General Education

General Education

The General Education Program

The General Education program at Idaho State University prepares students to be life-long, independent learners and active, culturally aware participants in diverse local, national, and global communities.  As the foundation for all further studies, General Education promotes comprehensive literacy - including effective communication, mathematical, and technological skills; reasoning and creativity; and information literacy - and a broad knowledge base in the liberal arts. 

General Skills and Abilities

Through completing the General Education program, students will be able to:

  • Communicate effectively and clearly in standard written and spoken language;
  • Use mathematical language and quantitative reasoning effectively;
  • Think logically, critically, and creatively; and
  • Locate relevant sources and use them critically and responsibly.

General Education Requirements: The Nine Objectives

All students must complete a minimum of 36 credits from the nine Objective areas as outlined below. All students must meet Objectives 1 through 6, Objective 9, and choose to meet either Objective 7 or 8.

Transfer Credits

A student with transfer credits that meet a specific Objective’s course requirement who falls no more than one credit short of meeting its credit requirement will be deemed to have satisfied the Objective. (A student missing more than one credit in an Objective must complete additional coursework specific to that Objective.)

If a student has satisfied all nine Objectives but does not meet the total minimum credit requirement for general education (36), the student must complete additional coursework from any of the outlined Objective areas to meet the 36 credit minimum.

Objective 1, Written Communication:

Minimum of two (2) courses. (6 credits)

Upon completion of the courses in this category, students are able to demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Use flexible writing process strategies to generate, develop, revise, edit, and proofread texts.
  • Adopt strategies and genre appropriate to the rhetorical situation.
  • Use inquiry-based strategies to conduct research that explores multiple and diverse ideas and perspectives, appropriate to the rhetorical context.
  • Use rhetorically appropriate strategies to evaluate, represent, and respond to the ideas and research of others.
  • Address readers' biases and assumptions with well-developed evidence-based reasoning.
  • Use appropriate conventions for integrating, citing, and documenting source material as well as for surface-level language and style.
  • Read, interpret, and communicate key concepts in writing and rhetoric.

Courses that satisfy Objective 1:

ENGL 1101English Composition3
or ENGL 1101P English Composition Plus
ENGL 1102Critical Reading and Writing 13
HONS 1101Honors Humanities I 13

Must obtain a minimum grade of C- or better.

Objective 2, Oral  Communication:

Minimum of one (1) course. (2 credits minimum)

Upon completion of a course in this category, students are able to demonstrate the following competencies.

  • Research, discover, and develop information resources and structure spoken messages to increase knowledge and understanding.
  • Research, discover, and develop evidence-based reasoning and persuasive appeals for ethically influencing attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors.
  • Adapt spoken messages to the diverse personal, ideological, and emotional needs of individuals, groups, or contexts.
  • Employ effective spoken and nonverbal behaviors that support communication goals and illustrate self-efficacy.
  • Listen in order to effectively and critically evaluate the reasoning, evidence, and communication strategies of self and others.
  • Understand key theories, perspectives, principles, and concepts in the Communication discipline, as applied to oral communication.

One course satisfies the objective:

COMM 1101Principles of Speech3

Objective 3, Mathematical Ways of Knowing:

Minimum of one (1) course. (3 credits)

Upon completion of a course in this category, a student is able to demonstrate the following competencies.

  • Read, interpret, and communicate mathematical concepts.
  • Represent and interpret information/data.
  • Select, execute and explain appropriate strategies/procedures when solving mathematical problems.
  • Apply quantitative reasoning to draw and support appropriate conclusions.

Courses that satisfy Objective 3:

MATH 1123Mathematics in Modern Society3
MATH 1127The Language of Mathematics3
MATH 1130Finite Mathematics3
MATH 1153Introduction to Statistics3
MATH 1160Applied Calculus3
MATH 1170Calculus I4
MATH 2256Structure of Arithmetic for Elementary School Teachers3
MATH 2257Structure of Geometry and Probability for Elementary School Teachers3
MGT 2216Business Statistics3
RCET 1372Calculus for Advanced Electronics4
TGE 1140Survey of Applied Mathematics3

For further information about mathematics prerequisites and placement, see Placement in Mathematics.

Objective 4, Humanistic and Artistic Ways of Knowing:

Minimum of two (2) courses. (6 credits.)  Courses must be selected from two different categories:  Humanities, Fine Arts, or Foreign Language.

Upon completion of a course in this category, students are able to demonstrate at least five (5) of the following competencies.

  • Recognize and describe humanistic, historical, or artistic works within problems and patterns of the human experience.
  • Distinguish and apply terminologies, methodologies, processes, epistemologies, and traditions specific to the discipline(s).
  • Perceive and understand formal, conceptual, and technical elements specific to the discipline.
  • Analyze, evaluate, and interpret texts, objects, events, or ideas in their cultural, intellectual or historical contexts.
  • Interpret artistic and/or humanistic works through the creation of art or performance.
  • Develop critical perspectives or arguments about the subject matter, grounded in evidence-based analysis.
  • Demonstrate self-reflection, intellectual elasticity, widened perspective, and respect for diverse viewpoints.

Courses that satisfy Objective 4:


ENGL 1110Introduction to Literature3
ENGL 1115Major Themes in Literature3
ENGL 1126Art of Film I3
ENGL 2257Survey of World Literature I Beginnings through 16th Century3
ENGL 2258Survey of World Literature II 17th Century to Present3
HONS 1102Honors Humanities II3
PHIL 1101Introduction to Philosophy3
PHIL 1103Introduction to Ethics3
TGE 1257Applied Ethics in Technology3

 Fine Arts

ART 1100Introduction to Art3
ART 1101Survey of Art History I3
ART 1102Survey of Art History II3
ART 2210/CMP 2250History and Appreciation of Photography3
DANC 1105Survey of Dance3
DANC 2205Dance in the Modern Era3
MUSC 1100Introduction to Music3
MUSC 1106American Music3
MUSC 1108The World of Music4
MUSC 1109Survey of Jazz3
THEA 1101Survey of Theatre3

 Foreign Languages

ANTH/SHOS 1101Elementary Shoshoni I4
ANTH/SHOS 1102Elementary Shoshoni II4
ARBC 1101Elementary Arabic I4
ARBC 1102Elementary Arabic II4
CHNS 1101Elementary Chinese I4
CHNS 1102Elementary Chinese II4
CSD 1151American Sign Language I3
CSD 1152American Sign Language II3
FREN 1101Elementary French I4
FREN 1102Elementary French II4
GERM 1101Elementary German I4
GERM 1102Elementary German II4
JAPN 1101Elementary Japanese I4
JAPN 1102Elementary Japanese II4
LANG 1101Elementary Foreign Language I4
LANG 1102Elementary Foreign Language II4
LATN 1101Elementary Latin I4
LATN 1102Elementary Latin II4
RUSS 1101Elementary Russian I4
RUSS 1102Elementary Russian II4
SPAN 1101Elementary Spanish I4
SPAN 1102Elementary Spanish II4

Objective 5, Scientific Ways of Knowing:

Minimum of two (2) lecture courses and one (1) laboratory. (7 credits) Courses must be selected from two different course prefixes.

Upon completion of a course in this category, a student is able to demonstrate at least four (4) of the following competencies.

  • Apply foundational knowledge and models of a natural or physical science to analyze and/or predict phenomena.
  • Understand the scientific method and apply scientific reasoning to critically evaluate arguments.
  • Interpret and communicate scientific information via written, spoken and/or visual representations.
  • Describe the relevance of specific scientific principles to the human experience.
  • Form and test a hypothesis in the laboratory or field using discipline-specific tools and techniques for data collection and/or analysis.

Courses that satisfy Objective 5:

BIOL 1100
Concepts Biology Human Concerns
and Concepts Biology Human Concerns Lab (designed for non-science, non-health related majors) L
BIOL 1101
Biology I
and Biology I Lab (designed for students preparing for majors in science, pre-medical fields, and health related professions) L
CHEM 1100Architecture of Matter L4
CHEM 1101Introduction to General Chemistry3
CHEM 1102
CHEM 1103
Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry
and Introduction to General Organic and Biochemistry Laboratory L
CHEM 1111
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Lab L
CHEM 1112
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry II Lab L
GEOL 1100
The Dynamic Earth
and The Dynamic Earth Lab (this is the lab for students in Geoscience majors) L
GEOL 1101
Physical Geology
and Physical Geology Lab L
GEOL 1110Physical Geology for Scientists Laboratory L1
NTD 2239Nutrition3
PHYS 1100Essentials of Physics L4
PHYS 1101
Elements of Physics
and Elements of Physics Laboratory L
PHYS 1111General Physics3
PHYS 1112General Physics II3
PHYS 1113General Physics I Laboratory L1
PHYS 1114General Physics II Laboratory L1
PHYS 1152Descriptive Astronomy3
PHYS 1153Descriptive Astronomy Laboratory L1
PHYS 2211Engineering Physics I4
PHYS 2212Engineering Physics II4
PHYS 2213Engineering Physics I Laboratory L1
PHYS 2214Engineering Physics II Laboratory L1

Courses with an L notation will apply to Objective 5 as a Laboratory Experience

GEOL 1115 and 1115L taken prior to Fall 2013 may also be used toward Objective 5.

Objective 6, Social and Behavioral Ways of Knowing:

Minimum of two (2) courses. (6 credits) Courses must be selected from two different course prefixes.

Upon completion of a course in this category, students are able to demonstrate at least four (4) of the following competencies.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical and conceptual frameworks of a particular Social Science discipline.
  • Develop an understanding of self and the world by examining the dynamic interaction of individuals, groups, and societies as they shape and are shaped by history, culture, institutions, and ideas.
  • Utilize Social Science approaches, such as research methods, inquiry, or problem-solving, to examine the variety of perspectives about human experiences.
  • Evaluate how reasoning, history, or culture informs and guides individual, civic, or global decisions.
  • Understand and appreciate similarities and differences among and between individuals, cultures, or societies across space and time.

Courses satisfying Objective 6:

ANTH 1100General Anthropology3
ECON 1100Economic Issues3
ECON 2201Principles of Macroeconomics3
ECON 2202Principles of Microeconomics3
EDUC 1110Education and Schooling in the U.S.3
HIST 1101Foundations of Europe3
HIST 1102Modern Europe3
HIST 1111US History I to 18653
HIST 1112US History II 1865 to present3
IS 2203Introduction to International Organizations3
POLS 1101Introduction to United States Government3
PSYC 1101Introduction to General Psychology3
SOC 1101Introduction to Sociology3
SOC 1102Social Problems3
TGE 1150Applied Social Sciences in the Workplace3

Objective 7, Critical Thinking:

Minimum of one (1) course from either Objective 7 or Objective 8. (3 credits)

Critical thinking is defined as the ability to think analytically, critically, creatively, and reflectively to make informed and logical judgements, draw reasoned and meaningful conclusions, and apply ideas to new contexts. Courses satisfying this Objective must include active learning.

Upon completion of a course in this category, students are able to demonstrate the following competencies.

  • Formulate/frame problems and analyze how others do so;
  • Recognize and apply appropriate practices for analyzing ambiguous problems;
  • Identify and apply relevant information for problem solving;
  • Create, analyze, and evaluate/interpret diverse perspectives and solutions;
  • Establish a reasoned framework for drawing conclusions and/or recommending solutions; and
  • Effectively articulate the results of a thinking process.

Courses satisfying Objective 7:

ANTH/ENGL/LANG 1107Nature of Language3
CS 1181Computer Science and Programming I3
CMP 2205Argumentation3
GEOL 1107Real Monsters3
HIST 1100History in Film3
HIST 1118US History and Culture3
HIST 1120Global History Since 15003
INFO 1181Informatics and Programming I3
PHIL 2201Introduction to Logic3
PHIL 2250Contemporary Moral Problems3
POLS 2202Introduction to Politics Critical Thinking and Analysis3
SOC 2248Critical Analysis of Social Diversity3
THEA 1118Oral Interpretation of Literature3
THEA 2251Fundamentals of Acting3

 Objective 8, Information Literacy:

Minimum of one (1) course from either Objective 7 or Objective 8. (3 credits)

Information literacy is defined as the ability to recognize when information is needed and to locate, evaluate, and use information effectively. Courses satisfying this Objective must involve hands-on practice for students rather than merely the presentation of theoretical principles.

Upon completion of a course in this category, students are able to demonstrate the following competencies.

  • Determine the nature and extent of the information/data needed to accomplish a specific purpose;
  • Identify sources and gather information/data effectively and efficiently;
  • Evaluate credibility of sources and information/data;
  • Understand the economics, ethical, legal, and social issues surrounding the creation, collection, and use of information/data; and
  • Use information/data effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.

Courses satisfying Objective 8:

ACAD 1111University Inquiry3
CMP 2203Media Literacy3
FIN 1115Personal Finance3
GEOL 1108Exploring Data and Information3
HIST 2291The Historian's Craft3
INFO 1101Digital Information Literacy3
LLIB 1115Introduction to Information Research3

Objective 9, Cultural Diversity:

Minimum of one (1) course.* (3 credits)

Upon completion of a course in this category, students are able to demonstrate the following competencies.

  • Identify the defining characteristics of culturally diverse communities in regional, national, or global contexts;
  • Describe the influence of cultural attributes such as ability, age, class, epistemology, ethnicity, gender, language, nationality, politics, or religion inherent in different cultures or communities; and
  • Apply knowledge of diverse cultures to address contemporary or historical issues.

Courses satisfying Objective 9:

ANTH/SHOS 2201Intermediate Shoshoni I4
ANTH/SHOS 2202Intermediate Shoshoni II4
ANTH/ENGL 2212Introduction to Folklore and Oral Tradition3
ANTH 2237Peoples and Cultures of the Old World3
ANTH 2238Peoples and Cultures of the New World3
ANTH 2239Latino Peoples and Cultures3
ARBC 2201Intermediate Arabic I4
ARBC 2202Intermediate Arabic II4
CHNS 2201Intermediate Chinese I4
CHNS 2202Intermediate Chinese II4
CMLT 2207Contemporary European Culture3
CMLT 2208Cultures of the Spanish Speaking World3
CMLT 2209Cultures of East Asia3
CSD 2210Human Communication, Differences, and Disorders through Literature and Media3
CSD 2256Deaf Culture and Community3
EDUC 2204Families Community Culture3
ENGL 2210American Cultural Studies3
FREN 2201Intermediate French I4
FREN 2202Intermediate French II4
GERM 2201Intermediate German I4
GERM 2202Intermediate German II4
HIST 2201Women In U.S. History3
HIST 2249World Regional Geography3
HIST 2251Latin American History and Culture3
HIST 2252East Asian History3
HIST 2254Middle East History and Culture3
HIST 2255African History and Culture3
IS 2202The World Today:Introduction to Global Issues3
JAPN 2201Intermediate Japanese I4
JAPN 2202Intermediate Japanese II4
LATN 2201Intermediate Latin I4
LATN 2202Intermediate Latin II4
PHIL 2210Introduction to Asian Philosophies3
RUSS 2201Intermediate Russian I4
RUSS 2202Intermediate Russian II4
SCPY 1001Psychology of Diversity and Learning in Schools3
SOC 2201Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies3
SPAN 2201Intermediate Spanish I4
SPAN 2202Intermediate Spanish II4

*Credit by CLEP or other language exam does not fulfill Objective 9, the Cultural Diversity Objective.

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