General Education Package

A George Fox Education

You deserve a university that won’t just give you the answers, but will teach you how to ask the right questions. You deserve an education that keeps your heart focused on Jesus and uses the classroom to expand your understanding of his character and plan for the world. And for you!

Christ is our cornerstone, and he is at the core of every course in our new general education program, the Cornerstone Core Curriculum.

The Cornerstone Core is a set of 12 courses across 10 academic disciplines that undergraduate students take at George Fox to cultivate their character within the Christian context and the Great Commandment: how to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, as well as love their neighbor as themselves (Matthew 22:37-40).

The result? Students discover their calling and purpose as they develop into the next generation of Christian leaders, equipped with the virtues of Christ and professional competence.

What is the Cornerstone Core Curriculum?

Watch video: What is the Cornerstone Core Curriculum? | Fox Fast Facts

What This Means for You

How many credits is the Cornerstone Core Curriculum?

Students will take 37 credits across academic disciplines (12 courses) to complete this general education graduation requirement.

Each course is designed to be transfer-credit-friendly

However, regardless of how many credits you bring with you to George Fox through AP, dual credit or other options, you’ll need to complete at least 9 units (three courses) from the Cornerstone Core Curriculum.

Note for transfer students: A transfer degree fulfills the GE requirements except for a few courses that are tied specifically to our institutional mission.

How will these courses be delivered?

Every Cornerstone Core course will be delivered in person as well as asynchronous online (i.e. assignments with due dates each week that you can complete on your own schedule), so you can choose whichever option works better for your learning style.

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At GFU our core experience in the Christian liberal arts isn't an afterthought! In fact the vast majority of Cornerstone courses are taught by our excellent and award-winning full-time faculty.

A Deeper Dive into the Cornerstone Core Curriculum

What is the purpose of general education?

Every university requires its students to take entry-level courses across numerous academic disciplines before diving into an academic major – but why? The goal is for students to gain exposure to the breadth of academia beyond their academic major in order to become well rounded, develop critical thinking skills, and push themselves to learn new ideas.

We set out to create something deeper. Something more intentional. Something exceptionally true to George Fox University with Christ at the center.

Simply being exposed to a variety of academic disciplines isn't enough.

At George Fox, we want our students to:

  • Learn how to live a meaningful life because of what they learn about the character and truth of Christ in each discipline
  • Understand what it means to be a Christian in today's world as they engage with every topic from civics to science to art to math, and
  • Become whole people who value learning and are equipped to better love God, love others, and love themselves (Great Commandment)

As students transition from general education to begin courses for their academic major, this capacity to love will be further developed in a concrete way through our degree programs that have a clear path toward excellence in professional work and advanced degrees.

In each academic department, students will be mentored by caring faculty who equip them to overflow the love of Christ into “all the world,” including Christian ministries, teaching, engineering, commerce, art, law, healthcare, social work, and the like (Matthew 28:16-20).  (Source)

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Course Descriptions

The role of the Cornerstone Core is to form the whole person within the context of biblical truth and Christ’s character. Accordingly, each course in our general education program is designed to accomplish a common goal: deepen faith, broaden worldview, and cultivate character formation.

Love the Lord Your God...

With All Your Heart
  • THEO 101: I Believe
    Character Development: Faith

    When reading the Bible, you may wonder how an ancient book connects to our lives today. This course will take the time to explore the various types of writings found in the Bible and explain how those old writings have a lot to say about contemporary society. This course will provide students with the opportunity to engage Scripture and see how it impacts their lives today.

  • THEO 102: I Believe
    Character Development: Hope

    This course utilizes the flow of Christian history to explore both the development of Christian doctrine and the context of the spiritual journeys of Christians from around the world. By tracing the history and theological development of Christianity, it reveals the foundations of the Christian faith. In doing so, it gives students both a broader perspective of the whole Christian movement over two thousand years, and helps them understand their own personal faith tradition.

  • THEO 380: Ethics
    Character Development: Love

    What are we here for? How should we live? What does a good life look like today? Answering those questions begins with the commandments to love God and neighbor, and this class aims to help students properly order their loves in light of contemporary challenges and vocational goals. The class equips students to reason well about ethics and to think critically about a variety of ethical systems and positions.

  • HIST 111: The Modern and Postmodern World
    Character Development: Courage

    This course examines the history of the United States and Europe from 1750 to the present day. It critically explores the rise of the ideas of freedom, equality, and justice, while asking what role did the Christian faith, and the courage to express it, have in the formation of the modern and postmodern world?

  • GSCI 170: Science and Faith
    Character Development: Curiosity & Intellectual Humility

    This course introduces the empirical study of the natural world, and explore the ways in which the patterns and processes of creation reveal and reflect the nature of the Creator. Course content surveys fundamental concepts related to energy, diversity, and disease, highlighting the roles of curiosity and intellectual humility in generating and responding to scientific knowledge. Emphasis is given to critical evaluation of questions at the nexus of science and faith, such as whether science and Christianity are in conflict and how we may use scientific knowledge to make choices that honor God and extend His love to others.

  • MATH 170: Why Math Matters
    Character Development: Curiosity & Intellectual Humility

    This course will expand students' appreciation for, and abilities in mathematics so that they understand it is present and useful beyond their previous considerations and experiences. As these boundaries are stretched, students will not only connect with the beauty and utility of mathematics but also the opportunity it will afford them to worship and serve God with greater impact. Problem solving, critical thinking and rigorous logical argumentation, implemented both formally and in relevant, faith based applications, will provide a rich soil for the cultivation of knowledge, faith and character.

  • LITR 111: Faith and Story
    Character Development: Empathy & Creativity

    How do stories redeem the past and shape the future? What stories might make sense of your past and shape your future? “Faith and Story” introduces students to literature as a method of human inquiry, with particular attention to the importance of carefully reading texts from multiple genres, periods, cultures and voices, examining narrative and form through a Christian lens, and cultivating the virtues of imagination and empathy. Topics and texts vary by section.

  • ARTS 120: Art & Global Culture
    Character Development: Empathy & Creativity

    This interdisciplinary, core curriculum course centers its intellectual and artistic queries around the enduring question, “How do the arts reveal God’s love for beauty, empathy and creativity across global boundaries?” Using the framework of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10), students will explore how global cultures both celebrate and critique their communities through the artistic disciplines of art, music and theatre. Throughout the course, students will cross boundaries of difference to investigate how God’s creative spirit manifests itself in artistic expressions of beauty, dissonance and the celebration of the human spirit.

  • SSCI 100: Justice
    Character Development: Justice

    In this course, we wrestle with a question that the prophet Micah asks and answers in Micah 6:8, “O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” This question is as relevant in America today as it was in Israel in the 8th century BC. How do we live such a life in a time of injustice, hate, and violence? This course addresses this question by exploring the ways in which justice—or injustice—manifests itself in society, both domestically and globally.

  • COMM 111: Communication in Society
    Character Development: Clarity

    This course introduces students to the professional, personal, and spiritual dimensions of communication. By identifying how to live out one’s faith in interpersonal relationships, through public presentations, and by engaging in mediated communication, students will be encouraged to pursue clarity in communication motivated by the question: how do we better understand others and help them to understand us?

  • PSYC 100: Personhood
    Character Development: Temperance

    This course explores a variety of influences which shape many of the characteristics of personhood, focusing on critical consideration of the interplay of factors and the complexity of being human. Students will be encouraged to apply the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual lenses of psychology to understand themselves and others, including how and why self-regulation is a key factor in successful healthy living.

  • WRIT 111: Caring for Words
    Character Development: Patience

    How can the way we write form us morally? How can we, by caring for words, steward the truth in a “post-truth” society? This course concentrates on the writing, arguing, and critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in an academic and professional environment. By practicing the habits and strategies of successful writing, students learn to listen humbly, draft patiently, and argue lovingly. Enrollment is capped at 20 students per section, and students must enroll in the course by their third semester at George Fox.

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Program Skills
  • Written & oral communication
  • Ethical reasoning
  • Empirical & Quantitative reasoning
  • Digital & information literacy
  • Cross-cultural literacy
  • Logic & problem solving
Program Features
  • Digital hybrid deliveries
  • Transfer friendly
  • Diverse epistemologies
  • Flexible scheduling
  • History of ideas

General Education Alternatives

A professor seated at the head of a table of students gestures excitedly in a wood-paneled room

Great Books Honors Program

The honors program pairs rigorous reading material with discussion-based classes. These challenging discussions are grounded in the common understanding of faith, dignity and respectful dialogue.

Learn more about the honors program

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George Fox Digital: First Year Online

George Fox Digital is an immersive online-learning experience that empowers students to complete general education requirements within the flexibility of remote education. This program equips students to graduate in four years – one online and three on campus.

Learn more about First Year Online

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Tristan Panke, Class of 2020

I am indebted to my professors and peers in the honors program for showing me what the intellectual life looks like and for instilling in me a lifelong hunger for wisdom and for a greater understanding of God and of the world. Through my experience, I have learned more of what it means to be fully human and to live a life in pursuit of God.