New tool will help undergraduates plan their gen eds

Sean Yoder
April 01, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Office for General Education has launched a new planning tool to help students select courses that satisfy general education requirements. The tool will assist baccalaureate students who started at Penn State in Summer 2018 or later.

Maggie Slattery, director and assistant dean for general education, said that because general education makes up about a third of a student’s credits toward graduation, with planning and intentional choices, students may be able to incorporate credits toward a minor or certificate or expand world language skills as part of their general education requirements.

“The general education requirements that went into effect last summer intentionally includes new flexibility for students, but that flexibility can be hard to visualize,” Slattery said. “We hope this tool will help students take advantage of that flexibility to make the most of their general education course selection and increase the value of their education.”

The general education planning tool allows students to search for courses from the web application. It will also help students understand how the new integrative studies requirements — which went into effect in 2018 — work as part of the knowledge domain requirements. The tool has practical limitations and won’t schedule courses, act as a transcript or prescribe courses for specific majors, but it does take into account the University requirements for cultural diversity, providing for the planning of the international and U.S. cultures requirements.

“We hope this tool will help students take advantage of that flexibility to make the most of their general education course selection and increase the value of their education.”

—Maggie Slattery, director and assistant dean for general education

Students pursuing their bachelor’s degree must obtain 45 general education credits distributed among what are known as “foundations” and “knowledge domains.” Fifteen credits are required in foundations, split between writing/speaking and quantification. A total of 30 credits are required within the knowledge domains: health and wellness, natural sciences, arts, humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and integrative studies. There are a number of approved substitutions that offer general education flexibility, most notably the new Move-3 substitution. The planning tool notifies students when this might be an appropriate substitution.

Students are able to search for their program’s prescribed courses on the new University Bulletin website, launched in 2018. The tool is designed to enhance conversations with academic advisers, not replace them. The general education office recommends students continue to consult with their academic adviser.

The Office for General Education is part of Penn State Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at undergrad.psu.edu. Sign up for the Undergraduate Education Headlines for the latest news.

Last Updated April 01, 2019