General Education

Understanding Overlapping


What is overlapping?

Courses may simultaneously be counted for both the general education common core and cross-theme requirements and for other lower-division requirements such as lower-division major requirements, business requirements or language requirements.  This is called "overlapping." Courses counted in the lower-division section of the program of studies may not also be applied to any requirements in the upper-division section of the program of studies.  However, courses taken as part of the upper-division major requirements which are also approved for upper-division general education may generally be counted for both requirements, and this potential overlap will be noted in the program of studies.

 Why would I want to overlap?

Students in degree programs with a large number of requirements will be interested in maximizing overlap between general education and other degree requirements in order to preserve some unrestricted electives and/or make timely progress toward completion of the degree.  For most students, maximizing overlap simply increases the number of unrestricted elective credits that will be needed to reach a total of 124 semester credits. This can be useful for students who wish to pursue a minor, a double major, or study abroad opportunities, or for those who transfer many credits of unrestricted electives. One excellent use of unrestricted elective credits, however, is to take additional general education courses in areas of interest.

 Why might I choose not to overlap?

Let's say your major requires either SOC 1000 or SOC 2000 and also requires ECON 2010.  Both SOC 2000 and ECON 2010 are in Values and Choices B, so in order to maximize overlap you would take SOC 1000 for the Sociology requirement which would satisfy World Cultures B. However, suppose you are more interested in SOC 2000 than SOC 1000 and you would also really like to take HUM 1270 even though it is not required by your major.   You might then choose to take SOC 2000 for the lower-division major requirement and HUM 1270 for World Cultures B even though this will require 3 more credits than taking SOC 1000 for both the lower-division major requirement and World Cultures B.

 How will I know which courses can overlap?

Each program of studies indicates parenthetically which common core categories will be satisfied by the courses students are required to take for that particular major. A particular degree program may require more than one course that meets a particular general education category.  In that case, one course will be applied to both general education and the major while the other(s) will apply only to the major.  Students will not usually need to take any other courses to meet the general education requirements from those general education categories where their major requires an eligible course.   However, if a major requires three or four courses with the same alpha (such as four HIST courses or three PSCI courses), a student will be able to count only two of them toward the common core and will need to take a course from a different discipline in the other categories. Sometimes which categories will be satisfied will depend on which courses are taken in order to meet specific lower-division requirements.  For example, if the lower-division  major requirements include either SOC 1000 or SOC 2000, taking SOC 1000 will meet the requirement for World Cultures B, while taking SOC 2000 will meet the requirement for Values and Choices B.  

 In most programs there will be several categories where the major does not require any eligible course. Students must then take an appropriate general education course from the available options to fulfill that category.   The program of studies will also indicate whether any of the courses required by that program will meet the art, aesthetics and creativity cross-theme and whether there is a preference for either of the digital literacy options for students wanting to maximize overlap.

 Where can I get more help?

HPU provides  General Education Plans for each major, available as pdf files, which allow you to track your progress and are pre-filled with required courses that overlap. They also have some advice about choosing your cross-theme courses and other possible overlaps. 

Visual Maps, provided for some of the majors that can overlap in different possible combinations, allow you to envision multiple possibilities for combining and overlapping cross-theme courses, the fifteen common core categories, and the other lower-division requirements.  These maps follow the General Education Plans as part of the same pdf file. 

 You can also contact an academic advisor for assistance with planning your schedule.