General Education Requirements, Part 2 of 2

Your general education requirement will likely look like classes from the following subjects/topics:


You will take 2 semester classes of English. Usually, this would be one composition class combined with one literature class. You can typically choose your course and your professor, but youíll want to take these early as they could be prerequisites for some of your upper division classes. Even if you arenít an English major, itís a good idea to complete your GE English classes early. Learning how to write to college standards is a big change for some high school students. Itís not harder, so much as certain details and protocols that need to be adhered to.


2-3 Natural Science Classes. These could be from Astronomy, Chemistry, Geography, Geology, or Physics)

-1 Life Science (Anthropology, Biology, Ecology, Marine Science, or Psychology)

-1 Lab Activity (concurrent with either natural science or life science)


For 1 Class; but, at a certain level, typically college algebra, statistics, or business calculus, depending on your track). This is tricky as some college students enter not quite prepared for college math classes. For some, you might need to take some remedial math classes before taking the class level you need to complete your GE. If you’re more in humanities or social sciences, you’d likely need to complete a statistics course. If you’re into STEM, you will likely have to complete through calculus 1 or calculus 2. Again, this will depend on your school and you major.

Arts and Humanities

1 art class (visual art; dance; humanities; music; theater arts)

1 Humanities: History; philosophy

1 foreign language (through one year or two years)

Social Sciences

Mix of classes from Anthropology, communication; criminal justice; economics; geography; history; political science; psychology; sociology


-one class of counseling; nutrition; health; kinesiology; psychology; sociology


Yes, you will likely have to be physically active for at least one semester in college. For your own sake, I hope you are physically active your entire life. It’s a good habit.

More Details

Letís look at CCC:

Coastline Community College Degree Options

Even if youíve completed all the GE requirements for your Community College degree (AA), you might need to take further classes for your 4-year degree. Fortunately, there are tracks for CA Community College students who want to transfer to the CSU or UC system. For the CSU system, you will check with your counselor for CSU track classes. This is so that you can take classes that will satisfy your AA GE requirements as well as your CSU GE (or breadth of education) requirements. Youíll want to pay attention to these details as some classes offered at CA Community Colleges might not count towards CSU GE or might not transfer as units.

The same goes for the UC track. If youíre planning on transferring to a UC campus upon earning your AA, make sure youíre taking classes that satisfy UC requirements for GE and will transfer.

Now, if youíre planning to transfer to a private or out-of-state school, check details in advance. For example, I had a study-buddy who had earned 80+ units while enrolled concurrently at Coastline Community College and Orange Coast College. As he was transferring to USC at the time, they told him he could only earn a maximum of 60 units. Additionally, many of his classes wouldnít transfer anyway. The good news is that he was aware of this. Heíd just taken a lot of classes out of curiosity and wanted to see what was out there before deciding on a computer science major at USC.

Final notes:

The biggest mistakes I have seen students make:

1-not having a plan. Have a plan A and a plan B. For some, plan A might be to transfer to a UC or Cal-State. Also, set a realistic deadline. There are a lot of bottlenecks in terms of scheduling the classes you need and getting the professors you want. Iíll address both of these issues later on.

But, having a plan helps keep you focused. You can still take classes you want. Knowing your end result will help you overcome the bummers you experience along the way. You wonít be so discouraged when things donít happen your way.

Also, not having a plan, you will waste precious time taking classes.

2-not taking math early enough. If I had a dollar every time a community college student called me crying about how theyíd spent years taking all their classes, but avoiding math, I’d have a lot of dollars.†

Think of math like a particular fitness. If you’re out of shape, running will suck. Math is like being in shape. You don’t want to stop. If you have a 5k you’ve signed up for, please keep running. Don’t sign up for a 5k if you’ve been sedentary for years. Same for your math class. Even if you dislike math, keep after it. That way, you can get it done early. Then you can relax.

Good luck with completing your general education requirements. Hope this helped you understand what you will need to do when you’re in college!



By Martin

Martin McSweeney is a National Merit Finalist, Pomona College Graduate, and member of MENSA. He has worked at the Center for Talented Youth (Loyola Marymount University campus); Upward Bound (Harvey Mudd campus); various test prep companies; and Whittier High School. Now, Martin helps students of all abilities improve their relationship with math.