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A general education program for the 21st century citizen


General Education


General education courses provide opportunities to gain skills and insights that will be useful in one’s entire life. At SUNY Plattsburgh, general education is an integral part of the total degree program — of equal importance to courses in the major field of study. Students who enrolled at SUNY Plattsburgh prior to Fall 2021 complete the General Education 5 program (GE5) and those who enroll for Fall 2021 and thereafter will complete the Cardinal Core Curriculum.

Cardinal Core Curriculum


The Cardinal Core Curriculum will begin Fall 2021 for new students. The Cardinal Core Curriculum provides students with a rigorous and robust general education experience as an essential component of the baccalaureate degree. The program is designed to allow students to explore a wide range of topics and ways of thinking in preparation for life as a 21st century citizen. 

Core Categories


There are six core categories in the Cardinal Core Curriculum, reflecting a diversity of core knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences. Core skills of communication, critical thinking, discovery and inquiry, and quantitative reasoning are integrated throughout, with focus on the core perspectives of global awareness, individual development and social justice.

  • Human Communities: Courses in this area promote a critical self-awareness of individuals’ roles and responsibilities within communities by examining how people interact with each other and in groups.
  • Individual Expression: Courses in this area encourage students to reflect on their roles within a diverse society through exploration of the multiple ways we reason, engage with, document, and creatively represent or express the range of human experience.
  • Natural World: Courses in this area explore the scientific concepts, models and methods necessary to study natural phenomena that affect the global community.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: Courses in this area develop and utilize quantitative skills to address practical problems in order to better understand the world.
  • U.S. Identities: Courses in this area explore communities, histories, and institutions within the United States to engage students in critical examination of their roles in American society.
  • World Cultures: Courses in this area explore communities, histories, and institutions outside the United States to engage students in critical examination of their roles in a global society

Guidelines for the Cardinal Core Curriculum


Cardinal Core Curriculum Resources for Faculty


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