About TESU's General Education Program

General education at Thomas Edison State University provides students with broad exposure to multiple disciplines and forms the basis for developing essential intellectual, civic, and practical capacities. The General Education program encompasses 45-46 credit hours of course work.

About the TESU General Education Program:

Thomas Edison State University is focused on meeting the educational needs of the self-directed adult learner. Students come to the University with a wealth of experience from academic work at other institutions, from the workplace, and from military service. Thomas Edison State University is committed to education as a transformative process that broadens perspectives in a global, technologically sophisticated, and diverse society. General education at the University is threaded throughout the curriculum, across all schools and at all levels of inquiry. General education at Thomas Edison encompasses an integrated foundation grounded in the liberal arts with a focus on core skills and competencies, which are essential to students' success in their personal lives, careers, and engagement as citizens. The General Education program emphasizes the development of ethical leadership to equip our adult students with the aptitude needed in our complex and constantly evolving world. The general education structure at TESU aligns with the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ (AAC&U) “Essential Learning Outcomes.” The Essential Learning Outcomes provide a framework to guide students' cumulative progress through college and outlines the “broad knowledge, higher-order capacities, and real-world experience needed for students to thrive both in the economy and in a globally engaged democracy” (AAC&U, 2007).


 General Education Credit Distribution by Category  
 Category Credits 
 A. Intellectual and Practical Skills  
 Written Communication (English Composition I and II)  6
 Oral Communication  3
Quantitative Literacy and Mathematical Skills  3
 Information Literacy: SOS-1100 3
B. Civic and Global Leadership   
 Ethical Leadership
 Civic Engagement and Awareness
C. Knowledge of Human Cultures   
 Social Sciences
 Two courses from the categories above 
D. Scientific Knowledge  
 Natural Sciences and Computer Science 6-7*
Total General Education Credits 45-46

*Bachelor of Science (applied sciences) programs requires an additional one credit lab component

General Education Outcomes and Guiding Language:

Liberal Arts: Liberal arts encompass a range of academic subjects and includes the areas of humanities (art, English, literature, philosophy, history), the social sciences (psychology, sociology, political science), physical sciences (biology, chemistry, physics), and mathematics (including computer science). A liberal arts education emphasizes the development of critical thinking and analytical skills, the ability to solve complex problems, and an understanding of ethics and morality as well as intellectual curiosity. The liberal arts are distinct from professional and technical subjects such as healthcare, teacher education, computer information systems, and business. The TESU General Education program is grounded in the liberal arts, and primarily includes courses in the academic subjects within the liberal arts, with few exceptions for courses that are interdisciplinary and that emphasize liberal learning.

The Thomas Edison State University General Education Outcomes reflect the Undergraduate Institutional Learning Outcomes. All TESU students who complete the general education program and who graduate from bachelor's degree programs at the University will have the following competencies.

Intellectual and Practical Skills - Intellectual and communicative skills necessary for success in the academic environment and for addressing globally complex challenges.

  • Written Communication:
    Communicate ideas effectively in writing using text, data, and images as appropriate and in different genres and styles for addressing globally complex challenges. English Composition I and II courses satisfy this requirement.
  • Oral Communication:
    Communicate ideas effectively orally using multiple modes of communication, as appropriate. The AAC&U Oral Communication VALUE Rubric is used as a guide to identify which courses satisfy this requirement.
  • Information Literacy: SOS-1100
    SOS-1100 is a University requirement for all TESU students. This course emphasizes the use of TESU technology, critical thinking skills, and information literacy. In this course, students learn to identify, locate, and evaluate information, and effectively and responsibly use and share information for the problem at hand.
  • Quantitative Literacy and Mathematical Skills:
    Demonstrate competency in working with numerical data, create and evaluate complex and refined arguments supported by quantitative evidence, and clearly communicate those arguments in a variety of formats (using words, tables, graphs, mathematical equations, etc.), as appropriate. Data analytics and college-level mathematics courses may satisfy this requirement.

Civic and Global Leadership - Knowledge required for responsible global citizenship and effective engagement in a dynamic environment.

  • Diversity/Intercultural Literacy:
    Recognize that they are members of diverse communities, both local and global, and demonstrate intercultural knowledge, skills, and attitudes that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural contexts and social categories, such as, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, and age. The AAC&U Intercultural Knowledge and Competence VALUE Rubric is used as a guide to identify which courses satisfy this requirement.
  • Ethical Leadership:
    Assess their own ethical values and the social context of a given situation, recognize ethical issues in a variety of settings, apply ethical principles to ethical dilemmas and consider the ramification of alternative actions. The AAC&U Ethical Reasoning VALUE Rubric is used as a guide to identify which courses satisfy this requirement.
  • Civic Engagement and Awareness:
    Demonstrate effective, responsible, and meaningful skills while engaged in the political life of a community to cultivate an awareness of personal and social responsibility. The TESU Civic Engagement and Awareness Rubric is used as a guide to identify which courses satisfy this requirement.

Knowledge of Human Cultures - Knowledge from the arts, humanities, and social sciences, which develop an understanding of humanity.

  • Social Sciences:
    Courses from among anthropology, economics, geography, political science, psychology, or sociology.
  • Arts and Humanities:
    Course[s] in the appreciation of art, music, or theater; literature; foreign language; philosophy and/or religious studies. This category may include any broad-based course that is fundamentally the appreciation of a performing or a creative art. This category also includes any broad-based course that is fundamentally a literature course. Professional and specialized writing courses in journalism, technical writing, and other specialized writing courses involve predominately writing and, therefore, do not satisfy this requirement. Courses that involve creative activity for the purpose of preparation for a professional field do not satisfy this requirement.
  • History:
    Courses or sequence of courses in World, Western, non-Western, or American History.

Scientific Knowledge - Knowledge from the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, Earth and environmental science, physics, and astronomy) or computer science in order to develop an understanding of scientific reasoning based on empirical evidence from observation and experimentation. Courses in the natural sciences and computer science satisfy this requirement.