☰ In This Section

Since there are so many different courses to choose from in our General Education categories, we have assigned a letter to each of them so that you can tell which requirement a course meets by looking at the letter at the end of the course number. Bethel students usually talk about these General Education requirements by the letter, saying "Have you taken your K course?" or "What P course are you taking?"

Some of the letters are the first letter of the name of the category and others are not, but it never takes long for students to start using this Bethel shorthand to talk about these courses. The 3 letters at the beginning of the course number indicate the department that offers that course. Courses in each category are offered by many different academic departments.

Artistic Experience (A)

Students gain hands-on experience with the arts through an in-studio experience or performance that is planned, supervised, and critiqued by a faculty member.


  • ART250A Introduction to Photography
  • COM170A Media Production
  • ENJ210A Prose Studio
  • MUL142A Beginning Guitar
  • THA100A Beginning Acting for Stage and Screen

Laboratory (D)

Introduces the process and concepts of modern science while providing a perspective on scientifically acquired knowledge, inductive methods, and experimental procedures.


  • BIO 104D Human Biology
  • BIO114D Introduction to Biodiversity, Ecology, and Adaptation
  • CHE101D Introduction to Chemistry
  • PHY112D Introduction to Astronomy
  • PHY292D General Physics I

Comparative Systems (G)

Compares and contrasts the ways different societies deal with challenges to their success and survival. Students interact with "voices" (readings, materials, and insights) from the societies, regions, or the historical epoch being studied.


  • BIB334G Cultural World of the Old Testament
  • BUS318G Global Marketing
  • GES312G Disability and Society
  • HIS324G Human Rights in International History

Science, Technology, and Society (K)

Examines the connection of science and technology with other aspects of contemporary society and the natural environment.


  • COM310K Communication, Technology, and Society
  • GES302K Lethal Microbes
  • GES328K Nutrition: The Total Diet
  • PHI335K Environmental Ethics

Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L)

Explores contemporary American life, culture, and thought within the broad context of Western culture and thought. Addresses the question, "What does it mean to live in a Western culture in the 21st century, given the influences of the past 200 years?"


  • ENS205L Sustainable Living
  • HIS200L History of the United States
  • PHI223L Introduction to Gender Studies
  • POS216L American Constitutional History

Mathematics (M)

Introduces foundational mathematical concepts. Reviews and reinforces quantitative skills. Students apply appropriate mathematical models and techniques to real-life quantitative problems in order to develop problem-solving skills.


  • BUS201M Business Math & Statistics
  • MAT101M Mathematics for the 21st Century
  • MAT124M Calculus 1
  • PHI125M Introduction to Logic
  • PSY230M Introduction to Statistical Methods and Experimental Design

Contemporary Christian Issues (P)

Explores selected topics that challenge Christians to make personal and collective choices in light of their Christian values, education, and personal experience. The primary goals of this capstone course are to cultivate holistic and biblically based views of oneself and the world and to facilitate ethical decision-making when faced with these issues.


  • GES407P Women's Lives, Women's Choices
  • GES420P Bioethics
  • GES444P Christians and Conflict
  • GES451P Spirituality, Sexuality, and the Family

Second Language (S)

Equips students to understand and communicate with people of other cultures at the Novice-High level on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency scale. In the case of ancient languages (Classical Greek, Latin, Hebrew), students are able to use the language to engage the ideas of those cultures. Documented proficiency in languages such as Swahili or Japanese, or other languages not offered at Bethel serve to meet the requirement of this category.


  • ASL102S Introductory American Sign Language II
  • GRK102S Introductory Biblical Greek II
  • HEB102S Introductory Biblical Hebrew II
  • SPA102S Introductory Spanish II

Students may fulfill Bethel's language requirement by:

  1. Completing the second semester of the first year of a (introductory or beginning) college-level language class or higher with a passing grade at Bethel University (e.g., FRE102S Introductory French II).
  2. Completing the second semester of a first-year (introductory or beginning) college-level language class or higher with grade of C or higher at another college/university (any language other than English).
  3. Earning a score of 3 or better on an Advanced Placement language exam or a score of 50 or better on a language CLEP test.

World Cultures (U)

Examines the religious/philosophical traditions, economic and political structures, and socio-cultural frameworks of one historical or contemporary cultural group whose ways of thinking and living are substantially different than the dominant cultures of Europe and North America.


  • ENJ203U World Literature
  • HIS236UZ Medieval Worlds: Cultures and Beliefs in North Africa and Europe*
  • PHI230U Medieval Islamic Philosophy
  • POS202U Introduction to International Relations

*This course has 2 letters at the end, so it fulfills both the World Cultures (U) requirement and the Cross-cultural Experience (Z) requirement.

Cross-cultural Experience (Z)

Students have a significant, off-campus, cross-cultural experience. This requirement can be met either by taking a course designated with a Z-tag, which includes most of our month-long interim courses abroad, completing a semester abroad, or completing an approved non-credit experience that is done in conjunction with ½ credit pre-experience and post-experience courses.


  • BUS202Z Introduction to International Business
  • COM355Z Intercultural Communication
  • GES330KZ History of Science in Europe*
  • SPA202UZ Intermediate Spanish II*

*This course has 2 letters at the end, so it fulfills both the Contemporary Christian Issues (P) requirement and the Cross-cultural (Z) requirement.

Requirements for non-credit experience:

Before undertaking their cross-cultural experience, a student must complete GES101 Pre-Intercultural Engagement Preparation. After completing the experience, they must completed GES102Z Post-Intercultural Engagement Processing.

Examples of Z non-credit experiences:

  • Work with students as a tutor for reading when English is a 2nd language
  • Work with missionaries overseas
  • Volunteer at a Hispanic church working with youth
  • Travel with a Bethel band trip to Malaysia
  • Volunteer at a Hmong community center
  • Work over the summer with Hispanic families through community education
  • coach inner city teams