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General Education

The basic foundation of General Education at SUNY Oswego consists of a set of required categories along with a group of categories under the heading of Student Choice from which approved courses can be taken in order to meet the total number of categories and credit hours required. The SUNY competencies of critical thinking, oral communication, and information management are infused in each major, as is a substantial writing requirement in the major over and above that required in the SUNY general education.

In addition to the basic foundation remaining true, your general education requirement also remains true to the fundamental principle that general education plays a foundational role in preparing Oswego graduates to better engage in and contribute to the world. It helps students hone the skills and habits of thought necessary to do well in university and, crucially, are critical to a life well lived after graduation. The choice element built into general education affords each student the opportunity to tailor their specific general education to best fit particular courses of study and personal interests.

Working with your advisor and the General Education field of your Degree Works audit will enable you to construct a general education program that does more than simply meet requirements: your general education program can help you to make connections between courses and, crucially, between yourself and the world.

General Education Assessment

An assessment of student learning in four areas of general education (ten categories and two competencies) is conducted by the appropriate departments and programs each calendar year (CY).  In November of the preceding year, assessment plan updates are submitted to the Office of the Associate Provost and Director of General Education, reviewed by members of the General Education Council (GEC) and the Assessment Advisory Committee (AAC), and feedback is provided to departments and programs prior to the beginning of the calendar year assessment cycle.

Departments and programs submit to the Associate Provost and the Director of General Education assessment reports detailing the assessment results, an analysis of the findings, and an articulation of the steps, if any, to be taken in light of what the assessment reveals.  These reports are reviewed by members of the GEC and AAC, feedback is provided to chairs and directors, and a retreat is held to discuss with all participating departments and programs what the assessment revealed, generally speaking, and what insights can be gleaned from the assessment done in each area.

The cycle ensures regular assessment of student learning in General Education, with each category/competency assessed every three years, and, crucially, both feedback on submitted plans and reports and the opportunity to reflect upon and discuss both the assessment process and what each year’s assessment reveals.
Links to the areas to be assessed in a particular CY year and the learning outcomes for all categories and competencies can be found on the General Education web page.

Downloadable Assessment Forms Past Assessment Plan Updates 
Past Assessment Reports Past Assessment Summary Reports

General Education and the Oswego baccalaureate degree

General Education has long been a foundational element of an Oswego undergraduate degree.  General Education maintains the important role of liberal education in preparing Oswego graduates to engage in and contribute to the world through the combination of required categories and student choice.

Oswego faculty and staff recognize the importance of strong communication and mathematics skills.  Therefore, students are required to complete coursework or demonstrate proficiency in both basic writing and mathematics.  In addition, work in the major will help each student develop proficiency in oral communication while at the same time sharpening their writing and critical thinking skills.

We recognize that students need scientific as well as quantitative and communication literacy if they are to succeed now and in the future.  Oswego requires that our students successfully complete a course in the natural sciences. Taken together, knowing what it means to think like a scientist, knowing how numbers can be marshaled in support of an understanding of the natural world and humankind’s role in it, and knowing how to communicate effectively how scientific understanding contributes to the world in which they live will be crucial to our students’ ability to make sense of and help to shape their world.

SUNY Oswego also realizes that the world is marked by a web of connections and relationships.  We do not live in isolation.  Recognizing that ours is world of diversity and difference, one calling for recognition and understanding, we require students to take a course focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice in the United States.  Moreover, in order to help prepare students to play an active part in the world beyond the U.S., Oswego requires that students take a course that helps them see and make sense of the connections and relationships.  All courses in our World Awareness category help to foster an awareness of the history and culture of peoples and places not our own and an understanding of common problems, issues, and concerns faced by people around the world.  Because having a basic knowledge of a foreign language helps one to understand and appreciate the culture of those speaking it, we also require that students either complete coursework or demonstrate a level of proficiency in a foreign language.

Students need to complete either 33 or 36 credit hours in order to fulfill our general education requirement.  Breadth of knowledge is ensured in our general education program.  In addition to courses in mathematics, English, the natural sciences, foreign language, world awareness, and diversity, equity, and inclusion, students complete their general education program by choosing from a variety of courses in a number of categories.  With choice comes the opportunity for students to develop and follow lines of inquiry and subjects of interest and concern.

Guidelines and Guidance


General Education categories and credit hour requirements for students entering Oswego by undergraduate year(s):

Important Documents


Christopher LaLonde
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