Jun 16, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Education: The Cardinal Core Curriculum

The Cardinal Core Curriculum is SUNY Plattsburgh’s general education program for the 21st century citizen. This program provides students with a rigorous and robust liberal arts education, grounded in perspectives of diversity and social justice. Undergraduate baccalaureate students complete the Foundation, including a selected Cardinal Foundation Seminar, as well as lower-and upper-division coursework in six Cardinal Core Categories to meet the Cardinal Core Curriculum Learning Outcomes . The Cardinal Core Curriculum guides the educational requirements for students who enter SUNY Plattsburgh as first year students, as well as students who transfer in with fewer than 24 credits. 

Transfer students who transfer in with 24 credits or more will be responsible for completing the SUNY General Education Framework  requirements rather than the complete Cardinal Core Curriculum. Students who enrolled in SUNY Plattsburgh for the first time prior to Fall 2021 should consult with their academic advisor for guidance on meeting general education and degree requirements.

Cardinal Core Curriculum

Foundation 6-14 Credits

The Foundation is a set of courses and/or competencies designed to introduce new college students to academic expectations at SUNY Plattsburgh. The keystone of the Foundation is the topical first-year course, the Cardinal Foundation Seminar. Here and in other Foundation courses, students begin to explore their roles and identities as members of a pluralistic society. The Foundation also prepares students with essential skills in written communication, mathematics competency, and information literacy.

Cardinal Foundation Seminar

Students explore interesting topics and are supported in the transition to college in the Cardinal Foundation Seminar. Designed to be taken by first year students.


Students may complete the Directed Self Placement process to determine their pathway for meeting the Writing requirement. It is recommended that students meet the college writing requirement in the first year. Alternatively, students who have a high school average of 85% or higher may directly enroll in ENG 101 - College Writing II (3 to 4 cr.). Students who have a high school average of less than 85% may begin a two course pathway with ENG 100 - College Writing I (4 cr.).

Information Literacy

Students should take LIB 190  with ENG 101  during the first year; thereafter, it is recommended that LIB 190  be taken before or at the same time as ENG 101 . The Information Literacy Competency Exam meets the requirement but does not award credit, does not replace a previously earned grade in LIB190, and can only be attempted once per academic year.


To enroll in a math course other than MAT 101 MAT 106 MAT 108 , or a course in the Quantitative Reasoning category of the Cardinal Core Curriculum, students must first demonstrate competency in Mathematics. This can be accomplished by meeting one of the following:

Cardinal Core Categories 27 Credits

The six Cardinal Core Categories provide students with the opportunity to explore a wide range of multi-disciplinary topics. Each course within the Categories addresses content knowledge, skills (including communication, critical thinking, discovery and inquiry, and quantitiative reasoning), and perspectives on responsibility in the areas of individual development, social justice, and global awareness.

Students must complete at least one course from each category, a minimum of 27 credits from among the categories, and at least six credits must be from upper division courses (300 or 400 level) in any category. No more than 3 courses with the same prefix (except for HON) may be used towards the Cardinal Core Categories.

Human Communities

Courses in this area promote a critical self-awareness of individuals’ roles and responsibilities within communities by examining how people interact with each other and in groups.

Individual Expression

Courses in this area encourage students to reflect on their roles within a diverse society through exploration of the multiple ways we reason, engage with, document, and creatively represent or express the range of human experience.

World Cultures

Courses in this area explore communities, histories, and institutions outside the United States to engage students in critical examination of their roles in a global society.