Apr 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Bachelor’s Degree Requirements

ThStudents sitting outside at main entrancee goal of undergraduate programs is to encourage the development of the individual’s values and talents which may be employed in solving the problems of a complex society. Special emphasis is directed to the development of the student’s capacity for independent judgment and creative thought. Undergraduate study combines both theory and practice to educate students and to prepare them for the world of work.

Undergraduate Student Status

Undergraduate degree-seeking students are those students admitted to an undergraduate degree program.

University General Education Outcomes

The purpose of General Education at Governors State University is to prepare students to participate in a dynamic and diverse world. It provides students with a broad foundation of knowledge, facilitates social responsibility, and provides the practical and intellectual skills needed by capable citizens. This General Education foundation will integrate in-depth study in a specific area of interest and application to the wider world. The GSU General Education Student Learning Outcomes are organized into four areas suggested by the American Association of Colleges and Universities: foundational knowledge, practical skills, social responsibilities, and integrated learning. Each of these areas of development is explained in the learning outcomes outlined below.

Foundational Knowledge outcomes are supported by the content of core general education courses and provide a basis for understanding more specific information in each student’s major area of study. The core courses include study of culture and politic s, physical and natural sciences, and the arts. At the conclusion of an undergraduate degree program, the student will be able to:

  • Define key terms related to human cultures and the physical and the natural world, both in historical and in contemporary settings.
  • Describe the physical and the natural world and the boundaries and practices of human cultures.
  • Identify current economic, biophysical, and social challenges.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with diverse perspectives on complex scientific, social, economic, technological, or aesthetic challenges by constructing a cultural, political or technological argument in the form of a written project, laboratory report, exhibit, performance or community service design.
  • Demonstrate understanding of at least two academic fields by applying the perspectives and literature of those fields and proposing a “best approach” solution to a complex question, problem, or challenge using evidence from those fields.

Practical Skills are practical and intellectual abilities that help students demonstrate the knowledge that they have gained. These skills are developed and used throughout the general education curriculum. They include the ability to think critically, to think creatively, and to solve problems. In addition, written and oral communication skills, information literacy, quantitative literacy, and collaborative skills are included in this set of student learning outcomes. At the conclusion of an undergraduate degree program, the student will be able to:

  • Use relevant disciplinary conventions, including citation of sources.
  • Demonstrate the ability to define an information need and then locate, retrieve, critically evaluate, and use that information.
  • Demonstrate the ability to translate verbal problems into mathematical or logical language and the ability to construct valid arguments using the accepted symbolic system of mathematical reasoning.
  • Construct quantitative analyses and evaluation of data.
  • Use analytic inquiry and written, oral, and visual modes of communication to explain theories and approaches to problems.
  • Generate evidentially-supported and well-developed arguments that reflect sound interpretations and analysis of social and ethical issues.
  • Incorporate diverse evidence in multimodal projects, papers, or performances appropriate for a specified audience.
  • Demonstrate the collaborative and cooperative practices needed to function effectively and responsibly in a diverse public square.
  • Construct an individual or group project requiring assembling, arranging and reformulating ideas, concepts, designs or techniques.

Social Responsibility is the development of an awareness of personal and social obligations needed for success in a diverse and global society. Learning outcomes in this area include those related to civic engagement, intercultural knowledge, ethical reasoning, and appreciation for lifelong learning. At the conclusion of an undergraduate degree program, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate academic and intellectual honesty and an appreciation for lifelong learning.
  • Demonstrate the ability to accept and act on constructive criticism.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to an ecologically sound, socially just, and economically viable planet.
  • Demonstrate an understanding and an appreciation of individual cultural perspectives, including non-Western and non-dominant ways of knowing.
  • Explain diverse perspectives on contested ethical or policy issues.
  • Evaluate insights and evidence on contested issues derived from a range of scholarly, cultural, and community perspectives.
  • Frame a response to an ethical or policy question using scholarship from the student’s major field of study and at least one other discipline.
  • Collaborate in developing, implementing, and evaluating a community-based project.

Integrative Learning student learning outcomes require the combining knowledge gained early in the general education courses with the more specific knowledge gained in the area of the major. Thus, this category represents synthesis of knowledge and advanced intellectual accomplishment. At the conclusion of an undergraduate degree program, the student will be able to:

  • Frame a complex scientific, social, technological, economic, or aesthetic challenge or problem.
  • Respond to the problem with a summative project, paper, or practice-based performance that draws on current research, scholarship and/or techniques in the student’s major field and incorporating information from at least two disciplines.

University General Education Requirement

General Education Requirements for Freshman Year

Freshman year at Governors State University is designed to provide a foundation upon which to build, both during college and for life after GSU. As part of a challenging academic community, the freshmen year experience is designed to teach strategies and skills for critical thinking and to instill confidence in the use of those abilities as a student and as a member of a diverse community.

During the first and second years all students are assigned to classes based on a Focus Area. Each focus allows students to customize their First Year Experience to their career path and encourages students to take a world view in the selection of a college major.

The Focus Areas

Focus Areas are designed to give students a foundation on which to build during the students college career and for life after GSU. As part of a challenging academic community, students learn strategies and skills to become a critical thinker. Students become confident in their abilities as a student and as a member of a diverse community.

The Focus Areas are Arts and Entertainment, Business, Education, Discovery, Humanities, Social & Behavioral Sciences, and STEM. 


No matter the focus area, there is more built into the first year to help freshman students succeed.

  • Classes are small. Only 15 students in each of the English Composition sections, with 30 students in most classes.

  • All first year classes are taught by experienced faculty members.

The Four Year Planning Guides can be found at Advising Guides for Freshmen and Sophomores | Governors State University (govst.edu/advisingguides)

General Education Requirements for Transfer Students

Students may fulfill their General Education requirements in any one of three ways. They may:

  1. Complete the course distribution requirements, with a grade of “C” or better in each course and a total of 37-38 semester hours*. Requirements may be met by completing courses approved to meet the general education requirements at Governors State University and/or presenting acceptable transfer courses as evaluated by the Degree Audit Team (see GSU Policy 51). These are:
  • Communication: three courses (9 semester hours), including a two- course sequence in writing (6 semester hours) and one course (3 semester hours) in oral communication;
  • Mathematics: one course (3 semester hours);
  • Physical and Life Sciences: two to three courses (7 to 8 semester hours) with one course selected from the life sciences and one course from the physical sciences, including at least one laboratory course;
  • Humanities and Fine Arts: three courses (9 semester hours) with at least one course selected from humanities and at least one course from the fine arts; and
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences: three courses (9 semester hours) with courses selected from at least two disciplines.

* For colleges and universities on the quarter calendar system, three (3) quarter credits equal two (2) semester hours.

  1. Transfer to Governors State University having earned an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree from a regionally-accredited Illinois community college. The Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.), Associate of Engineering Sciences (A.E.S.), Associate of Science (A.S.) and the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) do not meet this requirement.
  2. Complete the Illinois Articulation Initiative General Education Core Curriculum (GECC) at another institution and have it noted on the transcript.

General Education Requirements for Students Seeking a Second Bachelor’s Degree

  1. Provide documentation of having earned a bachelor’s degree from any one of the state universities in Illinois, or
  2. Complete the distribution requirements with a grade of “C” or better in each course and a total of 37-38 semester hours*. Requirements may be met by completing courses that were specifically approved because they meet the relevant general education requirement at Governors State University and/or presenting acceptable transfer courses as evaluated by the GSU Degree Audit Team. These are:
  • Communication: three courses (9 semester hours), including a two- course sequence in writing (6 semester hours) and one course (3 semester hours) in oral communication;
  • Mathematics: one course (3 semester hours);
  • Physical and Life Sciences: two to three courses (7 to 8 semester hours) with one course selected from the life sciences and one course from the physical sciences, including at least one laboratory course;
  • Humanities and Fine Arts: three courses (9 semester hours) with at least one course selected from humanities and at least one course from the fine arts; and
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences: three courses (9 semester hours) with courses selected from at least two disciplines.

* For colleges and universities on the quarter calendar system, three (3) quarter credits equal two (2) semester hours.

Articulation Agreements

To minimize transfer problems for students, Governors State University and area community colleges have developed articulation agreements (transfer guides) that help students plan bachelor’s degree programs beginning at the community college and finishing at Governors State University. These agreements assure smooth transition from lower-division study to upper-division study and completion of a bachelor’s degree. GSU also participates in the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI). The General Education Core Curriculum (GECC) is accepted to meet general education requirements. In addition, GSU accepts the Major Panel recommendations for transfer. Students will receive credit for those courses recommended by the panels and successfully completed.

General Education Courses

The complete list of general education courses are found on the General Education Courses  page of this catalog. Be sure to check with your academic advisor when selecting courses to meet the various General Education requirements.

Student Planning and Degree Audit

Student Progress/Degree Audit is an agreement developed in collaboration with an academic advisor for a student’s degree completion at GSU and informs the student of the recommended sequence of required courses. Every degree-seeking student is required to meet with an academic advisor to develop a plan for degree completion during the first term of enrollment. Students who do not complete a plan during the first term of enrollment may be precluded from further registration as degree seeking students, until a plan is completed.

The student progress/degree audit for the degree sought will detail the requirements which are in effect at the time of admission as a degree-seeking student. These requirements will remain unchanged as long as a student’s enrollment in the program has not been interrupted by more than six (6) terms, unless substitutions need to be made due to curriculum change. For transfer students, the plan will specify the amount of transfer credit, proficiency credit, and credit for prior learning applied toward the degree requirements; the total credit-hour requirements for the degree; and required and elective courses.

The academic advisor must approve acceptance of additional transfer credit from another regionally accredited institution, or modification to the plan. When a student changes majors or is readmitted, a new plan must be developed and approved with the new academic advisor.

Student Planning/Degree Audit plans are required for minors and certificates.

Students are encouraged to contact faculty members in specific discipline areas in which they have interests for additional academic mentoring.

Students choosing to take courses not specified in their Student Planning/Degree Audit may find that such credit may not apply toward the degree requirements and will not be covered by Financial Aid.


Research, combined with the experience of numerous colleges and universities, makes a convincing case that a thorough orientation for students of all ages leads to a greater probability of their success and ultimate graduation. Attending orientation helps students transition to a new educational institution. Orientation programs provide students with the information and services necessary to be a successful student at Governors State University. These virtual Student Orientation opportunities are tailored to your student status - whether you’re a first-year, transfer, international, or graduate student, there is an orientation session for you. Details are found via links on this site: https://www.govst.edu/newstudentprograms/.

Undergraduate Degree Programs Offered

Each undergraduate degree program includes a major, and in some cases, a concentration, teaching concentration, and/or minor.

Academic Degree Programs Offered  

The University Honors Program

The Governors State University Honors Program is committed to providing high-impact, unique, challenging, and experiential learning opportunities, in and out of the classroom, for our high achieving students. We seek to promote leadership skills and personal development in our curricular and co-curricular opportunities for the betterment of the individual student, the university, and the global community.

The honors program is an elective, non-degree-granting academic program for high-achieving students in all undergraduate majors. Students that elect to complete the university honors program will be encouraged to complete curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular high-impact educational experiences in one of eight different categories that will work to advance their academic and career aspirations. Students who begin the program as freshmen will also complete a sequence of general education honors courses if credit for those courses is needed.

Graduates of the program often will continue to graduate program degrees and have careers as social workers, psychologists, law, medicine, teachers, speech pathologists, occupational and physical therapists, and higher education professionals, among other careers.

For more information, contact an academic advisor or the University Honors Program website, or the office of the director of the University Honors Program at drhea@govst.edu or 708-534-4392.

Student Responsibility

Students are responsible for knowledge of, and adherence to, all university requirements and regulations.

Students are responsible for knowing the degree requirements for their major and enrolling in courses that meet those degree requirements.

Students are responsible for seeking information and assistance from appropriate staff should they have any questions regarding requirements or regulations.

General Requirements

The following general requirements for the bachelor’s degree are minimum standards established by the university. Colleges and individual majors may determine additional, more specific requirements that will be incorporated into an approved student study plan. In order to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, a student must meet the following minimum university degree requirements:

  1. Complete a minimum of 120 credit hours, including lower division credit hours for admission and any transfer credit accepted toward the degree requirements.
  2. Complete a minimum of 40 upper division credit hours, including any upper division transfer credit accepted toward the degree requirements. In rare circumstances, a program may have a minimum of fewer than 40 upper division credit hours. Program exceptions must be in compliance with Illinois Board of Higher Education policy, be reviewed and recommended by the appropriate Faculty Senate committees, and be approved by the President.
  3. Satisfy Policy 51, University General Education Requirement.
  4. Satisfy Policy 28, Residency Requirements Policy.
  5. Demonstrate that all degree requirements have been met as defined in the student’s study plan approved in the college.
  6. Be in academic good standing.
  7. Complete all coursework (i.e., remove all I or E grade statuses)
  8. Meet all financial obligations to the university.
  9. Complete the collegial and university procedures that cover implementation of the above requirements.

In addition to the requirements stated above, an undergraduate may:

  1. Apply to degree requirements no more than 18 credit-hours earned as an undeclared student.
  2. Apply to degree requirements no more than 12 credit-hours earned in the pass/no credit grading option.
  3. Apply to degree requirements no more than nine credit-hours earned in independent studies.

Transfer Credit for Undergraduate Students

The following requirements apply to courses being transferred from colleges and universities accredited by regional accrediting agencies. Students seeking to apply transfer credit from non-accredited institutions toward degree requirements must petition the dean of the college in which the major is offered. Transfer credits that are accepted toward degree requirements will be entered in the student study plan.

Transfer of Prior Credits: Credits earned in courses at other universities or earned as an undeclared student at Governors State University will be accepted in accordance with the following:

  1. The decision to accept transfer credit toward degree requirements should be made before the student enrolls at GSU, but in any event is to be made no later than the first term of enrollment by the degree audit process, in accordance with university policies and procedures. The student progress/degree audit will detail the requirements for the degree, including the number of transfer credits accepted toward the requirements.
  2. No more than 80 semester hours of lower division credit will be applied toward degree requirements. The credits will be evaluated based on the established articulation agreements, the Illinois Articulation Agreement (IAI), or course-by-course evaluation. Students admitted in transfer who have satisfactorily completed courses within the Illinois General Education Core Curriculum (IAI GECC) at a regionally accredited (e.g. Higher Learning Commission) Illinois college or university will be granted credit toward fulfilling GSU’s lower-division general education requirement. Governors State University will evaluate and award credit for all successfully completed college coursework with grades of “D” or better. Courses, which are remedial, developmental or pre-college, will not be accepted for transfer. Majors with specific program accreditation may require that courses be complete with a grade of “C” or higher to be applied towards the major requirements, please see the specific major requirements in this catalog for additional information. 
  3. Credits earned at the upper division level are applied toward specific degree requirements on a course-by-course basis. Only work completed with a grade of “C” or better or “P” (Pass) will be considered for upper division transfer credit, satisfactory completion of a course prerequisite, or co-requisite.
  4. Transfer credit applied to meet university general education requirements, at the lower division or upper division level, must have a grade of “C” or better, unless the “D” was accepted for the associate of arts or the Illinois Articulation Initiative General Education Core Curriculum. Refer to the General Education Policy for additional information.
  5. Upon approval of the provost, individual degree programs may establish published requirements on transfer credit limiting the time period within which specific course credit must have been earned in order to be applied toward degree requirements.

NOTE: No more than 18 credit-hours earned as an undeclared student may be applied toward degree requirements.

Transfer Credit Earned After Admission

After admission to a degree program, additional transfer credit will not be accepted from another regionally accredited institution unless permission to apply such credit toward degree requirements was obtained from the academic advisor prior to taking the course(s) at another institution. Only courses with grades of “C” or better will be accepted in transfer after matriculation to a degree program.

Academic Standing

Undergraduate students who maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 are in good standing. Students must be in academic good standing to graduate.

Writing Across the Curriculum Requirement

Governors State University recognizes that today’s successful graduates must be excellent communicators. To ensure that GSU graduates meet this standard of excellence, the university has developed a program that emphasizes written and oral communication in each degree area. Known as Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC, Policy 48), this program allows faculty and students to use writing as a vehicle for learning. WAC applies the most current knowledge from education and composition studies to a variety of specially designated courses that help students master the language conventions used by members of given fields. This mastery is a key factor not only in academic success, but also in professional success after graduation.

Students are required to complete at least one writing intensive course for each level of student standing (freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior) before receiving a bachelor’s degree. Program advisors can provide information on which courses in the program qualify as WAC courses.

Residency Requirements

All undergraduate degree-seeking students are required to earn a minimum of 30 credit-hours of course work from Governors State University prior to the award of each degree sought. Please note that per GSU Honors Policy 21 - students must have earned 45 graded credit hours of coursework at GSU to be eligible for graduation with Latin Honors.

University Minors

Various academic divisions/departments within the university offer minors available to degree-seeking students who wish to pursue organized course work in addition to their major field of study. A Governors State University minor consists of a minimum of 18 credit hours. Colleges may establish additional published requirements beyond those listed for individual minors.

To earn a minor, a student must do the following:

  1. Meet all university and collegial requirements for the baccalaureate degree.
  2. Apply for the minor and have it included on your student progress/degree audit. Transfer courses should be submitted to the minor advisor for approval prior to the term in which graduation is intended.
  3. Complete the specific course requirements for the minor as described in the catalog and detailed on the student progress/degree audit. Credit hours may count toward both a major and a minor, provided they are accepted for both.
  4. Earn at least 1/2 of the required credit hours for the minor from Governors State University. Individual programs may require a greater portion of credit hours to be completed at Governors State University. Additionally, ½ of the required credit hours for the minor must be earned through courses numbered at the 3000 or above level.
  5. Apply for the completion of the minor at the time of major degree completion by submitting an approved student study plan for each minor with the application for graduation.
  6. Be in Academic Good Standing.
  7. Remove all grades of incomplete (“I” or “E”) by the graduation processing date.
  8. Complete the collegial and university procedures which cover implementation of the above requirements.

Second Bachelor’s Degree

A student having earned a bachelor’s degree may earn a subsequent bachelor’s degree at Governors State University by:

  1. Applying and being admitted to the undergraduate degree program.
  2. Meeting requirements of the University Residency Policy for the subsequent degree. Hours applied toward the first degree may not be included in hours required to meet residency requirements.
  3. Completing all requirements of the subsequent degree program as stipulated in the student study plan.
  4. Meeting university, college/school and/or major degree requirements for the subsequent degree.

Application for Graduation

Students should arrange to meet with their assigned academic advisors to review the student progress/degree audit and verify expected completion of degree requirements. Students must apply for graduation by the published deadline. Students should complete “Apply for Degree” in the portal. The application is approved by the advisor, division/department chair, and dean. Approval by the Registrar’s Office results in degree certification and awarding of the diploma. A $125 graduation application fee covers costs of diplomas and commencement.


Commencement is held once a year. Participation is optional. Participation is available for students who have completed their degree requirements during December of the previous year, as certified by the Registrar. Students on track to complete their requirements in May or August of the current year may apply to participate. Students with any unpaid financial obligation to the university are not eligible to participate. Participation in a commencement ceremony does not constitute certification of degree completion. All participants must be certified by the Registrar before receiving a degree.


Diplomas are awarded only upon verification of completion of all degree requirements and satisfaction of all financial obligations to the university. Diplomas are inscribed with the type of degree, major, date, and the student name on record at the time the degree was confirmed.

Audit Registration

A student who is interested in a particular course(s) but does not wish to take it for credit may audit the course(s). All attendance and work is voluntary. A student may register to audit a course during the registration period upon paying the required fee and obtaining the instructor’s approval. Audit registrations do not appear on the academic transcript. A change from audit to credit registration or from credit to audit registration must be made during the registration period.

Veterans and other eligible persons cannot be certified for audited courses per 38 CFR 21.4252(i) of the code of federal regulations.

Change in Major/Change of Status

Degree-seeking and Undeclared students who wish to change their major and/or concentration must complete the appropriate forms available on the web or with their academic advisor. Students who change their course of study are subject to any special admission and degree requirements in effect for the new major and/or concentration at the time of the change.  Students who wish to complete up to 3 minors must complete the appropriate change of status form.