Skip to main content

General Education Foundations (GEF)


The General Education Foundations (GEF) provides students with academic and intellectual breadth to appreciate the broad context of their actions, their choices, and their world, beyond their major field(s) of study. WVU aims to help students build the foundational skills and knowledge necessary to reason clearly, communicate effectively, think critically, and contribute to society.

The General Education Foundations (GEF) are designed to ensure that students meet these goals through inquiry-based learning across disciplines. In conjunction with a major field, and in consultation with their advisors, students will design programs of study that satisfy the GEF. The GEF works to fulfill the University’s goals of (1) creating well-rounded students with a broad base of skills and knowledge, (2) linking together the courses that students take at WVU, and (3) instilling in students a permanent connection to learning and education, giving them the skills to learn what they need outside a formal educational environment.

The GEF strives to help students be thoughtful participants in a democratic society, and to achieve the intellectual integration and awareness they will need to adapt to changes and meet challenges in their personal, social, and professional lives.

Policies Governing This Curriculum

  1. Students will take between 31 and 37 credits, organized into eight foundation areas (F1 through F8).
  2. Courses used to satisfy requirements of the GEF may also simultaneously satisfy major or other requirements for an undergraduate degree at WVU. All undergraduate students must at a minimum complete 120 credits (or higher as established by their degree program) to earn a baccalaureate degree at WVU.
  3. In addition to fulfilling seven foundation areas (F1 through F7) (22-28 credits), students will choose a minimum of three courses (9 credits) to fulfill foundation area F8, the Focus. Working in consultation with their advisors, students will choose one of four options: 1) select 9 credits from the list of approved GEF courses not used to satisfy the seven foundation requirement, from any combination of disciplines; 2) completion of a minor; 3) completion of a double major; 4) completion of a dual degree.

List of GEF Courses

2016 - 2017 GEF Courses
2017 - 2018 GEF Courses
2018 - 2019 GEF Courses
2019 - 2020 GEF Courses
2020 - 2021 GEF Courses
2021 - 2022 GEF Courses
2022 - 2023 GEF Courses
2023 - 2024 GEF Courses
2024 - 2025 GEF Courses

Descriptions of Requirements

GEF courses are grouped according to specific expected outcomes, which are in addition to the AACU LEAP skills that are recognized as institutional objectives

F1. Composition and Rhetoric (3 or 6 credits)

Effective, concise, and clear use of English, in both speech and writing through various media, is essential to success both during the course of study and in a career or future professional life. The English Area ensures that students have understood the fundamentals of communicating in English, and works in tandem with college- or program-based communication requirements. Students will demonstrate effective communication in English, completing ENGL 101 and 102 or ENGL 103.

F2A/B. Science & Technology (4-6 credits)

A fundamental grasp of the nature of science is essential for responsible, sustainable, and intelligent interaction with the world. Each of us must be able to evaluate scientific developments, technological advancements, and our evolving natural world in order to thrive.

Students will apply systematic methods of analysis to the natural and physical world, understand scientific knowledge as empirical, and refer to data as a basis for conclusions. Students must complete either two lecture courses for a minimum 6 of credits from F2A or one lecture/laboratory combination for a minimum of 4 credits from F2B.

Students electing to fulfill the Foundation Area 2 requirement by completing F2B must successfully complete a science lecture course and its corresponding laboratory. Students who complete only the lecture or laboratory component for one science combination and complete only the lecture or laboratory from a different lecture/laboratory combination will not satisfy the Area 2B requirement. However, the lecture/laboratory component for any courses not used to satisfy another GEF requirement can be used to satisfy the Foundation Area 8 (GE Foundation Focus) requirement.

F3. Mathematics & Quantitative Reasoning (3-4 credits)

Mathematics and quantitative reasoning are necessary in education, the workplace, and nearly every field of human endeavor. Quantitatively literate citizens must have the capacity to understand numerical aspects of daily life and apply critical reasoning to data.Students will demonstrate effective use of quantitative techniques and practical application of numerical, symbolic, or spatial concepts.

F4. Society & Connections (3 credits)

As global citizens, we must understand human behavior in its many forms and expressions, which may include methods of communication, familial and professional relationships, or our place in social, political, and economic systems. Civic knowledge and engagement are critical to individual, societal, and global survival. Students will be able to investigate and analyze human behavior, societal and political organization, or communication. (Updated March 2022)

F5. Human Inquiry & the Past (3 credits)

Human development reminds us of the continued importance of understanding events in a larger context of past experience, philosophical inquiry, or spiritual questing. A fundamental knowledge of our forebears, their successes, mistakes, obsessions, and weaknesses allow us to progress. A fundamental grasp of the realm of human thought, reason, ethics, or beliefs enables us understand our world and ourselves. Students will be able to interpret historical events or philosophical perspectives. (Updated March 2022)

F6. The Arts & Creativity (3 credits)

Creativity, as expressed through works of art, is a defining human characteristic. Regardless of the medium, art communicates and connects us to human innovations and achievements of the past, present, and shared future. Artistic expression employs integrative and creative thinking that promotes transformative ideas capable of crossing disciplinary and cultural boundaries. For Lecture-Format Courses: Students will be able to identify, analyze, and interpret the significance of a particular medium, period, or body of artistic expression.  For Applied or Studio-Format Courses: Students will apply basic disciplinary principles in the creation of a particular mode of artistic expression. (Updated March 2022)

F7. Global Studies & Diversity (3 credits)

The world is more than our familiar neighborhoods and people who share our individual beliefs and traditions. We can come to appreciate our global society when we consider other ways of life, experiences, means of expression, histories, and modes of being. As we seek to expand our knowledge beyond the confines of our own experiences, we open up our minds and our worlds. Embracing human diversity enriches our understanding, including the understanding of what we have in common. Students will be able to critically evaluate global and societal issues by developing an awareness of cultural, linguistic, or experiential diversity. (Updated March 2022)

F8. Focus (9 credits)

The GEF designates 9 credits (normally 3 three-hour courses) of Focus coursework, to help students capitalize on the range and diversity of courses offered at WVU. In order to maximize connections, incorporate additional competencies, and encourage true breadth of study, students must fulfill the Focus through completion of one of the following academic paths:

  • Minor (link to minors available)
  • Double major
  • Dual degree
  • 9 credits of additional coursework from the list of courses approved for GEF Areas 2-7

Students are expected to work with their advisors to ensure completion of the Focus. Students completing three minors as part of a MDS program must satisfy the Focus by completing 9 additional credits of GEF coursework, or a fourth minor.