General Education Requirements

Students often focus on completing these requirements without thinking about how to use them to explore careers or learn valuable skills. You can use General Education requirements to learn about a population that interests you, explore a topic that interests you from a new angle, meet requirements for graduate school entrance, or develop a specific marketable skill. If you have a minor, courses taken in your Gen Eds can double count toward your minor.

The General Education requirements that are most likely to help you explore your career interests are:

Social & Behavioral Sciences (GS) – These courses offer a great opportunity to explore a field that interests you or to look at a topic of interest from another perspective. Students interested in juvenile delinquency may want to take a class in criminology. Students interested in brain development may want to take a psychology course. If you think you want to work in schools, take a course in educational theory and policy. These courses are wonderful opportunities to look at a topic that interests you from another perspective.

**Many students use the 3-6-9 option so they can take fewer Humanities or Arts credits and 9 credits of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Talk to your academic advisor about this option.

Natural Science (GN) – Often students realize that they need to take certain natural science courses to pursue their interests. Students interested in Occupational Therapy, any kind of health field, and even Child Life specialists can round out their training by selecting their GN’s wisely. Check with graduate schools or with minors that interest you to see if there are required natural science courses and use those to fill in your GN requirements.

Note: In the supporting courses list (supporting-courses), we have identified courses that also meet a Gen Ed requirement. You cannot double count a course as a Gen Ed and a supporting course. But you can search the supporting course list to identify courses that are highly relevant to the major.

Other General Education Requirements are designed to teach you essential transferable skills:

Many employers complain that new workers, even those with advanced degrees, are lacking in key transferable skills. These are skills that you need in most jobs, including good communication skills, time management, data management, and team work. Use your Gen Eds to really build these essential skills.

Quantification (GQ) – While some HDFS students cringe at the thought of math, numbers are a part of our everyday world and increasingly, are a part of social services through accountability systems that require data collection and evaluation. Having skills in spreadsheet and database management, information systems, and statistics are particularly helpful. Or use your GQ to gain skills that will help you navigate personal financial decisions, such as Math 34. These skills are essential.

English 202 – Many students complain about taking English 202, but writing is a critical transferable skill. The more you practice, the better you will get. If you are bored with social science writing, take business writing to diversify your skill set.

CAS 100 – Again, public speaking is a critical component of many careers. HDFS students find themselves teaching classes, running groups, training staff, and organizing volunteers. All of these tasks require public speaking. Take the time to figure out what your public speaking style is and develop comfort in this area.

To see general education course options, go to the University Bulletin at

http://bulletins.psu.edu/undergrad/generaleducation/