All students must satisfactorily complete the General Education Program. No course used to satisfy one General Education Program element may be used to satisfy another except for the Encountering Perspectives on Diversity element. Note: Listed below are further specifications related to particular elements of the General Education Program (GenEd).
- Embracing the Life of the Mind: First-Year Experience Program (FW, F) (4):
- The Writing Seminar or the Inquiry Seminar must be taken in the student’s first semester.
- Both seminars must be completed during the student’s first year at PLU.
- Students must take a four-hour PLU January Term course.
- The Writing Seminar, the Inquiry Seminar, and a PLU January Term course must be completed by all students entering PLU as first-year students with fewer than 30 semester hours.
- (Transfer students do not participate in the First-Year Experience Program regardless of their class standing at matriculation).
- Engaging Arts and Performance (8):
- Arts, Music, Theatre (AR) – four semester hours from Arts, Music or Theatre are required.
- Physical Education (PE) – four different physical education activity courses, of which one must be PHED 100. One hour of credit may be earned through approved sports participation (PHED 250).
- Interpreting Living Traditions for a Humane Future (16):
- Literature (LT) – four semester hours from English or Languages & Literatures courses designated as meeting the element.
- Philosophy (PH) – logic and critical thinking courses do not fulfill this element.
- Religion (RC, RG) – students take one course in Christian Traditions and one course in Global Religious Traditions.
- Transfer Students and Religion GenEd Element – transfer students entering as juniors or seniors must take four semester hours from Christian Traditions (RC) unless presenting eight transfer semester hours of religion from another regionally-accredited college or university. Global Religious Traditions (RG) courses will not fulfill the General Education Program element in religion if transferring into PLU with a junior or senior standing.
- Exploring Nature and Number (12):
- Mathematical Reasoning (MR) – element may be satisfied by the completion (with at least a B average) of the equivalent of four years of college preparatory mathematics (through mathematical analysis, precalculus, or calculus or equivalent) in high school.
- Natural Sciences (NS) – may or may not have a lab section.
- Scientific Method (SM) – requires a separate lab.
- At least one course taken to fulfill the NS or SM element must be a physical or biological science.
- Investigating Human Behavior, Culture, and Institutions (8):
- Two courses must be chosen from different disciplines.
- Encountering Perspectives on Diversity (8):
- Students must complete four semester hours from Alternative Perspectives and four semester hours from Cross-Cultural Perspectives.
- Alternative Perspectives (A) – course may concurrently fulfill another General Education Program element or major/minor requirement.
- Cross-Cultural (C) – course may concurrently fulfill another General Education Program element or major/ minor requirement.
- The Cross-Cultural Perspectives element may be fulfilled by a foreign language course numbered 201 or above (not sign language) used to satisfy the entrance requirement, or completion through the first year of college level of a foreign language (not sign language) other than that used to satisfy the foreign language entrance requirement.
- The Cross-Cultural Perspectives element may be fulfilled by participation in an approved semester-long study away program. Only January term study away courses that carry the C designator fulfill the Cross- Cultural Perspective.
- Transfer Students entering as juniors or seniors must take one Encountering Perspectives on Diversity course (four semester hours) at PLU that can also simultaneously fulfill another GenEd element or major/minor requirement.
- Producing and Presenting Culminating Scholarship: Senior Seminar/Project (SR):
- With approval of the student’s major department, interdisciplinary capstone course such as the Global Studies Research Seminar may fulfill this element.
The International Honors Program (IHON) provides a select group of entering first-year students a challenging and creative alternative to the General Education Program, which reflects PLU’s unique mission and emphasis upon the liberal arts. Consequently, IHON accounts for 32 of the 48 semester hours that are required by the General Education Program. Although just seven courses (28 hours), the program fulfills 32 semester hours due to the interdisciplinary nature of the program. Accordingly, students who have satisfactorily completed the Honors Program receive credit for the following: Art, Music, Theatre (4); Literature (4); Philosophy (4); Religion (8); Natural Sciences, Computer Science, or Mathematics (4); and Social Sciences (8).
International Honors students must complete the remaining 16 semester hours of the General Education Program prior to graduation from the university: First-Year Experience Program: Writing Seminar (4); Physical Activity (4); Mathematical Reasoning (4); Science and Scientific Method (4); and Encountering Perspectives on Diversity (Alternative Perspectives and Cross-Cultural Perspectives). Students must complete four hours from each of the Perspectives on Diversity lines and both may concurrently fulfill another GenEd/IHON or major/minor requirement; Senior Seminar/ Project (these hours count in the major). For a full description of IHON and for details about applying to the program, go to the International Honors Program section of this catalog.
Total Required Hours and Cumulative GPA
A minimum of 128 semester hours must be completed with a grade point average of 2.00 GPA. A 2.50 is required in the Schools of Business and Education and Movement Studies, plus the Departments of Economics, History, Languages and Literatures (Hispanic Studies) and Sociology and Social Work.
Upper-Division Courses: 40-hour rule
A minimum of 40 semester hours must be completed from courses numbered 300 or above. Courses from two-year institutions are not considered upper-division regardless of subject matter parallels (and regardless of major/minor exceptions). At least 20 of the 40 semester hours of upper division work must be taken at PLU.
Final Year in Residence: 32-hour rule
Out of the final 40 semester hours of a student’s program, at least 32 semester hours must be completed in residence at PLU. That is, no more than 8 transfer credits may be applied during a student’s final 40 hours in a degree program. (Special programs such as 3-2 Engineering and Study Away during a semester or January term are excluded from this limitation.)
Academic Major: 8-hour rule
A major must be completed as detailed by each school or department. At least eight semester hours must be taken in residence. Departments, divisions, or schools may set higher residency requirements.
Minimum Grades: Courses in the Major and Minor
All courses counted toward a major or minor must be completed with grades of C- or higher and with a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or higher in those courses. Departments, divisions, or schools may set higher grade requirements.
After matriculation, no more than 44 semester hours earned in one department may be applied to the B.A. or B.S. degrees.
Music Ensembles: 8-hour rule
Non-music majors may not count more than eight semester hours in music ensembles toward graduation requirements.
Correspondence/Extension Courses: Limitations
A maximum of 24 semester hours in accredited correspondence or extension studies may be credited toward degree requirements, contingent on approval by the Registrar’s Office. Courses offered through correspondence, on-line, distance learning, or independent study are not accepted to fulfill the General Education Program elements in Language, Literature, Philosophy or Religion.
Community College Courses: 64-hour rule
A maximum of 64 semester hours will be accepted by transfer from a regionally-accredited community college. All community college courses are transferred as lower-division credit.
Physical Education Courses: 8-hour rule
Four different one-semester hour courses (PHED 100–259), which must include PHED 100, are required for graduation. No more than eight of the one-semester hour PE activity courses may be counted toward graduation. Students are encouraged to select a variety of activities at appropriate skill levels. All physical education activity courses are graded on the basis of A, Pass, or Fail and are taught on a coeducational basis.
In addition to meeting the entrance requirement in foreign language (two years of high school language, one year of college language, or demonstrated equivalent proficiency), candidates for degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences (B.A., B.S., B.A.P.E. [excluding B.A.P.E. with certification], and B.S.P.E. degrees) must meet Option I, II, or III below.
Candidates for the B.A. in English, for the B.A. in Education with a secondary teaching major in English, for the B.A. in Global Studies, and for election to the Areteé Society must meet Option I.
Candidates for a B.A. in History, Music, or Religion must meet Option I or II of the College of Arts and Sciences foreign language requirement. Music majors take a non-music arts elective in either visual art, theatre or dance.
Completion of one foreign language through the second year of college level. This option may also be met by completion of four years of high school study in one foreign language with grades of C or higher, or by satisfactory scores on a proficiency examination administered by the PLU Department of Languages and Literatures.
Completion of one foreign language other than that used to satisfy the foreign language entrance requirement through the first year of college level. This option may also be met by satisfactory scores on a proficiency examination administered by the PLU Department of Languages and Literatures.
Completion of four semester hours in history, literature, or language (at the 201 level, or at any level in a language other than that used to satisfy the foreign language entrance requirement) in addition to courses applied to the general education elements, and four semester hours in symbolic logic, mathematics (courses numbered 100 or above), computer science, or statistics in addition to courses applied to the general education elements. Courses used to satisfy either category of Option III of the College of Arts and Sciences requirement may not also be used to satisfy general education program requirements.
A foreign language course numbered 201 or above used to satisfy Option I, or completion of a foreign language through the first year of college level used to satisfy Option II (excluding American Sign Language), may be used simultaneously to satisfy the Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Diversity requirement.
A course in American Sign Language may be used to satisfy the Alternative Perspectives GenEd Program Element.
Consult particular departmental sections of the catalog for detailed specification of courses that count for these requirements.
For those elements of the general education program that refer to academic disciplines or units, selected courses outside those units may count for the requirement when approved both by the units and by the committee overseeing the general education program.