General Education

Photo of five students sitting in a row in class

About the General Education Program

Welcome to Gen Ed at NJCU!


Check out the General Education course listings pages of the NJCU course catalog by clicking the links below.

The Third-Annual Gen Ed Symposium will take place April 22-23, 2020! 

The Symposium celebrates critical and creative work done by students in General Education courses. 

Download the 2019 Gen Ed Symposium Program here and consider submitting your work for the next Symposium!

For more information, please email


The General Education program provides students with invaluable learning experiences across a wide range of academic fields. While major and minor programs focus on specific disciplines, the Gen Ed program ensures that all students, regardless of major, explore a range of scholarly approaches. While its scope is broad, Gen Ed prioritizes in-depth, active learning and emphasizes essential skills building for success in college and beyond.


Students complete the Gen Ed program by moving through the Tiers in order—first Tier I, then Tier II, and finally Tier III—though some overlap may be necessary in some semesters.

  • Tier I consists of a required English Composition and Math course plus four seminar courses in the Modes of Inquiry.
  • Tier II consists of English Composition and six seminar courses in the Modes of Inquiry.
  • All Gen Ed students take at least two seminars (at least 6 credits) in each of the four Modes of Inquiry for a total of ten seminar courses (at least 30 credits) across Tiers I and II.
  • All students take one Tier III capstone course (3 credits) in the final semester of Gen Ed.
  • Intermodal courses count toward the distribution requirements in two Modes of Inquiry; they provide greater flexibility in selecting future seminars but count only once toward the ten seminar courses (at least 30 credits) required across Tiers I and II.
  • The seminars that count toward the distribution requirements in the Modes of Inquiry are listed in the Undergraduate Catalog.

If you have questions about the Gen Ed requirements, please see your academic advisor. For more information, email


In addition to discipline-specific skills defined for each Gen Ed course, at least two University-wide Student Learning Outcomes are covered and assessed in every Gen Ed course. Students strive to achieve the University-wide Student Learning Outcomes in each Gen Ed course across the three Tiers of Gen Ed. The specific dimensions or performance criteria for each outcome appear on the program rubrics. The rubrics are adapted from AAC&U VALUE rubrics and used by faculty to score students' end-of-semester signature assignments for program assessment. 

Download the rubrics here:


Creative Process and Production

Courses in this category focus on creative expression and provide students with opportunities to develop their own forms of creative expression and to interpret and appraise those of others. Students are expected to learn to communicate ideas and information through art, design, performance, media, or creative writing; to develop particular artistic or creative skills or examine the historical development and social functions of the creative arts.

Language, Literary, and Cultural Studies

Courses in this category explore ideas, systems of thought, or culture(s) through language, literature, and other texts (including historical, political, and cultural narratives). Students will begin to interpret and analyze a range of texts and to recognize and question the various contexts in which particular narratives are produced and received. They are expected to compare different cultural and literary histories and traditions; use texts to analyze contemporary questions and issues; and evaluate diverse identities, experiences, and perspectives in relation to their own.

Scientific and Quantitative Inquiries

Courses in this category provide opportunities to examine the natural and physical world through disciplined systematic inquiry. Students will learn how science investigates the world, asking certain types of questions, generating empirical evidence, then applying logical rigor in answering those questions. Students may also interpret and apply quantitative data and inferences to the world beyond the classroom.

Social and Historical Perspectives

Courses in this category addresses the historical, economic, political, psychological, and social factors that shape and influence people’s thoughts and behavior. During their course of study in this area, students may examine the historical roots and contemporary workings of social institutions and structures; the interconnections among and within diverse nations, cultures, and populations; and the artifacts associated with them.


The General Education Learning Communities (GELCs) are course pairs and clusters taken together by a cohort of students. Professors work together to integrate courses, align teaching strategies, and build joint assignments and assessments. This encourages students to make connections among linked courses and learn from relationships among course content and modes of inquiry. It also provides a great opportunity for students to build relationships with peers taking two or three courses together in the same semester. 

  • In the Gen Ed Learning Communities, students take two or more linked courses together, learning about fascinating topics from diverse disciplinary perspectives.
  • Students gain knowledge through study and experience; they discover and pursue their chosen areas of interest in courses that explore distinct approaches to intellectual inquiry.
  • Academic study becomes an integrative exploration of oneself and the world.

Please see your academic advisor to enroll in a General Education Learning Community!

Please email with questions about any aspect of the General Education program.