Liberal education requirements

The University of Minnesota and its faculty are committed to providing an education that invites you to investigate the world from new perspectives, learn new ways of thinking, and grow as an active citizen and lifelong learner. The University’s liberal education requirements for all students are designed to be integrated throughout your four-year undergraduate experience. These courses provide you an opportunity to explore fields outside your major and complement your major curriculum with a multidisciplinary perspective.

Current liberal education requirements

If you were admitted to a degree program in fall 2010 or later, you will follow the revised liberal education requirements listed below. However, if you are a student admitted prior to fall 2010, you will continue to follow the liberal education requirements prior to fall 2010 that were current when you were admitted.

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 can be used to approach problems in everyday life and work, and, ultimately, help you make a positive difference within communities, society, and the world. Students are required to satisfy all seven core requirements.

Requirements for students admitted after fall 2010 Required credits
Arts/Humanities 3 credits
Biological Sciences 4 credits; must include lab or field experience
Historical Perspectives 3 credits
Literature 3 credits
Mathematical Thinking 3 credits
Physical Sciences 4 credits; must include lab or field experience
Social Sciences 3 credits
Designated themes

The designated themes are topics central to an understanding of contemporary life. Investigating these themes helps you prepare to become knowledgeable, ethical, and engaged public citizens. You are required to satisfy four of the five themes.

If you were admitted in fall 2021 or later, you must:

  • Fulfill the Race, Power, and Justice in the United States theme, and
  • Fulfill your choice of 3 additional designated themes.

If you were admitted between fall 2010 and summer 2021, you must:

  • Fulfill any 4 of the 5 designated themes.
*Required for students admitted fall 2021 or later
Designated themesRequired credits
Civic Life and Ethics3 credits
Race, Power, and Justice in the United States3 credits
The Environment3 credits
Global Perspectives3 credits
Technology and Society3 credits

The University of Minnesota’s writing requirement has two components: First-Year Writing and Writing Intensive courses.

  • First-Year Writing: All students are expected to complete the first-year writing requirement (WRIT 1301, 1401, or equivalent) within their first two semesters of registration.
  • Writing Intensive: In addition to the first-year writing requirement, students must complete four Writing Intensive (WI) courses. These courses help students understand what it means to write in various disciplines. Two of the four courses must be completed at the upper-division (3xxx or higher) level, and one of the two upper-division courses must be within a student's major field of study.

Education requirements for students admitted before fall 2010

The University of Minnesota approved revised education requirements for new students who began in fall 2010 or later. If you were admitted before fall 2010, you will follow the requirements for students admitted prior to fall 2010.