The Saylor Foundation invites you to use our materials in any number of ways—to tutor yourself, to instruct others, to brush up on areas in which you need extra help, to spend an afternoon learning about astrophysics, or however you wish. However, should you choose to proceed through our materials with the intention of simulating the traditional four-year higher education experience, you will need to select a major, fulfill its requirements, and complete the General Education Program outlined below.

The purpose of the General Education Program is to educate students about what we—as human beings—know about ourselves: our history as a species, our diverse cultures and religious experiences, our physical make-ups and environments, and how we communicate and support ourselves economically. The curriculum is also designed to enhance your abilities to think analytically using quantitative and qualitative information and to consider ethical questions. In short, the curriculum will help you prepare to be a reflective, confident, productive citizen of your local, national, and global communities. The curriculum also communicates the importance of continued learning and reflection. Given the rapid expansion of knowledge and changes in how we create, transfer, and use it, this may be the most important lesson of all. You should complete this program and the requirements of your chosen major understanding that you will still not know everything you will ever need to know.

The General Education Program has two focuses: skill development and knowledge enhancement. The courses you will take in order to satisfy the requirements of your chosen major will build on and reinforce what you learn in this program. You must fulfill all of the General Education requirements (in addition to the requirements outlined in your chosen area of study) if you wish to complete coursework equivalent to a four-year program of study.

Skill Development

5 courses

Writing Skills

Requirement:  2 courses

Stipulations: These courses do not count toward a major in English.  You should take ENGL001 in your first semester and ENGL002 or the equivalent early in your studies at  By “equivalent,” we mean any course in another discipline in which you will perform research, organize information, form and test hypotheses, and draw conclusions.

Learning outcomes: Students will be able to collect, describe, and analyze information in their written work that discusses their assumptions, ideas, and conclusions.


ENGL001: English Composition I

ENGL002: English Composition II (or equivalent)

Quantitative Skills

Requirement: Any 2 of the following courses.

Learning outcomes: Students will be able to analyze and draw conclusions from quantitative data using mathematical concepts and appropriate formulas or models.

Select 2 of the following courses from the Mathematics Major:

MA101: Single-Variable Calculus I

MA121: Statistics

MA211: Linear Algebra

Computer Skills

Requirement: 1 course

Stipulations: Students should take this course early in their learning career.

Learning outcomes: Students will be able to use today’s hardware and software technologies and be prepared to understand and use emerging technologies.

CS101: Introduction to Computer Science I

Knowledge Enhancement

12 courses

Social Sciences

Requirement: 6 courses

Learning outcomes: Students will understand the ways in which ideas, culture, individual and group action, the media, political and economic forces, gender, race, religion, history, and biology interact and influence local, national, and global communities.


HIST211: American History: Colonial Period to the Civil War

POLSC101: Introduction to Politics

PSYCH101: Introduction to Psychology

Select one of the following courses from the History discipline:

HIST102: Early Globalizations: East Meets West (1200s-1600s)

HIST103: World History in the Early and Modern Era (1600-Present)

HIST212: American History: American Civil War to the Present

HIST221: Colonial Latin and South America

HIST231: Empire and States in the Middle East and Southwest Asia

HIST251: History of Africa to 1890

Select one of the following courses from the Political Science discipline:

POLSC211: Introduction to International Relations

POLSC221: Introduction to Comparative Politics

POLSC231: Introduction to American Politics

Select one of the following courses from the Psychology discipline:

PSYCH301: Social Psychology

PSYCH302: Lifespan Development

PSYCH403: Cultural Psychology

PSYCH404: Psychotherapy


Requirement: 4 courses.  Two semesters of a foreign language are required.

Learning outcomes: Students will learn about diverse cultures, aesthetics, and philosophy or ethics.


FR001: French I (to be completed at Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative)

FR002: French II (to be completed at Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative)

Select two courses from the following options:

ARTH101: Art Appreciation and Techniques

ARTH110: Introduction to Western Art History—Pre-historic to High Gothic

COMM101: Public Speaking

ENGL101: Introduction to Cultural and Literary Expression

ENGL202: Cultural and Literary Expression in the Renaissance

ENGL204: Cultural and Literary Expression in Modernity

MUS101: Introduction to Music

PHIL101: Introduction to Philosophy

PHIL102: Logic and Critical Thinking

PHIL103: Moral and Political Philosophy

PHIL201: The Philosophy of Death

Natural Sciences

Requirement:  2 courses; these courses include some simulated lab work.

Learning outcomes: Students will learn and apply scientific methods as they discover how natural systems operate and interact with each other and with people and communities.

Select one pair of courses:

BIO101A: Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology or BIO101B: Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology AND

BIO102: Introduction to Evolutionary and Ecological Biology


CHEM101: General Chemistry I AND

CHEM102: General Chemistry II


PHYS101: Introduction to Mechanics AND

PHYS102: Introduction to Electromagnetism