General Education Requirements

Pathways provides a set of General Education Requirements that every student, starting in Fall 2013, must complete to earn an associate in arts (AA), associate in science (AS) or bachelor’s degree from CUNY. (Students pursuing AAS degrees may not have to fulfill all 30 credits of the Common Core.) Additionally, students in bachelor’s degree programs must meet the College Option requirement.

Notably, once a student has met a Common Core area requirement at one CUNY college, that requirement will be met at any other CUNY college. The same applies to College Option credits. That said, the Common Core provides the colleges with some flexibility; the College Option, by definition, varies by college. It is therefore vital that in addition to consulting this website, students (and faculty and staff) review the specific requirements for their own colleges.

CUNY General Education Requirements Consist of:


Common Core

Required Common Core (12 credits / 4 courses) **

  • English Composition (2 courses)
  • Mathematical and Quantitative Reasoning (1 course)
  • Life and Physical Sciences (1 course)

Flexible Common Core (18 credits / 6 courses) **

  • World Cultures and Global Issues (1 course)
  • U.S. Experience in Its Diversity (1 course)
  • Creative Expression (1 course)
  • Individual and Society (1 course)
  • Scientific World (1 course)
  • One additional course will be taken from one of the above areas.***

**For students in AA, AS and bachelor’s degree programs.

***In many cases, individual colleges will specify how the sixth course must be chosen. In addition, in most cases, students can complete for Common Core credit no more than two courses in any single discipline (e.g. history) or interdisciplinary field (e.g. women's studies). At Baruch College, students may complete for Common Core credit no more than one course in any discipline or interdisciplinary field. Again, it is essential to consult college guidelines.

College Option

Students in bachelor’s degree programs are required to take 6 to 12 additional credits of general education that are defined by each college. In some cases, requirements may vary based on a student’s area of study. Students who transfer from associate programs to bachelor's programs will be required to complete from 6 to 12 College Option credits, depending on how many credits they had at the time of transfer and whether they transferred with an associate degree. Students who transfer from one baccalaureate college to another will transfer any College Option credits they have already taken.



This website complements the Pathways websites maintained by the colleges. It is very important that students, faculty, and staff consult their own colleges’ websites.

This list of college links will be updated as colleges finalize their campus guidelines.


Pathways Tip: Students who are planning to enter high-credit majors or degree programs (those with many specified courses), or who are thinking of doing so, should be sure to consult an advisor about their best choices in the Common Core. Students will finish their degrees most efficiently if they take Common Core courses that will also count toward their major or degree program.