oral communicators.
  • Become aware of and understand the Christian mission of the university.

*Students who complete the four course Great Books Colloquium sequence will receive credit for the following five GE requirements: First-Year Seminar, ENG 101, Literature, REL 301, and one of the following courses: POSC 104, MATH 102, HUM 111, HUM 212, HUM 313, SPE 180, SOC 200.
**Students who complete the four course Social Action and Justice Colloquium will receive credit for the following four GE courses: First-Year Seminar, ENG 101, Literature and REL 301.

 English Composition (3)

This requirement engages students in an intensive writing workshop focused on reading and writing critically about current issues. Students read extensively, develop effective writing processes, and produce portfolios demonstrating their ability to write for a variety of purposes, focusing particularly on argumentation and academic writing. Graded A, B, C, and NC only.

Courses fulfilling the English Composition requirement: ENG 101. International students may be required to take ENG 100, Composition for ELL Students, and ENG 110, American Language and Culture, prior to enrolling in ENG 101.

In the English Composition requirement, students will:

  • Use writing to construct and communicate meaning as critical thinkers and responsible citizens.
  • Learn to write effectively for different audiences and purposes, with an emphasis on argumentation and academic writing.
  • Experiment with new forms of writing that may include workplace writing, writing for audiences outside the classroom, creative nonfiction, and writing in different disciplines.
  • Apply the rhetorical principles of ethos, logos, and pathos in order to critique written, oral, and visual texts.
  • Develop the inductive and deductive skills needed for close reading and lucid writing.
  • Learn to assess their writing and address feedback from the writing center, draft workshops, and small group tutorials.

 Junior Writing Portfolio (0)

The Junior Writing Portfolio demonstrates students' writing competency across the curriculum. The portfolio is to be submitted during the student's junior year and shall consist of four papers. Only one paper of the four may come from an English class, and at least two papers must have been written in either the Sophomore or Junior year. Submitted papers must be graded or contain faculty comments, and should be accompanied by a detailed summary of each assignment. Students will purchase a portfolio kit from the bookstore and will compile and submit the portfolio to the Writing Center prior to one of the two portfolio deadlines throughout the year. Students that do not pass the Junior Writing Portfolio will enroll in ENG 201, Junior Writing Portfolio Workshop in order to work toward compiling a passing portfolio. Students not passing ENG 201 will continue to enroll in it until they do pass.

In the Junior Writing Portfolio requirement, students will:

  • Choose papers they have written that demonstrate their writing competency across the curriculum.
  • Articulate and reflect on their writing process and their writing strengths and weaknesses.

 Writing-Intensive Course (0)

This requirement is designed to develop discipline-specific ways of writing that is important for continuing to study in the major, for careers, and for communication of discipline-specific knowledge to general audiences. This requirement should be fulfilled through writing-intensive courses in the student's major discipline.

Courses that fulfill the Writing-Intensive Course requirement: Each major has designated writing-intensive courses. Please refer to major requirement listings.

In the Writing-Intensive course requirement, students will:

  • Use writing to improve learning of subject matter and promote the development of critical thinking.
  • Learn discipline-specific ways of thinking and communicating, including writing skills important for continuing study in the discipline, for careers, and for communicating discipline-specific knowledge to audiences outside the discipline.
  • Improve writing processes, developing effective strategies for generating ideas, gathering information, drafting, revising, and editing.

 Speech and Rhetoric (4)

This requirement introduces students to the principles of informative, persuasive and ceremonial speaking, with special attention devoted to extemporaneous speaking. This course emphasizes the application of the theory of public discourse to representative speaking situations, the construction of sound argument, and basic principles of rhetorical analysis.

Courses fulfilling the Speech and Rhetoric requirement: SPE 180

In the Speech and Rhetoric requirement, students will:

  • Learn the classical origins of public speaking.
  • Learn the ethics of public speaking.
  • Perform effectively in a variety of rhetorical situations.
  • Structure, write, research, support and deliver informative, persuasive and ceremonial speeches.
  • Understand basic principles of rhetorical analysis.

 Research Methods/Presentation Skills Requirement (0)

This requirement builds discipline-specific materials, methods and critically evaluative skills necessary for effective research and presentation of research in the major. This requirement should be fulfilled through Research Methods/Presentation Skills courses in the student's major discipline.

Courses that fulfill the Research Methods/Presentation Skills requirement: Each major has designated Research Methods/Presentation Skills courses. Please refer to major requirement listings.

In the Research Methods/Presentation Skills requirement, students will:

  • Acquire and demonstrate both introductory and advanced methods of research and discovery used in a particular academic discipline.
  • Use research language effectively.
  • Develop extensive methods and procedures for conducting and recording effective research in different formats and settings.
  • Identify, synthesize and assess research literature.
  • Plan, structure and write a research paper.
  • Present research findings both formally and dynamically to an academic audience.

 Mathematics (3)

This requirement develops in the student an appreciation of the beauty and creativity of mathematics. It enhances reasoning ability and the grasp of logical principles, improves problem-solving skills, provides exposure to the pervasiveness of mathematics in our modern society and some of its historical underpinnings, and provides an understanding of the basic principles of analyzing numerical data using statistical methods.

Courses fulfilling the Mathematics requirement: MATH 102. This requirement may also be satisfied by MATH 210, MATH 214, POSC/PSYC/SOC 250, MATH 270, or MATH 316. Each of these courses assumes that the student has completed at least two years of high-school algebra or MATH 099 with a grade of C or higher.

In the Mathematics requirement, students will:

  • Recognize the beauty of mathematics and be able to cite examples illustrating how mathematics is a creative endeavor similar to many other liberal arts.
  • Demonstrate enhanced reasoning ability through the study and application of formal logic.
  • Improve their problem-solving skills through the study of various mathematical strategies.
  • Recognize the pervasiveness of mathematics in our modern society and be able to cite some of its historical underpinnings.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the creation, use, and limitations of mathematical models.
  • Apply knowledge of the basic principles of analyzing numerical data using statistical methods.

 Foreign Language (4)

This requirement helps students attain a functional competency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing at the intermediate level in a foreign language of their choice. The equivalent of third semester foreign language is required. Students are placed at the course level (151, 152, or 251) indicated by the Foreign Language Placement Exam. Students should take the indicated course within one academic year of taking the placement exam. The foreign language requirement is waived for students who place at the 252 level; unit credit may be earned only by the challenge procedure through the Center for International Studies and Languages. The requirement is waived for international students who verify academic study of their native language. Transfer students may receive credit for foreign language courses taken at an accredited college or university; such students do not need to take the Foreign Language Placement Exam.

Courses that fulfill the Foreign Language requirement: CHIN 251, FRE 251, GER 251, ITAL 251, JAPN 251, RUS 251, SPAN 251, GRE 320, HEB 502.

In the foreign language requirement, students will:

  • Understand simple phone conversations, announcements and media reports, and face-to-face dialogue using learned material.
  • Engage in a variety of communicative tasks in social situations, ask and answer questions using learned materials, and participate in conversations about topics beyond the most immediate needs.
  • Recognize sufficient vocabulary when reading at the intermediate level and to consistently read texts dealing with a variety of basic and social needs.
  • Write short, simple passages with accuracy, expressing present time and at least one other time frame.

 Christianity and Culture (9)

This three-course sequence gives an introductory overview to the world and literature of the Bible and considers its continuing cultural effects. In REL 101, primary attention is given to the theological and religious dynamics of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible). Students learn the historical, socio-political, and cultural aspects of the ancient Near East during the period covered by the Old Testament materials, and the formation and composition of the Old Testament literature itself. REL 102 is a study of the New Testament in its larger Jewish and Greco-Roman context, with emphasis on history, theology, and the different literary genres. In REL 301, students study the ways in which Christianity shapes aspects of culture. Topics may include art, literature, music, medicine, law, secularization, ecology, racial and ethnic issues, and education – and ways in which these, in turn, influence Christian life and faith.

Courses fulfilling the Christianity and Culture requirement: REL 101, REL 102, and REL 301. REL 101 is a prerequisite for REL 102 and should be taken by the end of the second semester of enrollment. REL 102 is a prerequisite for REL 301 and should be taken by the end of the student's fourth semester. REL 301 should be taken by the end of the student's seventh semester. ISAR 510 may substituted for REL 301.

In the Christianity and Culture requirement, students will:

  • Cultivate an appreciation for religion (especially Christianity).
  • Explore the multifaceted relation of religion to ancient and contemporary society.
  • Grapple with the implications of living a life of faith.

 Western Heritage (9)

This three-course sequence gives a historical and sequential introduction to the achievements of Western culture from prehistoric times through the late Middle Ages (30,000 BCE - 1300 CE) in the first course, through the Early Modern Period (1300-1813) in the second, and from the Industrial Revolution to the present in the third. Through an integrated, interdisciplinary study of politics, literature, philosophy, and the arts, the sequence explores the interrelationship between the cultural arts and the spiritual, political and intellectual commitments of women and men in the West.

Courses fulfilling the Western Heritage requirement: HUM 111, HUM 212, and HUM 313, taken in sequence.

In the Western Heritage requirement, students will:

  • Develop a historical and sequential understanding of the history of Western civilization.
  • Experience the West's important primary cultural "texts" (literature, philosophy, art, and music) and explore their historical contexts.
  • Discuss the role of Christian religion and Christian faith in shaping these "texts."
  • Understand the consequences and costs of Western cultural achievements both to men and women in the West and to other civilizations with which the West has interacted.
  • Learn, use, and evaluate ideas of historical periodization, such as "Classical," "Medieval," "Renaissance," "Baroque," "Enlightenment," "Romantic," "Modern," and "Postmodern."

 American Experience (8)

This two-course sequence introduces and develops historical and contemporary issues in history, politics, and government. The first course in the sequence provides a survey of the development and present contours of American democracy. Topics include the creation and development of the constitutional system, the gradual extension of freedom through the expansion of civil liberties and civil rights, and the evolution of the major political institutions of the United States. The second course provides a historical survey of the American peoples from pre-colonial times to the present, exploring the variety of the American experience in the context of political, economic, social, and intellectual developments.

Courses that fulfill the American Experience requirement: POSC 104 and HIST 304, taken in sequence.

In the American Experience requirement, students will:

  • Acquire a basic knowledge of American history, including its economic, social, and cultural aspects, with particular attention to its political systems and their historical context.
  • Develop the capacity to think critically about the American political system and American history by exploring individual and social identity.
  • Consider the experiences of a variety of individuals and groups in American history and politics from various classes, religions, regions, and ethnic and racial groups, as well as according to gender.
  • Develop an understanding of the history and challenges of maintaining democratic governance in a pluralistic, ethnically diverse society.

 Non-Western Cultures (4)

This requirement traces the historical development of non-Western civilizations and how they have understood and expressed themselves as cultures. The primary focus is on Asia, but includes Africa, and the pre-colonial cultures of the Americas.

Courses fulfilling the Non-Western Cultures requirement: ART 438, COM 513, ISAC 301, ISAC 310, ISAC 318, ISAC/HIST 330, ISAC/HIST 331, ISAC/PHIL 340, ISAC 341, ISAC 350, ISAC 370, ISAC 380, ISAR 520, REL 501, and REL 526.

In the Non-Western Cultures requirement, students will:

  • Identify a non-Western civilization's cultural and geographical features.
  • Recognize its cultural and interpersonal dynamics.
  • Explain its social and political systems.
  • Describe its major historical, philosophical and religious traditions.
  • Develop an understanding of how its worldview is expressed in artistic and scientific achievements.

 Fine Arts (2)

This requirement gives students the opportunity to focus on the aesthetics and creative process of a specific art form such as theatre, music, art, or dance. This requirement is designed to foster an awareness of the importance of the arts in one's life and in society, and to instill in the student a desire for life-long involvement with the arts.

Courses fulfilling the Fine Arts Requirement: ART 315, ART 422, ART 424, ART 426, ART 428, ART 430, ART 434, ART 436, ART 438, ART 440, FA 200, MUS 105, MUS 110, MUS 114, MUS 136, MUS 137, MUS 138, MUS 139, MUS 140, MUS 141, MUS 143, MUS 184, MUS 280, MUS 305, MUS 336, MUS 337, MUS 338, MUS 339, MUS 340, MUS 341, MUS 343, MUS 348, MUS 467, MUS 468, THEA 150, THEA 201,THEA 210, THEA 226, THEA 227, THEA 228, THEA 326, THERA 328, THEA 342, THEA 343, THEA 350, PE 124, PE 127, PE 128

In the Fine Arts requirement, students will engage in at least three of the following:

  • Develop an awareness of and appreciation for a specific art form.
  • Assess an art form critically and analytically.
  • Have an applied or hands-on experience with a particular art form.
  • Develop an awareness of how a particular art form is interconnected with other disciplines and/or career opportunities.
  • Acquire a general understanding of the history and chronology of an art form.
  • Develop skills that will enhance and encourage future study and appreciation of the arts.
  • Possess a sense of responsibility and activism with regard to the place of the fine arts in the broader community.

 Literature (4)

This requirement trains students to understand and appreciate literary expression. This requirement may be met by a course in English or American literature, the literature of an ancient or modern language, or translated literature of an ancient or modern language.

Courses fulfilling the Literature requirement: ENG 310, ENG 320, ENG 330, ENG 340, ENG 350, ENG 410, ENG 415, ENG 420, ENG 430, ENG 440. ENG 101 is a prerequisite for these courses. FRE 348, FRE 355, FRE 356, ITAL 451, SPAN 449, SPAN 451, SPAN 453, SPAN 455.

In the Literature requirement, students will:

  • Develop an understanding of literature and the mastery of written language as an expression of human experience.
  • Develop the skills of close reading, analyzing complex texts, explaining their own readings, and examining differing interpretations.
  • Practice critical thinking skills, engage new ideas through reading, writing, classroom discussions, and oral argument and presentations.
  • Explore spiritual, moral, and ethical standards of other societies and historical periods, as well as those of the society in which they live.

 Health and Lifestyles (2)

This requirement examines physical fitness and how it relates to overall health and wellness. Students will develop an appreciation of the human body as God's intricate creation, increase their knowledge of human movement and its effect on health, be exposed to a variety of lifetime physical activities, and learn motor skills and movement forms that can enhance one's ability to achieve and maintain physical fitness. One hour of lecture and two hours of physical activity per week.

Courses fulfilling the Health and Lifestyles requirement: PE 199. First-year and transfer students are required to take PE 199 during their first year at Seaver College. First-year NCAA athletes should take GSGS 198. The completion of two units of PE 288 will be accepted as a substitute for PE 199 for transfer athletes not required to take GSGS 198. For all students who are not physical-education majors, a maximum of four units of PE (100-199) will count toward the 128 units required for graduation.

In the Health and Lifestyles requirement, students will:

  • Learn about physical fitness and understand how being physically fit can maximize quality of life and serve as an important factor in disease prevention by reducing risk factors for chronic disease.
  • Identify how they can attain physical fitness and implement an individualized fitness plan based on research in the exercise sciences.
  • Experience a variety of physical activities that will help maintain and improve physical fitness.

 Laboratory Science (4)

This laboratory-based requirement demonstrates the applicability of science to everyday life. Students are introduced to the methods used by scientists to investigate and understand the natural world and are taught to assess the reliability and limitations of those methods.

Courses fulfilling the Laboratory Science requirement: BIOL 105, BIOL 107, BIOL 108, BIOL 109, BIOL/SPME 230, BIOL/SPME 235, CHEM 120, NASC 101, NASC 108, NASC 109, NASC 155, NASC 156, NUTR 210, PHYS 102, PHYS 210, SPME 106.

In the Laboratory Science requirement, students will:

  • Understand that the scientific method is a system of inquiry that requires curiosity, skepticism, tolerance for ambiguity, openness to new ideas, and ultimately, the communication and sharing of knowledge.
  • Discover that scientific understanding is tentative, limited and subject to revision.
  • Participate in a laboratory experience that involves data collecting and careful observation.
  • Employ those mathematical and statistical concepts that are required to explain scientific phenomena.
  • Investigate the distinctive roles that faith and science play in answering important questions about how the world works.

 Human Institutions and Behavior (6)

This requirement develops in students an awareness of the myriad ways that human institutions and interpersonal behavior can be studied, understood, and predicted. The core economics, psychology, and sociology courses in this area enable students to understand how individuals interact within social institutions and provides insights into the development of our ideas about such institutions and relations between people.

Courses fulfilling the Human Behavior requirement (choose two): ECON 200, PSYC 200, SOC 200. Psychology majors should take PSYC 210.

In the Human Institutions and Behavior requirement, students will:

  • Recognize the difference between empirical, theoretical, and ethical questions regarding human behavior.
  • Understand a model of human behavior, how it departs from the models of related disciplines, and what phenomena it is useful for explaining;
  • Have a command of the basic concepts from two of the disciplines studied (economics, psychology, sociology).
  • Understand how theories of human behavior are tested scientifically;
  • Recognize that human behavior is affected by factors ranging from individual psychology to transnational ideology.