Jul 19, 2024  
2021-2023 - Undergraduate Catalog 
2021-2023 - Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Education Program

General Education

{Please note: students enrolling prior to Fall 2018 should consult the 2017-2019 catalog for their General Education requirements.}

The Shippensburg University General Education Program is the university curriculum that is shared by all undergraduate students. Drawing on the liberal arts tradition, it provides a framework for lifelong learning and the development of skills necessary for career readiness and informed citizenship in a democratic society. Students are given the opportunity to develop the intellectual, personal, and social capabilities they need to thrive as effective citizens prepared to embark on a career immediately upon graduation or after advanced study.


Depth of knowledge is provided by the academic major which a student chooses and which prepares students for a useful vocation; breadth of knowledge is the concern and aim of the general education curriculum. General education serves a vital function by helping students to develop the capacity to think in an integrative way, while preparing them to effectively navigate the increasingly complex career pathways that they will face after graduation. Our general education program makes sure that students are equipped with fundamental skills for oral and written communication, quantitative analysis, and critical thinking, as well as providing many opportunities to develop competencies across multiple disciplines. This fosters the knowledge integration, innovation, and adaptability necessary to solve complex interdisciplinary problems, creates awareness of the interdependence among people and ideas, and develops openness to the perspectives and needs of others in a diverse world.


Our new general education program took effect with the Fall 2018 entering class. The courses which make up the curriculum are organized around a series of broad themes and focused learning goals. Our new general education curriculum is designed to keep up with changing times through a continuous review process. This process may result in some changes to the program that may affect the sequencing and delivery of the program within the current course requirements and will broaden the general education experience. Should such changes occur, they will be announced to the university community in a timely manner and added as a supplement to this catalog.


Please Note: All students are prohibited from counting more than two (2) courses from the same participating academic program toward their General Education requirements.


We want our students to build solid Foundations - 15 credits

Foundational courses coupled with other experiences provide students with their core First Year Experience, providing opportunities to develop the requisite quantitative, analytical, written communication, and oral communication skills needed to succeed while in college and throughout life after college. Five program goals express the purpose of these foundational courses and how they support student success, with students completing one course for each goal.

First Year Seminar (U)

Guide and prompt students to develop skills in support of scholarly and academic success, engage with the university community, foster personal development and wellness, and promote understanding of diversity and social responsibility through a first year seminar.

Writing (W)

Guide and prompt students to locate and organize information with appropriate evidence and language for clear written communication.

Oral Communication (O)

Guide and prompt students to develop oral communication skills necessary to organize and deliver a clear message with appropriate supporting material.

History (H)

Guide and prompt students to understand major historical themes, applying critical analysis to generate arguments based on appropriate evidence.

Quantitative (Q)

Guide and prompt students to interpret mathematical forms, analyze through calculations, and communicate quantitative reasoning.


Placement Testing

The mission of the Placement Testing Program is to ensure undergraduate students are sufficiently prepared to succeed in the courses required by Shippensburg University’s General Education Program. Student proficiency is ascertained by administering reading, writing (English), and mathematics. SAT or ACT scores are used to determine if students must take the mathematics, writing (English) and/or reading tests. Students who must take these tests will be notified.

Transfer students who need further course work in mathematics and/or writing may be required to test. These students will be notified of the testing requirement.


The First Year Writing Program is designed to provide students with sufficient writing skills to meet undergraduate requirements. Students are placed in the writing course that best meets their needs based on their SAT or ACT scores in writing and their performance on the writing placement test. Based on writing placement test scores, students will enroll in one of three classes: ENG 113 , ENG 114 , or ENG 115 . Students who will benefit from smaller classes and remedial instruction will place in ENG 113 Introduction to Academic Writing . Students must earn a grade of “C” or higher to satisfy the developmental writing placement. 

Developmental writing (ENG 113), is a 3-credit bearing course that counts toward the 120 credits required for graduation; however, it does not count as the required writing proficiency class. This proficiency requirement can only be fulfilled by taking ENG 114 Academic Writing .


Reading efficiently is vital to college success. The Reading Placement Test measures reading comprehension in short and long narratives as well as the understanding of the relationship between sentences. Students who score below the minimum level are required to improve their reading skills by earning a grade of at least a C in RDG 050 Developmental Reading and Study Skills . RDG 050  does not count towards the 120 credit minimum needed for graduation.


Shippensburg University requires all students to complete a quantitative reasoning course as part of the General Education program. Based on a variety of qualifications, including SAT-Math scores, prior college-level coursework, or placement testing results, students are assigned a Math Placement Level between 0 and 6. This level reflects the course(s) that a student is eligible to take.

Students with higher college testing scores (SAT-M and ACT) will be assigned a placement level between Level 4 and Level 6. If a student feels prepared for a higher level course, they can ask to be enrolled in the MyMathTest system to challenge their placement through the Office of Placement Testing (testing@ship.edu). This is a free, online option which focuses on review, as well as testing for placement.


We want our students to recognize Interconnections - 9 credits

This curriculum will provide students with opportunities to explore human behavior, social interactions, and global communities through humanities and the social and behavioral sciences. Open discourse about the causes and consequences of human behavior and thought, and the interconnectedness of societies revealed by examining traditions and structures, provides a pathway to mutual respect and tolerance in a diverse world. Three program goals express what we will do for students. Each goal has an associated rubric that outlines what we expect students to learn or accomplish.

Students must complete three (3) courses in this curriculum, with at least one (1) course being a diversity course (‘D’ rubric) and at least one (1) course being a global perspectives course (‘G’ rubric).

Diversity (D)

Guide and prompt students to evaluate the diversity of human experience, behavior, and thought, in order to better understand ourselves and others, to respond to the roots of inequality that undermines social justice, while developing awareness regarding diversity in culture, ethnicity, race, gender/gender expression, religion, age, social class, sexual orientation, or abilities.

Global Perspectives (G)

Guide and prompt students to develop global perspectives by analyzing systems, and evaluating interrelationships.

Foreign Languages (F)

Guide and prompt students to understand and demonstrate oral and written communication in a foreign language as well as awareness of a foreign culture.

Citizenship and Responsibility

We want our students to consider the importance of Citizenship & Responsibility - 6 credits

This curriculum will provide students with opportunities to consider the function and development of institutions, as well as their own responsibilities in society. Tools for development of students as informed and responsible citizens can include study of principles and research in social science, analysis of the development of social and political systems and practices, application of critical analysis and reasoning, and contemplation of ethics and values. Each goal has an associated rubric that outlines what we expect students to learn or accomplish.

Students are required to complete two (2) courses (or their equivalents) in this curriculum, with no more than one (1) course being attributed with the same program goal.

Citizenship (S)

Guide and prompt students to understand responsible citizenship through the development of ideas of citizenship and rights, how society protect or fails to protect basic rights, and avenues for individual or collective action.

Ethical Reasoning (E)

Guide and prompt students to identify ethical theories or guidelines and apply appropriate ethical reasoning to reach conclusions and support moral judgments.

Critical Reasoning (R)

Guide and prompt students to use appropriate critical analysis and reasoning to explain and analyze concepts, and apply concepts to issues to determine significance or value.

Natural World and Technology

We want our students to better understand the Natural World and the Technologies that surround them - 9 credits

This curriculum will provide students the opportunity to learn how new knowledge is created by applying scientific principles and technology to address historical and contemporary questions. Two program goals express what we will do for students. Each goal has an associated rubric that outlines what we expect students to learn or accomplish.

Students must complete three (3) courses in this curriculum, with at least two (2) courses (or their equivalents) involving the natural world (‘N’ rubric).

Natural World (N)

Guide and prompt students to understand the scientific method and resulting principles and theories, critically evaluating data to answer questions about the natural world.

Technology (T)

Guide and prompt students to acquire knowledge, skills, and competencies regarding a broad range of computer technologies and software, and to use them responsibly.

Creativity and Expression

We want our students to appreciate Creativity & Expression - 6 credits

This part of the curriculum will provide students with opportunities to explore artistic and literary disciplines and their modes of expression, considering the processes by which artistic works are imagined and created as well as the analytical tools for describing and appraising works of art and literature. Each goal has an associated rubric that outlines what we expect students to learn or accomplish.

Students must complete two (2) courses (or their equivalents) in this curriculum, with one (1) course being a literature course (‘L’ rubric) and one course in either the arts or creativity (‘A’ or ‘C’ rubrics).

Literature (L)

Guide and prompt students to comprehend, analyze, and determine the significance for works of literature.

Arts (A)

Guide and prompt students to describe, analyze, and respond to the scope of works in the arts.

Creative (C)

Guide and prompt students to demonstrate and apply creative competencies, problem solving and preparation in the realization of a creative work.

Transfer Students

Transfer students enter the university under the requirements of the New General Education program enacted in December 2017. However, the Admissions Office staff responsible for reviewing and evaluating transfer student transcripts will have the discretion of bringing in students under an earlier catalog year. A student can enter under the degree requirements of an earlier catalog year if doing so will enable the student to enter the university having fulfilled more of the requirements for their program of study, or it will enable the student to transfer additional credits from other accredited institutions where they have studied before arriving at Shippensburg University.


All transfer students will be required to take UNIV 101 with the following exceptions:

  • Students who have completed a Bachelor’s degree at an accredited institution are automatically exempt from Shippensburg University’s general education requirements, and thus would not be required to take UNIV 101 .
  • Students who successfully completed an Associate’s degree at an accredited institution would be exempt from taking UNIV 101 at Shippensburg University.
  • Students who transferred a minimum of 45 credits from one or more other accredited institutions that will be applied towards their program of study at Shippensburg University would be exempt from taking UNIV 101 at Shippensburg University.
  • Students who have completed a first-year seminar at an accredited institution that is determined to have comparable learning objectives to UNIV 101 will be able to use that course to fulfill the requirement for UNIV 101 . The Office of Admissions and the Faculty Coordinator(s) of the First Year Experience will work together to develop a list of courses at other institutions deemed equivalent to Shippensburg’s UNIV 101.


Appeals Process


Transfer students who are able to apply at least fifteen credits of coursework completed at another accredited institution towards their Shippensburg University degree requirements and who do not meet the criteria listed above may appeal to have the requirement for UNIV 101 waived. Waivers will be granted to students who can determine that they have met the learning outcomes for UNIV 101  in other ways, such as through college coursework, employment, or professional experiences. An application process and criteria developed jointly by the Office of Admissions and the Faculty Coordinator(s) of the First Year Experience will be used to determine the circumstances that would permit a student to have the UNIV 101 requirement waived. Students who clearly meet the criteria will have the requirement waived as part of the Admissions process. They will substitute UNIV 101 with a free elective. For cases requiring further consideration, the Faculty Coordinators of the First Year Experience in consultation with Admissions staff will review the applications to determine whether or not students will be exempt from taking UNIV 101.


Library/Information Skills

An integral aspect of the General Education Program is the development of research and information skills. Information literacy is embedded in ENG 114 Academic Writing  and information literacy sessions are taught in many other first year classes. The partnership between the library and the writing program provides students with an introduction to the research skills they will need to succeed in their other courses. This information literacy component is a foundation for appropriately leveled instruction in classes meeting the Writing (W) requirement, and subject oriented information literacy provided within the context of other courses.


Additional Study

With advisement, students entering Shippensburg as first year students may complete many of the requirements of the general education program within their first two years at the university. However, Shippensburg University believes general education is a process and not just a series of defined courses taken early in the academic experience. The need for and the value of a liberal education extends beyond the first and second years and the university strongly encourages students to elect to take courses in the general education curriculum and in areas outside of their majors as juniors and seniors. Carefully selected, these courses can help not only to enrich and to continue the search for breadth of knowledge, but also to integrate a student’s entire academic study, further demonstrating the basic interdisciplinary connectedness of human understanding.


Summary of Requirements

Foundations - 15 credits - 5 courses

Interconnections - 9 credits - 3 courses, with at least 1 diversity course (D) and at least one (1) global perspectives course (G)

Citizenship and Responsibility - 6 credits - 2 courses, with no more than 1 course from the same program goal (S, E, R)

Natural World and Technology - 9 credits, 3 courses, with at least two (2) courses involving the natural world (N)

Creativity and Expression - 6 credits - 2 courses, with 1 literature course (L) and one course in either the arts (A) or creativity (C)