Fulfilling General Education Requirements

What are the General Education Requirements?
Students take 3 types of General Education courses. See the full list of requirements below. 

Foundations (9 courses)

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

Cultures (2 courses)

  • 1 U.S. Diversity
  • 1 Global Perspectives

Issues (2 courses)

  • Choose 2 courses from 2 different disciplines/course prefixes.
  • 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/course prefixes, the second course must be taken from a third discipline/course prefixes.
  • Issues courses must be taken at GVSU.
  • Issues courses have a junior standing prerequisite.

How do I know if I have completed my General Education requirements?
Go to www.gvsu.edu. Click on "Current Students", then click on "myBanner" and log in. From there you can obtain your MyPath "Degree Audit Report" which will tell you which classes you have taken and which classes you need to take.

Can a course be used to meet a GE requirement as well as a major/minor requirement? 
Yes. In most cases, a course can be used to fulfill a GE requirement and a major/minor requirement. Please check your specific major/minor requirements to be sure. 

How does "double dipping" work?
There are some classes that count for more than one General Education requirement. An example would be GPY 235. It is listed under Social and Behavioral Sciences AND Global Perspectives, which means if you were to take this course, it would count for both Social and Behavioral Sciences and Global Perspectives. Courses can double-dip between Foundations and Cultures or Issues and Cultures. Courses CANNOT double-dip between Foundations and Issues.

Can I get General Education credit if I study abroad?
YES. Please see the Study Abroad information page.  

I have received a bachelor's degree from Grand Valley (or any other institution). Do I have to complete the General Education requirements to complete another degree?
Students with a bachelor's degree (from any college) have completed their General Education requirements. They just need to complete the 2nd degree/major requirements within the program.

Is there a minimum grade required for General Education Classes?
There is no minimum grade requirement for General Education classes except for WRT 150, which requires a C (not a C-) or higher (SWS courses also require a C or higher).

Am I allowed to take a class for Credit/No Credit?

Maybe. To fulfill the General Education requirement, a course can be taken as Credit/No Credit (CR/NC).  You need a C (not a C-) or better to receive credit (CR) if you take the course as CR/NC.  Please check with your major/minor/certificate program to determine whether there are requirements for a specific grade in a General Education course that is also fulfilling a required or elective course. Undergraduate students may elect a maximum of 10 semester hours of major, minor, or cognate courses to be taken on a credit/no credit basis only with the consent of the student's major department. A maximum of 25% of a student's Grand Valley credit hours earned to fulfill graduation requirements may be taken on a credit/no credit basis.

If I placed in a language course higher than 202 can I still get Global Perspectives credit?
Yes, if you take a course higher than 202. You must have the Modern Languages Department contact us with your name and the course (above the 202 level) you took in lieu of 202. 

Can I use life experiences (work, volunteer, military service) to count for a General Education course?
Although life experiences are extremely valuable in your education, they do not fulfill any General Education requirements.

Can I test out of a General Education requirement through a departmental proficiency exam?

Can I use AP, CLEP, or International Baccalaureate credits to fulfill General Education requirements?
It is possible. If you receive a high enough score, you may fulfill some of the General Education requirements. More information about  AP, CLEP, or International Baccalaureate available.

Can I use an independent study, internship, practicum, co-op, research, or similar type of course to fulfill a General Education requirement?
No. However, these courses can often be used to fulfill a requirement in your major, minor, or emphasis.

Can my advisor substitute a course for a General Education requirement?
No. Advisors and faculty members CANNOT make substitutions in the General Education Program.

How do I know what the SWS requirements are?

Although SWS is not a General Education requirement, it is a University requirement. For information on SWS requirements or to contact someone about questions regarding SWS please visit the SWS website

Page last modified January 9, 2023