» Chapman General Education Program: How It Works

General Education Program Requirements

The Chapman General Education (GE) program consists of four focus areas/major categories that must be completed. The links provided below will take you to a page for further information on each of these focus areas and provide you with a list of courses that will satisfy the GE requirement(s) in that area.

1. First-Year Focus (3 credits) - The First-year Focus Course (FFC) is designed to strengthen your critical thinking skills in dynamic learning seminars with outstanding faculty. While all sections vary in topic, they share the same learning goal: students critically analyze and communicate complex issues and ideas.

2. Liberal Arts and Sciences Focus (18-19 credits) - Inquiry courses allow for study in the following areas:


Courses from a variety of disciplinary areas and at all academic levels are available to address each of these inquiry areas.

3. Global Focus (12-18 credits) - Global Focus courses explore the diversity inherent in our social and natural environments, citizenship and service, and require you to attain a basic intermediate fluency in a language other than English. Courses are required in the following areas:


4. Exploration Focus (12 credits minimum) - You will have the opportunity to explore a secondary area of interest by completing a minor, 2nd major, the University Honors program or by choosing a sequence of courses with a thematic focus, known as the Themed Inquiry.

A certain number of GE courses may be shared with a student’s major and minor. An individual course may only be used to complete one GE category. For more on credit sharing between major, minor and GE, see the Sharing Courses below. 

GE courses may also be completed by testing or transfer credit. Consult the websites provided by the Office of the University Registrar regarding APIBCLEP, and transfer equivalencies. The Center for Global Education Office Global Gateway provides information on courses offered through Chapman’s study abroad program approved to satisfy GE categories through their partner programs. See also GE and Study Abroad.

Sharing Courses

GE courses may be shared in the following ways:

  • Up to 9 credits in your major or major discipline* may be shared with the GE Program.
  • Up to 6 credits in a minor or minor discipline* may be shared with the GE Program.
  • Additional majors and minors are held to the same sharing restrictions as those listed above.
  • No course that fulfills a GE category may be used to complete another GE category.
  • No courses in a Themed Inquiry may be shared with GE or with courses in the discipline* of the major.

It is important to review your major and minor program plans and advising sheets to see which classes in your major or minor program may already fulfill GE categories. Many major advising sheets provided by your major department or division will identify those courses that fulfill GE requirements.  Otherwise you should ask your faculty advisor in that program or your academic advisor in the Academic Advising Center.

*The discipline of the major usually consists of all courses that are coded in the same way. For instance, HIST refers to history courses, which comprise the History discipline, so no HIST courses could be used to complete a Themed Inquiry for a History major. In some cases, as for interdisciplinary majors, or in business, it can be more complicated. For further guidance, contact the Office of the University Registrar.

General Education Guidance and Assistance

Academic Advisors in the Academic Advising Center serve as your support network for all of your GE questions. They can assist you with planning your first year GE courses and courses taken later in your program. They can direct you to suggested GE program options that meet your interests, help you with identifying shared GE courses in your major, and assist you in incorporating GE courses in your four-year plan.

Faculty advisors and mentors can also help you in selecting the best GE options to meet your academic goals that may tie to your major.

A list of Frequently Asked Questions is provided.

When the answers cannot be found from the resources above, submit your question to advising@chapman.edu, which provides you with access to an Academic Advisor who may be able to answer your question, or direct you to the person or office best able to address the issue you raise.

In order to track your GE Program completion, check the General Education Requirements section of your program evaluation regularly. Because GE courses are automatically assigned to GE categories in the Office of the University Registrar, you may wish to change which courses are assigned to certain categories. To do so, you can use the following form.