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University General Education Requirements

The undergraduate curriculum at the University primarily consists of the courses a student takes in an academic major and the general education curriculum required of all students, regardless of major. General education comprises those courses and areas of study that the University believes are important for all undergraduates to study. Such courses help students develop the skills of reading, writing, discussion, quantitative reasoning and inquiry that enable them to do well in all their studies; they provide background information and context for a student’s major studies; they address those questions and issues as well as develop those methods and habits of mind, which students will need not only as practitioners in a profession but as citizens and human beings in today’s world.

University General Education Requirements

The general education curriculum is structured in terms of three developmental levels:

Total hours in General Education

52-58 hours

Important:  see "Notes and Explanations" section  

Level I: Introduction to University Learning

16 hours

Transitions (TRANS 100) 1 hour
First-Year Seminar (FYS 175) 3 hours
The Examined Life (PHIL 140) 3 hours
Rhetoric and Writing (ENGL 120) 3 hours
Speech Fundamentals (COMM 101) 3 hours
Mathematics (3 hours) 3 hours

Level II: Broadening Learning in the Arts and Sciences

27-33 hours

Natural Science:  
Life Science 3 hours
Physical Science 3 hours
Social Sciences:  
2 courses in different disciplines 6 hours
2 courses 6 hours
Art, Humanities, Music, Literature:  
2 courses in different disciplines 6 hours
1 course 3 hours
requires a 200-or 300-level Philosophy course  
Religious Studies:  
2 courses 6 hours

Level III: Integrating Learning and Experience

3 hours

Interdisciplinary Seminar 3 hours
Community Based Learning requirement - 1 course  

Other General Education Requirements

Diversity Studies - 2 courses 6 hours
Global Studies - 2 courses 6 hours

Degree Specific Requirements

6 hours

Degree Specific Requirements

For the B.A. Degree: Six hours of additional foreign language or global studies courses or a combination of these, beyond the 6 hours of global studies indicated above under "Other General Education Requirements".

For the B.S. Degree: Six hours of additional mathematics courses, or science courses, or a combination of these, beyond general education, as required by the major or professional program.

For the B.B.A. Degree: Either (a) 6 hours of mathematics courses, or science courses, or a combination of these; or (b) 6 hours of foreign language or global studies courses; or (c) 3 hours of mathematics or science courses, and 3 hours of foreign language or global studies courses, beyond the hours indicated above for general education.

General Education Transfer Policy

All transfer students must take ACSU 101: Transfer Student Orientation. It meets once, for no cost, and carries 0 credit hours. This is a graduation requirement for transfer students.

Transfer students with fewer than 30 hours

All requirements of the general education curriculum.

Transfer students with more than 30 hours

Students who have completed the Illinois Articulation Initiative General Education Core Curriculum (IAI/GECC) requirements (37-41 hours) must take the following additional mission based courses at SXU in order to fulfill their general education requirements:

Students who enter the University with all but 6 hours of the IAI/GECC can complete the general education core curriculum here and then must take at SXU the same three mission-based courses noted above.

All other students will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Notes and Explanations Regarding General Education

Honors Program students and students in Continuing and Professional Studies should see the catalog pages for these programs for variations in general education requirements.

  1. Up to six hours of Level II requirements can be met by the First Year Seminar and the Interdisciplinary Seminar.
  2. The total general education hours include the 6 hours of degree specific requirements discussed above.
  3. The Level I First Year Seminar and the Level III Interdisciplinary Seminar may also fulfill Level II distribution requirements in the discipline that offers the course (e.g., a First Year Seminar or an Interdisciplinary Seminar offered by the Department of Religious Studies would each fulfill the Level II distribution requirement for Religious Studies). 
  4. The overall number of general education hours ranges from 52 credit hours (when both the First Year Seminar and the Interdisciplinary Seminar fulfill a Level II distribution requirement) to 58 credit hours (when neither the Interdisciplinary Seminar nor the First Year Seminar meet a Level II distribution requirement).
  5. All four-year students take a placement exam in mathematics before entering the University and on this basis they will take the most challenging mathematics course for which they are prepared for the Level I mathematics requirement.
  6. General education courses may also count towards a major or minor program. (Students need to check the major and minor requirements of specific programs.)
  7. The requirements in diversity studies (6 credit hours) and global studies (6 credit hours) are not additional courses beyond those required in Levels I through III. Rather some general education courses, as well as major courses and elective courses, are designated diversity or global studies courses. Students need to make sure that two of their courses at the University are diversity studies courses and that two of their courses are global studies courses. 
    1. A diversity or global studies course may fulfill both a Level II distribution requirement and a requirement in a major.
  8. Quite generally, students need to be aware that a given course may fulfill more than one requirement. For example:
    1. A particular First Year Seminar may fulfill a Level II distribution requirement and also fulfill a diversity or global studies requirement (a First Year Seminar in Mexican history might also fulfill a Level II history requirement and a global studies requirement).
    2. An Interdisciplinary Seminar course may fulfill a Level II distribution requirement and also count towards a major (an Interdisciplinary Seminar in philosophy and drama might also fulfill a Level II distribution requirement in philosophy and count towards the philosophy major as well).
  9. The Interdisciplinary Seminar serves as a capstone requirement in the general education program and has the following prerequisites: ENGL 102/120 and PHIL 140/150.  It is highly recommended that students complete 45 credit hours before taking their interdisciplinary seminar.
  10. The Community Based Learning requirement may be fulfilled by taking a CBL designated general education course in Level II or a CBL course in the major.  Additionally, students may take a specially designed CBL course (such as CBL 201, which works in conjunction with a spring or summer break service trip) or an approved CBL internship course. CBL courses involve off-campus activities.  It is recommended that students complete at least 30 hours before enrolling in a CBL course.  Courses approved for Community Based Learning can be found by checking "course types" in CLAWS.     

Previous General Education Curriculum (57 credit hours)

If you need to consult the General Education Program that was in use prior to the Fall of 2010, please consult earlier editions of University Catalog (on or before 2009-2010). Students entering Saint Xavier University before fall 2010 must meet the requirements of the previous general education curriculum:


English 101: Critical Thinking and Writing
English 102: Research and Writing


Communication 101: Speech Fundamentals


Philosophy 150: The Examined Life
One additional Philosophy Department course beyond Philosophy 150.

Religious Studies

Two courses from the Religious Studies Department.

Literature/Fine Arts

Two literature and/or fine arts courses selected from the designated listings in art, music, humanities, English, foreign language and speech.


Two courses from the History Department.

Social Science

Three courses from the areas of anthropology, sociology, psychology, political science, economics and social science. No more than 6 credit hours may be selected from any one discipline.


One mathematics course from the Mathematics Department.

Natural Science  

Two courses from the listings in biology, chemistry, physical science (includes astronomy, geology, meteorology) or physics.

To fulfill B.A. degree requirements:

Foreign language /foreign culture

The B.A. requires 6 additional credit hours of foreign language/culture. Any natural foreign language course qualifies. Foreign culture includes any course focusing on the literature and/or civilization of a specific society outside the Anglo-American tradition.*

To fulfill B.S. degree requirements:

The B.S. degree requires 6 additional credit hours of mathematics-science courses required by the major or professional program.

To fulfill B.B.A. requirements:

The B.B.A. requires 6 additional credit hours of math/science or 6 additional credit hours of foreign language/culture or 3 credit hours of math/science and 3 credit hours of foreign language/culture.

*Foreign culture courses are offered by a variety of disciplines. These can be found as course types on Self-Service. See the inset above. Education/teacher certification students should note that courses satisfying the SXU foreign culture requirement do not necessarily fulfill the state requirement for a multicultural course. An appropriate academic advisor should be consulted.

Notes and Explanations Regarding the Previous General Education Curriculum

  1. A major, minor or supportive course may fulfill a general education requirement where appropriate, thereby allowing such courses to fulfill both a requirement in general education and a requirement in the major.
  2. A single course, which may correspond with two general education requirements, may not fulfill two general education requirements simultaneously (e.g., a course in Latin American literature could not fulfill both a general education requirement in literature/fine arts and a general education requirement in foreign language/foreign culture). In such a case, a student must designate which requirement the course is to fulfill.
  3. In selecting among options for fulfill general education requirements, the student must satisfy all designated prerequisites.