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Liberal Arts & Sciences General Education

General Education

The General Education Program at ESU provides a coherent, well-rounded curriculum, consisting of a body of knowledge and skills designed to prepare a person to function successfully and effectively in a global society and workplace. This Program is at the core of the college experience at ESU and complements a student’s major program of study.  In the Fall of 2009, ESU instituted a new General Education Program, with the intent of creating an even stronger curricular core upon which students to build their academic careers, vocational careers, and personal futures.


The General Education mission is: enhance major programs of study through broadly shared educational experiences and academic preparation to become knowledgeable, civic-minded, culturally competent, lifelong learners, and adaptive leaders in a diverse global society.


Emporia State University aspires to be a premier comprehensive university focused on academic excellence, student success, leadership, and community and global engagement. The general education core curriculum design is for students to develop and achieve these goals by providing a liberal arts education. One important component of this curriculum is the completion of all designated general education requirements. This general education core curriculum is the heart of the college experience at ESU and is integral to the students' major program. The goals of this general education program reflect the mission of this institution and are common to all student programs, regardless of majors and career goals. The general education curriculum provides the intellectual background and skills necessary to be "an educated person," as it improves and enhances quality of life.

As a result of completing the general education program, graduates of Emporia State University will be knowledgeable of our pluralistic society and be able to think with breadth and comprehension, to communicate effectively, to understand what it means to be human,and to function with skill and knowledge in the everyday world.


The general education curriculum ensures that students will:

Acquire proficiency in core skills necessary for academic success, including written and spoken communication, quantitative and  mathematical reasoning, and information technology and literacy.

a.  Demonstrate effective communication skills in writing.

b.  Demonstrate effective speaking/presentational communication skills in public or interpersonal contexts.

c.  Demonstrate effective skills in quantitative and mathematical reasoning.

d.  Demonstrate effective skills in information technology.

Demonstrate knowledge of concepts and principles in a wide range of academic disciplines, including the Creative Arts,  Humanities, Life and Physical Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

a.  Demonstrate knowledge of concepts and principles of the various academic.

b.  Use models of inquiry pertinent to various academic disciplines.

Demonstrate knowledge of similarities and differences among the world's cultures.

a.  Critically examine the characteristics of one's own culture and other cultures.

b.  Critically examine how one's own culture and other cultures shape one's attitudes and options.

c.  Demonstrate knowledge of the importance of tolerance and respect towards people of diverse cultures.

Demonstrate knowledge and skills necessary for promoting personal and social well-being.

a.  Demonstrate the ability to gather, analyze, and use information to make decisions that promote personal and social well-being.

b.  Demonstrate awareness of operations of civic and societal institutions.

c.  Identify issues that inform and affect civic and societal instructions.

Be able to think critically and analytically about an issue, an idea, or a problem.

a.  Identify and define an issue, an idea, or a problem.

b.  Gather, analyze, and evaluate relevant and reliable information from diverse perspectives.

c.  Formulate and support a well-reasoned argument, perspective or conclusion.

Be able to make connections among the ideas and perspectives of multiple disciplines.

a.  Explore and compare complex ideas for multiple disciplines.

b.  Apply knowledge from the perspective of multiple disciplines.


  1. General education courses are open to all students and, with the exception of basic skills, have no university course prerequisites that are not part of the general education program. Students may be required to take developmental courses to improve their skills in written composition, mathematics, and reading.
  2. Basic skills courses must be completed within the student's first forty-eight hours of college credit. In order to provide maximum integration of the remainder of the general education program and courses within one's major, classes beyond basic skills should be spread out over the progression of the student's undergraduate career.
  3. All general education courses, beyond basic skills, are surveys in nature.  These courses introduce students to the knowledge of the discipline involved, and assist students in achieving the goals of the general education program. Upper division courses used as approved alternatives in fulfilling general education requirements need not be surveys in nature.
  4. In order to enhance the integration of communication skills throughout the general education experience, all general education courses, whenever possible, will include writing assignments (journals, term papers, lab reports, etc.) and assignments which require students to make oral presentations (reports, speeches, discussions, etc.) .
  5. In order to enhance the critical thinking and value clarification abilities of students, all general education courses, whenever possible, will include active learning projects designed to enhance these abilities through such activities as problem solving, research projects, and the discussion of social implications inherent in course material.
  6. Courses in the general education program should include significant amounts of hands-on computer experience where appropriate and applicable to the discipline.
  7. Each course in the general education program should be demanding, taught by the best available faculty, and consistent with the objectives of its particular role in the total general education curriculum.
  8. Students will have the option of completing the basic skills courses through credit by examination. Other courses within the general education program may also offer this option. Procedures for credit by examination will ensure that the goals of general education have been met.
  9. The general education program will facilitate appropriate forms of outcome assessment.
  10. To ensure that it is rigorous, integrated, and consistent with its primary goals, the general education program should be cohesive and manageable. Course options within categories should be minimized.
  11. Emporia State University is committed to this one core curriculum for all students, and no program on campus should be allowed to construct a separate general education curriculum of its own. This single program does provide, however, for an "honors" general education experience that parallels yet goes beyond the requirements of the standard program.


The overall general education program is the responsibility of the Dean of The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and his or her designated Director of General Education. ESU's Council on General Education, which is composed of faculty, students and administrators, assists the director and has responsibility for approving, monitoring, and reviewing all policies, procedures, and curricula pertaining to general education. Faculty in the arts and sciences play a key role in the definition and delivery of the general education program.


A student who first enrolled under an earlier program has the option of completing the general education requirements that were in effect at the time of his or her first enrollment in an accredited college or university, unless either of the following conditions exist:

  1. Different requirements have been imposed by external agencies (e.g., accrediting bodies, the Kansas Board of Regents, the Kansas State Board of Education, etc.).
  2. The student has not shown reasonable continuity in his or her education. "Reasonable continuity" is defined as at least 25 semester hours of credit in the immediate past five-calendar-year period. However, a student who has made application for a degree and has a degree check on file in the registration office may complete the remaining general education requirements identified on that degree check unless ten years have elapsed since the degree check was filed, or requirements of external agencies make that procedure impossible.

In special cases, the determination of which general education requirements are to be met will be made by the Director of General Education.

The student should check with his or her advisor about possible recent changes in the following requirements. Honors students should note the honors courses listed at the end of this section.

Honors students should consult the honors courses listed here.