General Education Requirements

General Education Requirements

General Education Curriculum

The USJ General Education Curriculum consists of a wide range of courses specifically designed by faculty to sharpen your skills in critical thinking, communication, teamwork, and investigation.

For students arriving to USJ directly from high school, the following are ordinarily required:


Rooted in the institution’s Mercy values and enriched by the Catholic intellectual tradition, these courses help students understand diverse belief systems, as well as the importance of serving others, both professionally and in civic life.

First-Year Seminar (FYS)  

Immerse yourself in the USJ culture – both in and out of the classroom – while gaining an awareness of the distinct learning strategies you will utilize throughout your four years at USJ.
- One course

Philosophy (PH)  

Dive into the world’s great philosophical discussions and learn to articulate and support your own philosophical perspective.
– One course

Religious Studies (RE)  

Explore religious traditions and beliefs, while focusing on how faith intersects with issues of women, race and ethnicity, social justice, and religious pluralism.
– Two courses


Through courses within your major and professional program, gain the skills integral to success not only in your career, but also in your life.

Quantitative Reasoning (QR)  

Engage with mathematical material, cultivating the ability to interpret models, solve problems, and communicate information.
– One course

Information Technology (IT)  

Become fluent in the computer programs that span nearly every career.
– One course or pass a competency test

Another Language (LG)  

Understand the interconnected nature of language and culture while developing basic oral and written skills in another language.
– One course or pass a competency test

Writing-Intensive Courses (WI) 

Master the conventions of writing in order to evaluate sources, revise effectively, and devise, support, and defend arguable theses.
– Three courses
– Typically taken as English composition and within major

Kinesthetic Learning (KN)  

Foster an awareness of your abilities in body movement while using your knowledge and skills to improve your personal well-being.
– One course or participation in selected USJ Athletic Teams or Armed Forces activities

Intellectual Perspectives:

Through courses within your major and professional program, become an empowered citizen by understanding the world and the place of women, science, art, and politics in history and in current times.

Women, Culture, & Society (WS)  

Explore women’s contributions in order to analyze the construction and impact of gender roles, and to evaluate power relations among diverse groups of people.
– One course

Values and Ethics (VE)  

Understand and analyze moral perspectives and their real-life applications in an effort to inform, develop, and support your own moral position.
– One course

Global Issues (GI)  

Gain a multidimensional understanding of global issues by exploring multiple perspectives – from economic and historical to sociocultural and gender.
– One course

Human Expression (HE)  

Immerse yourself in literary and artistic expression to cultivate knowledge of and appreciation for creative works across cultures and time periods.
– One course

Scientific Inquiry (SI) 

Acquire a broad understanding of scientific literacy that includes the relationship between science and personal or societal issues.
– One course in a natural science with a lab

American Experience (AE)  

While learning about the components of the American experience, become familiar with the fundamental issues shaping American identity and society.
– One course

(Credits range from 41-48)

At USJ, we want you to attain the benefits of both broad liberal learning and professional training. Therefore, as you complete your degree, you will ensure that your course choices for the General Education Curriculum include 12 Liberal Arts & Science courses, with at least 6 at or above the 200-level. With numerous choices, your advisor will help you plan the perfect path for you.

For transfer students:

  • The courses you transfer prior to official matriculation determine which general education requirements you need to fulfill
  • If you transfer in with 24 or more credits, you are waived from:
    • First-Year Seminar
    • One Religious Studies course
    • Either the Philosophy course or the Values/Ethics perspective
    • Learn more about the transfer credit policies.

For the Program for Adult Learners:

  • In addition to the above waivers, students in the PAL Program are waived from the FYS and KN requirements

For more information and updated details, visit the current USJ Course Catalog.