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General Education

GE Page Navigation

GE Planning Sheet (page 2) 
This page is more graphic, and therefore, more visually interesting.

GE Pathways Program Introduction

While your major course of study will prepare you for your life’s work, General Education is what creates a common intellectual experience for students in all majors, helping you discover that knowledge in one field is connected to knowledge in another, that there is always more to know, and that what you know affects the way you live. Beginning in fall 2012, the new General Education Pathway Program offers students not only an integrated learning experience across the University’s academic disciplines, but also the opportunity to earn an interdisciplinary minor in one of ten subjects.

The General Education Pathway Program is organized into three broad areas: Foundation, American Institutions, and Pathways. See the GE Planning Sheet.

Pathways Program Structure


The Foundation area of the Pathways Program includes coursework in Oral Communications, Writing, Critical Thinking and Mathematics, as well as two laboratory science courses, one in the Physical Sciences and one in the Life Sciences. As the name implies, we view the Foundation as providing the intellectual bases for the general education program, so students should plan to complete their Foundation courses early in their academic careers. In addition, many Foundation courses are associated with Pathways – the “breadth” portion of GE. This means that they provide an introduction to the Pathway, through the material students study or specific assignments, thus allowing students to begin exploring Pathways that may be of interest. If you are majoring in the sciences or engineering, consult a major advisor in your department about the appropriate Foundation courses for your major.

American Institutions:

The American Institutions courses – one in US History and one in US Governmental Institutions at the Federal, State and Local levels – are designed to familiarize students with the emergence, historical evolution and current status of US social and political institutions. These courses prepare students to be active, informed members of a democratic community, to engage in the ongoing work of maintaining and supporting a vibrant and participatory democratic polity.


Remaining general education requirements are organized into ten Pathways - ten major questions for students to explore in the context of their general education. Each Pathway connects courses in an intellectually cohesive course of study that explores an issue or area from many different perspectives. Here’s how Pathways work.

Each Pathway consists of 18 units of lower division and 9 units of upper division coursework. Students are encouraged, but not required, to take all of their breadth courses in a Pathway. Specifically, students are not required to complete their lower division coursework in a single Pathway. You may sample across the Pathways, as long as you complete your distributional requirements by taking one course from each of these disciplinary areas: Arts, Humanities, two Social Sciences and Learning for Life. This constitutes the breadth of a general education. Students must complete their nine upper division units within one Pathway, again across three broad disciplinary areas: Natural Sciences, Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences. Students who complete 18 units across the disciplinary areas of a single Pathway, which may include an associated Foundation course, and must include nine upper division units, may earn an interdisciplinary Pathway minor in that Pathway topic area. See the section on Pathway Minors, below.

Other GE Pathway Program Requirements

Writing Intensives:

Students who start at CSU, Chico as first-year freshmen are required to take four Writing Intensive courses in general education. These courses are identified as “WI” in the course schedule, and are designated with an “I” in the course number, e.g., ENGL 130I. The Foundation courses in Writing (Area A-2) count as one of the WI courses, as does your GE Capstone (see discussion below of Capstone requirement.) Transfer students who have completed substantial portions of their GE before enrolling at Chico State are required to take one WI course in the Upper Division, which may be the GE Capstone. As the name indicates, Writing Intensive courses have a particular focus on “learning to write and writing to learn.” Becoming a competent writer is the hallmark of an educated person, and a central goal of a Chico State education. Writing Intensive courses are an integral part of that learning process.


All Pathways include one or more Capstone course. All students are required to take a Capstone course and are encouraged to take the Capstone last in their GE experience, as the Capstone course endeavors to bring together various strands of study of your Pathway topic. Pathways present varying disciplinary perspectives on a common intellectual theme. Capstones provide the opportunity to reflect on and integrate those varying perspectives. Note that in some cases, a student may substitute their major capstone for the GE Capstone. In these cases a student does not have to take a GE Capstone. Please consult with your major advisor or Academic Advising Programs, SSC 220, for more information regarding capstone substitutions. But all students must complete nine units of upper division GE in the three disciplinary areas of Natural Sciences, Arts & Humanities, and Social Sciences.

Pathway Minors

The Pathways program allows students to earn an interdisciplinary minor simply by completing 18 units within a Pathway. The benefits of deciding to choose a GE Pathway and earn an interdisciplinary minor while completing GE are many. GE Pathways have been created by groups of committed faculty members with a passion for their Pathway theme. Courses in a Pathway contain shared thematic content, allowing you to learn about a subject deeply from multiple points of view. You can declare a Pathway minor via your CSU, Chico Portal; your Pathway minor will appear on your transcript upon graduation.

To complete an interdisciplinary Pathway minor, you must complete 18 units across the disciplinary areas of a single Pathway, including nine units of upper division within the same Pathway. You may count one Foundation course associated with your Pathway toward the 18 unit minor. For more information about Pathway minors, and for assistance with course selection, visit GE Pathways Minors and consult with an advisor in Academic Advising Programs, SSC 220.

GE Pathways

Click on any of the PATHWAY MINOR TITLES (below in RED) to follow its link to that GE minor program's requirement page.

Diversity Studies Pathway (Minor)

How difference—cultural, racial, sexual, biological, linguistic, or geographic—shapes who we are and how we live together.

Ethics, Justice and Policy Studies Pathway (Minor)

Explore how ethics and justice help inform policy in areas related to the natural and human environments.

Food Studies Pathway (Minor)

We are what we eat! Explore the physical, social and cultural dimensions of food at home and around the world.

Gender and Sexuality Studies Pathway (Minor)

Explore the diversity of sexual desire, social relationships, gender politics, cultural artistry, and biological systems.

Global Development Studies Pathway (Minor)

Explore the peoples of Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia and the challenges they face.

Great Books and Ideas Pathway (Minor)

Big questions and revolutionary solutions—the world’s great books and ideas, ancient to modern, controversial to classic!

Health and Wellness Studies Pathway (Minor)

Students can apply the skills and knowledge gained in these classes to their lives and their health.

International Studies Pathway (Minor)

Explore the role of the United States and the economic, political and cultural forces of globalization.

Science, Technology and Values Pathway (Minor)

Explore how science and technology shape the human condition—in the past, present and future.

Sustainability Studies Pathway (Minor)

Explore the deep connections between the health and vitality of the natural environment and human well-being.

To see an overview of how each GE Minor works within your General Education, please see the GE Planning Sheet.

Which Requirements Do You Follow?

CSU, Chico revised its General Education Program effective fall semester 2012.

  • Students who are admitted and enroll (matriculate) as first-time freshmen beginning in Fall 2012 semester or thereafter, either at CSU, Chico or at any other institution of higher education, follow the current GE program described in this section.
  • Students who were matriculated and completed college credit prior to Fall 2012, either at CSU, Chico or at another institution in the California State University or California Community College systems, and have since maintained continuous enrollment, will not be held to the Writing Intensive and Capstone requirements of the GE Pathways program. For more information on completing your General Education requirements, visit the Transitioning to a New GE Pathway webpage on the GE Pathways program website.

If you have questions regarding the General Education program and which requirements you must follow, see a Graduation Advisor in Student Services Center room 110, or call the Graduation Advising at 530-898-5957.

Important Notes to Help You with General Education Planning

1. No more than 39 semester units of GE credit may be certified by other institutions to apply to GE requirements at Chico.

NOTE: If you are a transfer student from a California Community College who has completed the entire Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC), you will not be held for additional lower-division GE requirements. However, you must complete CSU, Chico's U.S. Diversity and Global Cultures requirements, if these courses were not taken within your IGETC program, and, if necessary, the U.S. History, Constitutions, and American Ideals requirement, which may double-count within the IGETC certification program. All students transferring with IGETC must complete the 9-units of upper division coursework in a Pathway at Chico.

2. If, by virtue of transferring or readmission after an extended absence, you are required to switch from an earlier GE pattern, we will grant as much GE credit as possible for courses previously taken.

3. If you transfer to another CSU campus, Chico will certify a maximum of 39 GE units. The remaining 9 units must be completed at the campus awarding your degree.

4. Many courses which meet either the U.S. Diversity or the Global Cultures Studies graduation requirement also meet specific GE Area requirements. These courses are identified both in the following GE program and on the U.S. Diversity and Global Cultures Studies course list at the end of this chapter. Other U.S. Diversity and Global Cultures courses not currently approved for GE are also listed at the end of this chapter.

5. Several majors require you to take specific GE courses and/or recommend certain GE courses as elective credit for the major. In a few high-unit majors we have made modifications in the GE requirement in order to reduce the total number of units required to complete the program. It is very important that you review the description of your major in the University Catalog with your advisor. You must determine whether or not specific GE courses are recommended or required or if there are modifications which you should consider for your major. See the Majors with Important Modifications page for a summary of majors and courses.

6. Passing scores on some Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams can fulfill GE requirements. See Credit By Examination and an Graduation Advisor in Graduation Advising, SSC 110, or advisor in Academic Advising Programs, SSC 220, for specifics.

General Education Evaluation

You can view your progress toward completing your GE, as well as all other graduation requirements, in your Degree Progress Report (DPR) via your CSU, Chico Portal. If you need assistance accessing or interpreting your DPR, meet with an advisor in Academic Advising Programs, SSC 220. Your DPR serves as your official graduation evaluation; once you have applied for graduation, meet with a Graduation Advisor in Graduation Advising in the Office of the Registrar, SSC 110 if you have questions about your remaining graduation requirements.


General Education Course Notation and Footnotes

Courses which may count toward both a major and General Education are identified by GE in the program requirements description of a major.

General Education courses listed in this section which are also applicable to the U.S. Diversity or Global Cultures requirements are footnoted USD or GC respectively.

Courses which meet the Writing Intensive requirement for General Education are footnoted WI and are designated with an I in the course number, e.g., ENGL 130I.

Courses which meet the Capstone requirement for General Education are footnoted with a C and are designated with a Z in the course number, e.g. HUMN 300Z.

Catalog Cycle:17