Skip navigation

Ethical Citizenship for the 21st Century

  • More Information 
    Visit the  academic catalog
    and scroll to General Education
    located under Academic Affairs 
    contact the Office of General Education
    at 814-472-3149. 

    Our General Education Philosophy

    Through our General Education program, Ethical Citizenship for the 21st Century, you’ll build for yourself a solid academic base, establish critical thinking skills, a love for learning, and a strong moral foundation—essential tools for your success in today’s world. The program extends beyond the classroom to include lectures, presentations, performances, service projects and other educational activities. The result is an educational experience that is diverse and practical, and at the same time integrated and focused.

  • Core Curriculum

    Inner Core

     *Students who entered the University in 2012 or 2013 must complete Core 121-124.

    • CORE 103 - Community Enrichment Series
    • CORE 104 - Community Enrichment Series
    • CORE 113 - First-year Seminar
    • CORE 211 - Personal Wellness*
    • CORE 212 - Community and Global Wellness*
    • EXAM 301 - Writing Competency Exam (Completing ENGL 199 with a grade of C or better can also satisfy this requirement.)
    • ENGL 103 - Writing for a Discipline
    • ENGL 104 - Introduction to Literature
    • RLST 105 - Franciscan Goals for Today
    • Any history course at the 100- or 200- level (HIST)
    • SCI 101 - Science for Active Citizenship , or any natural science course that has an associated lab, if the lab is also completed.
    • MATH 101 - General Mathematics or any Math course higher than Math 101
    • PHIL 205 - Discovering Philosophy Reasoning and Responsibility
    • Three credits of Fine Arts electives (FNAR, ART, MUS, THTR)
    • Any language course at the 102- level or above (ASL, FREN, GERM, ITAL, LANG, LATN, SPAN)

    Two 3-credit courses (6 credits) from the following. (Selections must be from two different disciplines: ECON, PSYC, PLSC, or SOC.)

    • ECON 101 - Principles of Economics I
    • PSYC 101 - Introduction to Psychology
    • PLSC 102 - American National Government or
    • PLSC 103 - World Politics
    • Or any sociology course at the 100- or 200- level as follows:
    • SOC 101 - General Sociology
    • SOC 102 - American Society and its Problems
    • SOC 103 - Sociology through Film
    • SOC 104 - Sin and Society
    • SOC 202 - Introduction to Women in Society
    • SOC 208 - Globalization and Development
    • SOC 210 - Sociology of Sport
    • SOC 295-299 - Special Topics

    Outer Core: General Education Thematic Minor or Open Program

    Fifteen credits (five 3-credit courses) in a General Education Thematic Minor OR the Open Program, distributed in five categories, as follows:

    • Category 1: Ethics
    • Category 2: Science and Quantitative Literacy
    • Category 3: Diversity and Communications
    • Category 4: Social Systems
    • Category 5: CORE 407 - Senior Keystone Seminar
    • Specific General Education Thematic Minors require specific courses in each of these categories; up-to-date lists of courses for each GETM are available from the General Education Office.

    Total Ethical Citizenship credits: 51

    Additional Central Components
    • Community Enrichment Series - A wide-range of cultural events are also integrated into the GED curriculum as CES credits.  By attending a lecture, concert, theatrical performance, or other select events on campus, students can receive community enrichment credits towards completion of their degree.  
    • Writing Competency Examination - The writing exam is designed to “assess ability to write a clear, developed, and organized essay”. Passage of the exam is a requirement for graduation, and most students take the WCE in their Junior year.
    • Wellness Initiatives - Students explore the 7 dimensions of health and wellness (physical, social, emotional, environmental, spiritual, intellectual, occupational) while completing a online portfolio of wellness artifacts in the first two years of their education.
    • Summer Reading Program - One of the first activities incoming classes participate in each year is the Summer Reading Program. For the program, we select a meaningful, thought-provoking (and interesting!) book for the campus community. The book is then incorporated into a year-long slate of activities in the classroom and beyond. This year's book: The Immortal Live of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
    • Study Abroad and Service Learning - The General Education program also helps to enhance our study abroad and service learning initiatives through exploration of foreign languages and Franciscan values.
    Program Goals


    Develop an understanding of the goals of Franciscan higher education and examine one’s own values in light of those goals.

    • Understand the complexities underlying moral and ethical questions and the consequences of choices we make as individuals and as members of communities.
    • Develop an understanding of the importance of human and cultural diversity.
    • Develop a commitment to life-long learning and to sharing our skills and abilities through community service.


    Demonstrate skills in communication, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, information literacy, and responsible citizenship.

    • Develop the skills necessary for effective communication in a variety of formal and informal contexts.
    • Demonstrate proficiency in mathematical reasoning and quantitative literacy.
    • Develop critical reasoning skills and abilities.
    • Effectively conduct research using discipline-appropriate materials and methods.
    • Develop the collaborative and leadership skills necessary for exercising the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in a participatory democracy.


    Develop a broad conceptual foundation in various fields of knowledge and make interdisciplinary connections.

    • Demonstrate knowledge in the traditional liberal arts and sciences, with attention to primary source materials, multicultural issues, and interdisciplinary topics.
    • Develop historical perspective across and within disciplines, finding the connections among different ideas, courses, and majors.
    • Develop a conceptual foundation in economic, political, and social systems.
    • Cultivate an understanding of processes and concepts used in science and technology.
    • Develop an appreciation of the visual arts, music, theatre, and literature through creative expression, performance, and analysis of artistic works.
    • Develop an understanding of key elements of personal health and wellness, major health care issues the well-being of communities.
    Thematic Minors

    One of the unique things about the General Education curriculum at Saint Francis is that you can choose to target your general education requirements to earn a General Education Thematic Minor. Through a fifteen-credit sequence of courses that focus on a common theme related to the Franciscan Mission of Saint Francis University, students may declare that GETM minor and have it listed as such on their transcripts.

    Topics include:

    • Active Citizenship
    • Global Community
    • Science, Technology, and Society
    • Social Justice and Peacemaking
    • Sustainability and the Environment
    • Utopian and Dystopian Visions
    • Women, Family, and the Community