First-year and transfer students applying to undergraduate programs are strongly encouraged to meet the following Higher Education Admission Recommendations (HEAR) when applying to any Colorado four-year public college or university. Students with enrollments prior to Summer 2023 will be held to the previous CU Boulder MAPS requirements. Please consult the catalog of your first enrollment term for the MAPS requirements of the college/school/program in which you are earning your degree. (See catalog archive.)

CU Boulder's Recommendations to Meet HEAR

Subject Area State of Colorado HEAR CU Boulder Strong Candidate Additional CU Boulder College/School/Program Recommendations
English 4 years (Two units of ESL English may count for these recommendations when combined with two units of successfully completed college preparatory English) 4 years
Mathematics 4 years (Must include Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II or equivalents. College-preparatory ESL mathematics/science courses that include content and academic rigor/level comparable to other acceptable courses may satisfy these recommendations) 4 years (For the fourth year of Mathematics, a class at or above the level of Algebra 2. (Examples include: Statistics, Pre-Calculus, Trigonometry)
Natural/Physical science 3 years (two units must be lab based) 3 years 1 unit of Physics (College of Engineering & Applied Science)
1 unit of Physics (Program in Environmental Design)
Social sciences 3 years (Including at least one unit of U.S. or world history) 3 years
World language 1 year (American Sign Language courses can count) 2-3 consecutive years, in the same language Up to 3rd level in the same language (Arts & Sciences)
Academic electives 2 years (Acceptable academic electives include additional courses in English, mathematics, natural/physical sciences and social, foreign languages, art, music, journalism, drama, computer science, honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate courses and appropriate CTE courses) 2 years Includes one or more design or art based classes (Program in Environmental Design)
Additional admission factors considered by college/school/program Rigorous coursework (Leeds School of Business)
Course grades, academic rigor (taking advanced classes if offered), leadership experience (sustained involvement and commitment to activities or a job) and shown STEM interest (reflected through activities or essay questions) (College of Engineering & Applied Science)
Total credit units: 17 Total credit units: 18-19

General Coursework Details

  • One year of a high school course or one semester of a college course equals one unit.
  • Grades of C- or better are preferred. Grades of D, F or P (pass) may not be competitive in a selective admission environment.
  • Students not meeting HEAR may be considered for admission on an individual basis based on the rigor of units completed as well as other admission criteria (e.g., test scores [optional], GPA and world language proficiency).

World Language

Unrelated to the admissions process, students will need to fulfill certain courses to meet CU Boulder’s graduation requirements. 

In order to have the world language graduation requirement satisfied through high school coursework, students are strongly encouraged to take three consecutive years of the same world language and up to third level proficiency in high school regardless of what major they are applying to. 

If a student has only taken one or two consecutive years of the same world language in high school, the third year must be taken once enrolled at CU Boulder and the credit hours will be applied towards graduation.

The graduation requirement in world for the following colleges, schools and programs may be found below:

​Third-Level Proficiency

  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Media, Communication & Information
  • College of Music - BA
  • School of Education


  • College of Engineering & Applied Science
  • College of Music - BM and BME
  • Leeds School of Business
  • Program in Environmental Design