The Diversified Education Curriculum (D.E.C.)

The D.E.C. is the Stony Brook version of a general education program that is integral to most college and university curricula. It introduces students to a breadth of knowledge that balances and complements the depth of study provided by their major field.  The D.E.C. is designed to accomplish several goals: First, to develop an understanding of how different disciplines define, acquire, and organize knowledge; second, to enhance understanding of Western and non-Western cultures as well as their reciprocal influence on each other; third, to provide a basis for an examination of values; fourth, to develop analytic, synthetic, linguistic, computational, communication, and information-gathering skills useful for lifelong learning; and, finally, to provide a common foundation for wide-ranging dialogue with peers on issues of significance. In its multiple facets, the D.E.C. encourages students to develop a critical and inquiring attitude, an appreciation of complexity and ambiguity, a tolerance for and empathy with persons and groups of different backgrounds or values, and a deepened sense of self. In short, the goal of the D.E.C. is to prepare students to appreciate and be able to function effectively in an increasingly complex world.

The D.E.C. is structured in three tiers.  See detailed descriptions of the tiers as well as of each D.E.C. category.

D.E.C. courses are indicated in the Course Descriptions listings at the back of this Bulletin; the D.E.C. category letter (A through K) is indicated under the course description. Courses that satisfy the major can also be used to satisfy the appropriate D.E.C. category.

Students who matriculated at the university in the Spring semester of 2014 or earlier, and transfer students who matriculated in the Fall of 2014 or earlier, follow the Diversified Education Curriculum (D.E.C.). Other students will follow the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC).

Note on Courses Satisfying D.E.C. Categories:

A student's general education record may not be changed retroactively. The University may change the D.E.C. category of a course, but for a particular student, the course will count only toward the requirement it fulfilled at the time the student took the course.

Important Notes:

  • All courses offered to satisfy D.E.C. requirements must be taken for a letter grade. Courses taken under the Pass/No Credit option will not satisfy D.E.C. requirements. Categories A and C must be passed with a grade of C or higher.
  • A course is assigned to one D.E.C. category only and will satisfy only that category.
  • If no DEC designation is given within the course entry in the Bulletin, that course may not be used to satisfy any D.E.C. requirement.
  • Coursework completed while registered for independent study courses (including directed readings and research courses) may not be used to satisfy any D.E.C. requirements.
  • College courses taken while the student was in high school will be evaluated for applicability to D.E.C. categories.
  • AP, CLEP subject examinations, RCE, or Challenge credit, or other approved credit by examinations with appropriate scores, may be used to satisfy one course in each of the categories E, F, and G. Course credit by examination may not be used in any other category except students may use AP credit for the first course of category A and for category C.
  • Transferred courses must carry at least three semester hours of credit to be applicable to any category.
  • Courses transferred from SUNY institutions meeting SUNY general education requirements do not necessarily satisfy D.E.C. categories. See the section "Application of Transfer Credits to General Education Requirements" in the Academic Policies and Regulations chapter for details.