General Education and University Requirements

General Education

The CSU requires that each baccalaureate student complete a program of general education breadth requirements in addition to their major program of study. The program is designed to ensure that graduates “have made noteworthy progress toward becoming truly educated persons.”

There are 39 lower division and 9 upper division units of General Education courses. An overall 2.0 cumulative GPA is required for all general education courses. Please consult an Academic Advisor as some General Education requirements may differ for certain majors. For more information:

Lower Division



Natural Science
and Mathematics/
Quantitative Reasoning
Arts and

& Self

9 units 6 units 9 units 6 units 6 units 3 units

A – Basic Subjects: The Basic Subject courses require a grade of C- or better to pass. Block A and B(4) should be completed within your first 30 units.                                    
AI – American Institutions: Complete one course in EACH area: 1. U.S. History and 2. U.S. Constitution-State/Local Government                                               
B – Natural Science and Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning: Take two courses from two of the three areas:  B1, B2, or B3 AND take one course from B4, which requires a grade of C- or better to pass.
C – Arts & Humanities: Take one course from C1 and one course from C2.
D – Social Science: Take two courses from two different disciplines.
E – Lifelong Understanding & Self Development: For Freshmen, the IHE course will fulfill this block unless their major requires another course.

Semester Chart - Lower Division Requirements

Upper Division

All Cal State L.A. students must complete a total of nine units from the Upper Division GE Requirements. At least one of those courses (3 units) must contain a Civic Learning/Community Engagement (cl) component. Content Area A and at least one course each from Areas B, C and D are the prerequisites to all Upper Division GE Requirement courses. Check the University Catalog or Schedule of Classes for the Upper Division GE Requirements.

Semester Chart - Upper Division Requirements

University Requirements

  • Civic Learning/Community Engagement Requirement (3 units)

The civic learning requirement gives students opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills, and values that will prepare them for active participation in civic life to make a difference in their communities.

(cl) - Courses will be designated with (cl)

All students are required to complete at least one course (3 units) containing a Civic Learning/Community Engagement component (designated as (cl) at the Upper Division General Education level. 

First time Freshmen are required to complete an additional 3 units of (cl) and this is accomplished by completing their Introduction to Higher Education (IHE) course. 

  • Diversity Requirement (6 units)

It is the intent of the diversity requirement to promote understanding of diversity and encourage tolerance and acceptance of others.

(d) –  General diversity courses will be designated with (d)

(re) – Courses focusing on race and ethnicity will be designated with (re)

You are required to complete two courses certified as diversity courses. One course designated as diversity (d) and one course designated as race and ethnicity (re) or you can take two (re) courses. You may not fulfill the requirement by taking two courses designated as diversity (d) courses.

  • Writing Intensive Requirement (6 units)

Students will complete two writing intensive courses with at least one of those courses being in the major. These courses are designated by a (wi) in the University Catalog and Schedule of Classes.

  • Introduction to Higher Education (IHE) Course Requirement (3 units) - FIRST TIME FRESHMEN ONLY

Each college has a course designed to assist you in your transition from high school to Cal State LA. It is recommended that you register for the IHE course taught by your major college but you can take any one of the courses listed in Content Area E with the designation of (IHE). Completion of an IHE course will double count for Content Area E and will fulfill 3 units of the Civic Learning/Community Engagement (cl) requirement.

You must pass the IHE course within your first two semesters. Certain majors may require you to take an additional course in Content Area E. Consult with your major advisor for more information.

*Note: Only one IHE course is required to satisfy graduation requirements. You will not be required to take another course if you change your major.

Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE)

  • UNIV 4000Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE)

The WPE must be passed before you complete 90 semester units. Completion of Critical Thinking (A3) is the prerequisite for the WPE. For the exam, students are given 90 minutes to write an essay on an assigned topic. For any help or issues enrolling in UNIV 4000, contact the University Testing Center PW Lib Rm 2098, (323) 343-3160 or For help in preparing for the exam, contact the University Writing Center PW Lib Rm 1039A, (323) 343-5350 or