General Education

In addition to courses in majors, all students enrolled in degree or academic certificate programs must complete the College’s general education requirements.  General education requirements are designed to expose students to courses of study beyond those normally associated with their major subject areas. 


Faculty and administrators periodically review general education requirements to ensure they meet the highest standards of academic excellence.  General education guidelines of ECC are in full accord with those established by the New Jersey Council of Community Colleges General Education Foundation and as contained in the New Jersey Presidents’ Council’s Statewide Transfer Agreement.

General education requirements are designed to teach diverse skills every knowledgeable individual should master regardless of chosen course of study.  ECC seeks to transform lives so that students can achieve better futures through education.  Students are empowered to become agents of change in their own lives, communities, and in the world.  General education prepares students for further education and for the demands of competitive marketplaces and the global economy.  Accordingly, depending on the major chosen, students may take courses in the following categories:

Communication- Written and Oral Communication: Students will communicate effectively in both writing and speech.

Mathematics- Quantitative Knowledge and Skills: Students will use appropriate mathematical and statistical concepts and operations to interpret data and solve problems.

Science- Scientific Knowledge and Reasoning: Students will use the scientific method for acquisition of scientific knowledge.

Technology- Technological Competency: Students will use computers or other technologies to achieve educational and personal goals.

Social Science- Society and Human Behavior: Students will use social science theories aand concepts to analyze human behavior and social and political institutions and to act as responsible citizens.

Humanities- Humanistic Perspective: Students will analyze works in the fields of art, music or theater; literature; philosophy, religious studies; and/or gain competence in a foreign language.

History- Historical Perspective: Students will understand historical events and movements in World, Western, non-Western, or American societies and assess their significance.

Diversity- Global and Cultural Awareness: Students will understand the importance of global perspectives and of culturally diverse peoples.

Ethical Reasoning and Action: Students will understand ethical issues and situations.

Information Literacy: Students will address an information need by locating, evaluating and effectively using information.

 General education courses afford opportunities to expand learning toward gaining a well-rounded education.

General Education Core Competencies

The following core competencies should, to the greatest extent possible, be embedded in all general education courses:

  1. Communication: Students will communicate effectively in oral, written, nonverbal, and visual media.
  1. Students will read, write, illustrate, and listen actively, critically, and reflectively and respond logically, informatively, persuasively, and creatively.
  2. Students will evaluate and revise their communication, writing and speaking clearly and effectively in standard formal Standard English with use of inclusive language.
  3. Students will understand, analyze, and assess nonverbal, cultural, and gender communication in small group and public communication settings.
  1. Critical and Ethical Thinking and Problem Solving: Students will use critical thinking and problem-solving skills in analyzing information in an ethical manner.
  1. Students will distinguish among opinions, facts, and inferences identifying and critiquing underlying and implicit assumptions.
  2. Students will thoughtfully evaluate diverse perspectives and alternate points of view by asking informed questions and making informed judgments.
  3. Students will solve problems by applying discipline-appropriate methods and standards.
  4. Students will integrate their knowledge, take an ethical position on issues or situations, and defend their stance with logical arguments.
  1. Information and Computer Literacy: Students will recognize when data and information is needed and have the skills to locate, evaluate, and effectively use information for college-level work.
  1. Students will recognize the value of using the information to strengthen arguments and articulate research project questions.
  2. Students will identify resources and construct strategies for locating information and data to answer research project questions in their particular study fields, possibly using web search engines and data analysis tools.
  3. Students will understand factors that affect the quality of data and information and extract pertinent information needed for specific research questions and integrate it cohesively.
  4. Students will respect the privacy, security, and ownership of data and information they use, including ethical considerations focusing on avoiding plagiarism.
  5. Students will demonstrate media literacy by accessing, analyzing, and evaluating messages in various media modes, genres, and forms with an appreciation of the impacts of technologies on societies.
  1. Collaboration, Cooperation, Intra-Cultural, and Inter-Cultural Responsibility: Students will demonstrate interpersonal skills required for effective performance and understand the privileges and responsibilities of being a citizen in diverse and pluralistic societies, both locally and globally.
  1. Students will demonstrate communication skills that promote effective functioning and interpersonal relations with individuals and groups, including effective cross-cultural communication.
  2. Students will employ strategies, like brainstorming, role playing and consensus building, which promote productive and supportive interpersonal interaction in individual and group settings.
  3. Students will demonstrate understanding of the behaviors and beliefs of different social groups with pluralistic societies, including those based on culture, ethnicity, race, religion, creed, disability, marital status, national origin or ancestry, age, gender, socio-economic status, and sexual orientations.

At a minimum, students in an Associate in Arts (A.A.) program must complete at least 45 credits of approved general education courses.  The general education course categories, at a minimum, include (1) Written and Oral Communication: 9 credits, (2) Mathematics-Science-Technology: 12 credits, (3) Social Science: 6 credits, (4) Humanistic Perspective: 9 credits, (5) Historical Perspective: 6 credits, and (6) Global and Cultural Awareness (Diversity): 3 credits.

 At a minimum, students in an Associate in Science (A.S.) program must complete at least 30 credits of approved general education courses. The general education course categories, at a minimum, include (1) Written and Oral Communication: 6 credits, (2) Mathematics-Science-Technology: 9 credits, (3) Social Science: 3 credits and another 3 credits in either Social Science or Humanistic Perspective, (4) Humanistic Perspective, 3 credits, and a minimum of 6 unassigned approved general education credits.

At a minimum, students in an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) program must complete at least 20 credits of approved general education courses. The general education course categories, at a minimum, include (1) Written and Oral Communication: 6 credits, (2) Mathematics-Science-Technology: 3 credits, and 3 credits in either Social Science or Humanistic Perspective; and a minimum of 8 unassigned approved general education credits.

At a minimum, students in Academic Certificate programs of study must complete at least 6 credits of approved general education courses.  The general education course categories, at a minimum, include (1) Written and Oral Communication: 3 credits, and, (2) Mathematics-Science-Technology; Social Science; or, Humanistic Perspective: 3 credits in either category.

All students must be proficient in mathematics.  If a specific mathematics course is part of a major requirement for a program, students may elect to take higher level courses to fulfill their general education requirement.  Course substitutions are as follows:

Required                    Substitution Course

MTH 100                    MTH 113 or 119

MTH 113                    MTH 119 or 120

MTH 119                    MTH 118 or 120 or 121

MTH 120                    MTH 118 or 121 or 122

MTH 114                    MTH 121

MTH 213                    MTH 122

MTH 119 & 120         MTH 118 & 121 or

     MTH 119 & 121 or

     MTH 120 & 121 or

     MTH 121 & 122

Only specific approved general education courses can be used to fulfill requirements for respective categories.  Check requirements for individual program listings.  Certain programs have specific sequences that must be followed.  Programs requiring a lab science sequence can fulfilled by sequences such as BIO 101-102, BIO 103-104, BIO 121-122; CHM 101-102, CHM 103-104; GEO 101-102; PHY 101-102, PHY 103-104, PHY 113-114.  Programs requiring a history sequence can be fulfilled by sequences such as HST 101-102, HST 111-112, HST 121-122, HST 131-132, HST 134-135, HST 136-137, HST 161-162.  Two individual lab science or history courses are not acceptable for programs requiring a sequence.  Art or Music appreciation course requirements cannot be fulfilled by studio art or music performance courses, but rather by appreciation courses such as ART 100, 101, 102, or 200; or by MUS 100, 109, or 117.