Liberal Arts & Sciences General Education Program

A breadth of intellectual inquiry

Consistent with its heritage since its founding in 1770, the College of Charleston retains a strong liberal arts undergraduate general education curriculum. The Liberal Arts and Sciences General Education requirement serves all students, regardless of major, and assures that students are exposed to a breadth of intellectual inquiry distributed across seven areas of the curriculum: First Year WritingForeign Languages, Classical or ModernHistoryHumanitiesMathematics/LogicNatural Science, and Social Sciences.

The general education program emphasizes acquisition of knowledge, communication and languages, analysis, explanation and problem-solving. Faculty have defined specific learning outcomes for each of the distribution areas.

The fields of knowledge reflected in the College’s seven general education distribution areas draw nearly equally from two dominant models: the mid-twentieth century “core distribution areas” (humanities, social science, natural science, and later mathematics) and the “traditional liberal arts” originating in a classical curriculum (literature, history, philosophy, and foreign languages).


General Education Requirements

The College’s general education distribution requirement provides a measure of structure by specifying which fields of learning every student must include, but allows each student the flexibility to select specific courses from among those approved for inclusion in each of the seven distribution areas. General education courses are designed to provide students with a solid foundation for further study as well as allow for intellectual exploration within the liberal arts and sciences. General education coursework in the liberal arts and sciences is an essential part of each undergraduate’s education at the College of Charleston.

Students must fulfill the general education requirements in effect at the time of their matriculation at the College of Charleston. Matriculation is defined as the first term of degree seeking enrollment or first term of readmission at the College. The general education requirements catalog year remains fixed during the period of time a student is continuously enrolled.

Each year faculty review courses that satisfy general education degree requirements, and course additions or deletions may be made. Student should consult their degree audit in Degree Works and the General Education Requirements. Questions regarding general education degree requirements or approved courses can be emailed to gened@cofc.edu.

All undergraduate A.B., B.A., B.G.S., and B.S. degrees require students to complete the General Education Requirements outlined in the CofC Catalog.


Aside from exposing you to the research topics and methods of the various disciplines, your General Education courses will engage you in conversations and concepts that are important to responsible citizens of contemporary society. Every course will approach these big ideas differently, in ways appropriate to that discipline and the course context.

As an example, several General Education courses being taught in fall semester of 2019 all intentionally engage with the idea of diversity. The definition, context, and relevant content will change from course to course, but in each one students will discuss diversity as it is understood in that discipline and consider how those ideas can be applied outside the classroom.

See Diversity-Focused Courses for a listing and go to the college catalog for the official course descriptions and for the General Education requirement they fulfill.


General Education Curriculum & Assessment

The Committee on General Education's responsibilities include monitoring and reviewing the General Education Program and initiating or reviewing all General Education Program revision proposals, prior to their consideration by the Faculty Senate. The committee initiates actions, devises procedures, and makes recommendations to the Provost and to the Faculty Senate on any and all aspects of General Education Program administration and program features. Such recommendations can be the modification or termination of courses fulfilling General Education program requirements. The committee consults with the Committee on Assessment of Institutional Effectiveness and the Office for Institutional Effectiveness when conducting periodic assessments of the General Education program.  (Description adapted from the Faculty/Administration Manual, August 2017: Article V, Section 3.B.19)

For more information on General Education Curriculum, please visit Information For Faculty. Contact Karen Smail, Faculty Coordinator for General Education.