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General Education Overview

The Pacific Seminars

Students at Pacific explore the question of a good society through a series of three academic seminars. These seminars develop students' critical thinking skills about significant personal, social, and political issues by means of extensive writing, reading, and class discussion.

Pacific Seminar I: What is a Good Society? (First Semester)

PACS 1 is a broad introduction to the question of a good society. Based on a common course syllabus and course reader, PACS 1 is a shared intellectual experience for students and faculty. It also constitutes the first-part of Pacific's writing requirement.

Read more about Pacific Seminar I.

Pacific Seminar II: Topical Seminars on a Good Society (Second Semester)

In PACS 2, students choose from over forty different seminars that examine in greater depth one or more of the themes from Pacific Seminar 1. These seminars are offered from every School and virtually every department in the College of Arts and Sciences. PACS 2 constitutes the second-part of Pacific's writing requirement, and the signature assignment is a scholarly research project.

Read more about Pacific Seminar II.

Pacific Seminar III: Ethics of Family, Work, Citizenship (Senior Year)

In their senior year (92 completed units or more), students from all majors mix together again in PACS 3. This seminar is a culminating general education experience that develops students' capacities for ethical self-understanding and ethical reasoning about theoretical and applied ethical issues. The centerpiece assignment is the students' own ethical autobiography.

Read more about Pacific Seminar III.

The Breadth Program 6-9 Courses

(3 or 4 Units Each)

The general education program beyond the Pacific Seminars provides students with considerable choice but within a framework that ensures they gain essential knowledge and skills. With the help of their advisors, students choose courses in the breadth program that interest them or that relate to other courses in their planned course of study.The Breadth Program requirements vary from School or College (see the table following the listing of the categories and sub-categories). All students must complete at least six courses, two from each of the three main categories listed below (I, II, and III); however, only one class can come from each subcategory or area (A, B, and C), and all students must complete a course in area III-A and in area III-B.Students can satisfy subcategory IIIC by taking a second course in subcategory IIIA.Students can take a maximum of two courses from a single department (as defined by subject code, e.g., HIST or ENGL or MPER) to satisfy the breadth requirement; however, there is an exception for area IIC since students may take three 1-unit courses in the same discipline of applied music or dance to meet the requirement. Courses in the breadth program component of the general education program normally have a value of three or four units.Independent study courses cannot be used to satisfy general education requirements. Catalog year determines degree requirements; general education courses and transfer course articulations are subject to change. It is the responsibility of the student to be informed of any general education or transfer course articulation changes.The structure of the breadth program is as follows:

  • I. Social and Behavioral Sciences

    1. I.A. Individual and Interpersonal Behavior
    2. I.B. U.S. Studies
    3. I.C. Global Studies
  • II. Arts and Humanities

    1. II.A. Language and Literature
    2. II.B. Worldviews and Ethics
    3. II.C. Visual and Performing Arts
  • III. Natural Sciences and Mathematics

    1. III.A. Natural Sciences
    2. III.B. Mathematics and Formal Logic
    3. III.C. Science, Technology and Society

See GE Breadth Program General and Specific Criteria
See list of approved General Education Courses
GE Course Proposal Form for Faculty