General Education

The General Education (GenEd) Program serves as Temple University's liberal education requirements for all undergraduate students and provides a foundation for learning and development practices that help students succeed academically and professionally.

A recent survey of more than 300 employers nationwide conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities indicated that the majority of employers seek graduates with 4-year degrees with a mix of deep disciplinary skills and knowledge and a broad base of skills and abilities. Skills and abilities which employers ranked most important for schools and colleges to develop included communication skills, critical thinking skills, the ability to apply abstract theories and ideas to concrete experiences and practices, and problem-solving skills.

Program Competencies

GenEd facilitates linkages by stressing the development of eight competencies rather than content knowledge. The Program in General Education provides opportunities for students to engage in:

Critical Thinking

Think Critically

Within GenEd, students who think critically recognize an object of investigation, frame questions about it, and interrogate assumptions—explicit or implicit.  Critical thinking includes the evaluation of evidence, analysis and synthesis of multiple sources, and reflection on varied perspectives. Critical thinking generates a well-developed investigation that incorporates supporting and countering claims. A student engaged in critical thinking produces an informed account, a hypothesis for further study, or the solution to a problem.

Contextualized Learning

Understand historical and contemporary issues in context

Within GenEd, students who contextualize learning understand and integrate historical, contemporary, and cultural phenomena and their underlying principles in two broad applications. First, contextual learners recognize the interaction of complex forces that give rise to specific phenomena. Second, contextual learners understand and analyze related events, artifacts, practices and concepts across geographic, chronological and cultural boundaries.

Interdisciplinary Thinking

Understand and apply knowledge in and across disciplines

Within GenEd, students who use interdisciplinary thinking recognize the world presents problems, topics, or issues too complex to be satisfactorily addressed though a single lens. Thus, interdisciplinary thinkers apply multiple perspectives, paradigms, and frameworks to problems, topics, or issue

Communication Skills

Communicate effectively orally and in writing

Within GenEd, students who communicate effectively use spoken and written language to construct a message that demonstrates the communicator has established clear goals and has considered her or his audience. Effective messages are organized and presented in a style appropriate to the context.

Scientific & Quantitative Reasoning

Within GenEd, students who exercise quantitative and scientific reasoning use and apply these reasoning processes to explain phenomena in the context of everyday life. Quantitative reasoning includes statistical and/or logical problem-solving, the relationships between quantities, and the use and misuse of quantitative data. Scientific reasoning introduces students to the evolution and interdependence of science and technology and includes problem identification, hypothesis evaluation, experimentation, interpretation of results and the use and misuse of scientific data.

Civic Engagement

Function as an engaged citizen in a diverse and globalized world

Within GenEd, students open to civic engagement view themselves as connected to local and global communities where they participate in activities that address issues of public concern. Critically engaged students define issues, pose, probe, and solve problems with an awareness of and an inclusion of the diverse values and interests.

Information Literacy

Identify, access and evaluate sources of information

Within GenEd, information literacy encompasses a broad spectrum of abilities, including the ability to recognize and articulate information needs; to locate, critically evaluate, and organize information for a specific purpose; and to recognize and reflect on the ethical use of information.

Lifelong Learning

Promote a lasting curiosity

GenEd cultivates these skills and abilities throughout the required undergraduate curriculum, and students will experience these ways of being though readings, discussions, activities, and classes throughout GenEd.

The GenEd program attempts to foster the development of such skills through its curriculum by providing students multiple opportunities to exercise, in multiple contexts and settings, their communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills and we attempt to do so by helping students make connections from academic knowledge to experience.

“The Philadelphia Experience” has become a hallmark of the new GenEd, with many courses taking students into the city for direct encounters connected to their studies. A science course takes students to the Waterworks to study 19th century sewage treatment. A course in educational policy takes students into schools and community centers. A course in sustainability challenges them to design a solution for storm-water run-off.  A course in creativity assigns them to go to First Friday to interview an artist.

These and other modes of stretching and contextualizing traditional disciplinary content prepare students to deal with a rapidly globalizing world, in which the resolution of complicated issues increasingly calls upon the ability to see a problem from many angles and to synthesize divergent perspectives.

Ultimately, GenEd is about equipping our students to make connections between what they learn, their lives and their communities.

Find out more about General Education at

Program Framework

The General Education curriculum introduces students to nine areas of learning and a total of eleven courses, divided into Foundation courses and Breadth courses.

Foundation Courses

General Education Attribute Area Requirement
GWAnalytical Reading & Writing1 course, 4 credit hours
GQQuantitative Literacy1 course, 4 credit hours
GYMosaic I1 course, 3 credit hours
GZMosaic II1 course, 3 credit hours

Course Sequencing

Students are advised to take the three-semester sequence formed by Analytical Reading & Writing, Mosaic I and Mosaic II as soon as possible after entering Temple in order and in successive semesters.

GenEd also considers Quantitative Literacy a foundational course. Accordingly, students are advised to take a GenEd Quantitative Literacy course as soon as possible after entering Temple and before enrolling in Science & Technology courses.

Breadth Courses

General Education Attribute Area Requirement
GAArts1 course, 3 or 4 credit hours
GBHuman Behavior1 course, 3 credit hours
GDRace & Diversity1 course, 3 credit hours
GGWorld Society1 course, 3 credit hours
GSScience & Technology2 courses, 3 credit hours each
GUU.S. Society1 course, 3 credit hours

Finding GenEd Courses

Each General Education area has a list of courses that satisfy the requirements for that area. Descriptions of the areas and their approved courses can be found by clicking on the links under the General Education heading on the right side of this web page, and at (select "Students", then "Courses"). Students may also download a 2016-2017 orientation booklet with course descriptions.

To find GenEd courses offered in a given semester or term, students may locate the information in two primary ways:

  • Go directly to the Class Schedule Search page on the university's web site.
  • Go to Self-Service Banner (SSB), which is available on the TUportal. Students must log onto the TUportal with their username and password. Select the Student tab from the SSB page. Clicking the Registration button will allow users to select and Look Up Classes.

Select the relevant term or semester from the drop down box to begin a search.

Students may select one or many criteria in searching for specific classes; however the more criteria selected, the fewer the number of courses returned.

To get all of the courses fulfilling a GenEd area, in the Subject box, select Accounting and hold the SHIFT key and select Women's Studies to highlight all subject areas. Scroll to the bottom of the page to the Course Attributes box to select the relevant GenEd area, and hit the Class Search button at the bottom of the page.  The results will list all relevant courses in the selected GenEd area for the selected term.

General Education Policies and Requirements

In general, students should be aware of the following:

Every Temple undergraduate fulfills the requirements of the General Education Curriculum in some way.

  • Students entering Temple with fewer than 45 transfer credits complete the full General Education Curriculum.
  • Students with an Associate degree approved for GenEd-to-GenEd, Core-to-GenEd, or Core-to-Core Transfer meet most GenEd requirements with the general education courses taken for the Associate degree. Associate degrees are approved for GenEd-to-GenEd, Core-to-GenEd, and Core-to-Core Transfer by two university-wide faculty committees. See Transfer Students and the University General Education Curriculum for information on the policy and a list of approved community college Associate degrees.

A GenEd course counts in one GenEd area only.

All GenEd courses must be completed with a grade of C- or higher to satisfy a GenEd requirement.

All GenEd course numbers begin with "08XX." GenEd Honors course numbers begin with "09XX."  Students may use only Temple University courses at the 0800- and 0900-levels or specified waiver courses to satisfy General Education requirements.  See the Transfer Students and the University General Education Curriculum section of this Bulletin for information on completing GenEd requirements with transfer credits.

In GenEd, courses may be offered in multiple departments. These courses, regardless of the sponsoring department, are the same course and will have the same number and course title.

Repeat & Withdraw Policy

Students should be aware that opportunities are limited for repeating a course to replace a failing grade under University policy. Repeating a Course (# prohibits students from retaking a course more than twice unless the course is specifically designated as a course that may be taken for credit multiple times.

If in the allotted number of repeats, undergraduate students are unable to successfully complete the following university requirements (including their course equivalencies), they will be required to meet with their advisor prior to registering for any further classes:

  • GW Analytical Reading & Writing
  • GY Mosaic: Humanities Seminar I
  • GZ Mosaic: Humanities Seminar II

If a student drops a class after the official drop/add period, a “W” will appear on the student's transcript to indicate the student withdrew from the course. A course withdrawal or a “W” is counted as an attempted repeat.

Departments, Majors, Minors and GenEd

GenEd courses may not be required introductions to a specific major or minor. A GenEd course may be accepted by a major or minor to fulfill elective requirements.

Departments and colleges may not single out a specific GenEd course as a requirement.

A curriculum or degree program may identify a GenEd course as part of an array for its majors or minors. (An array is defined as a set of options from which the student may choose. The array must present at least three options for any one course chosen.) Courses in an approved array may satisfy both the General Education requirement and the degree, minor or certificate requirement.

A student may use no more than two courses from a single department to satisfy GenEd requirements. (Foundation and transfer courses are excluded.)

Early Progress Reports

All GenEd course instructors will submit Academic Progress Reports.

Credit/No Credit

Students may not take GenEd courses for credit/no credit.

General Education Waivers

Select waivers have been adopted in recognition of repetitive and substantial exposure to key habits of mind, skills, and/or bodies of knowledge and for which programs have submitted requests.

Once a student fulfills a GenEd requirement with an approved waiver – a placement test, course or series of courses – the waiver follows the student. Advisors will need to process DARS exceptions for students who complete a waiver identified with a particular major/school/college but are not in the identified major/school/college.

If a waiver for a GenEd requirement is comprised of a series of courses, students must successfully complete all courses to receive the waiver. Courses must be completed with a C- or better to satisfy GenEd waiver requirements. Departments, schools and/or colleges may stipulate a higher grade to satisfy its own requirements.

Quantitative Literacy (GQ)

Students considering undergraduate degrees with advanced mathematical or statistical requirements may satisfy the GenEd Quantitative Literacy requirement through alternative coursework.

This requirement may be satisfied by successfully completing one of the following:

Courses must be completed with a C- or better to satisfy GenEd waiver requirements.

Department/schools/colleges may stipulate a higher grade to satisfy department/school/college requirements. Consult an academic advisor for more information.

Arts (GA)

Students pursuing undergraduate degrees in the Boyer College of Music and Dance and the Tyler School of Art may be exempted from the GenEd Arts requirement upon completion of collegiate requirements.

Boyer College of Music and Dance

Students may satisfy the GA requirement by completing one of the following four-course sequences:

Courses must be completed with a C- or better to satisfy GenEd waiver requirements.

Department/schools/colleges may stipulate a higher grade to satisfy department/school/college requirements. Consult an academic advisor for more information.

Tyler School of Art

Students in the following degree programs at Tyler School of Art may satisfy the GA requirement by successfully completing a specified multi-course sequence:

  • Bachelor of Arts Visual Studies
  • Bachelor of Science Art Education
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts

ARTH 1156 , and FDPR 1511 or VS 1151 . All courses must be completed with a C- or better to receive waiver.

TUJ students in the BA in Art degree program may satisfy the GA requirement by successfully completing the following set of courses:

ARTU 1101, ARTU 1201, ARTU 1401 and ARTU 1501. All courses must be completed with a C- or better to receive waiver. Note that this specific waiver is only for TUJ students in the BA in Art degree program.

Department/schools/colleges may stipulate a higher grade to satisfy department/school/college requirements. Consult an academic advisor for details.

School of Theater, Film and Media Arts

Students may satisfy the GA requirement by successfully completing the following three-course sequence:

Theater Majors:

THTR 1003, THTR 1096, and THTR 1231. All courses must be completed with a C- or better to receive the waiver.

Musical Theater Majors:

THTR 1096, THTR 1202, and THTR 1231. All courses must be completed with a C- or better to receive the waiver.

Human Behavior (GB)

Students pursuing undergraduate and/or professional degrees in Education may be exempted from the GenEd Human Behavior requirement upon completion of collegiate and/or degree requirements.

A student successfully satisfies the GenEd Human Behavior requirement upon completion of one of the following multi-course sequences:

Consult an academic advisor for more information.

Science & Technology (GS)

Many majors and programs of study require substantive studies of science to develop the expertise necessary in their fields. The sciences include studies of anatomy and physiology in human health, chemistry as the basis of human health, matter and motion, and natural phenomena. General Education would like to accommodate those students interested in pursuing such studies and have developed, in conjunction with the College of Science & Technology, a number of two-semester course sequences that would exempt students from the GenEd Science & Technology requirement.

Therefore, students considering undergraduate degrees with scientific, engineering or technical components may satisfy the GenEd Science & Technology requirement through alternative coursework. (See waiver information below.)

A student successfully satisfies the GenEd Science & Technology requirement upon completion with a C- or better any of the following two-course sequences:

Students who change their course of study prior to completing the second course of any of the specified two-course sequence, may complete their GenEd Science & Technology requirement by earning a C- or better with:

  • One GenEd GS course and one course from either List I or List II, or

  • One course from List I and one course from List II

List I

List II

Consult an academic advisor for more information.

Global/World Society (GG)

The Global/World Society requirement may be waived if:

  • a student successfully completes (with a C- or better) credit-bearing coursework worth at least three semester hours in an approved summer or semester study abroad program with a minimum stay abroad of 28 days.
  • a student provides a transcript with an international study abroad experience in which at least three semester hours of coursework transferred to Temple.

  • a student is a Foreign National student and whose permanent residence is outside of US boundaries.

Consult an academic advisor for details.