General Arts and Sciences, B.A.

Program Code: GAS_BA

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:

  1. attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
  2. have third-semester classification.

READ SENATE POLICY 37-30: ENTRANCE TO AND CHANGES IN MAJOR PROGRAMS OF STUDY

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in General Arts and Sciences, a minimum of 124 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 19
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 36

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination. 

Per Senate Policy 83.80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of coursework in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

Requirements for the Major

Each student must earn at least a grade of C in each 300- and 400-level course in the major field.

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Common Requirements for the Major (All Options)

Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 3 credits in each of the areas of arts, humanities, science/mathematics, and the social and behavioral sciences12
Requirements for the Option
Select an option24

Requirements for the Option

Humanities Option (24 credits)
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 24 credits (at least 15 credits at the 400 level) in humanities from those listed under humanities in the Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirement list, with at least 3 credits in each of three areas.24
Liberal Studies Option (24 credits)
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
In this option, the student shall submit a proposal to the adviser listing his/her choice of subjects beyond those required in the Supporting Courses and Related Areas category. In consultation with the adviser and the General Arts and Sciences program head, the student may choose from any B.A. course offering of the University. Option must be approved no later than the end of the sixth semester. (15 credits must be at the 400 level)24
Science/Mathematics Option (24 credits)
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 24 credits (at least 15 credits at the 400 level) in science/mathematics from those listed under science/mathematics in the Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements list, with at least 3 credtis in each of three areas.24
Social and Behavioral Sciences Option (24 credits)
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 24 credits (at least 15 at the 400 level) in the social and behavioral sciences from those listed in the Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements list, with at least 3 credits in each of three areas.24

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

Erie

Joshua Shaw, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
140 Kochel
Erie, PA 16563
814-898-6444
jjs34@psu.edu

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Erie Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
First-Year Seminar1General Education3
ENGL 15 or ENGL 30†‡3General Education3
General Education3General Education3
General Education3General Education3
General Education1.5World Language (Level Two)4
World Language (Level One)4 
 15.5 16
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CAS 100†‡3ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D*†‡3
General Education3Other Cultures3
General Education3General Education3
General Education3General Education3
World Language (Level Three)4General Education3
 General Education1.5
 16 16.5
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BA Knowledge Domain3BA Knowledge Domain3
BA Knowledge Domain3Option Requirement any level3
General Education3Option Requirement 400-level3
General Education3Elective3
Optional Reqirement any level3Elective3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Option Requirement any level3Option Requirement 400-level*3
Option Requirement 400-level*3Option Requirement 400-level*3
Option Requirement 400-level*3General Education3
Elective3Elective3
Writing Across the Curriculum "W Course"3Elective 3
 15 15
Total Credits 124

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GN, GA, GH, and GS). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Additional Notes

GWS, GHW, GQ, GN, GA, GH, and GS are codes used to identify General Education requirements.

US, IL, and US;IL are codes used to designate courses that satisfy University United States/International Cultures requirements.

Both US (United States Cultures) and IL (International Cultures) must be completed within the degree requirements.

Program Notes:  Students can double count US & IL requirements for general education courses but not for the Other Cultures requirement.

Academic Advising Notes: The course series listed about is only one of many possible ways to move through this curriculum.  The number of electives required varies per students.  Please be sure to consult with an adviser about your intended plan.

Career Paths

General Arts and Sciences graduates follow diverse career paths, paths as varied as the majors they designed. Some have moved directly into the professional world, while others have pursued graduate education. Penn State Behrend has a comprehensive support system to help you identify and achieve your goals for college and beyond. Meet with your academic adviser often and take advantage of the services offered by the Academic and Career Planning Center beginning in your first semester.

Careers

General Arts and Sciences graduates are self-starters who can show employers that they not only possess the skill sets of other liberal arts students, such as critical reading and communication, but also demonstrate a record of taking the initiative to design their own curriculum. Because of the major’s flexibility, General Arts and Sciences graduates can work with potential employers to tailor their coursework to the employers’ changing needs. This gives them a competitive advantage when applying for jobs.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS FOR GRADUATES OF THE GENERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES PROGRAM

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

A B.A. in General Arts and Sciences is a broad degree, making it the perfect starting point for most post-baccalaureate programs. Your options are limited only by your imagination!

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRADUATE STUDIES

Contact

Erie

SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
170 Irvin Kochel Center
4951 College Drive
Erie, PA 16563
814-898-6108
HumSocSci@psu.edu

http://behrend.psu.edu/school-of-humanities-social-sciences