Jun 20, 2024  
2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Education Requirements

Goals of General Education

East Tennessee State University’s faculty and staff believe every student should experience certain benefits of an undergraduate education, regardless of his or her chosen field of study. ETSU’s general education program aims to enable and encourage students to:

  • apply the standards of reasoned argument to what they read and hear, write and say;
  • engage in lifelong learning and personal growth;
  • gain greater insight into their lives and the world in which they live;
  • resolve conflicts nonviolently and solve problems creatively, often in collaboration with others;
  • appreciate cultural diversity and respect people with viewpoints different from their own;
  • be responsible, enlightened, active citizens in their communities and the world beyond their communities;
  • find joy, meaning, and fulfillment in their lives and help others do the same.

To gain these benefits, students need a foundation of skills and knowledge which they can apply at work, in their personal lives, and in their communities. By successfully completing ETSU’s general education requirements and other graduation requirements, students enhance their proficiency in oral communication, writing, information technology, critical thinking, and mathematics. They become acquainted with ideas, information, and modes of inquiry which they can draw upon in every area of their lives. In addition, students learn how to perceive relationships between different fields of study.

General Education Course Requirements

ETSU’s general education requirements are described below. These requirements apply to all undergraduate students pursuing a baccalaureate degree. Many majors and degree programs require students to take specific courses to fulfill general education requirements. Students should consult the catalog and their advisors regarding specific general education requirements applicable to their majors and degree programs.


9 credits, consisting of 6 credits of written composition and 3 credits of oral communication.

Written Composition

Complete both of the following: 

Oral Communication

Complete one of the following:

Humanities and Fine Arts

9 credits, consisting of 3 credits of literature, 3 credits of fine arts, and 3 credits of humanities electives.


6 credits, consisting of both of the following:

Natural Sciences

8 credits, consisting of two of the following (some require labs which are listed directly after the lecture):

(Note: Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in the College of Arts and Sciences must select 8 credit hours in a SINGLE laboratory science. Please see listing in College of Arts and Sciences B.S. Degree Requirements for options.)


3 - 4 credits, consisting of one of the following:

  • (3 credits)
  • (3 credits)
  • (4 credits)
  • Note:

    Students will enroll in the appropriate general education math course during their first calendar year of enrollment at ETSU. Students required to complete learning support in mathematics must enroll in a learning support-designated section (L01-L99) of MATH 1530  during their first 15 hours at ETSU (not including summer) unless they are also required to complete learning support in reading or writing. Students needing learning support in reading or writing in addition to learning support in math should enroll in MATH 1530-Lxx immediately upon completing their other learning support requirements. Additional information may be found on the University Advisement Center website www.etsu.edu/uac/learningsupport/


Students required to complete learning support in reading must enroll in a learning support-designated section (L01 - L99) of SOCI 1020   or SPCH 1300   during their first 15 hours at ETSU (not including summer). Additional information may be found on the University Advisement Center website http://www.etsu.edu/uac/learningsupport/

Transferring General Education Courses within the Tennessee Board of Regents System

All institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) System share a common general education core curriculum of forty-one (41) semester credits for baccalaureate degrees and the Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees. ETSU courses that fulfill the general education requirements are listed above. Lists of courses fulfilling general education requirements at other TBR institutions are available at http://www.tbr.edu/policies/default.aspx Although the courses TBR institutions designate to fulfill general education requirements vary, transfer of these courses among TBR institutions is assured as follows:

  • Upon completion of an A.A. or A.S. degree at a TBR institution, general education core requirements will be complete and all TBR institutions will recognize completions of these requirements in the transfer process.
  • If an A.A. or A.S. is not obtained or if a student is pursuing a baccalaureate degree at a TBR university, transfer of completed general education requirements will be based upon completion of subject blocks. When a student completes a subject category requirement (e.g., if all eight credits in the category of Natural Sciences are complete), completion of that block will be recognized by all TBR institutions. When a student has taken courses that fulfill only part of a subject block requirement, the application of transferred courses to the receiving institution’s general education requirements will be evaluated on a course-by-course basis.
  • Some institutions or particular academic departments within institutions require a minimum grade of ‘C’ in certain general education courses.
  • These minimum grade requirements will also apply to the transfer of general education courses. Even if transfer credit hours are granted for a course, any requirement for a minimum grade of ‘C’ by the receiving institution will be enforced.
  • Certain majors require students to take particular courses to fulfill general education requirements. Students and their academic advisors should note any major-specific stipulations regarding fulfillment of general education requirements
  • Transfer students may meet the general education history requirement as follows:


  1. Transfer students from University of Tennessee (UT) System institutions who met the general education history requirement while attending those schools will also have met ETSU’s history requirement, as will transfer students who met UT history requirements while attending TBR community colleges.
  2. Transfer students who earned credit for two of the following courses at any TBR institution will also have met ETSU’s history requirement:

      HIST 1110, World History & Civilization to 1500
      HIST 1120, World History & Civilization Since 1500
      HIST 2010, U.S. to 1877
      HIST 2020, U.S. Since 1877
      HIST 2030, Tennessee History

  1. Transfer students from institutions outside the TBR and UT systems who completed courses equivalent to those listed above may apply those courses to ETSU’s history requirement.
  2. Students who completed only one of the courses listed above prior to transferring to ETSU can complete the history requirement by taking HIST 2010, HIST 2020 or HIST 2030.
  3. All students must present evidence of completing one year of American history in high school. Students lacking such documentation must satisfy a high school deficiency by completing HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 2030. Completing one of these courses to remove the deficiency will also count toward completion of the general education history requirement.
  4. Transfer students who use HIST 1110 or HIST 1120 to meet the general education history requirement cannot also use it to meet the general education humanities requirement.