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Pathways - General Education Requirements

Pathways - General Education Requirements

Pathways provides a set of General Education Requirements that every student, starting in Fall 2013, must complete to earn an associate in arts (AA), associate in science (AS) or bachelor’s degree from CUNY. (Students pursuing AAS degrees may not have to fulfill all 30 credits of the Common Core). Additionally, students in bachelor’s degree programs must meet the College Option requirement.

Notably, once a student has met a Common Core area requirement at one CUNY college, that requirement will be met at any other CUNY college. The same applies to College Option credits. That said, the Common Core provides the colleges with some flexibility; the College Option, by definition, varies by college. It is therefore vital that in addition to consulting this website, students (and faculty and staff) review the specific requirements for their own colleges.

Common Core (For AA, AS, and Bachelor's degree programs)

Required Core (12 credits / 4 courses)

The Required Core is comprised of four courses.

  • English Composition (2 courses)

  • Mathematical and Quantitative Reasoning (1 course)*

  • Life and Physical Sciences (1 course)*

Flexible Core (18 credits / 6 courses)

The Flexible Core is comprised of six courses, with at least one course from each of the following five areas and no more than two courses in any discipline or interdisciplinary field.

  • World Cultures and Global Issues (1 course)

  • U.S. Experience in Its Diversity (1 course)

  • Creative Expression (1 course)

  • Individual and Society (1 course)

  • Scientific World (1 course)*

  • One additional course will be taken from one of the above areas.

*Some courses in these categories carry more than 3 credits (the “STEM variant” courses). No student is required to complete more than 3 credits but may choose to do so.

College Option (For Bachelor's degree programs)

Students in bachelor’s degree programs are required to take 6 to 12 additional credits of general education that are defined by the college. In some cases, requirements may vary based on a student’s area of study. Students who transfer from associate programs to bachelor’s programs will be required to complete from 6 to 12 College Option credits, depending on how many credits they had at the time of transfer and whether they transferred with an associate degree. Students who transfer from one baccalaureate college to another will transfer any College Option credits they have already taken.

College Option Requirements at CSI

The CSI College Option requirements includes courses at the 200-level or higher, except for the laboratory and language courses. Requirements vary based on a student’s area of study.

All BA, BFA, and the following BS Degree Programs: Business: International Business concentration; Communications; Drama; Music; and Social Work

BS Degree Programs in STEM disciplines, Accounting, Business, Economics, Information Systems and Informatics, Psychology


Social Scientific Analysis (social science)

Social Scientific Analysis * (social science)


Textual Aesthetic Linguistic Analysis (TALA)

Textual Aesthetic Linguistic Analysis( (TALA)


Science lab co-requisite with Life and Physical Sciences

Science lab co-requisite with Life and Physical Sciences


Science lab co-requisite with Scientific World

Science lab co-requisite with Scientific World


114-level language***

STEM Variant Course


Contemporary World

Contemporary World


Pluralism and Diversity

Pluralism and Diversity


*STEM majors may allow students to replace either one TALA or one social science requirement with a STEM variant course.
**3 credits is the minimum requirement. Students may opt to take course bearing 4 credits and either 3 or 4 hours to fulfill these requirements; additional credits will be applied towards electives.
***If the 114-level language requirement has been met through testing or exemption, an additional TALA or social science course must be substituted.
****These requirements may be fulfilled by courses taken to complete the TALA or social Science requirements.

AAS Degree Programs

All students enrolled in an undergraduate AAS degree program must satisfy part of the common core. These requirements may vary based on a student's degree program. If an AAS student later transfers to an AA, AS or bachelor's degree program, that student will need to complete any part of the common core that they have not yet completed. In addition, all AAS students must complete at least 20 liberal arts credits to earn an AAS degree.

STEM Variant Courses

The college has identified STEM variant courses, which carry more than 3 credits, in the areas of Life and Physical Sciences, Mathematical and Quantitative Reasoning, and Scientific World. No student is required to complete more than 3 credits in these areas, but may choose to do so using a STEM variant course.


The following degree programs have been approved to specify particular courses students must take in order to satisfy the STEM areas of the common core and/or college option. If students take different courses other than those specified, they will be certified as having completed the requirement, but it may not be possible to finish their degree program within the regular number of credits. 

  • Biology BS

  • Biology 7-12 BS

  • Chemistry BA

  • Chemistry BS

  • Chemistry 7-12 BS

  • Biochemistry BA

  • Biochemistry BS

  • Computer Science BS

  • Electrical Engineering BS

  • Engineering Science AS

  • Engineering Science BS

  • Medical Technology BS

  • Nursing BS

  • Physics BS

  • Physics 7-12 BS

Previous Baccalaureate Degree

Students who hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited post-secondary institution are considered to have completed the Pathways General Education requirements.