Jun 23, 2024  
2022-2023 General Catalog 
2022-2023 General Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Education Program

Lower Division

Upper Division

General Education Curriculum

Seawolf Experience

Whether you come to Sonoma State as a first-year or transfer student, the Seawolf Experience makes you part of the SSU community—people who are passionate about academic excellence, community and civic engagement, diversity, sustainability, and lifelong learning.

Foundation and Exploration

During your first two years of college, you will lay the foundation for college success and begin to explore areas of interest:

  • Participate in a first-year learning community (FLC)
  • Complete the Golden Four (Foundations courses: critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, written and oral communication)
  • Develop a sound understanding of American history and political institutions
  • Explore SSU values of sustainability, critical race studies, and global awareness
  • Learn how to be successful in college, including learning about campus resources, skills, and dispositions you need to succeed
  • Explore the natural sciences, arts, humanities, and human societies
  • Lay a foundation for major through introductory courses
  • Choose and/or affirm your choice of major
  • Set goals and identify academic and co-curricular activities that can help you move toward your professional life goals (including language study, study abroad, internships, student research, service learning, certificate programs, clubs, student leadership, and more).

Integration and Reflection

During your last two years of college, you will build on your lower-division foundation, reflect on what you have learned and where you are going, and integrate your knowledge and experiences as you begin to move toward professional and civic engagement:

  • Explore connections, communities, and guidance for transfers to SSU through Transfer Transitions
  • Take Deeper Dives into natural sciences, arts, humanities, and human societies through upper-division GE, developing your foundational skilla
  • Complete your Seawolf Studies explorations: American Institutions, critical race studies, and a Writing Intensive Course (WIC) to strengthen your ability to write for audiences both inside and outside your field of study
  • Integrate your classroom learning with life experience by participating in high impact practices such as study abroad, an internship, student leadership, service learning, student research, language study, etc.
  • Study a particular field in depth through your major
  • Complete a major capstone course with a culminating project and/or guidance in transitioning from your major to professional opportunities
  • Reflect on how your GE, high-impact practices, and work in your major intersect and how they have helped you move toward your personal and professional goals.

Statement of Purpose

The Sonoma State General Education (GE) Program provides students an intentional, coherent, inclusive undergraduate experience across multiple disciplinary perspectives, fostering broad transferable skills and integrated, engaged learning that positions students to create and participate meaningfully and ethically in our interconnected and interdependent world.


  1. Broad Transferable Skills
    1. Teaches academic skills, including
      1. Written communication
      2. Oral communication
      3. Critical thinking and questioning
      4. Quantitative reasoning
      5. Information literacy
      6. Cultural competency
    2. Teaches life skills, including
      1. Practicing collaboration
      2. Engaging in problem-solving
      3. Reading critically and digesting materials
      4. Planning, organizing, and carrying through complex projects in a timely fashion
      5. Cultivating an understanding and appreciation of social power and difference
    3. Cultivates lifelong learning dispositions, including
      1. Creativity
      2. Curiosity
      3. Flexibility
      4. Reflection
      5. Challenge-seeking
      6. Persistence
      7. Inclusiveness
  2. Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

    1. Introduces students to disciplinary and interdisciplinary ways of knowing

      1. Supporting students in exploring, choosing, and affirming majors and areas of focus

      2. Developing breadth of knowledge

    2. Affords students the opportunity to practice knowledge-making

    3. Expects understanding and appreciation of human diversity and multicultural perspectives

  3. Integrated Learning

    1. Builds bridges between disciplines and schools

      1. Synthesizing between general and specialized studies

      2. Bringing multiple disciplinary perspectives to the students’ programs of study

    2. Teaches students to apply knowledge, skills, and multiple perspectives to new situations and problem-solving.

    3. Encourages students to embrace ambiguity and appreciate/value difference

  4. Engaged and real-world learning

    1. Provides opportunities and encourages students to engage in hands-on learning and applications in and beyond the classroom

    2. Fosters social responsibility of individuals within diverse communities.

Learning Outcomes

  • Critical Reading: Actively analyze texts in a variety of forms, genres, and disciplines.
  • Information Literacy: Iteratively formulate questions for research by gathering diverse types of information, identifying gaps, correlations and contradictions, and using sources ethically toward a creative, informed synthesis of ideas.
  • Argument: Advance cogent and ethical arguments in a variety of genres with rigor and critical inquiry.
  • Communication: Communicate clearly and eloquently in written, oral, and/or performative forms in a variety of genres and disciplines.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: Interpret, evaluate, and employ quantitative analysis and arguments.
  • Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Knowledge: Identify, interpret, and apply methods, intellectual approaches, and fundamental concepts from disciplines within the social sciences, natural and physical sciences, arts, and humanities.
  • Integration: Synthesize and apply theoretical and practical perspectives from multiple disciplines to develop an understanding of complex issues.
  • Diverse Cultural Competencies: Attain and apply knowledge of social power and difference in relations between self, other people, and social structures locally and nationally while honoring contributions of people of different identities.
  • Civic Responsibility: Drawing on the past and present, develop knowledge and skills that promote active citizenship, with the capacity to deliberate, act, and lead in a democratic society.
  • Sustainable Development: Explore past and present relationships among humans and between societies and environments and create new ways to cultivate a more secure and resilient future for all of our planet.
  • Global Awareness: Develop knowledge of past and present political, economic, and cultural relations operating at international to global scale.
  • Creative Problem Solving: Apply knowledge, skills, and multiple perspectives in new situations to analyze and formulate solutions to complex problems with confidence and creativity.
  • Creative Expression: Produce new work through performance, design, construction, art, or creative writing that is characterized by innovation, divergent thinking, and intellectual risk taking.

Assessment of General Education

All undergraduates will participate in assessment of SSU’s general education program. Assessment helps the university community understand how well students are learning and helps us change the curriculum to better meet student needs. All general education courses will include a signature assignment, a key assignment that is mapped to one or more of the learning outcomes listed above. Student work products for those signature assignments will be submitted (without identifying names or other information) to faculty groups who will evaluate student learning and make recommendations for curricular change. Student participation in these processes is as simple as turning in your course work—it is automatic and confidential.

Lower Division General Education

Lower division general education consists of 39 units of introductory course work that promotes foundational learning and exploration. These courses are generally numbered 100-299 and are taken in the first two years of the college degree. These courses have minimal prerequisites and offer students an understanding of disciplinary ways of knowing. Transfer students are likely to meet these requirements prior to enrolling at Sonoma State. Students may double count lower division general education courses as requirements or electives in the major, as the academic department allows.

Upper Division General Education

Upper division general education consists of 9 units of course work in Life and Physical Sciences, Arts and Humanities, and the Social Sciences. These courses are generally numbered 300-499 and are generally taken in the last two years of the college degree. These courses have minimal prerequisites and offer students an integrative and deep understanding of a broad field of study. To take an upper division general education course, students must have taken the Golden Four (critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, written and oral communication), 45 units of college-level course work, and lower-division general education in the same GE area as the course being taken. Transfer students are required to take upper-division general education as part of their degree. Students may double count upper division general education courses as requirements or electives in the major, as the academic department allows.


Met-in-major courses are major courses that satisfy upper division general education requirements. These courses are for majors only and do not appear in the list of approved general education courses. These courses may have prerequisites, and students must take all prerequisites to sign up for the courses. Students may only take three units of GE course work in one GE area as met-in-major. Met-in-major courses must be mapped to the GE learning outcomes and will be assessed using signature assignments with other GE courses.

General Education Catalog Year

Students who began their undergraduate degree prior to attendance at SSU may be eligible to complete the general education requirements at the time they began attending regular sessions at any California State University campus, at any California community college, or any combination of California community colleges and campuses of The California State University.  

General Education Curriculum*

Area A: English Language Communication and Critical Thinking (9 units)

   3 units
   3 units
   3 units

Area B: Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning (12 units)

   3 units
   3 units
**Lab (B3) (may be integrated in Life or Physical Sciences) 1 unit
   3 units
   3 units

Area C: Arts and Humanities (12 units)

   3 units
   3 units
One additional Arts or Humanities 3 units
   3 units

Area D: Social Sciences (9 units)

  (in at least two disciplines) 6 units
   3 units

Area E: Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (3 units)

   3 units

Area F:  Ethnic Studies (3 units)

   3 units

*This curriculum applies to students with expected graduation dates in 2024-2025.Courses that fulfil GE requirements are in a state of change. The course schedule each semester has the most accurate list of courses that fulfil these requirements.

**Some three unit B1 and B2 courses include the required lab activity.

Golden Four Requirements

The Golden Four include Oral Communication (A1), Written Communication (A2), Critical Thinking (A3), and Quantitative Reasoning (B4). Students must take the Golden Four requirements in the first 60 units of the baccalaureate degree and obtain a grade of C- or better to complete the GE requirement for these courses. Written Communication (A2) and Quantitative Reasoning (B4) must be completed in the first 30 units. Critical Thinking (A3) and Oral Communication (A1) must be completed within the first 60 units. 

First-Year Learning Communities (FLCs)

FLCs are year-long integrative experiences for first-year students that support student success. They are available to all entering first-year students but are not required. Each FLC must meet at least two areas/subareas of general education and must offer transitional content that provides the academic skills, such as note-taking and time management, and college-level dispositions, such as healthy relationship-building and financial literacy, that students need to be successful in college. The transitional content is supported by peer mentors who assist faculty in and out of the classroom. FLCs will earn 6 units of general education credit and up to 2 units of elective credit.

Seawolf Studies Degree Requirements

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) (0-3 units minimum)

The GWAR is a requirement of all undergraduate students in the California State University system. Students may meet this degree requirement in one of two ways: the Written English Proficiency Test (WEPT) or a Writing Intensive Course (WIC). WICs are upper-division courses and may be met in general education, the major, or an elective. Please see the WEPT web page for changes for WEPT and GWAR.

American Institutions Requirement (minimum 6 units)

Six units of American Institutions requirements are mandated by Title V of the California Code, covering three areas: American History, the Constitution, and State and Local Government. At Sonoma State, these requirements may be met through two three-unit courses in general education, the major, or an elective. Transfer students may use course work taken at other institutions to meet these requirements.

Critical Race Studies (minimum 3 units)

Critical Race Studies is an important part of the educational environment in the State of California and is a key requirement to gaining an understanding of American multicultural perspectives. At Sonoma State, this three-unit requirement must be met through a course in Area F of GE. Transfer students may use coursework taken at other institutions to meet this requirement or additional SSU course options depending upon catalog year. Please see an advisor for additional information.