Office of Academic Services

Liberal Arts Distribution Requirements

The School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) requires that all students complete a set of liberal arts distribution requirements, as well as an approved major and an approved minor for students who are not pursuing credit-intensive majors. The distribution requirements include up to 12 courses totaling between 24 and 36 credits. Some courses may be used to fulfill more than one distribution requirement, and a course used to fulfill a distribution requirement may also be used to fulfill a major or minor requirement.

The Liberal Arts Distribution Requirements are restricted to:

  • first year students enrolled in SAS prior to Fall 2011
  • transfer students enrolled in SAS prior to Fall 2012
  • school to school transfer students enrolled in SAS prior to Fall 2012

First year students entering SAS in Fall 2011 or later and transfer students entering SAS in Fall 2012 or later must complete the Core Curriculum.

Students who are following the Liberal Arts Distribution Requirements and prefer to complete the Core Curriculum should speak to an academic adviser.


Writing Requirement

Expository Writing 101 and one additional course, degree credit-bearing and worth at least 3 credits, from a list of approved courses.

Students receiving a score of 4 or above on the AP English composition or literature tests are exempted from Expository Writing 101, and for such students the writing requirement becomes a one-course requirement. Transfer credits from courses taken in high school will not satisfy this requirement, even if they carry a college transcript.

Writing courses on the approved list consist of courses nominated by departments. Such courses are above the 100 level, require 15 pages or more of writing in English (excluding exams), including at least one sustained piece of analytical or interpretive prose, and provide regular detailed feedback on writing. 

Course List - Writing Requirement

Quantitative Reasoning Requirement

Two courses, each degree credit-bearing and worth at least 3 credits, consisting of one course in Mathematics (640) or Formal Reasoning; and one additional course in Mathematics, Computer Science (198), Operations Research (711), Statistics (960), or a discipline specific course strongly emphasizing either analytic or quantitative methods.

Students who place into calculus on the mathematics placement exam are exempt from taking the 640 course, and for such students, the requirement becomes a one-course quantitative reasoning course requirement. Students who use calculus placement to satisfy the mathematics requirement may not use precalculus to satisfy the second part of this requirement. Transfer credits from courses taken in high school will not generally satisfy this requirement.

Course Lists - Quantitative Reasoning Requirement

Natural Sciences Requirement

Two courses, each degree credit-bearing and worth at least 3 credits, chosen from: Astrophysics (105), Chemistry (160), Geological Sciences (460), Life Sciences (119, 146, 447, 694), Marine and Coastal Sciences (628), Meteorology (670), and Physics (750), plus a list of select courses in other science disciplines.

Courses need not be in the same subject. Independent study, internships, and research courses may not be used to fulfill this requirement.

Course List - Natural Sciences Requirement

Social Sciences, Humanities, and Interdisciplinary Requirement

Four courses, each degree credit-bearing and worth at least 3 credits, in the social sciences, humanities, and interdisciplinary studies, with one course from each of the three subdivisions shown below and one additional course from any one of the three subdivisions.

Social Sciences

Communication (189,192), Criminal Justice (202), Economics (220), Education (300), Environmental Policy, Institutions, and Behavior (374), Geography (450), Labor Studies and Employment Relations (575), Planning and Public Policy (762), Political Science (790), Psychology (830), Public Health (832), Sociology (920), plus a list of select courses in other related disciplines. 

Humanities

African Languages and Literature (013), Armenian (078), Art and Visual Arts (080, 081), Art History (082), Catalan (145), Chinese (165), Classics (190), Comparative Literature (195), Dance (203, 206), French (360), German (470), Greek (489, 490), Hindi (505), Hungarian (535), Italian (560), Japanese (565), Korean (574), Latin (580), Music (615), Philosophy (730), Polish (787), Portuguese (810), Religion (840), Russian (860), Spanish (940), Theater Arts (965), Ukrainian (967), plus a list of select courses in other related disciplines.

Interdisciplinary Studies

Africana Studies (014), African Area Studies (016), American Studies (050), Asian Studies (098), Cinema Studies (175), East Asian Languages and Literatures (214), European Studies (360), History (506, 508, 510, 512), Interdisciplinary Studies (556), Latin American Studies (590), Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies (595), Medieval Studies (667), Middle Eastern Studies (685), South Asian Studies (925), Women's and Gender Studies (988), plus a list of select courses in other related disciplines. 

Course Lists - Social Sciences, Humanities, and Interdisciplinary Requirement

Diversity and Global Awareness Requirement

Diversity

One course, credit-bearing and worth at least 3 credits, from an approved list of courses. Courses fulfilling this requirement engage students in theoretical issues and political debates pertaining to questions of "diversity," namely race, ethnicity, language, migration and diasporas, gender, and sexualities. These courses must juxtapose two or more visions or methods, which would enable an understanding of an increasingly globalized world. Sample topics include the following: histories of religion, social movements, cultural conflicts, racial tensions, visual culture and representation of transnational identities and differences, international feminisms, and sexual prejudice. Study abroad does not automatically satisfy this requirement, although individual courses taken abroad may qualify.

Global Awareness

One course, credit bearing, worth at least 3 credits, from an approved list of courses. The Global Awareness requirement promotes enhanced knowledge of the interconnectedness of the world's peoples, cultures, environments, regions, or nations whether historically, politically, economically, socially, linguistically, technologically, ecologically, or epidemiologically. Courses in this category deepen area-based knowledge and encourage analysis of global or transnational processes. They help students to recognize the need for an understanding of local, regional, international, transnational and/or global dynamics that inhibit or promote solutions to contemporary world problems. Introductory language courses do not fulfill this requirement. Study abroad credits may fulfill the Global Awareness requirement; an academic advisor at an SAS Academic Advising Center can update Degree Navigator if a student has completed a study abroad program.

Course Lists - Diversity and Global Awareness Requirement

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