General Education Program

Wayne State has had a University-wide Program in General Education since 1987 for all undergraduate students pursuing bachelor's degrees regardless of their academic specialties. These requirements contribute to the goal of ensuring that all students have the basic skills fundamental to success in college while simultaneously achieving the intellectual breadth necessary to place specialized and professional curricula in proper perspective. By means of the General Education Program, undergraduate students improve their skills and are introduced to methods of inquiry, modes of thought, bodies of knowledge, and representative ideas drawn from a wide range of academic disciplines.

The General Education Requirements for students matriculating or graduating under the 2017-18 University Bulletin are organized into the following categories:

Competency Requirements

Learning Objectives: Competency Requirements ensure that students develop and demonstrate early in their academic careers fundamental skills in the following areas that underlie and make possible the acquisition of knowledge.

  • Critical/Analytic Thinking
  • Oral Communication
  • Written Communication

General Education Group Requirements 

Learning Objectives: Group Requirements have a two-fold purpose:

  1. to enable students to acquire knowledge and demonstrate understanding in a broad range of representative branches of knowledge; and
  2. to enable students to develop and demonstrate the ability to apply methodological skills which encourage continued exploration on an independent level throughout their lives.

Group Requirements are organized in the following categories:


Philosophy and Letters
Visual and Performing Arts

Natural Science

Life Sciences
Physical Sciences

Society and Institutions

American Society and Institutions
Foreign Culture
Historical Studies
Social Science

Exemptions for Second Degree and Transfer Students (General Education Program)

Students who hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and who seek a second bachelor's degree are exempt from the University-wide General Education Requirements, but must satisfy all School/College, department and program requirements.

Equivalent courses taken at another institution may satisfy General Education Requirements. In cases where this would exceed the limitation of sixty-four credits from a community college accepted on a transfer basis, such courses shall satisfy the requirements, but the credits will not count towards the degree.

General Education Program Course Prefixes 

Parenthetical two-letter prefixes denote content areas of subjects and identify courses approved for satisfying Competency Requirements and Group Requirements in the University’s General Education Program. The following prefixes, listed and defined in alphabetical order, precede course titles in the departmental Courses of Instruction sections of this bulletin, and in each semester’s Schedule of Classes.

(AI) — American Society and Institutions
(BC) — Basic Composition
(CT) — Critical and Analytic Thinking
(FC) — Foreign Culture
(HS) — Historical Studies
(IC) — Intermediate Composition
(LS) — Life Sciences
(OC) — Oral Communication
(PL) — Philosophy and Letters
(PS) — Physical Sciences
(SS) — Social Sciences
(VP) — Visual and Performing Arts
(WI) — Writing Intensive