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Upper Division General Education (UDGE) | Policies | CSUSM

Upper Division General Education (UDGE)

Responsible Division: Academic Affairs
Approval Date: 05/10/1995
Originally Implemented: 05/10/1995
Related Documents and Forms: View Upper Divsion General Education Policy


CSUSM General Education Program Philosophy Statement and Criteria for the Upper-Division courses. 

The Title V requires nine units of course work for upper-division general education: three units each in Physical Universe and its Life Forms /Quantitative Reasoning (Area B), Arts Literature, Philosophy and Foreign Languages, (Area C) and Social, Political and Economic Institutions and Behavior (Area D). 

The General Education Task Force report, that was endorsed by the Academic Senate in 1994, included an interim/ transitional policy for Upper-Division General Education (see pages 32?33). The first phase was not implemented in the Fall of 1994 because the General Education Committee (GEC) had not been elected. The GEC was granted permission by the Academic Senate to defer implementation until the committee had time to review the proposed changes and determine a more lasting course of action. 

As stated in the GE Philosophy Statement, the values of the CSUSM Mission Statement will be central to the General Education Curriculum. Current Race /Class /Gender, Global Awareness, technology competency, etc. requirements are to be embodied across the entire General Education curriculum. Students will focus on University values across their General Education as well as in the major. 


Upper-division general education courses have the following pedagogical goals:

  1. To broaden the studentĀ“s perspective, through courses that span over the borders of a single discipline. The upper-division general education course will help students see how disciplines, ideas, issues and knowledge are often interrelated, intersecting and interconnected.
  2. To provide students with a classroom environment that fosters independent, active, engaged learning and a genuine curiosity about the subject matter.
  3. To help the students achieve a higher level of thinking, abstraction, rigor, and a greater depth of understanding.
  4. To provide opportunities for students to use computers and other technologies (as appropriate) with ever?increasing frequency and
  5. To increase the studentĀ“s skills for accessing, analyzing, and utilizing information by providing opportunities, as appropriate, to use both the modem library and electronic formats to find relevant information.

At the upper division, all courses approved for General Education must incorporate at least one element from the UDGE Criteria cited below.

  1. Multiple Perspectives: Examination and comparison of different perspectives and/or world views. This can be achieved by considering different cultural perspectives and/or by using and understanding different disciplinary perspectives.
  2. State-of-the-Planet Awareness: Awareness of prevailing world conditions viewed through the lens of the arts and humanities, the social sciences, the sciences or in combination. This can include consideration from an historical and/or contemporary perspective.
  3. Cultural Awareness: The study of cultures and/or various groups within cultures, and their contributions to the universal search for answers and meaning. This can include questions concerning identity, such as gender, race sexuality, occupation, age, community and ethnicity.
  4. Knowledge of World Systems: Comprehension of key traits and mechanisms of various world systems. World systems can include, but is not limited to, social, cultural, political, economic, philosophical, psychological, religious, biological, physical, mathematical, and technological systems.
  5. Awareness of Human Choice: Examination and analysis of historical and/or contemporary problems of choice confronting individuals, communities, nations, and all of humanity, and the methods (religious, mathematical, statistical, economic, philosophical, scientific, aesthetic, and cultural) used to make such choices.


This proposal is designed to take effect in the Fall of 1996.
The process of reviewing existing general education courses will be initiated by programs using a process designed by the GEC. In September 1995 the GEC will begin reviewing those courses based on UDGE Goals and Criteria outlined above. Those with clear connections with the new UDGE Pedagogical goals and criteria will be approved.

Some current UDGE courses may have a less clear connection may require some rewriting. Courses that fall into this category will be returned to programs with a request to address specific items from the new Pedagogical Goals and Criteria.

Some courses will not be re-certified because programs choose not to submit a proposal or because they clearly do not address the new Pedagogical Goals and Criteria for UDGE.


The Pedagogical Goals and Criteria for Upper Division General Education provide that University values of the CSUSM Mission Statement shall be integrated into the General Education curriculum. These Pedagogical Goals and Criteria also state that transfer students should not be required to take additional units beyond the 9 units of Upper Division General Education to meet these requirements. The new UDGE will take effect in Fall 1996.

In order to facilitate the transition to the new UDGE, we are recommending that the following guidelines for student evaluations and advising be approved prior to the end of the 1994-1995 academic year:

  • Students who elect to graduate under the Fall 1996 catalog but who take some or all of their Upper Division General Education coursework prior to Fall 1996 may use current Upper Division General Education courses with global (LB, LC, LA, GQ or race, class, gender (GN) indicators as substitutes for the new General Education coursework.
  • Students who have already completed some or all of their Upper Division General Education courses with courses which did not meet the University requirements, global (LB, LC, LA, GL) or race, class, gender (GN), must complete (or have already completed) one major or elective course meeting these criteria for each Upper Division General Education course which does not carry these indicators.
  • Students graduating under the 1995 Catalog will be held to current requirements.

Is this fair? All 1996 and later Catalog students will take essentially 3 courses. Students entering in Fall 1995 can take current UDGE and be assured course work will count. These rules are clear and simple and should be easy to communicate to continuing students. Students new in the Fall 1995 will not have to be evaluated and advised according to old criteria and then face a change of requirements. Students changing to 1996 catalog may take fewer courses to complete GE and Graduation requirements than those graduating earlier but that will be the case anyway . The new American Institutions requirement will add one course for many fall 1995 transfers; clearly reducing the number of Global/Race Class Gender requirements at this time will make the new two-course requirement more equitable. No change in 1995 requirements is possible since the catalog has already gone to print with the existing requirements; students have been advised and evaluated based on these rules; most have developed strategies to graduate under these rules.

Does this uphold University values? All currently approved upper division GE classes were approved on the criteria that they involved multiple disciplinary perspectives and interactive pedagogy; these are both values articulated under the new plan. All students will have had at least three courses dealing with race, class, gender and/or global perspectives. Any transfer students completing some of their lower division GE through CSUSM basic skills and core courses also will encounter the University values in these courses even though they do not carry specific global or race, class, gender indicators. Under the proposed criteria there is no specific distribution among the criteria for cultural awareness, world systems, state of the planet; allowing a student to concentrate on one area does not seem to violate the proposed principles; any change at a later date can not be anticipated and should not be a burden placed on current students. The university values of fairness and respect for students and their needs to plan for and complete their education in a timely fashion would seem to argue for a clear and simple plan for transition while the details of the new program are being worked out.

  1. Evaluators and college advisors will advise transfer students who enter in Fall 1995 to meet the current graduation requirements by selecting Upper Division General Education and major courses that also meet the global awareness and race, class and gender pattern.
  2. Students planning to graduate Fall 1997 or later but who matriculated prior to Fall 1996 will be advised of the implications of their choice of catalog year. Evaluators will assist students in selecting the catalog year that best facilitates their pursuit of their degree.
  3. Beginning Fall 1995, the transfer credit summary will reflect the new degree requirements.


The GEC will be developing assessment instruments to evaluate new UDGE courses. The GEC intends to evaluate the course, not the professor, to determine if the GE Goals and Criteria manifested within the course are satisfied.

Students who have fulfilled lower-division General Education requirements elsewhere will not be required to take additional courses in Race/Class/Gender or Global Awareness to supplement CSUSM lower-division GE requirements.