General Education Program

University of the Pacific


After taking some of these general education courses, I have found new and unexpected interests. I found that I love to learn not only how the world works, but also how belief systems direct people’s perceptions of the world, as I explored in my religious studies classes; or how the knowledge people gain impacts their choices, as I discussed with my Pacific Seminar I class; or how the arts confound and beautify a mechanistic and scientific perception of the world, as I learned in my art history and music appreciation class. The topics I explored in each of my classes helped me cultivate a larger depth and scope of knowledge.”

—Cassie Karambela,
Biological Sciences major

At Pacific, the general education program exposes students to areas of study outside of their major, and they develop essential knowledge and skills that are transferable to other courses at Pacific as well as to their personal and public lives. The exposure to different areas of study and the development of intellectual and practical skills promote the mission of Pacific’s general education: self-understanding, citizenship, and career development.



One goal of Pacific’s general education program is fundamentally personal: to enrich students’ self-understanding and expand their interests in preparation for a fulfilling life. Students are exposed to new intellectual, moral, spiritual, and aesthetic possibilities. Through the interaction with others from different backgrounds and the study of different disciplines, students come to understand who they are and the sources of their beliefs. They thus gain the skills to identify, express and analyze their beliefs and to fashion a philosophy of life that can guide them in their future endeavors. Students may also find life-long pleasure in learning, self-reflection, and conversation.


Another goal is to produce engaged and informed citizens who advance a democratic society by contributing to political and civil life and by committing themselves to the service of others. General education fosters the skills to evaluate complex social and political issues and teaches the moral and political grounds that inform political action and service in a democracy. The health of a society depends on informed and active citizens who can balance the public good and self-interest.

Career Development

Finally, the general education program prepares students to enter professional life by developing practical skills that are valuable to employers and essential to civil society. These skills include the abilities to express oneself clearly and cogently in writing and orally, to be diligent and careful in the preparation of one’s work, to interpret and evaluate information, to think creatively in order to solve problems, to work independently as well as collegially in groups with a sensitivity toward cultural differences, to use technology, and to treat others ethically in their professional interactions.

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San Jose , United States