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Current liberal education requirements

The requirements listed on this page are for students who began at the University in fall 2010 or later terms.

Requirements for students

You must fulfill the following requirements. Some liberal education (LE) courses fulfill a core, a theme, and a writing intensive requirement at the same time.

Diversified Core

The diversified core guides you through the "why" and "how" of different academic disciplines. These classes will equip you with a broad range of tools that you can use to approach problems in your everyday life and work, and ultimately to make a positive difference in your communities, your society, your state, and your world.

Requirements for students admitted after fall 2010 Required credits Sample Courses
Arts/Humanities 3 credits Arts/Humanities courses
Biological Science 4 credits; must include lab or field experience Biological Science courses
Historical Perspective 3 credits Historical Perspective courses
Literature 3 credits Literature courses
Mathematical Thinking 3 credits Mathematical Thinking courses
Physical Science 4 credits; must include lab or field experience
Physical Science courses
Social Sciences 3 credits Social Sciences courses


Designated Themes

The designated themes are topics that are central to an understanding of contemporary life. Investigating these themes will help prepare you to become a knowledgeable, ethical, and engaged public citizen. Students admitted in fall 2010 or later are required to satsify four of these five themes.

Requirements for students admitted after fall 2010 Required credits Course lists
Civic Life and Ethics 3 credits Civic Life and Ethics courses
Diversity and Social Justice in the United States 3 credits Diversity and Social Justice courses
The Environment 3 credits Environment courses
Global Perspectives 3 credits Global Perspectives courses
Technology & Society 3 credits
Technology and Society courses

The Writing Intensive requirement

Writing intensive courses help you understand what it means to write in various disciplines, and how your writing can be made stronger and clearer so that you can communicate your views effectively.


In addition to the first-year writing requirement, you must complete four writing intensive courses. Two of the writing intensive courses must be taken at the upper division level, one of which must be taken in your major.


Writing Intensive courses offered in fall 2010 and later terms

Choosing your liberal education courses

The University's LE requirements can be fulfilled by a broad range of courses; some courses fulfill more than one requirement. This means that you can create your own liberal education experience that complements your major courses, challenges you to develop new knowledge and skills, and satisfies your desire to explore topics that are important to you.

To get the most out of your undergraduate experience, we recommend that you:

  • be adventurous. Challenge yourself by taking some courses that are outside of your comfort zone. Often these courses are most rewarding.
  • create a four-year journey. Many students have indicated that they wish they had taken a few of their LE courses in their third and fourth years, because they discovered new questions and interests that they wanted to pursue. Consider taking one or two LE courses in your junior or senior year.
  • work with your adviser to learn about and choose the best courses for you, and to make sure you're fulfilling these requirements on an appropriate timeline for your major.
  • explore learning abroad opportunities that will also meet liberal education requirements. Go to the Learning Abroad Center's website to search for study abroad courses that are approved to fulfill liberal education requirements. And remember: Any learning abroad experience that is at least three credits and three weeks or longer will fulfill the Global Perspectives requirement.

Partial credit waivers

Occasionally, a transfer course that could satisfy a LE requirement will transfer at less than the required number of credits for that LE requirement. Partial credit waivers allow the transfer course to fulfill the LE requirement.

Unlimited partial credit waivers can be granted for:

  • Courses from domestic, quarter-based institutions transferring at 2.67 or more credits.

Up to three total LE requirements per student can be granted for:

  • Courses from domestic or international institutions transferring at one-half or more of the LE credit requirement.

Partial credit waivers are not granted for:

  • Courses of less than one-half the credit requirement (for example: a 1.3 credit course cannot fulfill a 3 credit LE requirement).

LE requirements cannot be fulfilled by applying multiple partial credit courses to one particular requirement. There is one exception to this rule: biological and physical science LE requirements can be fulfilled by multiple courses when they include separate lecture and lab courses.