General Education

The State University of New York is charged with furthering human development and exploring and pursuing human potential in the broadest sense. In general, the university performs this function by acting as a center for the development and dissemination of knowledge, arts, and skills. In particular, it offers an opportunity for concentrated intellectual development and training. As part of the State University of New York, Fredonia pursues these goals with its own unique resources.

The university seeks to provide students with both a specialized and a general education. The specialized work prepares students in particular fields of knowledge for careers, professions, and other specific goals. But knowledge, like life, is a seamless fabric that cannot be cut into separate pieces. Any special area of knowledge requires a larger context to become fully meaningful. It is the purpose of general education to provide such a context, to help students find a sense of direction and become better able to cope with a changing world, regardless of their specializations.

The object of a general education is to further the development of a total human being who seeks to relate learning and living, ideas and actions. Seen in this way, general education seeks to provide the basis for responsible action and to develop the habit of questioning and using questioning as a creative tool.

The ability to discover and act upon their own values is a basic potential of human beings. In choosing the values by which they live, rather than having values thrust upon them, individuals create themselves. However, the freedom to choose and create comes into being only for people who have developed self-awareness, an ability to think, a minimal body of knowledge, and aesthetic sensitivity. General education seeks to help students develop all of these. General education should help students understand human society and their relationship to it. But it should also enable students to develop as individuals with a fundamental philosophy or basic world view that is consciously personal, yet based on an awareness of culture, history, and society. Consequently, general education seeks to facilitate the development of a conscious philosophy or world view and to develop the skills by which such fundamental beliefs can be articulated clearly.

Students complete the minimal general education requirements at SUNY Fredonia within the framework of the General Education Program as prescribed by the State University of New York.

General Education Program (College Core Curriculum)

The revised General Education Program at SUNY Fredonia is better aligned with the overall SUNY general education template. The categories have been renumbered and renamed to match the SUNY categories, and the former Upper Level requirement was eliminated by Senate vote during the Spring semester of 2011. It is important to note that in the future, students will need only one Basic Communication - Oral course to meet the Basic Communication category requirements, rather than the former requirement of two Speaking Intensive courses.

Approved courses, distributed as follows. For more information on approved courses in each category, the General Education Master List can be found at the following link:


Credit Hours

1. Mathematics:


2. Natural Sciences:

(Two courses from different disciplines; only one may be from Mathematical Sciences or Computer & Information Sciences. Requirements for certification or licensure may be different; check with program Advisor.)


3. Social Sciences:

(Two courses from different disciplines; only one may be from Business Administration, Education, History, Communication or Communication Disorders.)


4. American History:

(Students who scored below 85 on the NYS American History and Government Regents Exam must take either HIST 105 or HIST 106 or HIST 133 to meet this category; all other students may take a course in American History-A or American History-B.)


5. Western Civilization:


6. Other World Civilizations:


7. Humanities:


8. Arts:


9. Foreign Languages*:


To demonstrate proficiency, all students may do one of the following:

  • Score 85 or higher on a N.Y.S. Regents Foreign Language Exam.
  • Complete the externally-administered standardized test for foreign language of either the AP (3 or higher) or CLEP (50th percentile or higher).
  • Have native fluency of a language other than English.
  • Study abroad with a language component (and submit a Course Appeal/Substitution request to the Office of the Associate Provost for Curriculum & Academic Support prior to traveling abroad), or
  • Successfully complete a 3-6 credit foreign language course at SUNY Fredonia in this category at the appropriate level (115 or 116 or 120/121).

Students enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts program must demonstrate a language proficiency at the 116 level or beyond; in some cases this may mean also taking a 115 level course as a prerequisite.  For BA students, this prerequisite course does not count as completion of this category.  

To demonstrate proficiency, students enrolled in some professional programs, those leading to certification in elementary or secondary education, or programs leading to careers where there is likely to be significant contact with the hearing impaired (e.g., Early Childhood Education, Childhood Education, Childhood Inclusive Education, Middle Childhood Education, Adolescence Education, Music Education, Communication Disorders and Sciences, Criminal Justice, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology), may successfully complete 3 or 6 credits of ASL).  Inquiries related to the ASL proficiency should be directed to the Associate Provost for Curriculum & Academic Support.

Students unsure of their proficiency in any area other than ASL should consult with the Chair of the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures. 

Only the completion of a 115, 116 SPAN 120/121 or ASL course will earn credit hours; all other options will fulfill this category but earn 0 credit hours.

10. Basic Communication (Written component)


11. Speaking-Intensive Requirement

(Oral component of the Basic Communication requirement for SUNY)


Transfer students may receive credit in categories 1 through 11 of the General Education Program for similar courses taken at other colleges or approved advanced placement courses and exams. Any course approved for the SUNY General Education Requirements from a SUNY college or university will be accepted as a course in the corresponding Fredonia General Education Category.

*With the exception of American Sign Language, the Modern Language department will use its best professional judgment in determining when students have fulfilled the learning outcomes of the foreign language requirement in ways other than those sketched above. Issues related to American Sign Language are directed to the Communications Disorders and Sciences Department or the Chair of the General Education Committee. Moreover, under appropriate circumstances, waivers of the requirement will be taken under consideration by the Associate Provost for Curriculum & Academic Support.

Questions pertaining to the General Education Program may be directed to Dr. Melinda Karnes, Associate Provost for Curriculum & Academic Support at (716) 673-3717. More information on the General Education Program can be found on the general education web page at or by emailing