Pacific's General Education Program exposes students to areas of study outside of their major.  In their General Education classes, students develop essential knowledge and skills that are transferable to other courses at Pacific as well as to their personal and public lives. The mission of Pacific's General Education Program is to promote self-understanding, citizenship, and career development.


The General Education (GE) Program is the core of a University of the Pacific undergraduate education. The GE program cultivates habits of intellectual inquiry grounded in the liberal arts tradition and enriches a specialized field of study with an understanding of its scientific, humanistic, and artistic contexts. General education courses allow undergraduate students to collaborate across diverse intellectual and disciplinary boundaries and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to succeed in a diverse, complex, and constantly changing world.

Student Learning Outcomes

The General Education Program helps students become:

  • Critical and integrative thinkers: Students should be able to synthesize and transfer learning to new, complex situations within and beyond the Pacific community.
  • Creative problem solvers: Students should demonstrate an understanding of what it takes to move from ambiguous goals with incomplete information to design, evaluate, and implement strategies to achieve their desired goals.
  • Effective communicators: Students should be able to write, speak, and present their ideas and conclusions through a variety of mediums to diverse audiences.
  • Globally aware and ethically engaged citizens: Students should be able to articulate their own cultural understandings and how they differ from others, adapt empathically and ethically to unfamiliar ways of being, and participate in society in ways that are personally enriching and socially beneficial to their communities. 

CORE Seminars

The Pacific General Education CORE courses introduce and develop transferable skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and oral and written communication that are crucial for personal, academic, and professional success. 

CORE 001 introduces students to the demands of interdisciplinary, university-level inquiry. In CORE 001, students begin to acquire the skills necessary to become self-motivated learners who can work independently and collaboratively to solve complex problems. Such grounding will help students develop the agency and flexibility necessary to navigate a rapidly changing political, social, and economic environment. 

Topics vary in CORE 001, but all sections introduce students to critical thinking, information literacy, problem solving and oral communication rather than a mandated series of readings or writing assignments. CORE 001 is taught by faculty who are committed to supporting students in their transition to university-level critical inquiry. CORE 001 sections frequently incorporate field trips, guest speakers, collaborative research, multimedia projects and active engagement in class activities. 

Students will develop the writing and critical thinking skills necessary for college-level academic writing and careful reasoning. Individual course sections will be thematic in nature and will vary to allow for focused exploration of complex issues and contexts though the active and engaged close reading of literary and other texts. Students will develop their reading and reasoning skills through seminar-style classroom discussion and receive writing instruction to help them develop prose that is clear, concise, nuanced, and persuasive. 

The Breadth Program (Areas of Inquiry)

The General Education Program beyond the CORE 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 Areas of Inquiry courses that interest them or that relate to other courses in their planned course of study.

The Areas of Inquiry are:

Artistic Process & Creation courses give students an understanding of the creative arts through practice, performance, or analysis, providing students with opportunities to develop their own creative voice through creation and/or performance and to communicate ideas and information through art. In this context, the creative arts are defined as including traditional visual arts, digital media, performing arts, and creative writing. 

Civic & Global Responsibility courses guide students through analysis of the social and political considerations necessary for making a difference in the civic life of their communities or in the larger global community. Students completing this requirement will demonstrate an understanding of the need and avenues for civic engagement, an ability to engage respectfully with others with diverse perspectives, and an ability to reflect on their own role as a citizen. 

Language & Narratives courses help students understand structures of communication through literary or rhetorical analysis and/or language study, which may include digital communication. 

Quantitative Reasoning courses enable students to analyze and interpret information using quantitative methods. 

Scientific Inquiry courses foster student understanding of the concepts and methodologies of a scientific discipline. Students completing this requirement will gain practice in critical and integrative thinking through prediction and experimentation in a laboratory or field environment. 

Social Inquiry courses promote the understanding of social structures and human relationships. Students completing a Social Inquiry course will be introduced to creative problem solving from available information and will demonstrate an ability to find and evaluate information from a variety of sources. 

World Perspectives & Ethics courses guide students to learn about value systems, ways of being, and ways of understanding the world from multiple, international perspectives, and to reflect on their own worldview. 

Students can satisfy GE requirements with a 4 or higher for Advanced Placement and a 5 or higher for Higher Level International Baccalaureate. A maximum of 28 units total from Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, DANTES and/or CLEP test results may be applied toward a Pacific degree, including General Education breadth areas. 

Diversity & Inclusion Requirement

Students also choose at least one Diversity & Inclusion course.  

Diversity & Inclusion courses may appear in any of the above categories, or in classes that count towards major or minor requirements. Diversity & Inclusion courses will help students to articulate, in both written and oral forms, how notions of difference work within frameworks of social hierarchy. (Difference may be defined by such notions as age, class, citizenship, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, language, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, and/or socioeconomic status.)  For more information, click here

Thomas J. Long Foundation Core Scholarship

Every year, scholarships are available to students who demonstrate academic excellence in their general education courses (including Pacific Seminars).  Awards are also given to faculty for achievement and innovation in general education courses. For more information, contact the General Education Office or the Financial Aid website.

As part of the University-wide General Education Program, all students must demonstrate proficiency in the areas of writing and quantitative analysis (math).  Students are placed into fundamental skills courses based on information supplied at admission.  In order to graduate with a bachelor's degree or first professional degree, these requirements must be met.  For more information, click here.

Contact Information

For more detailed information about Pacific’s General Education Program, please contact:

Christopher Goff, Professor
Director of General Education
Phone: 209.946.7715