Jun 17, 2024  
General Catalog 2023-2024 
General Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Education


Developed by both faculty and students, the University’s General Education Program is an introduction to the breadth and depth of the dynamics of human experience. It provides students with a foundation in the liberal arts and sciences and prepares them for specialized study in a particular discipline or program.

The overall objective of General Education is to create a context wherein basic skills are developed and strengthened, scholarship and disciplined thinking emerge, awareness and reflection occur, and ultimately - the integration of knowledge begins.

In the 2021-2022 academic year, Area F - Ethnic Studies was added to the General Education Breadth program per EO1100. Along with this update, American Government has been changed to a University requirement (see ‘Specific Course/Skill Requirements’ on the Regulation page for details). Effective fall 2021, the new General Education program will be in place. Students who fall under earlier catalog years follow the General Education requirements as their catalog year specifies.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, the university conducted a major revision of the General Education program per EO1100-revised. All students enrolling in the university as first-time freshmen beginning fall 2018 and after, and all transfer students entering fall 2018 or after who elect to adopt the 2018-2019 catalog, will be required to complete this new General Education Program. Students who fall under earlier catalog years follow the 1999-2000 General Education requirements.

All freshmen and transfer students admitted to Fresno State for the first time in Fall 2018 and later are required to submit assignments and reflections to the G.E. Program ePortfolio as part of their G.E. requirements. Additional information about the specific requirements for freshmen and transfer students (which are different) can be found in a Canvas course and within the G.E. Program ePortfolio in which students are automatically enrolled. Students admitted prior to Fall 2018, even if they are readmitted after Fall 2018, are not required to complete a G.E. Program ePortfolio.

Foundation, Breadth, and Integration

The General Education Program is an integrated curriculum of courses organized into four groups:


FOUNDATION, the basic foundation of one’s university education, consists of courses in fundamental skills and knowledge. Purpose: An educated person must be able to read critically, communicate effectively, and think clearly.

BREADTH exposes students to a variety of disciplines within a structured framework that develops knowledge in four basic areas of human endeavor.

Area B (Physical Science) - Purpose: To understand and actively explore fundamental principles in the Physical Sciences and the methods of developing and testing hypotheses used in the analysis of the physical universe.
Area B (Life Science) - Purpose: To understand basic concepts of living things, the nature of scientific knowledge, and the relevance of biological knowledge to human affairs.
Area C (Arts) - Purpose: To develop an appreciation and understanding of and to stimulate imagination and creativity through study and participation in art, dance, music, and theatre.
Area C (Humanities) - Purpose: Through the study of the humanities, to understand, appreciate, and analyze the meaning of our civilization, its cultural background, and the nature and role of language. To study the humanities from a variety of historical perspectives and cultures by analyzing individual works.
Area D (Social, Political, and Economic Institutions and Behavior, Historical Background) - Purpose: To understand and analyze the basic principles underlying human social behavior.
Area E (Lifelong Understanding and Self-Development) - Purpose: To equip human beings for lifelong understanding and development of themselves as integrated physiological and psychological entities.
Area F (Ethnic Studies) - Purpose: Ethnic Studies is the interdisciplinary and comparative study of race and ethnicity with special focus on four historically defined racialized core groups: Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latina and Latino Americans.


INTEGRATION ties together the Program by providing an integrative experience at the upper-division level in three areas of breadth. All courses are upper-division.

Purpose: The Integration component of General Education is included to provide instruction at the upper division level that integrates material from each of the BREADTH areas B and C.


The General Education Program requires students to complete a minimum of 48 semester units. All requirements must be met with courses of at least three semester units. The requirements include: four courses in FOUNDATION, nine courses in BREADTH, and three upper-division INTEGRATION courses. These three upper-division courses should be taken no sooner than the term in which 60 units of college coursework are completed. A minimum of 9 units of coursework for General Education must be taken in residence (see Residence Requirements) at California State University, Fresno.

Because the goal of General Education is to provide a solid foundation with a broad scope and the goal of the major is to provide depth in a specific discipline or program, the following stipulations apply:

  1. Foundation courses must be completed with a grade of C or better to satisfy the General Education requirement.
  2. A maximum of two General Education courses from one department or program may be applied to satisfy Breadth requirements.
  3. Beginning in fall 2021, courses in GE Area D shall be completed in at least two different disciplines among the nine units required in Area D1, D2, and ID.

Writing in General Education Courses

The university’s General Education Program requires that almost all courses in the program have substantial iterative writing assignments.

All Foundation courses except those in Quantitative Methods (B4) and all Breadth courses will require iterative writing assignments totaling at least 1,000 words.

All upper-division courses (IB, IC, and ID) will require iterative writing assignments totaling at least 2,000 words.

Full List

General Education in A-F Format

While the revised General Education Program is presented here in terms of FOUNDATION, BREADTH, and INTEGRATION, it relates simply to the A-F format widely used throughout the state as indicated by the course prefixes in the table. The following list shows GE courses by areas.


Foundation - Written Communication


Breadth - Physical Sciences Liberal Studies Only

Breadth - Life Sciences

Breadth - Humanities

Social Science

Ethnic Studies


Arts & Humanities

Social, Political & Economic Institutions