Apr 16, 2024  
2014-2015 Catalog 
2014-2015 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Education Program Requirements by Content Category

All students studying toward a baccalaureate degree at Shawnee State are required to complete the University’s General Education Program (GEP). This group of courses gives students the opportunity to acquire the characteristics of an educated person—something quite distinct from the goals of other courses associated with the degree programs offered by Shawnee State. Most courses required for a specific degree program are meant to give students the opportunity to study a particular discipline and the ability to practice a profession. The goal of Shawnee State University, however, goes beyond professional education to preparing you to function effectively in the multiple roles demanded by contemporary life. In this respect, the General Education Program supports the University’s mission statement.

The GEP is a combination of required and elective courses, grouped in categories, each chosen for the contribution it makes to the skills or knowledge characteristic of university graduates.

For More Information

Phil Blau, Ph.D., Director
General Education Program

Vern Riffe Center for the Arts, Room 313
Shawnee State University
940 Second Street
Portsmouth, Ohio 45662-4344

Phone: 740.351.3443
Fax: 740.351.3501 (Provost’s Office)
E-mail:  pblau@shawnee.edu

Our Commitment to Your Success

Shawnee State’s General Education Program is committed to:

  • Providing an undergraduate education that includes competence in written communication, oral communication, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical analysis, and logical thinking.
  • Providing a breadth of knowledge that goes beyond education for a specific discipline or profession.
  • Providing a breadth of experience that includes knowledge and understanding of multicultural factors.
  • Ensuring that you have the ability to reflect carefully upon ethical issues and can enter into reasoned dialogue about these issues.
  • Preparing you to become an independent and continuing learner.

As part of our commitment to the success of our students, Shawnee State University has adopted the goal of integrating information literacy and computer literacy into the courses included in the General  Education Program.

General Education Program Requirements by Content Category

The GEP requirements are arranged in two levels. You should complete requirements at the Foundational Level before you take courses that satisfy the Integrative Level of the program. Courses at the Foundational Level are subject to the university’s restrictions on repeating courses (see Academic Policies and Programs ). Also, it is suggested that you begin by taking courses in English and mathematics and continue to take courses in these areas until you have completed requirements in English composition and quantitative reasoning.

A more complete description of each category follows. Specific course descriptions are found in their own section of this catalog.

Foundational Level:
English Composition Minimum 6 Hours
Quantitative Reasoning Minimum 3 Hours
Fine and Performing Arts 3 Hours
Social Sciences 3 Hours
Natural Sciences Minimum 7 Hours
Integrative Level:
Cultural Perspectives Minimum 6 Hours
Ethics 3 Hours
Capstone 3 Hours
Total Hours Required 34 Hours

Note: It should be noted that in cases where a single course meets requirements of the General Education Program and the major, the total number of hours required for the GEP will be reduced by the number of related course hours. The minimum credit hours required for the baccalaureate degree shall not, however, be less than 120.

English Composition (6 Hours Minimum)

These courses provide an opportunity for you to develop as a writer. Their goal is for you to learn to write clearly, concisely, and creatively in a variety of formats.

Take one of the following courses:


Two English composition courses must be completed prior to taking coursework at the Integrative Level of the GEP.

Quantitative Reasoning (3 Hours Minimum)

This component of the General Education Program addresses the nature of mathematical thought and its impact on modern life. To fulfill the quantitative reasoning component of the GEP, each course contains active communication about mathematics (which includes reading and/or writing and/or speaking), exercises designed to stimulate critical thinking, the use of mathematical-related technology, and an emphasis on problem-solving. In addition, each course stresses data and data analysis, demonstrates the application of mathematics to a variety of disciplines, and incorporates activity-based learning.

Fine and Performing Arts (3 Hours)

You should leave the GEP with a greater appreciation of how the arts contribute to an enriched quality of life. Courses in this category include either an art history, art appreciation, music, or theatre component.

Social Sciences (3 Hours)

The goal of this GEP category is to expose students to at least one discipline within the social sciences, including methodologies used in the social sciences and application of social sciences concepts to contemporary life.

The objectives of the category are as follows:

  1. Students will demonstrate proficiency in use of terminology within a social science discipline as evidenced by performance on exams and/or additional assignments.
  2. Students will demonstrate understanding of basic concepts within a social science discipline as evidenced by performance on exams and/or additional assignments.
  3. Students will demonstrate an ability to apply basic social science concepts to contemporary life as evidenced by performance on exams and/or additional assignments.
  4. Students will be exposed to basic methodologies used in the social sciences as evidenced by course syllabus and/or assigned readings.


Credit is not allowed for both CHEM 1121/2200 and CHEM 1141/1142.

Cultural Perspectives (6 Hours Minimum)

The goal of this GEP component is to help you understand aspects of culture from humanistic and social science perspectives and to appreciate the multicultural nature of modern society. Courses may vary as to discipline, content, and approach, but each instills some comprehension of the complex historical, cultural, or sociological contexts which inform contemporary experience.  Students are required to take a course that has the Western flag and a course that has the non-Western flag.

All courses within this category must contain a writing component.  The minimum writing requirement is around 3000 words.  Note that a page of double spaced type has an average of around 250 words.  The writing component must include at least one example of researched writing, as defined below.  Students will be required to complete a minimum of 2 writing assignments or one writing assignment with multiple drafts.

Examples of the types of writing that could be found in courses in this catalog are listed below.

  1. Informal Writing:  Informal writing may include responses to prompts, discussion questions, or discussion boards.
  2. Formal Writing:  Formal writing requires that the writer will demonstrate control of standard usage, grammar, and mechanics.  Formal writing will be broken into two categories.
    • Researched writing.  This may only involve assigned texts, but this writing will include a bibliography, proper citation of sources, and a thesis.
    • Response paper essays.  These may be part of exams as long as students are given the topics in advance, and are asked to write on a topic that requires a thesis statement.  These essays may be evaluative, analytic, or argumentative.

Western Flag

Students will be able to: 

  • describe and explain major philosophical, religious, social, or cultural ideas, theories, and movements central to the development of Western civilization;
  • explain and analyze how these ideas developed across time, including transitions between at least two of the following periods: the Classical Greco-Roman Period, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance/Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and the 20th century;
  • apply their historical and cultural understanding to contemporary culture, and analyze and evaluate how at least some of these ideas, etc., affect the way we think and live today.

Non-Western Flag

Student will be able to:

  • describe and explain major philosophical, religious, social, or cultural ideas, theories, and movements central to the understanding of at least one non-Western civilization;
  • apply their historical and cultural understanding to contemporary culture, and analyze and evaluate how at least some of these ideas affect how Western and non-Western cultures understand one another, and the way Western and non-Western cultures interact.


Ethics (3 Hours)

The requirement in ethics serves several purposes within the GEP’s broader goal of enabling students “to function effectively in the multiple roles demanded by contemporary life.” First, students are introduced to the most influential moral theories of western civilization. These theories attempt to answer what constitutes the good life and what makes an action ethical, as well as introduce ways of reasoning about the moral life. Second, students learn how these theories affect how we think about public life, including the relationship of morality to law and public policy. Third, students engage in a thorough and careful analysis of contemporary moral issues in order to arrive at a rationally defensible, well-informed conclusion within a context of open and civil dialogue with others. Evaluation is based, first and foremost, on how well students reason about moral issues, not on the particular conclusions.

Capstone (3 Hours)

Senior Seminar (IDST 4490) comes late in your university experience and gives you the opportunity to write, speak, think, analyze, synthesize, and integrate. A central part of the seminar is the research and writing of a major paper and an oral presentation of your findings.  The prerequisites for Senior Seminar are 75 cumulative hours at time of enrollment, and all prior GEP requirements, including Ethics (31 semester hours).

Choose one course from the following list: