- Freshman Applicants
- Transfer Students
- Intra-University Transfer (IUT)
- Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS)
- Credit by Examination
- Transfer Credit Policies
When students apply to the College of Arts and Sciences from high school, they may select one of the 44 degree-granting majors available in the college or they may enter the college as an "Arts and Sciences Open Option" major (when they are sure of their college choice but are unsure about their major). To ensure that students graduate in a timely manner, Open Option majors are required to enter a specific degree program by the time they have completed 60 credit hours. To maintain eligibility for the four-year guarantee, students must declare and enter a degree-granting major by the start of the second semester (or earlier for certain majors)
Students desiring to transfer from other accredited collegiate institutions are considered for admission on an individual basis. To earn a degree from the College of Arts and Sciences at CU Boulder, transfer students, like all other Arts and Sciences students, must complete at least 45 credit hours at CU, at least 30 upper-division credit hours in College of Arts and Sciences coursework, and at least 12 upper-division credit hours in their major at CU Boulder. Admission criteria for students transferring from the other University of Colorado campuses are the same as for other transfer students.
Intra-University Transfer (IUT)
Students from another college, school or program on the CU Boulder campus, who wish to transfer into the College of Arts and Sciences must meet the following minimum requirements.
Minimum requirements to apply to IUT into the College of Arts and Sciences:
- 24 credit hours completed and/or in-progress, at least 12 at CU Boulder
- CU GPA of at least 2.0
Students may apply to IUT before they have completed 24 credit hours, but they will not be admitted to the college until they have completed 24 credits. Students who apply to IUT must choose a degree-granting major offered by the college. A student cannot IUT into Arts and Sciences and declare an Open Option major.
During their first term at CU Boulder, new first-year or transfer students may IUT into Arts and Sciences without meeting the above requirements if they apply to IUT before the term census date, which is the Friday of the third week of the term during the fall and spring semesters.
Students should contact an academic advisor in their intended major for additional information about the IUT process.
Students who have not been active at CU Boulder for 3 or more semesters including suspended students who have been reinstated, may need to apply for readmission to the University of Colorado Boulder through the Admissions Office. Students are encouraged to submit readmission requests well in advance of the semester for which they plan to return.
Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS)
All students entering the University of Colorado who finished high school in the spring of 1988 or after must meet minimum academic preparation standards (MAPS) specified by each school or college. The College of Arts and Sciences has adopted the following standards for students. These standards are defined in high school units; a unit is one full year of high school coursework:
- English: 4 (includes 2 of composition)
- Mathematics: 4 (includes at least 2 of algebra, 1 of geometry and 1 of college preparatory math such as trigonometry, analytic geometry or elementary functions)
- Natural science: 3 (includes 2 of lab science, 1 of which must be either chemistry or physics)
- Social science: 3 (includes 1 of U.S. or world history and 1 of geography; if U.S. history is used to meet the history requirement, the geography requirement may be met with 1/2 unit of geography and 1/2 unit of world history)
- Single foreign language: 3 (third-level proficiency)
- Total credit units: 17
Students may be admitted to the College of Arts and Sciences even though they have not met all the MAPS requirements. If that is the case, students are required to rectify any MAPS deficiencies by taking approved college-level MAPS courses once enrolled. The credit hours from these courses may be applied toward graduation. All MAPS deficiencies must be completed prior to graduation from CU Boulder. Students may also complete missing MAPS coursework by taking courses at other colleges or universities, by earning credit via approved credit-by-examination programs like AP, IB, or CLEP, or by passing a proficiency exam in geography or a foreign language.
Credit by Examination
Advanced Placement Program
CU Boulder participates in the Advanced Placement program of the College Board. General Arts and Sciences (ARSC) credit that is applicably only to the college's General Education requirements is granted for scores of 3 on most AP exams, but credit for a specific Arts and Sciences course that would be applicable to a major or a minor usually requires a score of 4 or in a few cases a score of 5. Official scores must be sent to the Admissions Office directly from the College Board for both first-year students and transfer students. See Undergraduate Admission for more info and the Advanced Placement Table for specific equivalencies.
Any student admitted to a University of Colorado campus after June 30, 2003, who has graduated from high school having successfully completed an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma, program will be granted 24 credit hours of college credit. No tuition will be charged for these credits. These credits will be granted, however, only if the student receives a score of 4 or better on an examination administered as part of the IB diploma program. Students admitted to the College of Arts and Sciences for the Fall 2018 semester or thereafter with an IB diploma will be waived from the Lower-Division Written Communication portion of the college’s General Education Skills Requirement.
In addition, CU Boulder grants specific course credit, which would be applicable to a major or a minor, for International Baccalaureate examinations at the higher level with a score of 4 or higher and general Arts and Sciences (ARSC) credit, which is applicably only to the college's General Education requirements, for examinations at the standard level with a score of 4 or higher. For specific equivalencies see the International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit Table.
College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
CU Boulder grants credit for most, but not all, CLEP subject examinations. In the College of Arts and Sciences the credit earned by passing most CLEP examinations may be used to fulfill General Education requirements and to make up for deficiencies in the minimum academic preparation standards (MAPS) but not to fulfill major or minor requirements. Credits from a CLEP exam may not be used to fulfill any of the college's residency requirements. For specific equivalencies see the College Level Examination Program Table. More information about CLEP exams and how to register to take one either online or in person a local community college can be found on the College Board's website.
CU Boulder grants credit for many, but not all, DSST subject examinations. In the College of Arts and Sciences the credit earned by passing most DSST examinations may be used to fulfill General Education requirements and to make up for deficiencies in the minimum academic preparation standards (MAPS) but not to fulfill major or minor requirements. Credits from a DSST exam may not be used to fulfill any of the college's residency requirements. For specific equivalencies see the DSST Examinations Table. More information about DSST exams, which can be taken only by members of the United States Armed Forces, and how to register to take one can be found on the Prometric website.
Transfer Credit Policies
Transfer of credit from other institutions of higher education
Work from another accredited institution of higher education that has been completed with a grade of C- (1.70) or better may be transferred to the University of Colorado. Categories of transfer coursework not accepted by the university are described in the undergraduate Transfer of College-Level Credit section.
All courses transferred from junior and community colleges carry lower-division credit. Courses transferred from four-year institutions carry credits at the level at which they were taught at the previous institution, but, if the level at the sending institution is unclear, courses will be reviewed on a course-by-course basis. Upper-division courses from another four-year institution sometimes will transfer to CU Boulder as lower-division credit while lower-division courses will always carry lower-division credit even if they are allowed to fill a requirement usually filled by an upper-division course at CU Boulder.
Transfer courses judged to be equivalent to a CU Boulder course do not always carry the same number of credits as the equivalent CU Boulder course. For example, a 4-credit transfer Calculus course could be judged to be equivalent to MATH 1300 Calculus 1 at CU Boulder, which is a 5-credit course. While the transfer Calculus course would fill all the same major, minor and prerequisite requirements as MATH 1300, it would only count as 4, not 5, credits toward any specific credit requirements for graduation
Colorado Student Bill of Rights
In the interests of promoting timely graduation and facilitating the transfer of students among the institutions of higher education in the state of Colorado, the College of Arts and Sciences and the University of Colorado Boulder adhere to the Student Bill of Rights as presented in Colorado Statute 23-1-125.
23-1-125. Commission directive—student bill of rights—degree requirements—implementation of core courses—competency test—prior learning
- Student bill of rights. The general assembly hereby finds that students enrolled in public institutions of higher education shall have the following rights:
- Students should be able to complete their associate of arts and associate of science degree programs in no more than sixty credit hours or their baccalaureate programs in no more than one hundred twenty credit hours unless there are additional degree requirements recognized by the commission;
- A student can sign a two-year or four-year graduation agreement that formalizes a plan for that student to obtain a degree in two or four years, unless there are additional degree requirements recognized by the commission;
- Students have a right to clear and concise information concerning which courses must be completed successfully to complete their degrees;
- Students have a right to know which courses are transferable among the state public two-year and four-year institutions of higher education;
- Students, upon completion of core general education courses, regardless of the delivery method, should have those courses satisfy the core course requirements of all Colorado public institutions of higher education;
- Students have a right to know if courses from one or more public higher education institutions satisfy the student's degree requirements;
- A student's credit for the completion of the core requirements and core courses shall not expire for ten years from the date of initial enrollment and shall be transferable.
Statewide Guaranteed Transfer of General Education Courses
As of fall 2003, the two-year and four-year transfer articulation agreements among Colorado institutions of higher education were replaced by a statewide guaranteed transfer of approved general education courses taken at any Colorado public institution of higher education. Under the statewide guaranteed transfer program (gtPathways), up to 31-33 credits of successfully (C- or better) completed coursework will automatically transfer and apply towards the general education requirements at the receiving institution. The coursework must be drawn from the list of approved gtPathways courses and must meet the distribution requirements of the guaranteed transfer program. Further information about the statewide transfer program, including the list of approved courses and distribution requirements, can be found on the Colorado Department of Higher Education website.
As of fall 2018, a student graduating with an associate of arts or an associate of science degree from a Colorado community college and entering the College of Arts and Sciences is exempt from the General Education requirements of the College. Note that students are still subject to the College's MAPS requirements. Additional information on the evaluation of transfer credit from Colorado community colleges and its application to the College's General Education requirements can also be found at the College of Arts & Sciences Guide for Colorado Community College Students webpage. Students are required to follow the graduation requirements listed in this catalog at the time of their initial entry into the College of Arts and Sciences.
Concurrent College Credits Earned While in High School
College-level work taken during high school is evaluated in accordance with general guidelines for transfer credit at CU Boulder. Only courses taken at a college or university of recognized standing with grades of C- or better are accepted for transfer. College-level work taken concurrently with a high school program may be used to satisfy MAPS requirements. Students must have an official college transcript sent directly to the Office of Admissions in order for transfer credit to be evaluated.
If a student has earned concurrent college credit for a high school course for which the student also earned college credit via an Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) score, either the concurrent college credit or the credit earned for the AP or IB score will be granted, but not both. The credit granted will be determined in accordance with state policy and the student's educational best interests.
Students should be prepared to provide syllabi for any and all concurrent college credit they earned while in high school. Such syllabi should be nearly identical to those used when the course is taught at the accredited college or university granting the concurrent credit.
For more information and a guide to equivalencies for exam credit, see the charts in Credit by Examination section of this catalog, and refer to the First-year Applicants or Transfer Students webpage.
Students are subject to the general degree requirements in effect at the time that they first enter the College of Arts and Sciences at CU Boulder and are subject to the major requirements in force at the time they declare the major. All degrees offered by the College of Arts and Science require the completion of a specific number of credits, a major, and the General Education (Gen Ed) requirements.
Students must complete a degree within 10 years. If it has been more than 10 years since matriculation into the College of Arts and Sciences and no degree has been completed, students may be subject to new curricula in place at the time of re-enrollment.
Students may contact A&S Academic Advising and Coaching for further assistance.
Students in the College of Arts and Sciences must fulfill the following requirements for graduation:
- Pass a total of 120 credit hours.
- Maintain a 2.00 (C) GPA in all University of Colorado coursework and a 2.00 (C) in all coursework attempted for the major. (Some majors may require a higher minimum GPA.)
- Pass a minimum 45 credit hours of upper-division work (courses numbered in the 3000s and 4000s).
- Pass a minimum of 45 credit hours in University of Colorado courses on the Boulder campus. Of these 45 credit hours, a minimum of 30 credit hours must be in upper-division courses offered by a department or program in the College of Arts and Sciences. A maximum of 6 credit hours taken at other University of Colorado campuses (CU Denver and UCCS) can be counted toward the minimum 45 credit hours required on the Boulder campus but cannot be counted toward the 30 upper-division credit hours in arts and sciences coursework. Courses taken while on CU Boulder study abroad programs or through CU Boulder Continuing Education are considered to be in residence.
- For the Bachelor of Arts degree, students must complete a minimum of 75 credit hours outside their major department. Students who complete designated departmental honors courses in their major department and/or in honors thesis credit can reduce the 75 credit hours required outside the major department by a corresponding number of credits, up to a maximum of 6.
- For the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, students must complete a minimum of 53 credit hours outside of their major.
- Students must complete a major offered by the College of Arts and Sciences. Students are subject to the major requirements in force when they declare the major.
- Complete the General Education (Gen Ed) and Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS) requirements with the following limitations:
- Students may not use a course to fulfill any area of the Gen Ed Skills requirement and also use this course to fulfill part of the Gen Ed Distribution or Diversity requirements. This restriction applies to first- and second-semester foreign language courses taken as prerequisites to a third-semester language course that satisfies the Foreign Language area of the Skills Requirement.
- Students may not use thesis hours, independent study, internship or practicum courses to satisfy any of the Gen Ed or MAPS requirements.
- A single course may be used to meet both MAPS and Gen Ed requirements as long as the course is applicable to both requirements. For example, a student admitted with a MAPS deficiency in English composition may take WRTG 1150, to satisfy both that MAPS requirement and the Gen Ed lower-division Written Communication Skills requirement.
- Students may not use a course taken using the pass/fail option and in which they earn a P or P+ grade to fulfill any Gen Ed or MAPS requirements. (Courses taken pass/fail during Spring 2020 when pass/fail rules were altered because of the COVID-19 pandemic are exempt from this restriction.)
Credit for Foreign Language Courses
Students will not receive credit for a lower level Foreign Language course after credit has been given for a higher level course in the same sequence. For example, students who have passed a 2000-level class will not receive credit for a 1000-level class in the same sequence. Consult each foreign language department for specific restrictions, requirements and prerequisites.
Students must receive a grade of C or better to enroll in the next level of a language sequence in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese and Korean. Students must receive a grade of C- or better to enroll in the next level of a language sequence in American Sign Language, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.
Introductory language courses (numbered at the 1000 and 2000 level) are designed for non-native speakers. Fluent speakers of a language are prohibited from enrolling in introductory courses in the language and can be dropped from these courses by the department or by the course instructor. Fluent speakers should consult the department website and this catalog or consult with the course instructor or department language coordinator about eligibility to enroll in upper-division language courses (numbered at the 3000 and 4000 level) before enrolling in such courses. Departments can exclude fluent speakers from upper-division language courses based on course content and/or instructional resources. Speakers who have not formally studied the language but have spoken the language in their home should consult with the associate chair of the language department or the department language coordinator about appropriate placement before enrolling in a language course.
Credit taken in CU Online Courses
A maximum of 30 credit hours of online coursework offered by CU Boulder may count toward the degree. This limitation has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 forcing more courses to be delivered remotely. This limitation will be reinstated once instructional practices are no longer impacted by COVID-19.
Credit taken outside the College of Arts and Sciences
Students may apply 30 credit hours from the other colleges and schools at CU Boulder as well as specified ROTC and President's Leadership Class courses toward the fulfillment of requirements for the BA and BFA degrees. Within these 30 total credit hours, up to 8 credit hours in activities courses (applied music and ensembles) may be used. Transferred courses that were taught by departments considered to be outside the College of Arts and Sciences are counted as part of the allowed 30 credit hours. If a course has been approved to meet a General Education requirement or to count as Arts and Sciences credit and the course is taught outside the College of Arts and Sciences, the credit for this course will not be included as part of the 30-credit-hour limitation.
Independent Study Credit
With departmental approval, students may register for independent study during the normal registration periods for each semester. Students may not register for more than 6 credit hours of independent study credit during any term. No more than 8 credit hours of independent study taken in a single department or program can be applied toward the total credit hours needed for graduation. A maximum of 16 credit hours of independent study may count toward the degree. The minimum expectation for each hour of credit is 25 hours of work.
A student may not use independent study credit to fulfill the college's General Education requirements. Some departments further restrict the use of independent study hours toward meeting major requirements.
Students in the College of Arts and Sciences may receive up to nine credit hours for a department-sponsored internship. A maximum of six of the nine internship credits can be taken in the same department. Each internship project must be approved by the chair or associate chair of the department awarding the credit before the student enrolls in the course in order for the student to receive credit. Students are encouraged to contact their major department office or Career Services for information regarding the possibility of enrolling in an internship in their major. Many internships are graded on a pass/fail basis only. Participation in an internship with mandatory pass/fail grading does not affect the total credit hours of pass/fail a student may apply toward a degree.
A student may not use internship credit to fulfill the college's General Education requirements. Some departments further restrict the use of internship credit toward meeting major requirements.
Students in the College of Arts and Sciences can count a maximum of 6 credit hours of pass/fail coursework in which they earn a grade of P or P+ toward the 120 credit hours required for graduation. The pass/fail option may be used only in classes taken as free electives.
Except for courses taken in the Spring 2020 semester, students may not use courses in which they earned a grade of P or P+ to fulfill General Education requirements, to fulfill the Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS), or to fulfill major or minor requirements. A grade of F when earned in a course taken pass/fail will calculate into the GPA as a failing grade. While a course in which a students earns a grade of P+ can fulfill pre-requisite requirements for a course, as stated above, it cannot fulfill specific degree requirements (Gen Ed, MAPS, major or minor) unless it was taken during the Spring 2020 semester.
Courses with the satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) grading basis are excluded from the pass/fail credit restriction.
Required Credit Hours Outside the Major
To complete the BA degree, students are required to complete a minimum of 75 credit hours outside their major department. Exceptions are:
- Students who complete designated departmental honors courses in their major and/or in honors thesis credit can reduce the 75 credit hours required outside the major department by a corresponding number of credits, up to a maximum of six.
- Students completing the bachelor of fine arts degree must complete a minimum of 53 credit hours outside of their major department.
- Courses that are cross-listed in two or more departments are credited in the department in which the student has the most credit hours, irrespective of the department in which the student formally enrolled for the course.
Credit from Repeated Courses
Students can take a course more than once. In fact, in Arts and Sciences there is no limit on how many times a student make repeat a course. However, the course credit hours only count toward the credit hours needed to graduate once, unless a course description specifically states that a course can be taken more than once for credit. Such repeatable courses, usually topics courses, have a limit to how many times you may receive credit for that course.
The ROTC courses listed below have been certified as acceptable college-level coursework by the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences or by other colleges and schools on the Boulder campus. These courses are counted as elective credit toward the degree, subject to the 30-credit-hour limitation on coursework taken outside the college for students in the BA and BFA programs. All other ROTC courses that do not appear on this list do not count toward any degree requirements in the College of Arts and Sciences including 120 total credits required to graduate. Transfer ROTC coursework must be evaluated as equivalent to the coursework on this list to count toward degree requirements.
& AIRR 3020
|Leading People and Effective Communication 1|
and Leading People and Effective Communication 2
& AIRR 4020
|National Security, Leadership Responsibilities/Commissioning Preparation 1|
and National Security/Leadership Responsibilities/Commissioning Preparation 2
& MILR 1021
|Adventures in Leadership 1|
and Adventures in Leadership 2
& MILR 2041
|Methods of Leadership and Management 1|
and Methods of Leadership and Management 2
& MILR 4082
|Leadership 1: Adaptive Leadership|
and Leadership 2: Leadrship in a Complex World
|NAVR 2020||Seapower and Maritime Affairs||3|
|NAVR 3030||Naval Engineering Systems||3|
|NAVR 3040||Weapons and Systems Analysis||3|
|NAVR 3101||Evolution of Warfare||3|
& NAVR 4020
|Leadership and Management|
and Leadership and Ethics
Other Credit not applicable to Arts and Sciences Degrees
Any other CU Boulder coursework that is not applicable to a degree in the College of Arts and Sciences will appear in the "Courses not applicable to A&S degree requirements" section of a student's degree audit.
Majors, Minors and Certificates
All students pursuing a bachelor's degree in the College of Arts and Sciences must enter a degree-granting major by the end of their sophomore year (i.e., the semester in which they will complete 60 credit hours of work, including transfer work).
Students have 10 years to complete the requirements for a declared major. If the 10-year limit is exceeded, the student may be required to satisfy current major requirements. Students pursuing a major degree program identified for discontinuation by decision of the Board of Regents and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education have four years from the formal announcement of discontinuation to complete the degree program and graduate.
Minimum Major Requirements
The following minimum requirements are specified by the college. In many cases departmental requirements may be higher than the minimums listed here.
- A minimum of 30 credit hours in the major area for a BA or a minimum of 50 credit hours in the major area for a BFA.
- A minimum of 18 credit hours of upper-division courses in the major area.
- A minimum of 12 credit hours of upper-division coursework in the major taken on the CU Boulder campus.
- All coursework applied to the major must be completed with a grade of C- or better (no courses taken using the pass/fail option in which a grade of P or P+ is earned may be applied except for those courses taken during the Spring 2020 semester.)
- The GPA for all coursework attempted in the major department must be equal to 2.00 (C) or higher.
- Special requirements as stipulated by the major department.
- No more than 8 credit hours of independent study.
Students pursuing a BA or BFA degree in the College of Arts and Sciences may graduate with more than one major within the degree from CU Boulder (i.e., Economics and French or Dance and Art Practices). Students must complete all requirements for both majors. A minimum of 120 total credit hours is required for double majors within the college.
Students pursuing both a BA major and a BFA major are considered dual degree rather than double major students (see below). A student is allowed to add a major to an existing degree from the College of Arts and Science provided that the additional major is in the same degree as the existing degree. For example, a History major (BA), could be added to an existing BA in English but not to an existing BFA in Dance.
Most but not all departments and programs in the College of Arts and Sciences offer minor programs. Participation in a minor program is optional for students pursuing a bachelor's degree. Students may not earn a major and a minor in the same program of study. All requirements for the minor must be completed by the time the BA or BFA is conferred, and a minor cannot be converted into a major in the same program of study after graduation.
Although the structure of specific minor programs may differ, all minors offered in the College of Arts of Sciences must have the following restrictions or minimum requirements:
- A minimum of 18 credit hours must be taken in the minor area.
- A minimum of 9 of the 18 credit hours must be completed at the upper-division level.
- All coursework applied to the minor must be completed with a grade of C- or better (no courses taken using the pass/fail option in which a grade of P or P+ is earned may be applied).
- The GPA for all coursework attempted in the minor department must be equal to 2.00 (C) or higher.
- Students pursuing a major in distributed studies or an individually structured major are not eligible to earn a minor.
- Students are allowed to apply no more than 9 credit hours, including 6 upper-division credit hours, of transfer work toward a minor.
- Students must complete all requirements for a minor by the time they graduate.
The college also sponsors undergraduate certificates in a number of fields of study. Although similar to minors in the required number of credit hours, certificates have a substantially different focus and purpose from a minor in that they are interdisciplinary in nature and thus require the completion of courses in multiple departments instead of just one. Students interested in a certificate should contact the director of the appropriate certificate.
Although the structure of specific certificates may differ, all certificates offered in the College of Arts of Sciences must have the following restrictions or minimum requirements:
- A certificate cannot be a subset of existing major or minor requirements in the same way a student cannot earn a minor within the same department as their major.
- A minimum of 18 credit hours of specified coursework within the College of Arts and Sciences.
- A minimum of 9 of the 18 credit hours must be completed at the upper-division level.
- A minimum of 12 credit hours must be take on the CU Boulder campus.
- A maximum of 6 semester credit hours from other institutions will be accepted.
Students may earn multiple degrees from CU Boulder from different schools or colleges or within a single school or college. This includes students pursuing a BA and BFA from the College of Arts and Sciences. The following conditions must be fulfilled:
- The student meets the residency requirements of, and is enrolled in, both the College of Arts and Sciences and the college or school granting the second degree.
- The student completes a minimum of 145 credit hours when both degrees are offered within the College of Arts and Sciences.
- The student completes all requirements for both degrees when the degrees are offered by two different colleges.
- The student has completed all MAPS, General Education, and major requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences.
- Both degrees must be awarded at the same time.
Second Baccalaureate Degrees
A student who has been awarded a baccalaureate degree, either from the College of Arts and Sciences or elsewhere, may be granted a second baccalaureate degree provided the following conditions have been fulfilled:
- The subject of the major in the second baccalaureate degree is different from the subject of the major or minor in the first baccalaureate degree earned.
- All general requirements for the degree to be awarded by the College of Arts and Sciences have been met. (Students are subject to the general degree requirements in effect the semester they enter the second baccalaureate degree program.)
- Arts and sciences students must complete a minimum of 45 credit hours in University of Colorado Boulder courses after matriculation in the second baccalaureate degree program. Of these 45 post-matriculation credit hours, a minimum of 30 credit hours must be in upper-division courses offered by a department in the College of Arts and Sciences, and at least 12 of these 30 upper-division credit hours must be in major coursework. Courses taken as a non-degree student or as part of a graduate degree program do not count in these minimum credit hour requirements.
Applying for Graduation
Arts and Sciences students who have earned 90 or more credit hours and wish to walk in a commencement ceremony and/or graduate at the close of a term must submit an online application to graduate in Buff Portal, meeting all appropriate application deadlines published by the Office of the Registrar.
Students who intend to complete their degree in summer (August) and want their name to appear in the spring (May) commencement program should apply online for the summer graduation term, submitting their application prior to the published spring commencement program deadline. Summer applicants who apply prior to the spring program deadline will automatically be included in the spring commencement program.
Students who apply to graduate but fail to fulfill all degree requirements by the deadline for that term/year must submit a new online graduation application for a future term/year in order for the college to confer the degree once all remaining requirements are complete. To be certified as having completed all degree and major/minor requirements, all credit hours and grades (including transfer coursework and Continuing Education credit hours and grades) must be posted to the student records system by the deadline for reporting degrees for that term/year.
CU Boulder guarantees that if the scheduling of essential courses is found to have prevented a student in the College of Arts and Sciences from completing all coursework necessary for a BA or BFA degree from the university by the end of the student's eighth consecutive fall and spring semester, the college will provide tuition plus any course fees for all courses required for completion of the degree requirements.
The College of Arts and Sciences has adopted a set of guidelines to define the conditions under which a student should expect to graduate in four years. More information is available through the Arts and Sciences Academic Advising Center and major program and departmental offices. This guarantee extends to all students who enrolled the summer of 1994 or after into the College of Arts and Sciences as first-semester freshmen without MAPS deficiencies and who satisfy all the requirements described below. This guarantee cannot be extended to include completion of a second major, a double degree, a minor, a teaching certificate or other certificate program. Some CU Boulder study abroad programs may not provide a sufficient range of courses to allow students to meet the requirements and thus students who participate in study abroad are not included in this guarantee.
Four-Year Guarantee Requirements
- Students should enroll in University of Colorado Boulder coursework for eight consecutive fall and spring semesters.
- No fewer than 60 credit hours of applicable coursework should be completed with passing grades by the end of the second year (24 calendar months), 90 credit hours by the end of the third year (36 calendar months) and 120 credit hours by the end of the fourth year. Students should enroll in and pass an average of 15 credit hours each semester.
- A minimum of 30 credit hours of college General Education courses should be completed by the end of the second year, including General Education courses that also meet major requirements. All remaining college General Education requirements must be fulfilled by the end of the eighth semester.
- Students should complete 45 upper-division credit hours by the end of the eighth semester of study.
- A GPA of at least 2.00 must be earned each semester.
- Grades of C- or better in all coursework required for the major should be earned, and students should have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 in all major coursework attempted.
- A recommended plan of study must be started toward the major no later than the start of the second semester of study and thereafter students must make adequate progress toward completing the major (defined by each major). A statement of adequate progress is available from the major or departmental office at the time the major is declared.
- The major must be declared no later than the start of the second semester of study, and students must remain in that major until graduation.
- Students should meet with their assigned primary advisor each semester.
- Students must register each semester within one week of the assigned registration time.
- Students should avoid taking courses that are in conflict with the advice of their assigned primary advisor.
- Students should adhere to the Graduation Requirements listed above.
- Courses in conflict with major or college General Education requirements should be avoided.
- The student should apply online to graduate no later than the beginning of the seventh semester of study (see Graduation Deadlines section).
- Documentation should be kept proving that these requirements were satisfied (e.g., records of advising meetings attended, advising records and instructions, etc.).
Students are advised by the professional academic advisors and academic coaches in Arts and Sciences Academic Advising and Coaching and by faculty mentors from their respective major department/program, typically at least once a semester. Students use Buff Portal Advising to communicate with advisors, schedule appointments, explore majors, etc. Academic advisors are responsible for advising students and also for certifying the completion of those students' programs for graduation.
Students in the college are expected to assume responsibility for planning their academic program in conjunction with their academic advisor in accordance with college rules and policies and with departmental major requirements. Any questions concerning these provisions are to be directed to the student's academic advisor.
General Education Requirements
Note: All students pursuing a bachelor's degree in the College of Arts and Science who entered the college in Fall 2018 or thereafter must fulfill all the General Education categories listed below to satisfy the college's graduation requirements. Students who entered the college before Fall 2018 have the option to complete either the General Education requirements or the now retired Core Curriculum. (Refer to a 2017-2018 or earlier catalog for an explanation of the Core Curriculum).
The College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) General Education (Gen Ed) requirements are the heart of a liberal arts education at CU Boulder. This set of requirements allows students to pursue their passions while also ensuring that they venture into diverse areas of learning. The flexibility of the Gen Ed requirements enables students to explore areas of particular interest in depth, and in so doing facilitates the addition of minors or second majors. The Gen Ed requirements are straightforward, streamlined, rigorous and timeless; as society changes and technology advances, the courses of study that comprise these requirements will evolve naturally within the Gen Ed framework. These requirements reflect the Arts and Sciences identity and learning goals.
The College of Arts and Sciences at CU Boulder consists of teachers, scholars, researchers and artists who strive to understand, and find meaning in, the natural world, social structures, history, art, morals and the human experience. The college comprises a wide range of departments and programs, but woven throughout are the college's fundamental values: academic excellence, intellectual honesty, creative freedom, open inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge. We are dedicated to a pedagogy that recognizes our responsibility in developing a diverse community of students and scholars. Our students can expect to have their critical thinking skills honed, their understanding of themselves deepened, their vision of the natural world and its peoples expanded, and their ability to communicate enhanced. As a result, our graduates leave the college as well-rounded adults, prepared to participate productively as citizens in a democracy and to flourish in their careers.
1: Develop the skills of communication, expression, and reasoning.
Students hone their communication skills through writing and speaking for various purposes (informing, instructing, persuading) and audiences (academic, civic, professional). They learn to design their message ethically and effectively using appropriate evidence and technologies, which may include alphabetic, visual, and aural elements. Students explore the breadth of human experience through diverse expressive forms. To develop problem-solving and analytical skills, students exercise various forms of reasoning—logical, computational and mathematical.
2: Understand our world, in all its dimensions, through critical inquiry.
Students apply humanistic and scientific principles and methods to investigate local and global issues. Through exposure to multiple viewpoints, intellectual frameworks, and cultural contexts, students prepare to respond ethically, creatively, and collaboratively to open-ended questions.
The Arts and Sciences General Education curriculum consists of 45 credits in three basic categories of requirements: skills, distribution and diversity.
- Skills requirement: 9 credits (6 written communication, 3 quantitative reasoning and mathematical skills, plus foreign language proficiency). Courses taken to fulfill this requirement may not also count toward the distribution or diversity requirements.
- Distribution requirement: 36 credits (12 arts and humanities, 12 social sciences, 12 natural sciences).
- Diversity requirement: 0–6 credits. Courses taken to fulfill this requirement may also count toward the Distribution Requirement but not the Skills Requirement.
Students who take approved CU Boulder coursework to fulfill their Gen Ed requirements must take those courses for a letter grade and receive a grade of D- or higher (Courses in which a student earns a P or P+ grade cannot be used to fulfill Gen Ed requirements unless those course were taken in Spring 2020.) Students may not use thesis hours, independent study, internship, or practicum courses to fill any of the Gen Ed requirements. All courses approved to fulfill specific Arts and Sciences Gen Ed requirements are identified as such in this catalog and are searchable in the CU Boulder Class Search tool.
This requirement is designed to assure that each student has attained a minimum level of competency in foreign language, quantitative reasoning & mathematical skills, and written communication. Students may not use a course to fulfill any area of the Skills Requirement and also use this course to fulfill part of the Distribution or Diversity Requirements. This restriction applies to first- and second-semester foreign language courses taken as prerequisites to a third-semester language course that is satisfying the Foreign Language area of this requirement.
1. Foreign Language (third-level proficiency)
The goal of the language requirement is to encourage students to examine the formal and semantic structure of another language, significant and difficult works in that language, and one or more aspects of the culture lived in that language. This enables students to understand their own language and culture better, analyze texts more clearly and effectively, and appreciate more vividly the dangers and limitations of using a translated document. The language requirement concentrates on reading, although in some languages other abilities may be emphasized as well. Understanding what it means to read a significant text in its original language is essential for a liberal education according to the standards of this university.
All students are required to demonstrate, while in high school, third-level proficiency in a single modern or classical language. Students who have not met this requirement at the time of matriculation will have a MAPS deficiency. They may make up the deficiency and fill this Gen Ed requirement by passing or earning AP or IB credit for an appropriate third-semester college course that is part of a three-course sequence of at least 12 semester credit hours or by passing a CU Boulder approved proficiency examination. Third-semester language courses offered at CU Boulder that meet this requirement are listed below.
Students who are subject to the General Education requirements, but not subject to MAPS, must complete the Foreign Language Gen Ed Skills requirement to meet degree requirements.
|ARAB 2110||Intermediate Arabic 1||5|
|CHIN 2110||Intermediate Chinese 1||5|
|GREK 3113||Intermediate Classical Greek 1||3|
|DANE 2010||Intermediate Danish I - DILS||4|
|FRSI 2110||Intermediate Farsi 1||4|
|FREN 2110||Second-Year French Grammar Review and Reading 1||3|
|GRMN 2010||Intermediate German 1||4|
|GRMN 2030||Intensive Intermediate German||5|
|HEBR 2110||Intermediate Modern Hebrew, First Semester||4|
|HIND 2110||Intermediate Hindi 1||5|
|INDO 2110||Intermediate Indonesian 1- DILS||3|
|ITAL 2110||Intermediate Italian Reading, Grammar, and Composition 1||4|
|JPNS 2110||Intermediate Japanese 1||5|
|KREN 2110||Intermediate Korean 1||5|
|LATN 2114||Intermediate Latin 1||4|
|PORT 2110||Second-Year Portuguese 1||3|
|RUSS 2010||Second-Year Russian 1||4|
|SNSK 2110||Intermediate Sanskrit 1||3-4|
|SPAN 2110||Second-Year Spanish 1||3|
|SLHS 2325||American Sign Language 3||4|
|SWED 2010||Intermediate Swedish 1 -DILS||4|
|SWED 2110||Second-Year Swedish Reading and Conversation 1||4|
2. Quantitative Reasoning and Mathematical Skills (QRMS) (3–6 credit hours)
This requirement has two principal objectives. The first is to provide students with the analytical tools used in some of their other Gen Ed courses and used in their major areas of study. The second is to help students acquire the reasoning skills necessary to assess adequately the data that will confront them in their daily lives. Students completing this requirement should be able to: construct a logical argument based on the rules of inference; analyze, present, and interpret numerical data; estimate orders of magnitude as well as obtain exact results when appropriate; and apply mathematical methods to solve problems in their university work and in their daily lives.
To fulfill the QRMS Gen Ed Skills requirement, student must:
- Earn credit for one of the approved QRMS courses or sequences of courses listed below
- Earn credit for any 3 credits of mathematics courses numbered MATH 1300 or higher or applied mathematics courses numbered APPM 1350 or higher
- Have Prior Learning Assessment credit (PLA), like AP, IB or CLEP credit, that has been approved to fill QRMS
|AHUM 1825||Inclusive Interdisciplinary Data Science for All||4|
|APPM 1340||Calculus 1 with Algebra, Part A||4|
|APPM 1350||Calculus 1 for Engineers||4|
|EBIO 1010||Introduction to Statistics and Quantitative Thinking for Biologists||3|
|EBIO 4410||Biological Statistics||4|
|ECEN 1500||Sustainable Energy||3|
|ECON 1078||Mathematical Tools for Economists 1||3|
|ECON 1088||Mathematical Tools for Economists 2||3|
|GEOG 3023||Statistics and Geographic Data||4|
|IPHY 3280||Intro to Data Science and Biostatistics||4|
|LING 4622||Statistical Analysis for Linguistics||3|
|MATH 1011||College Algebra||3|
|MATH 1012||Quantitative Reasoning and Mathematical Skills||3|
|MATH 1112||Mathematical Analysis in Business||4|
& MATH 1120
|Mathematics for Elementary Educators 1|
and Mathematics for Elementary Educators 2
|MATH 1130||Mathematics from the Visual Arts||3|
|MATH 1150||Precalculus Mathematics||4|
|MATH 1212||Data and Models||3|
|MATH 1300||Calculus 1||5|
|MATH 1310||Calculus for Life Sciences||5|
|MATH 1330||Calculus for Economics and the Social Sciences||4|
|MATH 2380||Mathematics for the Environment||3|
|MATH 2510||Introduction to Statistics||3|
|PHYS 1010||Physics of Everyday Life 1||3|
|PHYS 1020||Physics of Everyday Life 2||4|
|PSCI 2075||Quantitative Research Methods||3|
|PSCI 3105||Designing Social Inquiry: An Introduction to Analyzing Political Phenomena||3|
|SOCY 2061||Introduction to Social Statistics||3|
3. Written Communication (3 lower-division and 3 upper-division credit hours)
Writing is a skill that is fundamental to all intellectual endeavors. In fulfilling this requirement, students hone their communication skills by writing for various purposes (informing, instructing, persuading) and audiences (academic, civic, professional). They learn to design their message ethically and effectively using appropriate evidence and technologies.
Lower-division written communication courses focus on the central rhetorical elements of purpose, audience, and context to help students craft effective writing in a variety of situations. They emphasize the relationships among these elements, including a writer’s choices of content, structure, style and use of language conventions. In addition, courses in this area develop students’ analytical reading skills and introduce them to principles and practices of information literacy.
By the end of a lower-division written communication course, students will:
- Demonstrate their rhetorical knowledge through their writing choices
- Construct effective and ethical arguments
- Analyze texts in a variety of genres
- Refine and reflect on their writing process
- Practice information literacy
- Apply appropriate language conventions, including grammar, spelling, punctuation and format
In upper-division written communication courses, students apply the rhetorical elements of purpose, audience, and context to investigate and practice writing using disciplinary language, forms, and genres. These courses emphasize the application of students’ disciplinary knowledge to a variety of writing situations, adjusting content, format, style and language conventions to accomplish specific purposes and communicate with specific audiences.
By the end of an upper-division written communication course, students will:
- Demonstrate specialized rhetorical knowledge through composing texts in a variety of disciplinary forms and genres for specific audiences and purposes
- Argue persuasively and with evidence, using discipline-specific forms and genres to present ideas and information
- Demonstrate enhanced critical reading skills
- Refine and reflect on their writing process
- Demonstrate specialized information literacy through applying research to disciplinary questions/issues
- Apply language conventions appropriately, including format, documentation, spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
To fulfill the lower-division part of the written communication Gen Ed Skills requirement, students must either:
- Pass a one of the 3-credit courses approved as Skills – Lower-Division Written Communication listed below, or
- Earn an International Baccalaureate diploma, or
- Have Prior Learning Assessment credit (PLA), like AP, IB or CLEP credit, that has been approved to fill Skills – Lower-Division Written Communication
|ARSC 1080||College Writing and Research||4|
|CLAS 1020||Argument from Evidence: Critical Writing about the Ancient World||3|
|EBIO 1940||Introduction to Scientific Writing||3|
|ENGL 1001||Writing, Reading, Culture||3|
|ENVS 1150||First-Year Writing in Energy, Environment and Sustainability||3|
|IPHY 1950||Introduction to Scientific Writing in Integrative Physiology||3|
|PHIL 1500||Reading, Writing and Reasoning||3|
|WRTG 1100||Extended First-Year Writing and Rhetoric||4|
|WRTG 1150||First-Year Writing and Rhetoric||3|
|WRTG 1160||CMCI First-Year Writing and Rhetoric||3|
|WRTG 1250||Advanced First-Year Writing and Rhetoric||3|
To fulfill the upper-division part of this requirement, students must either:
- Pass a one of the 3-credit courses approved as Skills – Upper-Division Written Communication listed below or
- Pass the CLEP College Composition Exam, which by Colorado state policy fills both the lower- and upper-division parts of the written communication Gen Ed Skills requirement.
|ARSC 3100||Multicultural Perspective and Academic Discourse||3|
|ARTS 4050||Writing Across the Arts: Culture Writing in the 21st c||3|
|CHIN 3200||Adv Wrtg Topics on Chinese & Japanese Literature and Civilization||3|
|EBIO 3940||Written Communication in the Sciences||3|
|ENGL 3026||Syntax, Citation, Analysis: Writing About Literature||3|
|ENGL 3830||Topics in Advanced Writing and Research||3|
|ENGL 4206||Writing for the Real World||3|
|ENVS 3020||Advanced Writing in Environmental Studies||3|
|FREN 3050||French Composition||3|
|GEOL 3090||Developing Scientific Writing Skills||3|
|IPHY 3700||Scientific Writing in Integrative Physiology||3|
|ITAL 3025||Advanced Composition 2: Introduction to Literary Writing||3|
|HIST 3020||Historical Thinking & Writing||3|
|HONR 3220||Advanced Honors Writing Workshop||3|
|JPNS 3200||Adv Wrtg Topics on Chinese & Japanese Literature and Civilization||3|
|PHIL 3480||Critical Thinking/Writing in Philosophy||3|
|RLST 3020||Advanced Writing in Religious Studies||3|
|SPAN 3010||Advanced Rhetoric and Composition||3|
|WGST 3800||Advanced Writing in Feminist Studies||3|
|WRTG 3007||Writing in the Visual Arts||3|
|WRTG 3020||Topics in Writing||3|
|WRTG 3030||Writing on Science and Society||3|
|WRTG 3035||Technical Communication and Design||3|
|WRTG 3040||Writing on Business and Society||3|
|WRTG 3045||Writing for Emerging Workplaces||3|
For the Distribution requirement, students must pass a minimum of 12 credits in each of the three Arts & Sciences divisions (Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences). At least four different course prefixes must be represented in a student’s Distribution requirement coursework. No more than two lower-division (1000- and 2000-level) courses with the same course prefix may count toward the distribution requirement.
As part of, or in addition to, the 12 credits in the natural sciences division, students must meet the natural sciences lab requirement. (One- and 2-credit NS lab courses are excepted from the restriction to two lower-division courses with the same course prefix counting toward the Distribution requirement.)
4. Arts & Humanities (12 credits)
Courses in the arts and the humanities explore the variety of human creative and intellectual experiences, as well as the history and foundations of culture, through the examination of human languages, literatures and other artistic, material, social, cultural, and political products, the forms they have taken in different places and eras, and the way these have changed over time. As a result, these courses cultivate perspectives and intellectual skills necessary to comprehend and respond adeptly to the world in which we live, offering frameworks for thinking critically about the universe and the smaller societies we inhabit. In particular, these courses help students develop the ability to appreciate and evaluate human efforts to explain, translate, and transform their diverse experiences of the world, as these efforts take shape in language, literature, philosophical systems, historical contexts, religious experience, material culture, images, sounds and performances.
The Arts & Humanities Gen Ed Distribution requirement is meant to ensure that students:
- Study the fundamental intellectual and ethical dimensions of human experience.
- Investigate the relations between artistic, humanistic, and scientific inquiry and interpretation.
- Understand and are prepared to navigate successfully the complex and ever-changing world in which we live.
To fulfill the Arts & Humanities Gen Ed Distribution Requirement, students must pass a minimum of 12 credits in courses approved as Distribution – Arts & Humanities courses. (Students may apply more than two lower-division courses with the DNCE prefix to this part of the requirement at long as the credit total in such courses is 6 or less.)
5. Natural Sciences (12 credits including a lab)
Natural science courses examine the physical and biological world, exploring the nature of matter, life, and the universe. They are designed to demonstrate that science is not a static list of facts, but a dynamic process that leads to knowledge. By combining observation, experimentation, and theory, students learn to formulate interpretations and conclusions through unbiased, critical application of scientific principles. Through a combination of lecture courses and laboratory or field experiences, students gain hands-on experience with scientific research. They develop expertise in measurement techniques and data interpretation, and learn the relevance of this expertise to the formation and testing of scientific hypotheses. As a result, natural science courses cultivate perspectives and intellectual skills necessary to enhance knowledge of one or more scientific disciplines, and to probe scientific issues in the context of important past discoveries and new developments.
The Natural Sciences Gen Ed Distribution requirement is meant to ensure that students:
- Understand the evolving state of knowledge in at least one scientific discipline
- Gain experience in scientific observation and measurement, in organizing and quantifying results, in drawing conclusions from data, and in understanding the uncertainties and limitations of the results
- Learn sufficient general scientific vocabulary and methodology to acquire additional information, evaluate it critically and make informed decisions
Laboratory or Field Experience: The Laboratory or Field Experience requirement is satisfied with a stand-alone lab of at least one credit, or another course with a substantial lab component, as approved by the Natural Sciences division. The lab requirement is broadly defined to include different types of hands-on learning, including—but not limited to—bench work, fieldwork, instrumentation and data analysis.
To fulfill the Natural Sciences Gen Ed Distribution requirement, students must pass a minimum of 12 credits in courses approved as Distribution – Natural Sciences courses, including a laboratory or field experience.
6. Social Sciences (12 credits)
Social science courses examine the individual, social, ideological, cultural, political, and economic dimensions of human activities and behaviors. They address a broad range of topics through diverse theoretical and empirical approaches. As a result, these courses cultivate perspectives and intellectual skills necessary to apply qualitative and quantitative methods of inquiry to issues of societal significance. Students in social science courses are taught to analyze and interpret data from many different sources, such as fieldwork, interviews, surveys, peer-reviewed literature, published and unpublished repositories and electronic media. These courses also discuss applications of the social sciences, which range from developing fundamental theories of the social world to solving problems and informing advocacy and activism.
The Social Sciences Gen Ed Distribution requirement is meant to ensure that students:
- Explore the development of the institutions and functioning of human society
- Understand the interpersonal relationships of individuals as members of social groups
- Gain experience with social science vocabulary, methods and tools in systematic studies of the social world
To fulfill the Social Sciences Gen Ed Distribution requirement, students must pass a minimum of 12 credits in courses approved as Distribution – Social Sciences courses.
Thousands of courses offered by units in the College of Arts and Sciences have been approved to count toward the Distribution Requirement. To find those that are being offered in any particular term, use the "General Education / Core Courses Search" in the CU Boulder Class Search tool.
For the Diversity requirement, students must pass a minimum of 3 credits in each of the two diversity categories for a total of 6 credits in courses that have been identified as fulfilling diversity learning goals. Students may use the same course to fulfill one of the Diversity categories and part of the Distribution requirement.
The Diversity requirement addresses the need to prepare students to navigate the complexities of living and working in a diverse and increasingly interconnected world. Diversity courses are designed to provide students with the necessary understanding and analytical skills to successfully function and lead in a multicultural, multiethnic, transnational and global society. All diversity courses promote historical and/or contemporary understanding of how social differences shape, and have been shaped by, political, economic, and cross-cultural relationships within the United States and the world. Generally diversity courses in either category of this requirement will explore the ways in which marginalization has occurred and the reasons for this marginalization.
7. United States Perspective (3 credits)
United States perspective diversity courses promote historical and/or contemporary understanding of how social differences have shaped social, political, economic and cross-cultural relationships within the United States. These courses must substantially address one or more forms of diversity (for example: race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, religion, disability).
To fulfill the U.S. Perspective Gen Ed Diversity requirement, students must pass a minimum of 3 credits in a course approved as Diversity – U.S. Perspective.
8. Global perspective (3 credits)
Global perspective diversity courses address the need for students to learn and think critically about historical and/or contemporary global forces and transnational connections. These courses might: 1) focus in-depth on a particular country or culture outside the U.S., placing it within transnational and global context; 2) address a problem or phenomenon in the context of two or more countries, cultures, or regions; 3) examine global affairs through a comparative framework; 4) be courses with a substantial cross-cultural curricular component that are part of a study abroad experience
To fulfill the Global Perspective Gen Ed Diversity requirement, students must pass a minimum of 3 credits in a course approved as Diversity – Global Perspective.
Hundreds of courses offered by a wide variety units in the College of Arts and Sciences have been approved to count toward the Diversity Requirement. To find those that are being offered in any particular term, use the "General Education / Core Courses Search" in CU Boulder Class Search.
Students in the College of Arts and Sciences must abide by all policies and procedures as outlined in the university catalog and on the Arts and Sciences' Academic Advising website. Students should refer to these webpages often since policies, procedures and forms may be updated throughout the academic year.
Successful work in the College of Arts and Sciences is dependent upon regular attendance in all classes. Students who are unavoidably absent should make arrangements with instructors to make up any work missed. Failure to attend regularly may result in receipt of an "F" in a course. Students who, for illness or other legitimate reason, miss a final examination must notify the instructor no later than the end of the day on which the examination is given. Failure to do so may result in receipt of an F in the course. The instructor determines whether the reason is legitimate and whether to make an accommodation.
Registration and Enrollment
It is the students’ responsibility to enroll each semester in the requisite number of credit hours in accordance with the students’ individual degree plan. To be considered a full-time student, a minimum of 12 credit hours each fall and spring semester is required. Part-time enrollment (less than 12 credit hours) may impact student's financial aid and scholarships, health insurance, on-campus housing, and the four-year graduation guarantee. Students must petition to be enrolled in more than 21 credit hours in any given fall or spring semester, and in more than 16 credit hours in Summer Session as a whole. Students may enroll in a maximum of 4 credit hours in Maymester, Augmester, or Winter Term.
Sequence of Courses
Students are expected to follow the curriculum outlined by their major department/program. A student who receives a grade of D+ or lower in a course that is prerequisite to another may not enroll in the succeeding course without approval from the student's major department/program or the instructor of the succeeding course. Students should check with the major department/program for more stringent requirements on prerequisite course grades.
All courses are not necessarily offered each semester. According to college policy, undergraduate courses having an enrollment of fewer than 15 students may be cancelled. Students can minimize scheduling problems by closely following the curricular sequence outlined by their major department/program.
Add and Drop Policies
See the Office of the Registrar's website for campuswide add and drop policies, and specific deadline dates for a given semester/term.
Late Drop Policy
After the final drop deadline, students must file a detailed college petition to request a late drop from an individual course, which may be approved under the following conditions:
- After the tenth week of class during the fall or spring, of the equivalent during a summer term, and before the last day of class in the term, a student may be approved to late drop a class with documentation to verify extenuating circumstances beyond their control or a university error.
- Students who are approved for a late drop of a class will receive a grade of "W" for that class on their transcript.
Students are responsible for being aware of the consequences of a late drop(s), including impacts on financial aid/scholarships, health insurance, on-campus housing eligibility, academic progress towards degree requirements, etc.
Arts and Sciences students may withdraw from all classes for a term through the last day that classes are taught by requesting a withdrawal in the Office of the Registrar. In the event of extenuating circumstances, after the conclusion of the term, students may petition for a retroactive term withdrawal through the Office of Undergraduate Education. For specific withdrawal procedures and campuswide policies, see the Withdrawal section.
Consecutive Term Withdrawal
Students in the College of Arts and Sciences who withdraw from two fall and spring terms in a row will have a dean's stop placed on their registration. Summer session is not counted within the context of this policy. Students with a consecutive withdrawal dean's stop will not be permitted to return to CU Boulder before one full academic year has elapsed (not including their last term of withdrawal).
Good Academic Standing
Good academic standing in the College of Arts and Sciences requires a cumulative grade point average of 2.000 (C) or above in all University of Colorado work. Grades earned at another institution are not used in calculating the grade point average at the University of Colorado (this includes courses taken at Metropolitan State University on the Denver campus). However, grades earned in another school, college or campus within the University of Colorado system can be used in determining a student's academic standing and progress toward the degree in the College of Arts and Sciences. Academic standing is processed at the end of fall and spring terms based on all CU classes taken, including Continuing Education classes. Students can use summer to return to good standing, but summer enrollment that negatively impacts GPA is not subject to academic standing processing
Academic Alert – For First Semester Students Only
First-time first-semester students and first-semester transfer students who earn a cumulative GPA below 2.00 in their first semester are placed on Academic Alert. Students placed on Academic Alert are not in good academic standing.
Continuing students whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.00 are placed on Academic Warning. Students on Academic Warning who enroll in main campus classes during the fall and spring terms are expected to raise their cumulative GPA to a 2.00 or above by the end of that term or they will face Academic Suspension.
However, students who earn a term GPA of 2.30 or higher while on Academic Warning can continue on Academic Warning for two terms even if they do not raise their cumulative GPA to a 2.00 or above. Students placed on Academic Warning who elect to remain out of main campus classes for a full calendar year can return to the university with two semesters of Academic Warning to achieve the required cumulative GPA of 2.00 or above.
Students who fail to earn a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher or a term GPA of 2.30 or higher following their semester(s) of Academic Warning will be suspended and will not be able to register for University of Colorado main campus classes on any campus during any fall or spring academic term until they earn reinstatement. Students on Academic Suspension remain eligible to enroll in Summer Session classes.
Students on Academic Suspension are encouraged to seek Academic Reinstatement. Academic Reinstatement eligibility requires a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher. A student on Academic Suspension who is seeking Academic Reinstatement may choose from the following options:
- Students may take classes through the CU Boulder's Division of Continuing Education (evening or online courses) to try to raise their CU GPA and are eligible for reinstatement when they have reached a 2.00 cumulative GPA. Students who enroll in Continuing Education classes to restore their good academic standing must maintain a 2.30 GPA or above during each term to avoid dismissal from Continuing Education.
- Students can take courses at another academic institution. To be reinstated to main campus classes, students' cumulative GPA at CU plus the grades and credit hours resulting from all work done at other institutions after your Academic Suspension must calculate to a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.00. This is referred to as a virtual GPA. A virtual GPA is used only for the purpose of reinstatement and does not impact a students' official University of Colorado GPA. If students choose this option and are reinstated based on a virtual GPA, they will be readmitted on Academic Warning and given two semesters of main campus enrollment to bring their CU cumulative GPA to a 2.00 minimum.
- Students on Academic Suspension may enroll in Summer Session classes to try to raise their CU GPA and are eligible for reinstatement when they have reached a 2.00 cumulative GPA.
- Students may choose any combination of numbers 1, 2 and 3.
The procedure to apply for Academic Reinstatement can be found on the Arts and Sciences Academic Advising and Coaching Website. If a student, who has earned Academic Reinstatement, has not been enrolled at CU Boulder for more than three consecutive fall/spring terms they may also need to apply for readmission to the university.
Students already on Academic Suspension, who enroll in Continuing Education classes to restore their good academic standing and fail to earn a term GPA of 2.30 or higher, will face Academic Dismissal from Continuing Education. Academic Dismissals from Continuing Education are processed only at the conclusion of the fall and spring terms and are not processed at the end of the summer term. Students on Academic Dismissal will not be able to register for University of Colorado classes on any CU system campus during fall and spring terms, but can enroll in either main campus or Continuing Education classes during the summer term. Students on Academic Dismissal must successfully apply for Academic Reinstatement in order to enroll in classes at CU Boulder during the fall or spring terms.
The College of Arts and Sciences follows the policies and procedures governing acts of academic dishonesty can be found on CU Boulder's Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution website. A university's intellectual reputation depends on the maintenance of the highest standards of intellectual honesty. Commitment to those standards is a responsibility of every student and faculty member at the University of Colorado.
Policy on Grade Appeals
The following shall be the official policy of the academic units of the College, unless an academic unit submits an alternative procedure to the Dean for approval.
When a student believes that a grade has been improperly assigned, and discussions between the instructor and the student have not led to any resolution of the problem:
- The student shall have the option of making a formal written appeal to the Department Chair. The appeal must specify the remedy desired by the student, and it must be submitted within 45 days of the end of the academic term in which the course was taken.
- The Chair or designee will meet (together or separately) with the student and with the faculty member who taught the course. If the Chair/designee is unable to broker a solution mutually acceptable to both student and instructor, then:
- The Chair shall appoint an ad hoc Grade Appeals Committee, which will review the dispute. This Committee shall consist of at least three impartial faculty members competent in the subject matter of the course in question. The Chair will provide the Committee with the student’s appeal and a written response from the faculty member.
- Within 45 days, the Committee will submit a report and recommendation to the Chair, and the Chair will recommend to the instructor either (1) that the originally assigned grade stand; or (2) that a new grade be assigned.
- In cases where a change of grade is recommended and the instructor does not wish to accept the recommendation of their colleagues, the Chair shall forward the written materials associated with the appeal to the Arts and Sciences’ Dean's Office.
Policy on Incomplete Grades
An incomplete grade of "I" is given at the discretion of the course instructor only when a student has satisfactorily completed a substantial portion of a course and, for reasons beyond the student's control, is prevented from completing all work for the course within the term. Incomplete grades must be requested by the student and should not be awarded by the instructor for non-attendance. (In the case of non-attendance, the instructor should award the student the grade[s] earned.) If an incomplete grade is given, the instructor is required to document the reasons/grounds for the awarding of the incomplete grade, the specific work and conditions for completion of the course and the time frame within which the coursework must be completed. The maximum time the instructor can allow for the completion of the coursework and subsequent award of a course grade is one year from the end of the term the course was taken. After one year, if no final grade is awarded, the "I" grade will change to the grade of "F." A copy of a departmental Incomplete Agreement signed by the student and instructor and accompanied by documentation of the extenuating circumstances that resulted in the awarding of an incomplete should be filed with the instructor's department office, and a copy should be given to the student. (No copy of this agreement needs to be sent to the Arts and Sciences’ Dean's Office.)
Policy on Exceptions to Academic Rules and Policies
The College of Arts and Sciences does not waive degree requirements or excuse students from completing degree requirements. Petitions for exceptions to the College of Arts and Sciences academic rules and policies stated in this catalog may be submitted to the Appeals Committee on Academic Rules and Policies (ACARP). Such petitions will be considered only if they meet all three of the following conditions:
- The student must document that they have made every effort to fulfill the policy or requirement as defined and must demonstrate that no other options exist for fulfilling the requirement as defined in this catalog.
- The student must document the compelling reasons beyond their control that are preventing them from fulfilling the policy or meeting the requirement as defined in the catalog.
- The student must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the faculty committee that they have fulfilled or will fulfill the intent of the policy or the requirement through an appropriate alternative.
Students who believe that their circumstances meet the conditions to submit a petition must first consult with their academic advisor. If the advisor offers options for meeting the requirement or policy as defined here, the student must pursue those options and should not submit a petition. Usually ACARP only accepts petitions from students who are in their final year at CU Boulder.
The ACARP petitions should be filed with the College of Arts and Sciences’ Office of Academic and Curricular Affairs.
Arts and Sciences Honors Program
The Arts and Sciences Honors Program provides a community for highly motivated and academically prepared undergraduate students and offers opportunities for intellectual engagement through honors courses, academic-inspired events, and honors thesis research and creative work. It is an enrichment program for Arts and Sciences students who want to add something extra to their experience at the University of Colorado Boulder. Honors-qualified students are eligible to take Honors Program courses and attend Honors Community events. In addition, the Honors Program sponsors the Honors Journal, a student-run publication which publishes works from all academic disciplines represented on the CU Boulder campus.
Honors Residential Academic Program
Honors RAP, located in Smith Hall, is a challenging, supportive, and inclusive co-educational living-learning community open to honors-qualified Arts and Sciences students. By becoming part of the Honors RAP community, you will surround yourself with other bright, highly motivated students, enjoy small seminar-style classes, and have the opportunity to work closely with Honors faculty. Through its classes and its extra-curricular activities, Honors RAP integrates the diverse disciplines of the College of Arts and Sciences with the opportunities and challenges of real-world experiences. In short, we aspire to offer the best educational experience possible to qualified CU undergraduates.
Incoming first-year honors-qualified students receive a Welcome Letter from the A&S Honors Program inviting them to participate in Honors. Being in the Arts & Sciences Honors Program qualifies you to join the A&S Honors RAP; a separate Honors RAP qualification is not required. Honors-qualified students are not guaranteed a space in the Honors RAP. Housing applications and assignments are a product of the Housing Office. Applications are processed per the process described on Housing's website, according to the date of the completed Housing application.
A limited number of scholarships are available for students who demonstrate financial need and/or who contribute to a diverse and inclusive community in the Honors RAP. Students who wish to be considered for a RAP fee scholarship must contact the Honors RAP by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about program requirements and to access the application, visit the Honors RAP website
Graduation with Honors
Students in the College of Arts and Sciences are eligible to earn Latin honors at graduation—cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude. The award of Latin honors is determined by the Arts and Sciences Honors Program and is based on several criteria, including the quality of original scholarly work. Honors are not conferred on a graduate simply by virtue of high grades. Students pursuing multiple majors or multiple degrees must complete their honors program and defend their thesis by the published deadline for the term/year in which their first major or first degree is conferred. Students intending to pursue honors must register with the Honors Program by the deadlines published on the Honors Program website. Honors requirements must be complete prior to graduation. Students "walking" in May but graduating in August must complete honors requirements, including defending the thesis, by the Honors Program deadline for May graduation. Interested students should consult the Honors Program listing in this catalog or contact the Honors Program in Norlin Library.
Graduation with Distinction
Students will graduate "With Distinction" if they have at least 30 credit hours completed at the University of Colorado Boulder and have a grade point average of 3.750 or higher for all coursework completed at the University of Colorado. The average includes all grades except P. Students will graduating "With Distinction" receive a medal from the Dean's Office to wear at graduation.
Students in the College of Arts and Sciences who have completed at least 12 credit hours of CU Boulder coursework for a letter grade in any single semester with a term GPA of 3.75 or better are included on the dean's list and receive a notation on their transcript and a letter from the dean. Arts and Sciences students who are pursuing a double degree in another school or college at CU Boulder are not eligible for the Arts and Sciences deans list but rather are eligible for the dean's list in their other college.
Phi Beta Kappa
All upper-division students in the College of Arts and Sciences whose undergraduate academic records are outstanding are eligible for election to Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The CU Boulder chapter was established in 1904. Membership in this distinguished honors society recognizes superlative scholastic achievement in the liberal arts and sciences and at CU is only open to Arts and Sciences students. Students are notified by mail of their nomination; students do not apply for Phi Beta Kappa membership.