System-Wide General Education Requirements

Development, Implementation, and Transferability

Topics: Academic Affairs, Academic Planning, Articulation Agreements, Curriculum Development, University Systems and Governance

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This research brief profiles the state-wide general education requirements across a number of different states. Additionally, the brief examines the development of these requirements and the extent to which national initiatives, such as the LEAP framework, have impacted its development. Transfer, articulation, and implementation considerations are also discussed.

  • Key observations from our research:

    1. Most states maintain some form of prescribed credit hour and content area requirements that comprise their general education core programs.

    2. Effective general education programs allow for institutional variation or additional requirements.

    3. Development processes originate on individual campuses, where faculty actively engage in the continual advancement and formalization of student learning outcomes.

    4. The guaranteed transfer of associate degrees does not often materialize, as students credit hours transfer successfully and are granted junior year status, but are unable to complete their degree programs within four years.

    5.Committees comprised of state officials and institution-level administrators provide a formal, structured entity to oversee the general education program implementation.

    6. State officials have yet to conduct any formal evaluations of state- and system-wide general education programs, as the vast majority of them are still in their infancy.