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General Education

For Departments and Faculty: Working Descriptions of Upper-Division Pathways and GE Minors

Note: the following descriptions of new/revised Upper-Division GE Minors are intended to assist faculty and departments interested in proposing existing GE courses for new/revised GE Minors.  These are not official definitions of new/revised Upper-Division GE Minors, which will appear later in the process and derive from the courses included in each minor.

Also: "During [the implementation] process, no courses that currently have GE status...will forfeit their status." (EM 19-021)

Upper-Division Pathways

All Upper-Division GE Courses must be in a Pathway.  CAB has determined that all existing Upper-Division GE courses can fit within one of the ten proposed Pathways (below) but has asked for Departments to indicate the most appropriate Pathway for each GE Course(s).  For an existing Upper-Division GE course to be in a Pathway, the theme of the Pathway should be included in the course - ideally in the title and/or description - but the Pathway theme does not need to be central to the course.  

GE Minors

All Upper-Divison GE Courses must be in a Pathway, but not all Upper-Division GE Courses will be included in a GE Minor (of the same name as the Upper-Division Pathway).  CAB will recommend to EPPC GE Minors populated with courses where the course title, description, rationale, and syllabus make it clear that the theme of the GE Minor is central, rather than peripheral or tangential, to the course (as indicated in forms submitted by Department Chairs).  In other words, it should be readily apparent why the course is indispensable for students pursuing the GE Minor.  Departments applying for GE Minor status for existing GE courses can propose new titles/descriptions to more clearly align with the proposed GE Minor. 

Interdisciplinary GE Minors will include a minimum of one course from each Upper-Division GE Area (Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning; Arts and Humanities; and Social Sciences), and a minimum of three courses from different Lower-Division GE Areas or Subareas. Each GE Minor must ensure that students will fulfill their USD, GC, and at least one W requirement.

Recommended Upper-Division Pathways and GE Minors

Agriculture, Food, and the Environment 

Courses may include a focus on

  • the relationship between human experience, food, and the environment; 
  • the impact of food policy, sustainability, and agricultural practices on communities;
  • the ecological, political, economic, and social aspects of food production and distribution; and/or
  • the cultural meaning of food and food production practices in diverse societies today and in the past.

California: People, Place, and Cultures

Courses may include a focus on

  • social, cultural, economic, environmental, and political issues relating to California; 
  • a critical examination of California history via multiple perspectives, including but not limited to Indigenous perspectives and critiques of systems of oppression; and/or
  • respect and appreciation for the place in which we live, especially our local area, and the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria as the people of this land. 

Equity, Ethics, and Policy 

Courses may include a focus on

  • how policies impact people differently; 
  • ethical dimensions of policy making, including concepts of justice and fairness
  • evolving understandings of what equity means in different contexts; and/or 
  • how policy can be used to build more equitable social systems.

Gender and Sexuality

Courses may include a focus on

  • the significance of gender and sexuality in all areas of life;
  • social and scientific constructions of heteronormative and LGBTQIA+ gender and sexuality;
  • interrelationships among gender and sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, disability, religion, nationality, and other intersections of identity, power, and politics; and/or
  • injustice and oppression, hidden histories, feminism and other social justice movements related to sexuality and gender.

Global Studies 

Courses may include a focus on 

  • historical and contemporary global and international issues, including migration, health, global economics, violence, poverty, peace and conflict, natural resources and the environment, and identity and nationalism; 
  • global and international institutions, arts, and cultures; 
  • encouraging learners to become global thinkers; and  
  • ideally, half of the courses in the Global Studies GE Minor will focus on the developing world, and half of the courses will focus on the developed world.   

Health and Wellness 

Courses may include a focus on 

  • knowledge, skills, and dispositions to value and pursue wellness and healthy lifestyles;
  • multiple individual, sociocultural, and environmental factors influencing one’s health;
  • complex and multi-dimensional contexts of health and wellness; and/or
  • issues in health access and equity.

Innovation, Design, and the Arts 

Courses proposed for this GE minor may include a focus on 

  • the materials, processes, and aesthetics that inspire and drive innovation; 
  • the process of designing, making, creating, and producing; 
  • the responses to historical or contemporary political, technological, economic, cultural, and artistic challenges; and/or
  • combining critical examination with creative expression within STEAM-based education.

Race, Ethnicity, and Sovereignty 

Courses proposed for this GE minor may include a focus on 

  • power inequity, systemic oppression, and privilege in society and their associated impacts on racialized ethnic groups and Indigenous peoples in the US and beyond; 
  • intersectional approaches to topics such as racism, colonialism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and ableism as they directly impact marginalized communities of color; and/or
  • the relationships of privilege and oppression, workings of power and forms of resistance through social justice movements, Indigenous sovereignty efforts, and other forms of resistance. 

Science, Technology, and Society 

Courses may include a focus on 

  • the complex and difficult issues raised by the rapid increase in scientific knowledge and new technologies; 
  • the social, cultural, and historical contexts of scientific research and technological innovation; and/or
  • the impact of technological change on culture and what it means to be human.

Sustainability and Climate Change 

Courses may include a focus on 

  • climate change causes, effects, and solutions; 
  • sustainability practices at individual and collective levels; and/or
  • the imperative of maintaining the long term viability and stability of the natural world while embracing a systems approach to human efforts to balance environmental responsibility, social justice, economic feasibility, and cultural diversity as civically engaged citizens.