Thomas Edison State University By Thomas Edison State University • April 9, 2015

7 Surprising Courses That Fulfill Your General Education Degree Requirements

When you think of general education requirements, do courses like math, English composition and science come to mind?

Almost every college or university has specific program requirements you must complete to earn your degree. But many students question why they have to take these classes at all if their area of study is in a completely unrelated field.

Enter the general education curriculum. It was developed to give students a well-rounded, working knowledge in a variety of disciplines. These courses (unrelated to your concentration) will help you develop skills necessary to succeed in any environment, like critical thinking, problem solving, communication and more. In reality, to advance your career, you need an integrative knowledge of multiple things. Not just your area of study.  

All of Thomas Edison State University’s bachelor's degrees require 60 credits of general education courses, and there are several classes you must take to fulfill each requirement. However, the courses you “have to take” aren’t limited to math, English and science.

You do have the flexibility to decide which courses to take that meet the general education requirements of your degree (of course, always check with your advisor first). And since learning should be fun, you can select courses that meet your own needs and interests. Here, we have compiled a list of online courses at the University that fulfill your general education requirements (plus any interdisciplinary, general education electives and/or free electives, too) and offer a bit of the unusual.


1. Man's Best Friend: The Biology and Behavior of Dogs (BIO-310)

This course explores over 30,000 years of the relationship between dogs and humans. You will learn what makes a successful human-animal relationship, from the first stages of domestication to the present day. Examine the dog’s developmental behavior, as well as breed specific behaviors, and understand the process and principles of training.



2. The Ethics and Politics of War (LIB-360)

Look at global and local modern day conflicts through a historical perspective. This course explores the political and social effects that the involvement of world powers has had on domestic and foreign conflicts. Examine philosophical and political theories of war, ethics and social justice to understand how these events have changed the course of history.



3. Introduction to Children's Literature (LIT-221)

This course is for anyone fascinated by children’s books and understands the crucial role adults play in introducing children to the world of literature. Analyze artists and their illustrations, and discuss issues surrounding children’s literature. Course assignments include selecting, reading and evaluating children’s books – a great opportunity for students with young children or grandchildren.



4. The Story of Human Language (COM-339)

Language is part of our everyday lives. We speak, hear, write and see it all around us. In this course, discover the origin of language, and explore the differences between animal and human communication, verbal and nonverbal utilization, and regional, social and cultural variations. This class offers a solid and essential foundation for advanced linguistics courses.



5. Games People Play: Game Theory in Life, Business and Beyond (SOS-360)

Game theory: the scientific study of strategic, interactive decision making among rational individuals. This course explores the basics of game theory and its application to daily life, business and world affairs. Throughout the course, learn about game theory through the field’s greatest minds, including John von Neumann, John Nash and Kenneth Arrow.



6. The Science of Disasters (EAS-201)

How do we define a natural disaster? What is our potential for a catastrophe at any given time? This course seeks to answer those questions. Analyze the global and historical impact of common natural disasters, and develop a scientific understanding of these phenomena. Emphasis of the course is on earthquakes, volcanic activities, flooding and severe storms, and the consequent secondary disasters they can trigger.



7. American Cinema (FIL-110)

Study the significance and impact of American cinema around the world. This course takes a deeper look into filmmaking as an art and craft, and explores the history and language of this influential art form. Explore the role of Hollywood in American pop culture, and discover how the most popular film genres have influenced cultural and social history.


Thomas Edison State University

Written by Thomas Edison State University

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