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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs


The associate degree General Education program consists of 21 credits that are distributed among two General Education components:

  1. (1) Skills: 6 credits in courses that develop communicative and quantitative skills; and
  2. (2) Knowledge Domains: 12 credits in the Natural Sciences, Arts, Humanities, and Social and Behavioral Sciences, with an additional 3 credits in any General Education area.

Associate degree students have a 3-credit requirement and may choose either a United States Cultures (US) course or an International Cultures (IL) course, and must complete a 3-credit writing intensive course (W).

A restriction is placed on students in majors that are closely linked to the Knowledge Domains areas of Natural Sciences, Arts, Humanities, and Social and Behavioral Sciences, in order to ensure that they participate in the full breadth of General Education. These students may not use a course in their academic major to satisfy one of the Knowledge Domains area requirements. For example, an Economics major may not use an economics course to fulfill his/her social and behavioral sciences requirement.


Writing/Speaking (GWS) 3 credits
Quantification (GQ) 3 credits
total 6 credits
Natural Sciences (GN) 3 credits
Arts (GA) 3 credits
Humanities (GH) 3 credits
Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS) 3 credits
total 12 credits
Any General Education course can be taken to satisfy these 3 credits 3 credits
United States Cultures (US) or International Cultures (IL) or combined designation (US;IL) 3 credits*
Writing Across the Curriculum (W, M, X,Y) 3 credits*
total 6 credits
* May be completed by designated courses that also meet other degree or General Education requirements.

Flexibility of the Associate Degree General Education Requirements

The General Education program extends the concept of flexibility to all aspects of the degree program. Penn State wants students to use General Education as an opportunity to experiment and explore, to take academic risks, to discover things they did not know before, and to learn to do things they have not done before.

To these ends, students may, with the permission of their adviser and dean's representative:

  1. Substitute a 200- to 499-level course for an Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences, or Social and Behavioral Sciences course found on the General Education list. For example, a student may take a 400-level course in history and use it to meet the General Education requirement satisfied by a comparable lower level history course.
  2. Meet the United States Cultures (US) and International Cultures (IL) requirement through completion of an experiential learning program or practicum (one-semester or year long) approved by their college dean's Office. Approved Penn State Education Abroad Programs may be used to satisfy the International Cultures (IL) requirement.
  3. Three credits of the required 21 credits of General Education courses are to be selected from any of the following General Education areas: Writing/Speaking, Quantification, Natural Sciences, Arts, Humanities, or Social and Behavioral Sciences.

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