First Year Seminar and Communications (GWS) Requirement

Information about the First Year Seminar and Communications requirements in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

A student must take 9 credits of GWS. If they take EM SC 100 (EMS First Year Seminar), that satisfies three of them. All EMS students have to take English 15 or 30--that's another three. They then have to take three more credits. Unless the Department specifies the course that they have to take, then it doesn't matter which GWS course they choose. At present the only options are CAS 100 or ENGL 202. If a student doesn't take EM SC 100, then they need to get all nine credits of GWS from outside the College. Again at present, that means taking all of ENGL 15/30, CAS 100 and ENGL 202. EMS doesn't usually allow substitutions for any of these courses unless it is transfer credit from another institution.

All students have to take a first year seminar. If students start as freshmen in EMS, they have to take EM SC 100. If they start elsewhere at Penn State, we accept any first year seminar.

If students entered Penn State as a freshmen, and did not take a first year seminar, they are required to:
(1)  The student must submit a degree audit petition to the associate dean for education with a two-page double-spaced letter attached, signed by the academic adviser, that summarizes how course work to date has prepared the student to think critically, write effectively, and make oral presentations.
(2) The student must attach a sample of writing from any University "W" course, passed with a C or better, to the petition.

Students for whom this process applies must submit the above stipulated documents before approval for graduation may be granted.