Connecticut State Colleges and Universities
Charter Oak State College Official Catalog

General Education Requirements

This requirement is intended to assure that students gain the knowledge to further develop their potential and enhance their capability to engage in a lifelong process of learning. By fulfilling this requirement, students acquire knowledge of American history and the culture of another country; an understanding of a global society and their relation to it; an understanding of how the social and behavioral sciences inform us of past and future efforts; a sense of social, ethical and cultural values; and an appreciation of how the arts and humanities enhance one's life. They also develop communication skills, critical thinking, information literacy, ethical decision-making, quantitative skills and an understanding of the scientific method. Since the critical thinking skills requirement is assessed in a number of courses, especially the capstone course, it doesn't have a separate credit requirement.

If credits apply to more than one category, credits will be counted only once towards the total needed for the degree. For Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, a total of 40 general education credits are required for graduation. The minimum of each area is specified below.

To find courses based on General Ed requirements, use our General Ed Course Search. General education requirements are specific to the actual year of matriculation.

Get more information on using Standardized Testing to meet general education requirements.

Skill Area Requirements

All students must earn six semester credits in Written Communication with a grade of C or higher at a regionally accredited institution of higher education, or by completion of faculty-approved proficiency tests with an acceptable grade or score. A grade of C- is not acceptable. Once matriculated, the prerequisite for all courses is English Composition. If the student already successfully completed the requirement prior to matriculation he or she will be enrolled int he Cornerstone course, otherwise, English Composition will be the first course taken. Students who have not met the six-semester credit Written Communication requirement must meet that requirement within their first nine credits or first two semesters.

Communication: Students will communicate effectively using Standard English, read and listen critically, and write and speak thoughtfully, clearly, coherently and persuasively. Written communication (6 credits), Oral Communication (3 credits)

  1. Read actively, think critically, and write and speak purposefully and capably for academic and, in some cases, professional audiences.
  2. Locate, evaluate, and ethically utilize information to communicate effectively.
  3. Use appropriate reasoning in response to complex issues.
  4. Research a topic, develop an argument, and organize supporting details.
  5. Produce coherent texts and speeches within common college-level written and verbal forms.
  6. Revise and improve such texts and speeches.
  7. Evaluate written and oral presentations according to established criteria.

Information Literacy (1-3 credits): Students will locate, evaluate, synthesize and use information form a variety of sources and understand the ethical issues involved in accessing and using information.

  1. Access, navigate, identify, and evaluate information that is appropriate for students’ need(s) and audience (s).
  2. Synthesize information to broaden knowledge and experiences to produce work.
  3. Evaluate the economic, legal, ethical, and social issues surrounding the access and use of information and relevant technologies.

Ethical Decision-Making (3 credits): Students will use critical thinking skills to make ethical decisions.

  1. Engage in self-evaluation of one’s personal values and the degree to which one’s ethical values and behaviors are congruent.
  2. Analyze complex ethical dilemmas facing the world.
  3. Evaluate the causes of societal problems and potential solutions, recognizing different points of view.
  4. Describe the impact of decision making on individuals, society, cultures, and nation.

Knowledge Area Requirements

U.S. History/Government (3 credits): Students will articulate the ideas and processes that shaped the history of the United States.

  1. Explain the basic narrative of American history: political, economic, social, and cultural, including knowledge of unity and diversity in American society.
  2. Describe common institutions in American society and how they have affected different groups.
  3. Explain America’s evolving relationship with the rest of the world.
  4. Describe the impact of the past on subsequent events

Non-U.S. History or Culture (3 credits): Students will discuss the major developments in the history and culture of other countries.

  1. Explain the development of the distinctive features of the history, institutions, economy, society, culture, religion, etc., of Western civilization; and
  2. Relate the development of Western civilization to that of other regions of the world: or
  3. Explain the distinctive features such as the history, institutions, economy, society, culture, or religion of one non-Western civilization.

Global Understanding (3 credits): Students will discuss the impact of nations, regions, and cultures upon other nations, regions and cultures since 1945, and the impact of these interactions upon individuals.

  1. Explain the distinctive features such as the history, institutions, economy, society, culture, and religion of at least two nations, regions, or cultures and their impact on each other.
  2. Explain the distinctive features such as the history, institutions, economy, society, culture, and religion of at least two nations, regions, or cultures and their impact on individuals within those nations, regions, or cultures.

Literature and Fine Arts (3 credits): Students will analyze and interpret works of art, literature, performing arts, visual arts, other arts forms and explain their impact on our heritage and culture.

  1. Apply key concepts, terminology, and methodologies in the analysis of literary, performing, visual, or other art forms.
  2. Identify works of visual, performing or literary art within historical, social, political, cultural or aesthetic contexts.
  3. Articulate ways in which literature, performance or visual arts and other cultural forms respond to and influence society and culture.

Social/Behavioral Sciences (3 credits): Students will explain the interdependent influences of the individual, family, and society in shaping behavior by analyzing self, the world, and social and cultural institutions.

  1. Explain how social, organizational, political, economic, historical, or cultural elements influence the behavior of self and the society;
  2. Explain issues of diversity (such as cultural diversity, age diversity, gender diversity, religious diversity) and their impact on society;
  3. Explain theories and research methods used to investigate social phenomena.
  4. Explain ethical issues pertaining to social contexts and phenomena
  5. Apply concepts or theories of social phenomena to real world situations through research papers, discussion posts, or projects.

Mathematics (3 credits): Students will use mathematics and mathematic concepts to solve problems and understand data.

    1. Interpret and draw inferences from mathematical models such as formulas, graphs, tables and schematics.
    2. Represent mathematical information symbolically, visually, numerically and verbally.
    3. Employ quantitative methods such as, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, or statistics to solve problems.
    4. Estimate and check mathematical results for reasonableness.
    5. Recognize the limits of mathematical and statistical methods.


Under the regulations for State Authorization, students who reside in the state of Minnesota must have 8 credits of science or math in order to graduate.

Natural Sciences (7-8 credits): Students will explain basic scientific process and theories and be able to apply scientific inquiry. One 4 credit course that includes a lab must be taken.

  1. Use quantitative information and/or mathematical analysis to obtain sound results and recognize questionable assumptions;
  2. Make observations, understand the fundamental elements of experiment design, generate and analyze data using appropriate quantitative tools, use abstract reasoning to interpret the data and formulae, and test hypotheses;
  3. Apply findings and ideas in science to explain phenomena and events that impact the larger society;
  4. Proficiently collect, interpret, and present scientific data.

One 4-credit course that includes a lab must be taken. The second course can be either a 4-credit lab or a 3-credit course without a lab.

Students enrolled in the AS in Early Childhood Education degree are exempt from the global requirement and must complete either the US History/Government or Non-US History or Culture requirement.

Critical thinking (O credits):  This is not a separate general education requirement because it is built into the Cornerstone that is required of all students, the development of the CPS required for individualized and liberal studies students and into the Capstone course that are required of all bachelor degree students.  

Students will organize, interpret, and evaluate evidence and ideas within and across disciplines; draw reasoned inferences and defensible conclusions; and solve problems and make decisions based on analytical processes.

  1. Identify issues, evidence and reasoning processes; distinguish facts from opinion; and recognize various types of arguments.
  2. Formulate arguments, including a significant focus on inductive reasoning.
  3. Break subject matter into components, and identify their interrelations to ascertain the defining features of the work and their contributions to the whole
  4. Draw together disparate claims into a coherent whole in order to arrive at well- reasoned and well‐supported inferences that can be justified as a conclusion.

General Electives

The number of credits in this category will vary, depending on individual circumstances.

Liberal Arts

Student's must also fulfill the Liberal Arts requirement in order to obtain their degree. The requirements are as follows:

Associate in Arts45 liberal arts credits
Associate in Science30 liberal arts credits
Bachelor of Arts90 liberal arts credits
Bachelor of Science60 liberal arts credits

View a list of subject areas that are usually classified as Liberal Arts.


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