/ Registrar's Office

First-Year General Education Recommendations

All general education requirements must be met in order to graduate from Hope. Use the guidelines below to help you choose courses for your first semester.

The only general education requirement that must be taken in the fall semester of your first year is the First Year Seminar (FYS). However, if you are in the FOCUS program, you must also take Expository Writing in your first semester.

Other general education courses can be taken in later semesters. Some may be met through your major or minor program. If you’re undecided, no problem. You can choose any general education courses or electives that interest you.

The recommendations below are based on the general education requirements for Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees.

If there are any general education courses you really want to take in your first semester, you can list them in your survey. We will do our best to include them in your schedule.

All general education requirements have an associated attribute. These are the abbreviations you will find listed below for each requirement.


All incoming first-year students are required to take a First Year Seminar (FYS, always offered as IDS 100) class in their first semester at Hope.

IDS 100 is a 2-credit topical course. Topical course have a different topic for each section of the course, and the topics change from year to year. When completing your survey, rank your top 10 FYS topics. Also list 5 topics you are not interested in. The FYS course descriptions are available here.

Your FYS professor will be your advisor until you declare a major.

More information about FYS can be found on the General Education website.


Expository Writing (EW, always offered as Engl 113) is a 4-credit topical course, with topics that change from semester to semester; however, all sections focus on cultivating college-level writing abilities. It will help you develop your ability to reflect critically, logically and speculatively, and to express your reflections clearly and concisely in writing.

If you are in the FOCUS program, you must take Engl 113 in your first semester.

More information about Expository Writing can be found on the General Education website.


Health Dynamics (HD, always offered as Kin 140) is a 2-credit course that is generally taken in the first year in either fall or spring semester.

More information about Health Dynamics can be found on the General Education website.


The general education arts requirement has two components:

  • Fine Arts I (FA1): emphasize ways of knowing in the arts. One FA1 course is required to meet this component.
  • Fine Arts II (FA2): emphasize “doing” the arts. One FA2 2-credit course (or two FA2 1-credit courses) is required to meet this component. If you take two 1-credit courses, you do not need to take them in the same semester.

More information about the arts can be found on the General Education website.

Private music lessons and ensembles are open to all students. Ensembles and piano or voice lessons will require an audition. More information about auditions is available here.

Ensembles are available for 0 or 1 credit. They must be taken for credit in order to count toward the Fine Arts II general education requirement.

Lessons are available for 1–3 credits and will incur an extra fee, depending on your intended major: 1 credit for non-music majors and music (BA) majors ($310); 2 credits for music education (BMu) majors ($480); 3 credits for music performance (BMu) majors or others by permission ($480).

Priority for arts courses will be given to students with a potential major in the arts, as many of these courses have limited enrollment.

If you would like to request any specific arts courses, you can do so on your survey. Below are some examples of courses you can request and/or might see on your schedule:


Art 232 Renaissance Art & Architecture 4
IDS 160 (only for elementary and special education majors) Arts for the Elementary and Middle School Teacher 4
Mus 101 Intro to Music 4
Mus 105 Survey of American Music 4
Thea 101 Intro to the Theatre 4


Art 112* Color and Context 2
Art 113* Basic Painting 2
Art 114* Basic Drawing 2
Art 115* Basic Sculpture 2
Art 116* Basic Printmaking 2
Art 117* Basic Ceramics 2
Dan 116 Hip Hop 1
Dan 120 Modern I 1
Dan 140 Jazz I 1
Dan 150 Tap I 1
Dan 162 Ballet I 1
Engl 253 Intro to Creative Writing 4
Mus 115–160 Instrumental and Vocal Ensembles 0—1
Mus 161–181 Private lessons 1—3
Mus 190 Beginning Piano 2
Mus 192 Voice Class, Beginning 2
Mus 194 Classical Guitar Class, Beginner 2
Mus 196 Folk Style Guitar Methods 2
Thea 110 Acting for the Non-Major 2

*Art 111 and Art studio classes are reserved for DAA scholarship recipients and art majors.


The following must be met in order to fulfill the cultural heritage requirement:

  1. One Cultural Heritage I (CH1, ancient) course, 4 credits
  2. One Cultural Heritage II (CH2, modern) course, 4 credits
  3. The two above courses must cover three disciplines: English, history and philosophy. Therefore, at least one of the above courses must be an IDS 171–178 course.

IDS (Interdisciplinary Studies) courses deal with methods or content that goes beyond what is usually dealt with in a single department. Many cultural heritage classes are IDS courses.

More information about Cultural Heritage can be found on the General Education website.

Below are some examples of courses you can request and/or might see on your schedule:


IDS 173 Cultural Heritage I, Lit/Hist 4


Hist 131 Intro to Modern European History 4
IDS 172 Cultural Heritage II 4

In general, we recommend that you wait until you are decided on a major to take math and science classes. Your major will determine which math and science classes you should take.

To fulfill the mathematics and natural science requirement, you must complete the following for a total of 10 credits:

  1. Mathematics: one MA1 or MA2 course
  2. Natural Science with Lab: one NSL course, GEMS preferred for non-science majors
  3. Remaining credits may be completed by any math or science course

GEMS (General Education Math and Science) courses are designed for non-math and non-science majors.

More information about Mathematics and Natural Science can be found on the General Education website.

Below are some examples of courses you can request and/or might see on your schedule:


GEMS 100 Understanding our Quantitative World 2
Math 125, 131 or higher* Calculus with Review I, Calculus I or higher 4

*Math 125 covers the same material covered in the first half of 131, supplemented by a review of high school math as needed; if you have an ACT Math score of 25 or below and did not take trigonometry in high school, we recommend you take 125. If your major or minor requires Calculus I, then you will take Math 126 (Calculus with Review II) in the spring to complete the Calculus I requirement.


Biol 103 Intro to Cellular Biology 4
Biol 104 (only for elementary and special education majors) Organisms and Environments 4
Biol 105 and 107 Intro to Biology and Lab 4
Biol 105 and 207 (by invitation only) Intro to Biology and Honors Lab 5
Chem 104 (only for elementary and special education majors) Matter and Energy 4
Chem 125 and 127 General Chemistry I and Lab 4
Chem 131 and 132 Accelerated General Chemistry and Lab 4
CSCI 225 Software Design and Implementation 4
Engs 100 Intro Engineering 4
GEMS 157** (may not also register for GES 125) The Planet Earth and Lab 4
GEMS 160** Chemistry of our Environment and Lab 4
GEMS 161** Biotechnology and You and Lab 4
GES 125*** (may not also register for GEMS 157) Michigan Field Geology 4
Kin 200 Human Anatomy and Lab 4
Phys 121 and 141 General Physics I and Lab 4

**Recommended for non-science majors.

***Course includes a required field trip August 18–27. After the field trip, the course meets first half of semester only. $350 additional course fee.


CSCI 140 Business Computing 4
GEMS 206** The Night Sky 2
GES 111 How the Earth Works 2


**Recommended for non-science majors.


To fulfill the religious studies requirement, you must complete:

  • One Religion I course (RL1)always offered as Rel 100
  • One Religion II course (RL2)a Rel 200-level course

Rel 100 is a 2-credit, half-semester topical course that is open to all incoming first year students. Half-semester courses are offered either first-half or last-half, and each half of the semester is 7 weeks long. You will have the opportunity to fulfill your RL2 requirement in a later semester.

More information about Religious Studies can be found on the General Education website.


For most programs, the social science requirement is met through:

  • Two Social Science I (SS1) courses of different disciplines
  • One SS1 course and one Social Science II (SS2) course of different disciplines

More information about Social Science can be found on the General Education website.

Some Social Science coures also count for a major requirement. We will take this into account when we create your schedule. Below are some examples of courses you can request and/or might see on your schedule:


Comm 101 The Communication Process 4
Econ 211 Principles of Macroeconomics 4
Pol 100 Intro to American Politics 4
Pol 151 Intro to Global Politics 4
Pol 160 Women in a Global Society 4
Psy 100 Intro to Psychology 4
Soc 101 Sociology & Social Problems & Lab 4
Soc 151 Cultural Anthropology 4


Comm 151 Media and Society 2
Pol 110 Politics in Modern America 2
Pol 110 Japanese Politics 2
Pol 110 Campaign Management 2

The second language requirement requires completing a Foreign Language II (FL2) course, which includes second-level competency or higher in one of the foreign languages offered at Hope.

Hope currently offers Chinese, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Latin and Spanish. 

If you are placed into an upper-level language course and then successfully complete that course, you will be awarded additional credits for the lower-level courses you skipped, up to 16 credits. For example, you have been placed into Fren 201 at Hope. When you successfully complete Fren 201, you will earn 4 credits for Fren 201, plus 8 additional credits for Fren 101 and Fren 102.

If your language is French, German or Spanish and you feel you were placed too low or too high, you can take this optional placement exam. You will need to create a username and password to access your personal dashboard for the WebCape system. From there you will be able to select the appropriate test and your score will be saved to your dashboard when complete. The test should take approximately 1/2 hour and your placement information will be generated upon completion.

More information about the Second Language requirement can be found on the General Education website. Course descriptions for language courses are listed in the Catalog.

If you are interested in taking a language course in the fall, please review the recommendations for completing the second language requirement.

The following foreign language classes are offered in the fall. Remember that if you are starting a language at level one competency, you will need to take two semesters of the language to fulfill the FL2 requirement.

Chin 101 Chinese I 4
Chin 201 Chinese III 4
Chin 301 Chinese V Language & Culture 4
Fren 101 French I 4
Fren 102 French II 4
Fren 201 French III Language & Culture 4
Fren 250 French IV Adv Language & Culture 4
Germ 101 German I 4
Germ 201 German III 4
Grk 171 Ancient/Biblical Greek I 4
Grk 271 Greek III 4
Japn 101 Japanese I 4
Japn 201 Japanese III 4
Japn 301 Advanced Japanese I 4
Latn 171 Latin I 4
Latn 271 Latin III 4
Span 121 Spanish I 4
Span 122 Spanish II 4
Span 221 Spanish III 4
Span 222 Spanish IV 4
Span 312* Spanish for Heritage Speakers 4

*If you are a heritage speaker, please indicate so on your survey. Upon completion of this course, you will earn credit for Spanish IIV (16 credits).


The requirements to fulfill the global learning requirement are:

  • One Global Learning Domestic (GLD) course
  • One Global Learning International (GLI) course

Many courses that are flagged for GLD or GLI also fulfill other general education or major requirements, so you may find later that some of the courses on your fall schedule are flagged for GLD or GLI. If not, you will be able to complete this requirement in future semesters.

More information about Global Learning can be found on the General Education website.


The senior seminar is a capstone course that is taken in your final year at Hope. More information about Senior Seminar can be found on the General Education website.