General Education Information for Students

General Education Information for Students

The New General Education (GE) program reduces the number of required GE credit hours, provides undergraduate students more flexibility in scheduling, streamlines time to degree, and better prepares students for the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century. The New GE will begin with students entering during the autumn 2022 semester.

Search for GE classes

Structure of the new GE

This image contains a chart of the structure of the New GE. You being with a 1 hour launch seminar,. In Themes, you take 8-12 hours combined beginning with Citizenship for a Diverse and Just World, and choose one of the following: Health and Well-Being, Sustainability, Lived Environments, Traditions, Cultures and Transformations, Number, Nature, Mind, Origins and Evolution, Migration, Mobility, and Immobility, with more Themes being developed. Then you move to Foundations and take 22-25 hours combined of the following three hour topics: Race, Ethnicity and Gender Diversity, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Historical and Cultural Studies, Writing and Information Literacy, Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts, Natural Sciences, Mathematical and Quantitative Reasoning. Your last class is a 1 hour course, Reflection Seminar.

Student Requirements for General Education at Ohio State

Bookend courses (2 hours)

The Launch Seminar and Reflection Seminar are known as the Bookend courses. These courses explain the GE's role in helping students meet their educational goals, develop intercultural knowledge and build skills for responsible citizenship. (Any student clearly identified as pursuing an Associate of Arts degree will not be required to take Bookend courses.)

  • Launch seminar: During their first three semesters, students will complete a seminar that asks them to define their academic and career goals. It will also highlight the paths through the GE for developing their interests.
  • Reflection seminar: By the end of their third year, students' GE program will culminate with a seminar that encourages them to reflect on their learning across all GE courses and use the projects, presentations or other artifacts collected in their ePortfolio to demonstrate their growth.
Foundations courses (22-25 hours)

All students are required to complete a course in each of the seven Foundation categories. These courses introduce students to a diverse range of academic disciplines and their approaches to problem solving and investigation. Foundation courses prepare students for focused study in the Themes and in their major.

  • Historical or Cultural Studies (3 hours)
  • Literary, Visual and Performing Arts (3 hours)
  • Mathematical and Quantitative Reasoning or Data Analysis (3-5 hours)
  • Natural Sciences (4-5 hours)
  • Race, Ethnicity and Gender Diversity (3 hours)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (3 hours)
  • Writing and Information Literacy (3 hours)
Themes Courses (8-12 hours)

The Themes provide students the opportunity to examine a complex issue of the 21st century through multiple perspectives and disciplines. Because Theme topics are broad and interdisciplinary, students can choose Themes that complement their major program or that provide them opportunities to explore an outside interest.

All students will take courses in the Citizenship for a Diverse and Just World Theme (4-6 hours) one additional Theme of their choosing. Current Themes include:

  • Health and Well-being
  • Lived Environments
  • Migration, Mobility, and Immobility
  • Number, Nature, Mind
  • Origins and Evolution
  • Sustainability
  • Traditions, Cultures, and Transformations

To keep the GE timely and relevant, these options will continue to grow.

To satisfy the requirements of each Theme, students can take either:

  • two 3-credit courses that each take distinct disciplinary approaches to the topic, or
  • one 4-credit course that has been designed to be interdisciplinary and integrative.

The single, 4-credit courses known as Integrative Practice courses teach using one of the following additional types of research-supported high-impact educational practices:

  • integrative team teaching
  • community-based learning (service learning)
  • study away
  • engagement in active research or creative practice
  • instruction in a world language other than English

Transfer students

Transfer students who have been working toward transitioning to Ohio State and will enter between the autumn 2022 and summer 2024 sessions may petition to participate in the Legacy (college-specific) GE. Students will need to work with their advisors to make this decision and file the petition to opt into the Legacy GE.

Search for your program to schedule an advising appointment
Ohio State Quick Equivalencies list
AP, IB, and other examination credits

Ohio Transfer 36, Associate of Arts, and Associate of Science Completion

Undergraduate students who enter Ohio State having completed an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree from a regionally accredited institution or having completed the Ohio Transfer 36 (OT-36) before their first degree-seeking term will have certain requirements within their General Education marked as satisfied. It may take a semester for transfer credit, including these General Education equivalencies, to appropriately fulfill a students' s degree audit. Students are expected to have Ohio State-approved courses or their equivalents to meet major-level requirements and will still need to complete 5-8 credits within the Ohio State General Education:

  • Bookends (1-2 credit hours): These courses introduce and act as capstone for student academic experience. Transfer students may take 1-credit integrated Bookend, but students matriculating as new first year freshmen are expected to take standard Launch and Reflection courses (Gen Ed 1201, 4001, respectively).
  • Theme coursework (4-6 credits total) in Citizenship for a Diverse & Just World. Courses taken elsewhere that articulate with approved Citizenship courses can count, but this requirement will not be satisfied by category matching OT-36 courses in e.g., Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences, or Social and Behavioral Sciences

Resources for students

Submit questions about new General Education
Run a degree audit

Support videos

Schedule Planner video
Class Search video
Classes.OSU.EDU video

Search GE classes


As a comprehensive, land-grant institution Ohio State is committed to educating students for life. The GE curriculum is designed to expand on a student's training in a specific field with other skills that will make them a well-rounded person. Every student must complete General Education coursework in addition to major courses to earn their degree.

The skills, experiences and needs of our students have changed over the 30+ years since the Legacy GE was first developed. The faculty believes that that a comprehensive, thoughtful revision would provide a more integrated and impactful experience than small changes over time.

When searching the Schedule of Classes or Schedule Planner, you can find GE classes by using the course attribute search filter General Education New for students completing the New GE or "General Education Legacy" for students completing the Legacy GE.

Credits you earned for AP, IB or CCP will count if Ohio State has identified it as having an Ohio State equivalent course. For example, if you earned a score of 3 or higher on the Chemistry AP test, you will receive credit for Chemistry 1110, which is an approved Foundations: Natural Sciences course in the New GE.

Most students will take many of their GE Foundations and Themes courses in their first two years. In addition, the university gave special attention to including parts of the GE throughout students' entire study through the Embedded Literacies and Reflection Seminar.

During your required university survey course in your first term, you will learn how best to plan on when to take your GE, major, and other coursework.

If your major requires you to take a specific course that is approved as a GE, your advisor will let you know which courses those are and will encourage you to enroll in courses that meet unfilled GE requirements.

Study abroad courses may have been approved for use in the 4-credit hour Themes courses.

These courses are not the same. The University Survey course is completed in your first semester and is usually taught by an academic advisor; it includes information about course planning, adjusting to college, and university deadlines and policies. It typically also includes work to help you clarify your educational goals, information about campus resources and career paths in your major.

The introductory bookend seminar provides more information about the purpose of the GE and how to choose educational experiences that help you reach your education and career goals. It focuses on developing your academic identity and building intercultural competence, recognizing the importance of these to achieving your academic and professional goals.

Scholars seminars contain specialized information about a specific area of interest and will include speakers, course content and experiences that develop and explain topics related to that interest area.

The overall credit requirements for a bachelor's degree have not changed, although the balance between GE courses, major courses and electives may be different in the New GE versus the Legacy GE.


In their first semester, students will take University Survey and may need to take one or two major supporting courses. We expect there to be lots of options in the GE, with ample choice in the Foundations.

Many courses are listed in both the Legacy GE and New GE. Those not listed within the GE program you are taking, or that are not needed to satisfy your GE requirements, may be taken as electives or as part of a minor or certificate.

No. Current students will remain in their assigned Legacy GE program.

All students who entered Ohio State prior to autumn 2022 follow the Legacy GE that was in effect when they were admitted. Starting in autumn 2022, new students and new transfer students will follow the New GE, unless a petition is approved to follow the Legacy GE.

The ePortfolio is a multiyear project that encourages students to gather examples of their learning and to reflect on their academic growth during their time in higher education. This portfolio will become something that students can use in interviews with graduate or professional programs or as part of their job search materials.

The New GE has fewer credit hour requirements than the Legacy GE. This decision was made specifically to allow students to have more room to consider additional areas of interest. While some majors may require specific major-related coursework to be taken with these open credit hours, others have made the decision to leave these courses unassigned to provide students room for academic exploration.

This depends on the course. Many courses in the Legacy GE also fill New GE requirements. Your advisor will talk to you about how your credits fit in the New GE and the major and help you make the best decsision for your goals.