Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2017 - 2018 
    May 24, 2024  
Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2017 - 2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Education

FPU general education requirements follow two tracks, one for traditional undergraduate students and one for degree completion students. There are many similarities between the two. However, there are some differences, including the following: 1) the pattern for organizing requirements, 2) the number of courses required in each subject area and 3) the world civilization series, the focus series, foreign language, Concepts of Wellness course and physical education activities are required only in the traditional program. Degree Completion general education requirements are listed separately at the end of this section.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate comprehension of the Christian story, beginning with the central story of Jesus and continuing with the story of the church, with particular attention to the Anabaptists.
  2. Students will demonstrate comprehension of their own and other people's stories in relation to personal, cultural and historical contexts.
  3. Students will demonstrate comprehension of disciplinary narratives and methodologies and their interaction with Christian faith traditions.
  4. Students will demonstrate competency in oral communication.
  5. Students will demonstrate competency in written communication.
  6. Students will demonstrate competency in mediated communication.
  7. Students will demonstrate competency in quantitative communication.
  8. Students will demonstrate competency in multi- lingual communication.*
  9. Students will demonstrate the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, events, contexts, ethical perspectives and ramifications, demonstrating inductive and deductive reasoning and disciplinary methodology, and using quantitative and qualitative information, before accepting or formulating an opinion or pursuing a course of action.
  10. Students will identify information needed in order to fully understand a topic or task, explain how that information is organized, identify the best sources of information for a given enquiry, locate and critically evaluate sources, and accurately and effectively share that information.
  11. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the nature of wellness and become skillful in the holistic care of self.*
  12. Students will demonstrate the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make a difference in the life of communities.

*Not applicable to degree completion students.

Traditional Undergraduate Students Introduction

The academic curriculum is a primary vehicle for achieving the ideals of the Fresno Pacific Idea and mission of the university. The general education program is intended to provide a foundation for wise, faithful living and service in the world. Four blocks complete this foundation:

  1. The Stories of Peoples and Cultures
    Seeks to place learners in dialogue with the central Christian story—the Bible and the church—as well as other formative stories of world civilizations and cultures, particularly in reference to fundamental human questions: Who are we? Why are we here? Who are our people? Where have we been? Where are we going?
  2. The Tools of Human Inquiry and Communication
    Intended to build foundational concepts and skills in oral and written communication, mathematics and a foreign language.
  3. The Modes of Human Inquiry and Thought
    Intended to build foundational understanding of selected contents and methodologies in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. Similar concerns in biblical studies and theology are addressed in the sequence outlined as part of the first block.
  4. The Stewardship of the Body
    Intended to provide a foundation for wellness and physical well-being.

The major program builds on the foundational general education program. It provides learners with the opportunity to pursue mastery of special interests, to prepare for particular careers or to prepare for advanced study in graduate or professional schools.

The minor program, which is optional, has two primary purposes. The first is to provide learners with the opportunity to deepen their understanding and experience of values central to the tradition of the university. The second is to provide learners with the opportunity to pursue secondary personal or career interests.

Together, general education, the major and the minor are intended to stimulate learners to grow toward maturity centered in Jesus Christ, commitment to the church, virtue in character, faithfulness in vocation and service and active peacemaking, building community and transforming culture. Programs may require that students select specific general education courses. See program requirements for details.

The Stories of People and Cultures

Your life is a story. The lives of families, tribes, cultures and nations are stories. All began with God, the original story maker, whose words and deeds too are a story.

Among the stories of peoples and cultures are bigger stories. These stories cover topics such as creation, birth, crisis, passage, suffering, and death. All persons, peoples and cultures have these stories. Remembering them gives shape and meaning to our lives. They help us answer the big questions: Where do we come from? Why are we here? Where do we belong? How should we live? Where are we going?

The course that anchors the general education foundation is the beginning course, Jesus and the Christian Community, and the later Biblical Literature course. These reflect our conviction that the central story of history is the story of God and the fullness of his revelation in Jesus. We begin with this story.

Three courses, Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern, and Modern Civilizations, continue the story motif by providing the historical base for understanding the peoples and cultures of both the Western and non-Western worlds. The progressive unveiling of the story of God is continued in these courses, but now in the context of other stories of competing gods. Living, as we do, in a world that has shrunk to become a global village, we do well to understand not only our story, but also the stories that shape other peoples and cultures who have become our very close neighbors.

The focus series provides the opportunity to explore in some depth biblical and contemporary thought on one aspect or theme of our contemporary story. Each focus series is designed to combine the theological and ethical study of a topic with the study of that topic from a disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspective. Each course offers a unique perspective on contemporary life and culture and expresses values central to the ethos of the university. Each provides an opportunity to step out beyond major fields of study and consider topics of special interest at a higher level than other general education requirements and with greater freedom of choice. Courses are generally upper-division study, recommended for the junior year. Select one series from the Focus Series section of this catalog.


  1. To understand and enter into dialogue with the Christian story, beginning with the central story of Jesus.
  2. To discover our own story and enter into dialogue with mature understandings of our own place and time in history.
  3. To understand and enter into dialogue about the particular story begun by those Reformation reformers called Anabaptists, who sought to live in faithful obedience to the example and teachings of Jesus and whose story represents the particular heritage and commitment of the university.
  4. To discover and understand the stories that are dissimilar to our own, but that have shaped and continue to shape peoples and cultures with whom we share our communities and world.
  5. To learn from those special moments in our larger human history in which the nature of the universe— including God, the individual and society—have been particularly clear.

Required Courses


Select one series from the Focus Series section of this catalog.

The Tools of Human Inquiry and Communication

Mathematics has been called the language of the universe. To inquire into the nature of the universe obviously requires understanding its language. Mathematics understanding is designed to equip us to reason mathematically and thus to live more wisely in this world.

Communication is the most basic social act in which we humans engage. The quality of one's life, both as an individual and as a community, is directly influenced by the caliber of one's communication. Hence, for our own wellbeing as well as that of truth in the world, we do well to work at becoming articulate people in both our oral and written communication. The Oral Communication and Written Communication courses are designed to help achieve such competency.

Language opens the door into another way of thought and life. It creates the possibility for building more significant relationships across language and cultural boundaries. It is an important tool in our global communities and world.


  1. To understand the philosophical and conceptual foundations underlying mathematical and communication processes.
  2. To understand and become skillful in using mathematical symbols and creating clear and responsible communications.
  3. To understand and become skillful in analysis, synthesis, reasoning, problem solving and creative, imaginative processes.
  4. To develop a basic understanding of the language and culture of another language group with whom we share this earth.

Foreign language requirement may be met by one of the following:

  1. Level III high school language with grade of C- or better in the final semester.
  2. A passing grade in elementary, level II, college language study.
  3. Examination (CLEP, local examination, TOEFL or IELTS)

The Modes of Human Inquiry and Thought

Modes describe ways of seeing and being in the world. As an artist, musician, writer or philosopher in the humanities; natural or social scientist; or theologian, we view the world through different lenses. Each lens unveils a piece of the whole.

Coursework is required in each of the mode areas: the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences (though technically a mode, theology is covered in the "Stories..." area of the general education program, so it is not included here). Options for coursework are provided in each mode area. In choosing particular courses, consider what would be most beneficial, and perhaps stretching, for you. What would serve to most broaden your view of the world and its peoples? Be wary of easy or familiar choices. Choose courses that give you the strongest foundation possible.

The Stewardship of the Body

Our bodies are a gift to be valued and cared for. Neglect and even abuse of this gift are common today. This stewardship stone provides a foundation for understanding the principles and practices of body care and exercise. Two courses are required to establish this foundation: Concepts of Wellness and a physical education activity course of your choice.

Required Courses


Focus Series Descriptions and Course Requirements

To make arrangements and verify approval for their focus series, students are to meet together and document agreements with the named coordinator.

Anabaptist and Mennonite Studies

Coordinator: Laura Schmidt Roberts, Ph.D.

This series focuses on the basic story and themes of the Anabaptist-Mennonite story from its inception in the sixteenth century to the present. It is this tradition in which the university is rooted. The question of how one lives as a faithful follower of Jesus in the context of the church and world has been central to this tradition. This quest has given rise to such central themes as the building of Christian community, visible discipleship that practices ethical faithfulness and integrity, service to humanity and working for justice and reconciliation, which are explored in this series.

Select one of the following:

Peacemaking and Conflict Studies

Coordinator: Larry Dunn, Ph.D.

The compelling need for people skilled in peacemaking is self- evident in our present world. Interpersonal, family, neighborhood, work and other conflicts abound in our communities, nation and world. The purpose of this series is to explore the biblical, theological and ethical foundations of conflict, peacemaking and justice, as well as the dynamics of conflict and the possibilities for interpersonal, intragroup, intergroup, intercultural and international peacemaking.

Environmental Studies

Coordinator: Michael Kunz, Ph.D.

Questions of the human role within the environment, the value of wilderness, the destruction of the diversity of life, global hunger and poverty, the sustainability of modern agriculture and industry and the alteration of global climate are examples of critical issues that face humans today. The purpose of this series is to explore these issues from the theological and ethical commitments to the environment.

Studies in Leadership and Community

Coordinator: Quentin Kinnison, Ph.D.

Leadership and followership are practiced in a variety of contexts. This focus series offers the combination of pursuing thought about the practice of leadership from the perspectives of biblical and theological reflection and the practice of management and administration in voluntary, collegial and bureaucratic contexts. It offers an opportunity to glimpse various ways we can and might lead or be led in the various communities of which we are a part. It attempts to open up our understanding of how we shape and are shaped by others through these experiences.

Studies in Post Modernity

Coordinator: Nathan Carson Ph.D.

This series examines twentieth century theology and philosophy, illuminating the context and trajectory of intellectual life in the twentieth century.

Intercultural Studies

Coordinator: Ken Martens Friesen, Ph.D.

We live in a world, indeed a valley, which has become a global village. Many cultures abound within our own neighborhood. Intercultural understanding, respect and dialogue have become essential to creating some semblance of larger community in our classrooms, workplaces, churches and geographic communities. The purpose of this series is to develop an interdisciplinary understanding and appreciation of other cultures, as well as an understanding of the interaction between culture, religion and the church. This series is rooted in the fundamental belief expressed in the Fresno Pacific Idea, "that the Gospel transcends the limitations of all cultures and ideologies" and the commitment to encourage "people to serve throughout the world as compassionate Christian disciples and constructive members of society."

Studies in Missions

Coordinator: Darren Duerksen, Ph.D.

Mission, participating with God in his work in the world, is a central part of the Christian calling. The mission focus series provides an opportunity for students to pursue the practice of mission and the study of that practice through biblical, theological and social scientific understanding.

Required Courses

Select one of the following:

Studies in Christianity and the Arts

Coordinator: Eleanor Nickel, Ph.D.

Humans are endlessly creative. Since we are made in the image of God, the creator of all things, it comes naturally for people in every culture to honor God and express the divine spark of the Holy Spirit within us by painting a landscape, writing a poem, singing a hymn or performing a play. Yet artistic expression also raises many questions for Christians. Does making a sculpture of Jesus create an idol to worship? Does performing with a secular dance troupe bring us into a worldly atmosphere filled with temptations? Does creating art make us proud? This focus series examines such questions, beginning with an interdisciplinary course on the Christian imagination and allowing students to choose a particular art form to study in more depth.


Off Campus Educational Programs

Coordinator: Ken Martens Friesen, Ph.D.

Students may complete all or part of the focus series requirement by studying and/or working in an intercultural or international setting. Fresno Pacific University sponsors or participates in a number of programs administered through the International Programs and Services Office. Special scholarships are available for some of these offerings and generally include 6-8 units of focus series coursework.

Summer Global Education

Fresno Pacific University faculty periodically organizes and leads month-long study tours to a variety of countries worldwide. For a current schedule of global education programs, contact the International Programs and Services Office. As not all programs offer theology or biblical studies courses, a theology course must be taken to complete the focus series requirement.

Semester-Long Global Education

Students can also participate in semester-long global education programs as listed below. As not all programs offer theology or biblical studies courses, a theology course must be taken to complete the focus series requirement. See the program coordinator for details.

  • Brethren Colleges Abroad (many venues)
  • Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (many venues)
  • Jerusalem University College
  • Lithuania Christian College

International Student Focus

International students at Fresno Pacific University have met half of the focus series requirements in intercultural studies simply by being in the United States and living in a culture other than their native one. International students need simply take a theology, religion or ministry course to complete the series.

Personalized Focus Series

Coordinator: Greg Camp, Ph.D.

Students may choose to create their own focus series from existing courses or through specially created independent studies that take advantage of the unique opportunities and resources the university has to offer. These must meet the following requirements:

  1. A series of two courses, either independent study or an existing course (6 units minimum). One should be a theology course or have strong theological content. The other should be related thematically to the theology course.
  2. The student will draw up a proposal in consultation with a faculty member who consents to work with him/her. The proposal should include a rationale for and description of the series. It must receive approval from the faculty member and the chair of the general education program. Coursework completed for a personalized focus series may not overlap with courses completed for a major.

Transfer students often bring unique courses from other institutions that do not fit into the regular curricular offerings of Fresno Pacific University. These may occasionally be used to meet half of a focus series requirement when added to a theology course to fulfill the entire requirement for an existing series or for a personalized one. Examples of these kinds of courses might be ethnic studies, women's studies, topical fields in ethics, (e.g., medical ethics or issues in science and society) or international studies. Students should discuss their past work with their program directors/mentors/advisors to determine the possibility of taking advantage of this work to meet the requirements of the focus series.

Occasional Offerings

From time to time additional focus series may be offered to allow students to gain the benefit of special work being done by faculty on campus, to take advantage of one-time offerings or events or to meet timely topical needs. Check with the registrar and deans' offices, or the chair of the general education program for current offerings.

Transfer Overview

Fresno Pacific's traditional undergraduate transfer standards for general education and elective credits are consistent with the California State University transfer standard. Students may also demonstrate completion of general education areas by submitting the appropriate general education transfer certification from their California community college. Students who complete an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science transfer at a public California community college are considered to have fulfilled all lower-division general education requirements. Major coursework is generally non-transferable, however some transfer credits may apply. See transfer credit policy  for additional information.

General Education Summary: Traditional Undergraduate

Programs may require that students select specific general education courses. See program requirements for details.

Focus Series

Tools of Human Inquiry and Communication

Oral Communication

Foreign Language

  • Level III high school language with grades of c- or better in final semester, Elementary, level II, college language study or Examination (CLEP, local examination, TOEFL, or IELTS)

Modes of Human Inquiry and Thought

Stewardship of the Body

Key for General Education Summary: Undergraduate

  1. Transfer students: Students who transfer into Fresno Pacific University with a minimum of 50 transferable units received prior to attendance at FPU may meet the general education history requirement (courses marked with a one) in one of the following ways:
    1. Two semesters at a prior institution of world history or Western civilization.
    2. Two of the following at FPU: Ancient Civilizations, Medieval/Early Modern Civilizations or Modern Civilizations.
    3. One semester at a prior institution and one semester at FPU of the following:
      • If ancient civilization at a previous institution, then at FPU either Medieval/Early Modern Civilizations or Modern Civilizations.
      • If modern civilizations at a previous institution, then at FPU either Ancient Civilizations or Medieval/Early Modern Civilizations. Refer to the course overlap policy.
  2. Specific requirement for liberal studies major.
  3. For liberal studies major: PE 120 - Dance Movement 

General Education: Degree Completion Students


General Education Course Requirements: Degree Completion (42 Units)

The general education requirements for a bachelor's degree may be met by successfully completing the courses listed here or equivalent transfer courses.