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, but 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:

i.    Use flexible writing process strategies to generate, develop, revise, proofread, and edit texts.

ii.    Adopt strategies and genre appropriate to the rhetorical situation.

iii.    Use inquiry-based strategies to conduct research that explores multiple and diverse ideas and perspectives, appropriate to the rhetorical context.

iv.    Use rhetorically appropriate strategies to evaluate, represent, and respond to the ideas and research of others.

v.    Address readers' biases and assumptions with well-developed evidence-based reasoning.

vi.    Use appropriate conventions for integrating, citing, and documenting source material. 

      vii.    Read, interpret, and communicate key concepts in writing and rhetoric.

Courses that satisfy Objective 1:

ENGL 1101Writing and Rhetoric I3
ENGL 1101PWriting and Rhetoric I Plus4
ENGL 1102Writing and Rhetoric II 13
HONS 1101Honors Humanities I 13

Must obtain a minimum grade of C- or better.

Objective 2, Oral  Communication:

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

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

i.    Research, discover, and develop information resources and structure spoken messages to increase knowledge and understanding.

ii.    Research, discover, and develop evidence-based reasoning and persuasive appeals for ethically influencing attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors.

iii.    Adapt spoken messages to the diverse personal, ideological, and emotional needs of individuals, groups, or contexts.

iv.    Employ effective spoken and nonverbal behaviors that support communication goals and illustrate self-efficacy.

v.    Listen in order to effectively and critically evaluate the reasoning, evidence, and communication strategies of self and others.

      vi.   Demonstrate knowledge of key theories, perspectives, principles, and concepts in the Communication discipline, as applied to oral communication

One course satisfies the objective:

COMM 1101Fundamentals of Oral Communication3

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.

i.    Interpret mathematical concepts.

ii.   Represent information/data.

iii.  Use appropriate strategies/procedures when solving mathematical problems.

      iv.  Draw reasonable conclusions based on quantitative information.

Courses that satisfy Objective 3:

EDMT 2270Teaching K-8 Mathematics I3
EDMT 2271Teaching K-8 Mathematics II3
MATH 1123Math in Modern Society3
MATH 1123PMathematics in Modern Society Plus4
MATH 1127The Language of Mathematics3
MATH 1130Finite Mathematics3
MATH 1143Precalculus I: Algebra3
MATH 1143PPrecalculus I: Algebra Plus5
MATH 1147Precalculus5
MATH 1153Statistical Reasoning3
MATH 1153PStatistical Reasoning Plus4
MATH 1160Survey of Calculus3
MATH 1170Calculus I4
MATH 2256Structure of Arithmetic for Elementary School Teachers (Equivalent to EDMT 2270)3
MATH 2257Structure of Geometry and Probability for Elementary School Teachers (Equivalent to EDMT 2271)3
MGT 2216Business Statistics3
RCET 1372Calculus for 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.

i.    Recognize and describe humanistic, historical, or artistic works within problems and patterns of the human experience.

ii.   Distinguish and apply methodologies, approaches, or traditions specific to the discipline.

iii.  Differentiate formal, conceptual, and technical elements specific to the discipline.

iv.   Analyze, evaluate, and interpret texts, objects, events, or ideas in their cultural, intellectual, or historical contexts.

v.   Interpret artistic or humanistic works through the creation of art, language, or performance.

vi.  Develop critical perspectives or arguments about the subject matter, grounded in evidence-based analysis.

      vii. Demonstrate self-reflection, widened perspective, and respect for diverse viewpoints.

Courses that satisfy Objective 4:


ENGL 1115Major Themes in Literature3
ENGL 1126Art of Film I3
ENGL 1175Literature and Ideas3
ENGL 2215Survey of World Mythology3
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 2210History and Appreciation of Photography (Equivalent to CMP 2250)3
CMP 2250History and Appreciation of Photography (equivalent to ART 2210)3
DANC 1105Survey of Dance3
DANC 2205Dance in the Modern Era3
MUSI 1100Introduction to Music3
MUSI 1105Survey of Rock Music3
MUSI 1106American Music3
MUSI 1108The World of Music4
MUSI 1109Survey of Jazz3
THEA 1101Survey of Theatre3

 Foreign Languages

ARBC 1101Elementary Arabic I4
ARBC 1102Elementary Arabic II4
CHNS 1101Elementary Chinese I4
CHNS 1102Elementary Chinese II4
CSD 1151American Sign Language I4
CSD 1152American Sign Language II4
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
RUSS 1101Elementary Russian I4
RUSS 1102Elementary Russian II4
SHOS 1101Elementary Shoshoni I4
SHOS 1102Elementary Shoshoni 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 or field experiences. (7 credits) Courses must be selected from two different course prefixes.

Upon completion of a non-lab course in this category, a student is able to demonstrate competencies i-iv.  A student is able to demonstrate all five competencies, i-v, upon completion of a lab course

i.   Apply foundational knowledge and models of a discipline in the physical or natural sciences to analyze and/or predict phenomena.

ii.  Apply scientific reasoning to critically evaluate assertions.

iii.  Interpret and communicate scientific information via written, spoken, and/or visual representations.

iv.  Describe the relevance of specific scientific principles to the human experience.

      v.  Test a hypothesis in the laboratory or field using discipline-specific tools and techniques for observation, data collection and analysis to form a defensible conclusion.

Courses that satisfy Objective 5:

ANTH 2230
Biological Anthropology
and Biological Anthropology Lab
BIOL 1100Concepts of Biology (designed for non-science, non-health related majors)3
BIOL 1101
Biology I
and Biology I Lab (designed for students preparing for majors in science, pre-medical fields, and health related professions) L
BIOL 2227
Human Anatomy and Physiology 1
and Human Anatomy and Physiology 1 Lab L
CE 1140Environmental Sustainability and Climate3
CHEM 1100Concepts of Chemistry L4
CHEM 1101Introduction to Chemistry3
CHEM 1102
CHEM 1103
Essentials of Organic and Biochemistry
and Essentials of 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
NTD 2239Nutrition3
PHYS 1100Essentials of Physics L4
PHYS 1101
Elements of Physics
and Elements of Physics Laboratory L
PHYS 1111General Physics I3
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 all five (5) of the following competencies.

i.   Demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical and conceptual frameworks of a particular Social Science discipline.

ii.  Describe 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.

iii. Utilize Social Science approaches, such as research methods, inquiry, or problem-solving, to examine the variety of perspectives about human experiences.

iv.  Evaluate how reasoning, history, or culture informs and guides individual, civic, or global decisions.

      v. Identify the impact of the similarities and differences among and between individuals, cultures, or societies across space and time.

Courses satisfying Objective 6:

ANTH 1100Discover Anthropology3
ANTH 1102Cultural Anthropology3
ECON 1100Economic Issues3
ECON 2201Principles of Macroeconomics3
ECON 2202Principles of Microeconomics3
EDUC 1110Education and Schooling in the U.S.3
HIST 1101World History I3
HIST 1102World History II3
HIST 1105Foundations of Europe3
HIST 1106Modern Europe3
HIST 1111United States History I3
HIST 1112United States History II3
GLBL 2203International Organizations Today: Conflicts and Cooperation3
POLS 1101American National Government3
PSYC 1101Introduction to Psychology3
SOWK 1101Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare3
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, 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.

i.   Formulate/frame problems and analyze how others do so.

ii.  Recognize and apply appropriate practices for analyzing ambiguous problems.

iii.  Identify and apply relevant information for problem solving.

iv.  Create, analyze, and  evaluate and/or interpret diverse perspectives and solutions.

v.   Articulate a reasoned framework for drawing conclusions and/or recommending solutions.

vi.  Effectively articulate the results of a thinking process.


Courses satisfying Objective 7:

ANTH 1107Nature of Language (Equivalent to ENGL 1107 and GLBL 1107)3
CS 1181Computer Science and Programming I3
CMP 2205Argumentation3
ENGL 1107Nature of Language (Equivalent to ANTH 1107 and GLBL 1107)3
GEOL 1107Real Monsters3
HIST 1100History in Film3
HIST 1118US History and Culture3
HIST 1120Themes in World History3
INFO 1181Informatics and Programming I3
GLBL 1107Nature of Language (Equivalent to ANTH 1107 and ENGL 1107)3
PHIL 2201Introduction to Logic3
PHIL 2250Contemporary Moral Problems3
PHIL 2260Philosophy of Life and Death3
POLS 1102Introduction 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.

i.  Determine the nature and extent of the information/data needed to accomplish a specific purpose.

ii.  Identify sources and gather information/data effectively and efficiently.

iii. Evaluate credibility of sources and information/data.

iv. Explain the economic, ethical, legal, and social issues surrounding the creation, collection, and use of information/data.

v.  Use information/data effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.


Courses satisfying Objective 8:

ACAD 1111Info Literacy and Inquiry: Locating, Evaluating & Integrating Information for Research3
CMP 2203Media Literacy3
FIN 1115Personal Finance3
HIST 2291Introduction to Research3
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.

i.  Identify the defining characteristics of culturally diverse communities in regional, national, or global contexts.

ii. 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.

     iii. Apply knowledge of diverse cultures to address contemporary or historical issues.

Courses satisfying Objective 9:

ANTH 2201Intermediate Shoshoni I (Equivalent to SHOS 2201)4
ANTH 2202Intermediate Shoshoni II (Equivalent to SHOS 2202)4
ANTH 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
ANTH 2258Native American History (Equivalent to HIST 2258)3
CHNS 2201Intermediate Chinese I4
CHNS 2202Intermediate Chinese II4
GLBL 2207Contemporary European Culture3
GLBL 2208Cultures of the Spanish Speaking World3
GLBL 2209Cultures of East Asia3
CE 1150Engineering Marvels and Civilizations (Equivalent to ME 1150)3
CSD 2210Human Communication, Differences, and Disorders through Literature and Media3
CSD 2256Deaf Culture and Community3
EDUC 2204Families Community Culture3
ENGL 2210American Cultural Studies3
GLBL 2202The World Today:Introduction to Global Issues3
GLBL 2270World Regional Geography and Cultures3
HCA 1115Global Health Systems3
HIST 2201Women In U.S. History3
HIST 2251Latin American History and Culture3
HIST 2252Asian History and Culture3
HIST 2254Middle East History and Culture3
HIST 2255African History and Culture3
HIST 2258Native American History (Equivalent to ANTH 2258)3
JAPN 2201Intermediate Japanese I4
JAPN 2202Intermediate Japanese II4
ME 1150Engineering Marvels and Civilizations (Equivalent to CE 1150)3
PHIL 2210Introduction to Asian Philosophies3
POLS 2231Introduction to Comparative Politics3
RUSS 2201Intermediate Russian I4
RUSS 2202Intermediate Russian II4
SCPY 1001Psychology of Diversity and Learning in Schools3
SHOS 2201Intermediate Shoshoni I (Equivalent to ANTH 2201)4
SHOS 2202Intermediate Shoshoni II (Equivalent to ANTH 2202)4
SOC 2201Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies3
SPAN 2201Intermediate Spanish I4
SPAN 2202Intermediate Spanish II4
SPAN 2221Spanish for Heritage Speakers4

General Education Requirements for Career Technical Programs

Students seeking an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree must complete a minimum of fifteen (15) credits of General Education coursework. The fifteen credits must include:

  1. Written Communication (ENGL 1101 or ENGL 1101P, or ENGL 1102) 3-4 credits
  2. Oral Communication (COMM 1101) 3 credits
  3. Mathematical Ways of Knowing (any Objective 3 course) 3 credits
  4. Social and Behavioral Ways of Knowing (any Objective 6 course) 3 credits
  5. Three (3) credit hours towards any unfulfilled Objective.

TGE 1140 (Objective 3), TGE 1257 (Objective 4), and TGE 1150 (Objective 6) are recommended if other general education courses are not required by the program. See specific program requirements.

This language follows Idaho State Board of Education Statewide General Education policies and procedures.  Please visit the link below for more information.