The general education of LSU students spans the four years of undergraduate study and is composed of two components. First, students are required to complete 39 hours that provide a breadth of knowledge across the following six major areas:
- English composition (six hours)
- Analytical reasoning (six hours)
- Arts (three hours)
- Humanities (nine hours)
- Natural sciences (nine hours)
- Social sciences (six hours)
The second component requires that courses used to satisfy the above-noted requirements also contribute to the student's competency in one or more of the university's learning outcomes:
- An LSU graduate will demonstrate effective communication of complex knowledge and ideas through written, oral, visual, and technological media.
- An LSU graduate will demonstrate an understanding of historical, cultural, and philosophical complexity which supports sophisticated discourse.
- An LSU graduate will be able to conduct research-based inquiry, including articulation of complex disciplinary and interdisciplinary problems, effective evaluation and analysis of primary and secondary sources, and integration of relevant information into original disclosure.
- An LSU graduate will be able to employ scientific and mathematical methods and technology in the resolution of laboratory and real-world problems.
- An LSU graduate will demonstrate an understanding of the factors associated with global interdependence, including economic, political, psychological, cultural, and linguistic forces.
- An LSU graduate will have the knowledge, skills, and disposition, which attest to a commitment and ability to recognize and to participate in processes that improve the civic life of communities.
General education is required by the Louisiana Board of Regents and by the university's regional accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Specifically, SACSCOC requires the following:
- Core Requirement 2.7.3. In each undergraduate degree program, the institution requires the successful completion of a general education component at the collegiate level that (1) is a substantial component of each undergraduate degree, (2) ensures breadth of knowledge, and (3) is based on a coherent rationale. For degree completion in associate programs, the component constitutes a minimum of 15 semester hours or the equivalent; for baccalaureate programs, a minimum of 30 semester hours or the equivalent. These credit hours are to be drawn from and include at least one course from each of the following areas: humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral sciences, and natural science/mathematics. The courses do not narrowly focus on those skills, techniques, and procedures specific to a particular occupation or profession. If an institution uses a unit other than semester credit hours, it provides an explanation for the equivalency. The institution also provides a justification if it allows for fewer than the required number of semester credit hours or its equivalent unit of general education courses.
- Comprehensive Standard 3.5.1. The institution identifies college-level general education competencies and the extent to which students have attained them.
Changes to general education components are considered by the LSU Faculty Senate Committee on General Education.
LSU Policy Statement 45: Courses & Curricula (under revision)