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General Education Program

» General Education Program

What is General Education?


General education (GE), sometimes known as core curriculum at other schools, is a required selection of courses in areas of study designed to provide a broad educational background and emphasize the core values of a university in providing an undergraduate education.

Chapman’s General Education program reflects the University’s mission to provide you with a personalized education of distinction that leads to an inquiring, ethical, and productive life as global citizens.  It is designed to allow you to explore and expand your horizons, open creative possibilities and encourage flexibility, and develop an understanding of the interconnectedness of learning and knowledge that will set you apart as a dynamic and visionary citizen of the world.

Through the General Education program, you should be able to

  • understand the importance and develop the means of critical inquiry in academic and civic matters
  • develop a breadth of knowledge in the liberal arts
  • develop depth of knowledge in areas unique to Chapman
  • integrate knowledge within and across disciplines
  • cultivate ethical awareness in learning and practice
  • engage in experiential learning as a thoughtful, principled citizen in a local and global sense
  • become an independent thinker able to sustain a lifelong desire for intellectual growth 


You can shape and personalize your GE programs to provide the most benefit for your individual educational journey at Chapman. GE courses (except First-year Foundations) can be taken throughout your time at Chapman, allowing for program flexibility and integrated learning.

The Chapman program requires coursework in four areas:

1. First-year Focus — The First-year Focus is designed to enhance your critical thinking skills and engage in interdisciplinary subject areas.
2. Liberal Arts and Sciences Focus (Shared Inquiry)* — courses in Artistic, Natural Sciences, Quantitative, Social, Values and Ethics, and Written Inquiry areas
3. Global Focus (Global Citizen Cluster)* — courses in Global Studies, Citizenship/Community/Service and Language
4. Exploration Focus (Inter/Multidisciplinary Cluster)* — fulfilled by a Themed Inquiry (Inter/Multidisciplinary Cluster)*, a minor, a second major or the University Honors Program


Some areas of General Education courses may be shared with a major or minor.  Some may be fulfilled through testing (AP, IB, CLEP) or dual enrollment courses.

The overall General Education Program requires a varying number of credits for each individual. We usually say that the GE program is approximately 45 credits (although that can be less, as you may share courses with your major). It may require more depending on the choice of your secondary area of study and the level of language study at which you begin. 

For details on how the Chapman GE Program works, see links below:


(*Note: we are changing the names of some of our GE categories. The first name listed is the new name that is beginning to be used this year, and the term in parentheses is the term we used before. You will see this throughout the GE pages.)