General Education Curriculum (G-PAC)

The General Education Curriculum (G-PAC) engages students in active intellectual inquiry by developing analytical skills, communication skills and diverse perspectives. Across a range of disciplines, students acquire enhanced analytic skills in quantitative and scientific reasoning and critical and creative thinking, along with a global and cross-cultural perspective, local/civic engagement and effective communication skills.

All GW students admitted to GW since fall 2011 must adhere to the G-PAC requirements.



University-Wide G-PAC Requirements

GW students across the university must complete the Tier One requirements.

  • One course in mathematics or statistics—quantitative reasoning
  • One course in natural and/or physical laboratory sciences—scientific reasoning
  • Two courses in social sciences—quantitative, scientific or critical thinking
  • One course in humanities—critical thinking
  • UW 1020
  • Two writing intensive courses, or Writing in the Disciplines (WID), after successful completion of UW 1020

Requirement Details

Critical thinking refers to the analysis and evaluation of complex information (systems of theory or thought) as well as the formulation of logical arguments based on that analysis. Students are required to take one course in critical thinking in the humanities and one course in critical thinking in the social sciences.

Quantitative reasoning refers to the process of modeling problems of the real world within a formal abstract system, solving those problems using systematic numerical methods of analysis, and interpreting the results. Students are required to take one approved course in mathematics or statistics.

Scientific reasoning refers to consistent, logical thought patterns that are employed during the process of scientific inquiry that enables individuals to propose relationships between observed phenomena, design experiments to assess the validity of these relationships, and evaluate the results of these experiments, all using the tools, skills, and techniques of quantitative reasoning. Students are required to take one approved course in natural and/or physical laboratory sciences that include labs.

Students are trained to communicate effectively in both written and oral formats, not only in their general education course sequence, but in their majors.

The written communication requirement trains students in the effective use of language to express critical thinking that evaluates rhetorical situations, identifies significant lines of inquiry, investigates and analyzes available knowledge, and develops rigorous arguments appropriate to the intended audience. First year students enroll in UW 1020: University Writing, after which they take two writing-intensive courses, known as Writing in the Disciplines (WID).

The oral communication requirement trains students in the effective interpretation, composition, and presentation of information, ideas, and values to a specific audience.
Only those courses that are designed specifically to meet the objectives outlined above, and that are assessed for their outcomes in these areas, count for general education credit.


CCAS-Specific Requirements

In addition to the Tier One requirements, all students in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences must also complete additional Tier Two courses in critical thinking, scientific reasoning and creative thinking as well as courses that incorporate global or cross-cultural perspectives and emphasize local or civic engagement. 

One approved course in the arts that involves the study or creation of artwork based on an understanding or interpretation of artistic traditions or knowledge of art in a contemporary context.

One approved laboratory course that employs the process of scientific inquiry (in addition to the one course in this category required by the University General Education Requirement.

One approved course in the humanities that involves critical thinking skills (in addition to the one course in this category required by the University General Education Requirement).

One approved course that analyzes the ways in which institutions, practices and problems transcend national and regional boundaries.

One approved course that develops the values, ethics, disciplines, and commitment to pursue responsible public action.

One course in oral communication. See the list of approved G-PAC courses for eligible options.


General G-PAC Policies

  • Students admitted to GW in fall 2011 or later follow the G-PAC curriculum.
  • Courses taken to fulfill any of the general education requirements, except UW 1020, may also be counted toward the major.
  • Credit by examination (AP, IB) and pre-matriculation transfer credit can count toward G-PAC if approved as a G-PAC equivalent course
  • Once a student has matriculated, all remaining G-PAC courses must be done in residence (study abroad taken during the fall and spring semesters is considered in residence)
  • Courses taken prior to the semester they were approved for G-PAC do not count towards G-PAC