Programs and Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

At Cypress, we follow the definition of a “Program” provided by Title V, which states that  “A ‘Program’ is defined as a cohesive set of courses that result in a certificate or degree. However, in Program Review, colleges often define programs to include specific disciplines.”

PLOs describe the measurable knowledge, skills, abilities, or behaviors that faculty want students to be able to demonstrate by the time they graduate, earn a degree of complete a program of study. In short, what will students be able to do or demonstrate as a result of their studies?

At Cypress, departments that have certificate programs have written discipline-specific PLOs and have mapped course-level SLOs to those outcomes. Departments within the General Education and Basic Skills Program have identified their PLOs as the Institution’s Associate Degree and/or CSU/IGETC Transfer Curriculum ILOs, and have mapped course-level SLOs to those outcomes. If appropriate, some departments have also mapped course-level SLOs to ILO Pathway III: Lifelong Learning. These PLOs are published in the College Catalog.

PLO analysis and assessment occurs as course SLOs are assessed and during the Program Review Process.


The General Education and Basic Skills Program is considered as one complete program. The General Education and Basic Skills Student Learning Outcomes are broad categories that include courses approved for the Cypress College AA/AS (Native) Degree General Education, the California State University General Education, and the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) pathways, and the prerequisite basic skills courses. The Cypress College Institutional Learning Outcomes adopted in Spring 2004 were reviewed and written as statements rather than topics in four major areas or competencies. Portions of Cabrillo College’s General Education and Basic Skills SLOs
were used with permission.

I. Breadth of Knowledge and Experiences

Students will possess a breadth of knowledge and experiences from the following areas:

  1. Humanities and the Arts
    1. Aesthetic Awareness: Examine the visual arts, dance, music, and/or literature of diverse cultures.
    2. Critical Analysis: Assess the methods used to create art and interpret its literal and/or symbolic meaning.
    3. Creativity: Engage in artistic creative endeavors.
  2. Natural Sciences and Mathematics
    1. Scientific Principles: Demonstrate an understanding of scientific principles that govern the natural and mathematical universe.
    2. The Scientific Method: Apply scientific processes to solve problems and measure and observe natural phenomena, including the design, performance, and analysis of experiments.
    3. Mathematical Systems: Demonstrate an understanding of mathematics as a symbolic, universal language.
  3. Social Sciences
    1. Cultural Competence: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the feelings, opinions, and/or values of other people and cultures.
    2. Global Perspective: Recognize important economic, political, social, and   historical issues and values in one’s own community, state, country, and/or the world.
    3. Human Experience: Use qualitative and/or quantitative methods to study the human aspects of the world.
  4. Physical Education
    1. Fitness: Understand the development, care, and exercise of the human body through movement.
    2. Health and Nutrition: Understand and apply the principles of nutrition, hygiene, and safety to develop mental and physical well-being.
    3. Movement Competence: Perform learned skills competently.

II. Communication

Students will communicate effectively, which means the ability to   

  1. Read:
    1. Comprehend, interpret, and/or evaluate various written information.
  2. Write:
    1. Communicate thoughts, ideas, information, and messages in writing.
    2. Compose and create documents with correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and appropriate language, style, and format.
    3. Check, edit, and revise written work for correct information, appropriate emphasis, form, style, and grammar.
  3. Listen:
    1. Sense and appropriately perceive and respond to verbal and/or nonverbal messages.
  4. Communicate:
    1. Organize ideas and communicate verbal and/or non-verbal messages appropriate to the audience and the situation.
    2. Communicate clearly and ask relevant questions in conversations, discussions, group activities, and/or public speaking.

III. Critical Thinking and Information Competency

Students will think critically, which is characterized by the ability to

  1. Analyze:
    1. Recognize and apply rules and principles to new situations
    2. Use logic (induction and deduction) to draw conclusions from information given.
    3. Differentiate between facts, inferences, assumptions, and/or conclusions.
  2. Compute:
    1. Use basic numerical concepts, such as whole numbers, percentages, and estimates of math without a calculator.
    2. Use tables, graphs, charts, and diagrams to explain concepts or ideas.
    3. Use basic geometrical shapes, such as lines, angles, shapes, and space.
  3. Research:
    1. Effectively and ethically acquire, organize, analyze, synthesize, evaluate and communicate information.
    2. Determine which technology resources will produce the desired results.
  4. Solve Problems:
    1. Define a problem and identify its components.
    2. Create a plan of action to resolve the issue.
    3. Execute and evaluate the effectiveness of the plan.

IV. Self Development

Students will develop self-awareness and responsibility by means of the following:

  1. Self Integration
    1. Understand the person as an integrated physiological, social, and psychological being.
  1. Personal Responsibility
    1. Develop skills and identify values for personal growth and life-long learning.      
  2. Global Citizenship
    1. Understand the interconnection between current events, ethics, and personal and societal choices within our world.