Apr 25, 2024  
2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog 
2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

General Education

General Education Requirements


The College’s current general education program incorporates a set of requirements (the “SUNY-GER”—see Table IA)
approved by the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York in December 1998 for all baccalaureate-granting
SUNY units and locally designed requirements. The General Education Program applies to all new students—transfers
as well as freshmen. (For information on the exceptions to this rule and on other general education issues for the
transfer student, see the next section on “General Education Requirements for Transfer Students.”)

In its entirety, General Education at Oswego is intended to introduce students to a range of academic disciplines; teach
them to think critically; solve problems; communicate effectively; increase their knowledge of the world and of themselves;
and help them grow and mature as learners. Specifically, students are expected to develop:

  • Effective skills in writing, research and oral communication
  • Computer and information literacy
  • Analytical and critical inquiry skills
  • An understanding of the methods and findings of disciplines in the natural sciences and the social and behavioral sciences
  • Knowledge of the conventions and methods of a discipline in the humanities
  • Understanding of one form of artistic expression and the creative process associated with it
  • Basic proficiency in a foreign language
  • Competence in quantitative reasoning skills
  • Knowledge of the history of the United States,Western Civilization, and at least one non-western civilization
  • Understanding of diversity and its consequences in the United States
  • Experience in synthesizing different perspectives and modes of analysis to generate insights into complex issues

Basic Skills (refer to Table I for this and each subsequent general education requirement category) are the fundamental
college-level skills in writing, information literacy, and critical thinking that students need to succeed in most of their
college courses. A three-credit course (or its equivalent) is required in writing and information literacy; the critical thinking
requirement is met via infusion in the student’s major. Some students have already developed these skills before entering
Oswego in Advanced Placement (AP) work in high school, in course work at other colleges, or in other ways. Those students
will not be required to take additional course work to satisfy requirements.

The Foreign Language requirement ensures that students acquire basic proficiency in the understanding and use of a language
other than English, as well as knowledge of the distinctive features of a culture or cultures associated with the language they study.
This requirement, too, can be satisfied through extensive study at the high school level (see Table I for details).

The purpose of Knowledge Foundations courses is to expose students to a breadth of knowledge through the exploration of
different scholarly disciplines at the introductory level. Knowledge Foundations courses introduce students to the basic content
and mode of inquiry and analysis of the disciplines selected. Courses must be taken in the following five areas:
Fine and Performing Arts (one course); Humanities (one course); Mathematics (one course); Natural Sciences (two courses);
and Social and Behavioral Sciences (two courses). Table I explains the kinds of exemptions based on major course work
that can be earned in this category by students in most departments.

America and the Western Heritage entails course work in US History and the study of Western Civilization. The purpose of
courses in American History is to enable students to develop knowledge of a basic narrative of the history of the United States
(political, economic, social, and cultural, including knowledge of unity and diversity in American society); knowledge of
common institutions in American society and how they have affected different groups; and understanding of America’s
evolving relationship with the rest of the world. The purpose of courses in Western Civilization is to enable students to
develop knowledge of the distinctive features of the history, institutions, economy, society, and culture of Western civilization,
and to relate the development of Western Civilization to that of other regions of the world.

The Human Diversity requirement has two parts: 1) Tolerance and Intolerance in the United States; and 2) Non-Western Civilizations.
Courses satisfying the first part will help students understand the complex roles different peoples have played in the forging
of American society and the different ways in which they have experienced tolerance and intolerance, equality and discrimination,
freedom and restraint, and justice and injustice. Courses satisfying the Non-Western Civilizations segment of the requirement
will enable students to develop knowledge of the distinctive features of the history, institutions, economy, society, and culture
of one or more non-Western civilizations.

Intellectual Issues courses investigate the multi-disciplinary and interpretive nature of intellectual inquiry, building upon
students’ skills, abilities, and knowledge foundations. These courses are also intended to engage students as active learners
by challenging them to think analytically and creatively about complex issues or themes. Students must select one three-credit
upper-division Issues course from the category labeled “Explorations in the Natural Sciences” and one from either
“Cultures and Civilizations” or “Self and Society. ”

The Advanced Expository Writing requirement mandates that students take at least five courses that include a writing component,
as well as training in research. The faculty of each major determine which courses can be used by students in that major to satisfy
the requirement. Typically, all five courses will also satisfy other major or general education requirements. The writing plan for each
major or discipline is designed to ensure that students write frequently and develop the research and communication skills appropriate
to that discipline. The Oral Proficiency mandate requires that every major or discipline provide a plan that concentrates on developing
students’ proficiency in oral discourse and in evaluating oral presentations made by others.

Approved General Education Courses - The faculty of the College, through the General Education Council, certify courses as
appropriate to fulfill all of the above general education requirements. A list of the courses approved by the General Education
Council is available at the website www.oswego.edu/gened.

General Education Requirements for Transfer Students


Transfer students must complete the General Education requirements (see Table I) with courses taken at Oswego, with credits
transferred from their previous college(s), or with courses taken off-campus or on-line with prior approval. Transfer students who
first matriculated at another unit of the State University of New York prior to fall 2000 should contact the Director of General
Education or consult the General Education website (www.oswego.edu/gened).

All transfer students will have their prior college course work evaluated by the Admissions Office for general education credit.
New transfers coming to Oswego from any other SUNY units will have a general education transcript addendum (GETA) that
identifies courses already taken that satisfy specific SUNY-GER requirements. All transfer students must fulfill the SUNY-GER
in its entirety (see Table IA), as well as all “local” general education requirements.

Students who transfer to Oswego with 60 or more credits are exempt from any lower-division writing courses required for their
majors, but they must still take the required upper-division writing courses for that major and demonstrate oral proficiency.

Articulation Provisions for Students with Associates Degrees from other SUNY Units


Transfer students entering Oswego with two-year associate’s degrees (AA,AS, or AAS) from other units of SUNY are covered
by “general articulation, ” which confers on those students the following four exemptions:

Exemption 1: Computer and Information Literacy is considered to be “infused”;
Exemption 2: Critical Thinking is considered to be “infused”;
Exemption 3: The student is exempted from the second course (3 credits) required in Knowledge of Foundation-Natural Sciences;
Exemption 4: The student is exempted from the second course (3 credits) required in Knowledge Foundation-Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Transfer students with two-year associate’s degrees from other SUNY units also have alternative ways to meet the
Knowledge Foundation requirements in Mathematics and in Foreign Language:

Mathematics: The degree-holding transfer student who has not yet satisfied the Mathematics component of the SUNY-GER
may do so with a course at Oswego (or elsewhere) equivalent to any of those approved for that requirement at the SUNY unit
from which that student received his or her degree;
Foreign Language: The degree-holding transfer student who has not yet satisfied the Foreign Language component of
the SUNY-GER may do so with a 101-level course at Oswego (or elsewhere) equivalent to any of those approved for that
requirement at the SUNY unit from which that student received his or her degree. In accordance with SUNY system policy,
the degree-holding transfer student may also fulfill the foreign language requirement with three years of high school
foreign language study and a score of 85 or above on the appropriate Regents exam.

Students should go to the SUNY Oswego General Education web page, www.oswego.edu/gened, and follow the link to
SUNY-Wide General Education courses for a list of approved mathematics and foreign language courses at each two-year school.

All other unmet General Education Requirements must be completed with approved Oswego courses.

It is important to note that these articulation provisions do not apply to transfer students entering Oswego from institutions
outside of SUNY or to those arriving from a SUNY unit without an associate’s degree.

Table I: General Education

Credit Hours
Students are required to show competence (by passing an approved course or waiver exam) in each of the following:  
  1.Writing 0-3
  2. Computer and Information Literacy 0-3
  3. Critical Thinking: infused in the major; students should contact major department and advisor for details.  
  4. This requirement can be satisfied by
a) successful high school study of a foreign language through Regents Level 4;
b) successful high school study of two foreign languages (through Regents Level 2 in each);
or c) completion of a 102-level foreign language course (or its equivalent) in college.
Students must demonstrate basic competency in a language by successfully completing either a 101-level college foreign language course or three years of foreign language study in
high school prior to registering for a 102-level college course in the same foreign language. The requirement may be satisfied by an equivalent proficiency in a native American language, as demonstrated by comparable high school study (i.e. four years) or by an interview with a faculty member competent in the language in question. Non-native-English-speaking
international students who have passed the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam upon acceptance to the College are exempted from this requirement.
Students are required to take one or two approved courses (as indicated) in each area:  
  5. Fine and Performing Arts 3
  6. Humanities 3
  7. Mathematics — Students must demonstrate basic competency in mathematics prior to registering for Math courses numbered 106/206. Competency may be demonstrated by a) passing a mathematics competency exam approved by the Mathematics Department; or b) successful completion of MAX 105. 3
  8. Natural Sciences — In Natural Sciences, students must take courses from two different departments
(Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, or Physics). In Social and Behavioral Sciences, students must take courses from two different disciplines. The total number of hours is given as 12-21 instead of 21 because the nature of the course work required of students to fulfill certain majors infuses a level of skills, competency, and/or general knowledge beyond what is needed to satisfy General Education. In those cases, students are considered to be exempt from particular General Education components. A list of exemptions by major is available at the website,
www.oswego.edu/gened. The student who completes a minor is credited with having satisfied three hours of the requirement in the area of the minor.
  9. Social and Behavioral Sciences 6
Students are required to take 1 approved course in each area:  
  10. American History — No course satisfying the American History requirement will at the same time
satisfy the Tolerance and Intolerance in the United States requirement (in Human Diversity).
  11. Western Civilization 3
Students are required to take one approved course in each area:  
  12. Tolerance and Intolerance in the United States  No course satisfying the American History requirement will at the same time satisfy the Tolerance and Intolerance in the United States requirement (in Human Diversity). 3
  13. Non-Western Civilizations 3
Students are required to take one approved course in:  
  14. Explorations in the Natural Sciences and one approved course in either: 3
  15a. Cultures and Civilizations—OR—15b. Self and Society 3
Students must take five courses approved by their major department that emphasize training in writing and
research skills appropriate to the major discipline. Students must develop skills in oral communication as well
(see major department’s writing and oral communication plans for details). These requirements may be satisfied
with courses that meet other general education or major requirements.


Table IA: General Education at SUNY Oswego and the SUNY General Education

Oswego Requirement   SUNY GE (corresponds to the category)
1. Knowledge Foundations: Mathematics   Mathematics
2. Knowledge Foundations: Natural Sciences   Natural Sciences
3. Knowledge Foundations:Social Sciences   Social Sciences
4. American History   American History
5. Western Civilization   Western Civilization
6. Human Diversity: Non-Western Civilizations   Other World Civilizations
7. Humanities   Hum
8. Knowledge Foundations: Fine and Performing Arts   The Arts
9. Foreign Language   Foreign Language
10. Basic Skills:Writing   Basic Communication
11. Basic Skills: Critical Thinking   Critical Thinking/Reasoning
12. Basic Skills: Computer and Information Literacy   Information Management