General Education Program
The university's general education program is structured to provide a coherent, integrated introduction to the breadth of knowledge you will need to consider yourself (and to be considered by other people) a generally well-educated person. In thinking over what is necessary, the faculty identified five principal goals:
- To teach students the skills needed for critical thinking, writing and reading.
- To teach these skills in a specific context, i.e., social issues, cultures and traditions, science and society.
- To teach students how to apply these skills so that they can find, evaluate, and use the vast amount of information now available via the media, the internet, new technologies, and traditional forms of knowledge.
- To teach students to discern and assess the values that underlie various critical positions, and to articulate their own with coherence and integrity.
- To encourage a passion for learning.
These are the learning objectives for the General Education program as a whole. Learning objectives have been identified as well for each of the General Educations categories. Outcomes and assessment measures for the courses that satisfy each requirement are linked to the categories below.
The program is divided into two parts: the first part, called "Foundations," presents courses that give you the "big picture" about (I) the development of western European and American culture, as well as (II) alternative cultural traditions and (III) the basic principles animating scientific inquiry. The second part, called "Case Studies," provides particular opportunities for you to sharpen your critical intelligence by considering specific (IV) applications of science and technology, (V) works of literature, philosophy and art, and (VI) contemporary social issues of urgency and importance. In addition, all students must satisfy writing and diversity requirements to complete the USC Core.
The freshman year semester of the writing requirement is co-registered with classes in the Social Issues category and a speaker series, helping to build intellectual community among students and faculty in the general education program.
As you look through the courses in each category, try to reach beyond the disciplines with which you are most familiar and comfortable. Draw broadly from the range of academic expertise and choose a thoughtful, provocative selection of "g" courses as your personal general education program. This academic background will serve you well in the future, as a basis for lifelong learning.