General Education Requirements

The College is dedicated to providing all graduates of its associate degree programs a quality educational experience. All degree students, regardless of program, must complete the College's general education requirements to gain a breadth of experience outside as well as within their academic field and build interdisciplinary skills essential to academic, career, and personal development and success.

The general education requirements are grounded in six Essential Skills that students learn in required general education courses and develop in their program coursework at the College.

Community College of Philadelphia Essential Skills Definitions

Writing, Research, and Information Literacy

Students read critically, synthesize ideas from a variety of texts, and write essays that develop significant ideas in support of a thesis. Written works appropriately reflect the context and audience and adhere to the conventions of grammar, spelling, and formatting specific to the area of study. Building upon these skills, students will determine the extent of a need for information, access information effectively and efficiently, evaluate it critically, accomplish a specific purpose with it, and create new knowledge and participate ethically in communities of learning.

Cultural Analysis and Interpretation

Students analyze case studies, creative works, systems of human thought and behavior, material artifacts, and other primary and secondary sources from a range of academic disciplines to discern and respect diverse perspectives and experiences related, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, culture, region, country, religion, and/or language.

Oral Communication / Creative Expression

Students examine issues, problems, and cultural and aesthetic connections, using verbal and nonverbal methods to send messages in various modes. Students produce creative, visual, and/or oral works that reflect the situation, audience, and medium of communication and adhere to the conventions of artistic, verbal and/or nonverbal methods of expression.

Quantitative Reasoning

Students communicate mathematical principles and apply them to follow an extended line of formal reasoning and critical thinking. Students read and identify mathematical information that is relevant in a problem; interpret and critically analyze mathematical information presented; select appropriate methods and solve problems, estimating and evaluating the validity of results and effectively communicating quantitative concepts using correct mathematical syntax.

Scientific Reasoning

Students describe the Scientific Method and apply the scientific principles they have learned to theoretical and practical issues. Students interpret measurable and observable information through inference and analogy to develop hypotheses and draw conclusions. Students describe methods of scientific inquiry and use critical thinking skills to investigate, question, and solve problems. Students describe and carry out experimental procedures and/or perform laboratory tasks when appropriate to the field, interpret and communicate scientific information using written, oral and/or graphical means, analyze one or more relationships among science, technology and society, and apply logical reasoning in explaining natural phenomena and experimental procedures or outcomes.

Technological Competency

Students identify, create, and manipulate technological tools and digital content. Students operate computers, peripherals, electronic devices, learning management systems, and other technology as related to their program of study. Students use electronic spreadsheets and/or database management systems to organize, analyze, and/or retrieve data. Students use word processing and slide presentation software to design clear academic and professional documents that integrate design concepts, elements, applications, and objects. Students use computer technology to collaborate and network. Students identify and respond appropriately to ethical and legal issues related to privacy and security in information technology and the handling of data.

General Education Requirements

Students who follow the recommended course sequence for their degree programs will see required courses that introduce and develop the Essential Skills. Note: Program faculty select general education courses based on programmatic needs and the requirements of transfer institutions, accrediting bodies, and professional organizations and also select courses that enable students to gain a breadth of experience and skills across academic disciplines.
The College requires students to complete credit courses in the Essential Skills as outlined below:

Essential Skills Minimum Credits
Writing, Research & Information Literacy 6
Oral Communication/Creative Expression 3
Quantitative Reasoning 3
Scientific Reasoning 3
Cultural Analysis and Interpretation 3
Technological Competency 3
  21 credits


The requirements listed above apply to all students who began their studies in the Fall 2021 semester or later. Students who began their studies prior to September 2021 should refer to a catalog for the year that they entered the College or should consult an academic advisor or counselor. Students who changed their curriculum on or after September 2021 are required to follow the new general education requirements regardless of when they entered the College. For more information regarding general education requirements, please contact Academic Advising at 215-751-8777 or email Academic Advising.

Courses that Fulfill Essential Skills

Before reviewing the courses below, students should consult the catalog page for their programs. The catalog page includes a course sequence that shows the required courses for the program, and that is the best source of information about required courses.
The lists below are intended as a tool to help programs choose the general education courses that students are required take to fulfill general education requirements. In a few cases, a program may allow students to take any course that meets the general education requirement. In those cases, students may find the lists below useful. Students are encouraged to email or call Academic Advising (215-751-8777) or consult program faculty before choosing courses.

Writing, Research & Information Literacy 

Currently, this requirement is met by taking two courses at the College: ENGL 101 and ENGL 102. Students must complete both courses.

Oral Communication/Creative Expression   

Most programs require only one course in this category, which includes both Oral Communication and Creative Expression. The list below distinguishes between the two. Students should consult the catalog page for their programs for more information.

Quantitative Reasoning

The list below includes only those Foundational Mathematics (FNMT) and Mathematics (MATH) courses open to students who are FNMT 118 ready. Students who place in mathematics courses at MATH 161 or above will meet their Quantitative Reasoning requirement upon successful completion of MATH 151, MATH 152, MATH 161, or another higher-level Mathematics course. Students should consult Mathematics course offerings for more information.

Scientific Reasoning    

Some of the courses listed below require permission of the department head before registering. Students should consult the course offerings or the catalog page for their programs for more information.

Cultural Analysis and Interpretation  

As there are a large number of courses that meet the Cultural Analysis and Interpretation requirement, they are divided into five sub-categories based on course content: 1) Study of Human Diversity, 2) Study of Human Behavior and Systems, 3) Study of Creative Works, 4) Study of Material Artifacts, and 5) Study of World, Country, Region, or Language. Students should consult the catalog page for their programs for more information.

Courses Credit Hours
ADC 176 / HIST 176 - Philadelphia History: Architecture and Planning 3
ANTH 101 - Introduction to Anthropology 3
ANTH 112 - Cultural Anthropology 3
ANTH 124 - Fundamentals of Archaeology 3
ANTH 125 - Physical Anthropology 3
ART 101 - Visual Communication 3
ART 101H - Visual Communication (Honors) 3
ART 103 - History of Art: Ancient to Renaissance 3
ART 103H - History of Art: Ancient to Renaissance (Honors) 3
ART 104 - History of Art II: Renaissance to Modern 3
ART 104H - History of Art: Renaissance to Modern (Honors) 3
BHHS 102 - Social Determinants of Behavioral Health 3
BHHS 103 - Human Development and Behavior in the Social Environment 3
BHHS 151 - Family and Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse 3
BHHS 171 - Introduction to Aging Studies 3
BHHS 191 - Introduction to Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care 3
BLAS 101 - Introduction to Black Studies 3
BLAS 250 - Special Topics in Black Studies 3
CULA 211 - International Cuisine 4
ECON 181 - Principles of Economics (Macroeconomics) 3
ED 231/ENGL 231 - Children's Literature 3
ENGL 107 - Society and Mass Communication 3
ENGL 119 - Rhetoric & The Public Sphere 3
ENGL 137 - Introduction to Theater 3
ENGL 190 - Introduction to Literature 3
ENGL 211 - Survey of British Literature from Beginnings to 1750 3
ENGL 212 - Survey of British Literature: From 1750 to the Modern Era 3
ENGL 219 - Black Rhetoric 3
ENGL 221 - Survey of American Literature: From the Beginnings to the Civil War 3
ENGL 222 - Survey of American Literature: From the Civil War to the Present 3
ENGL 231/ ED 231 - Children's Literature 3
ENGL 232 - Introduction to Drama 3
ENGL 241 - Introduction to Shakespeare 3
ENGL 245 - World Literature: From Antiquity to 1500 3
ENGL 246 - World Literature: From 1500 to the Present 3
ENGL 250 - Survey of African American Literature: From Colonization to the Harlem Renaissance 3
ENGL 251 - Survey of African American Literature: From the Harlem Renaissance to the Present 3
ENGL 256 - African Literature 3
ENGL 260 - Women in Literature 3
ENGL 297H - Literature in the Context of Intellectual History: Ancient and Medieval (Honors) 3
ENGL 298H - Literature in the Context of Intellectual History: Modern (Honors) 3
ENGL 299 - Special Topics in Literature 3
FMM 105 - Textiles 3
FREN 101 - Elementary French 3
GEOG 101 - Introduction to Physical Geography 3
GEOG 103 - Introduction to Human Geography 3
GEOG 180 - Urban Geography 3
GLS 101 - Introduction to Global Studies 3
GS 101 - Introduction to Gender Studies 3
GS 110 - Global Perspectives in Gender Studies 3
HIST 101 - US History: Colonial America through the Revolutionary Era 3
HIST 102 - US History: The Civil War and the 19th Century 3
HIST 103 - US History: The 20th Century and Beyond 3
HIST 121 - World History: The Distant Past 3
HIST 122 - World History: The Recent Past 3
HIST 142 - Food History 3
HIST 150 - History of American Health Care 3
HIST 151 - History of Capitalism 3
HIST 170/RS 170 - Religion in American History 3
HIST 176/ADC 176 - Philadelphia History: Architecture and Planning 3
HIST 220 - African American History to 1877 3
HIST 221 - African American History After 1865 3
HUM 101 - Cultural Traditions: Ancient to the 13th Century 3
HUM 101H - Cultural Traditions: Ancient to the 13th Century (Honors) 3
HUM 102 - Cultural Traditions: 14th Century to the Present 3
HUM 102H - Cultural Traditions: 14th Century to the Present (Honors) 3
HUM 120 - Introduction to Chinese Culture and Civilization 3
HUM 130 - Introduction to Japanese Culture and Civilization 3
HUM 150 - Introduction to Latin American Cultures and Civilizations 3
HUM 170 - Middle East Cultures and Civilizations 3
HUM 180 - Introduction to African Cultures and Civilizations 3
ITAL 101 - Elementary Italian 3
JUS 101 - Survey of Criminal Justice 3
JUS 122 - Race and Justice 3
MUS 103 - Introduction to Music 3
MUS 105 - Music of the Baroque and Classical Eras 3
MUS 106 - Great Romantic Music 3
MUS 120 - Music of African-Americans 3
MUS 121 - Modern American Music 3
PHIL 101 - Introduction to Philosophy 3
PHIL 101H - Introduction to Philosophy (Honors) 3
PHIL 151/RS 151 - World Religions 3
PHIL 152/RS 152 - Philosophy of Religion 3
PHIL 202 - Philosophy of Love 3
PHIL 211 - Ethical Problems 3
PHIL 215 - Social and Political Philosophy 3
PHIL 297H - Philosophy in the Context of Intellectual History: Ancient and Medieval (Honors) 3
PHIL 298H - Philosophy in the Context of Intellectual History: Modern (Honors) 3
PHOT 111 - History of Photography 3
PHOT 113 - Digital Technology, Art, and Culture 3
POLS 101 - Introduction to Political Science 3
POLS 111 - American Government 3
POLS 111H - American Government (Honors) 3
POLS 112 - Introduction to International Relations 3
POLS 117 - City and State Government and Politics, with Cases from Philadelphia and Pennsylvania 3
PSYC 101 - Introduction to Psychology 3
RS 101 - Introduction to Religion 3
RS 151/PHIL 151 - World Religions 3
RS 152/PHIL 152 - Philosophy of Religion 3
RS 160 - Death and Dying 3
RS 170/HIST 170 - Religion in American History 3
RS 175 - Religions of the Middle East 3
RS 180 - Religions of Asia 3
SOC 101 - Introduction to Sociology 3
SOC 105 - Health and Society 3
SOC 115 - Gender and Society 3
SPAN 101 - Elementary Spanish 3

Technological Competency 

A few programs require students to complete two courses in order to meet the Technological Competency requirement. Students should consult their program's catalog page to determine which course (or pair of courses) meet the requirement.