Degree Requirements

Students are subject to the general degree requirements in effect at the time they first enter the College of Arts and Sciences and are subject to the major requirements at the time they declare a major. Arts and Sciences 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.

General Graduation Requirements

Arts and sciences students must fulfill the following requirements for graduation:

  1. Pass a total of 120 hours.
  2. Maintain a 2.00 (C) grade point average in all University of Colorado work and a 2.00 (C) in all major course work attempted. (Some majors may require a higher minimum grade point average.)
  3. Pass 45 credit hours of upper-division work (courses numbered in the 3000s and 4000s).
  4. Arts and Sciences students must complete a minimum of 45 credit hours in University of Colorado courses on the Boulder campus. Of these 45 credits, a minimum of 30 credits must be in arts and sciences upper-division credit hours completed as a matriculated student in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder and at least 12 of these upper-division hours must be in the major. A maximum of 6 credit hours taken at other University of Colorado campuses (CU-Denver and CU-Colorado Springs) can be counted toward the minimum 45 credits required on the Boulder campus. Courses taken while on CU-Boulder study abroad programs, through CU-Boulder continuing education, or CU-Boulder correspondence courses are considered to be in residence.
  5. For the bachelor of arts degree, students must complete a minimum of 75 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 hours required outside the major department by a corresponding number of credits, up to a maximum of 6.
  6. For the bachelor of fine arts degree, students must complete a minimum of 53 credit hours outside of their major.
  7. Complete a major. Students are subject to the major requirements in force when they declare the major. See the sections Majors and Other Areas of Interest and Minimum Major Requirements in this chapter.
  8. Complete the general education (college core curriculum) and MAPS requirements with the following limitations:
    • Although a single course may be listed in more than one core area, a student may use it to meet only one area requirement.
    • Neither independent study nor pass/fail courses may be used to meet MAPS deficiencies, core requirements, minor requirements, or the minimum major requirements.
    • A single course may be used to meet both MAPS and core 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, First-Year Writing and Rhetoric, to satisfy both the MAPS requirement and the core curriculum lower-division written communication requirement.

This policy only applies to college level course work (University of Colorado or accepted transfer credit). If a student is exempt from a given core area, this does not exempt the student from fulfilling a MAPS deficiency in that area.

Note: A description of the College of Arts and Sciences MAPS requirements can be found here

Minimum Major Requirements

Information about specific major requirements can be found at the Academic Advising Center, or at the specific department the student wants to major in.

The following minimum requirements are specified by the college. In many cases departmental requirements may be higher than the minimums listed here.

  1. A minimum of 30 credit hours in the major area (for the BFA, a minimum of 50 hours).
  2. Thirty semester hours in the major area, all with grades of C- (1.70) or higher (no pass/failcredits can be applied to the major).
  3. Eighteen credit hours of upper-division courses in the major, all with grades of C- (1.70) or higher.
  4. Twelve hours of upper-division course work for the major on the CU-Boulder campus.
  5. A 2.00 (C) overall grade point average in all major work attempted.
  6. Special requirements as stipulated by the major department.
  7. No more than 8 credit hours of independent study.

Students are subject to those major requirements in effect at the time they formally declare the major. All College of Arts and Sciences students have 10 years to complete the requirements for a declared major. If this 10-year limit is exceeded, students may be required to satisfy the current major requirements. Students with further questions should consult a major advisor.

Minor Requirements

A number of 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. Course work applied to a minor also may be applied toward general education (core curriculum or college list) and major requirements. Students may not earn a major and a minor in the same program of study. See your advisor for information on declaring a minor.

Departments and programs with approved minor programs currently include applied mathematics; astrophysical and planetary sciences; atmospheric and oceanic sciences; chemistry and biochemistry; Chinese; classics; dance; ecology and evolutionary biology; economics; ethnic studies; French; geography; geological sciences; Germanic studies; history; Italian; Japanese; linguistics; mathematics; philosophy; physics; political science; religious studies; Russian studies; Scandinavian studies; theatre; and women’s studies. Minors are also available in business offered by the Leeds School of Business and in computer science offered by the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Interested students can find further information on the Minors Page.

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:

  1. A minimum of 18 credit hours must be taken in the minor area, including a minimum of 9 upper-division hours.
  2. All course work applied to the minor must be completed with a grade of C- or better (nopass/fail work may be applied). The grade point average for all minor degree course work must be equal to 2.00 (C) or higher.
  3. Students pursuing a major in distributed studies or an individually structured major are not eligible to earn a minor.
  4. Students are allowed to apply no more than 9 credit hours, including 6 upper-division credit hours, of transfer work toward a minor.
  5. Students may earn no more than two minors.
  6. Students must complete all requirements for a minor by the time they graduate.

Four Year Graduation

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 theAcademic Advising Center and major program and departmental offices.

The University of Colorado at 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 course work 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. Students must satisfy all the conditions described below to be eligible for this guarantee.

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

    1. Students should enroll in University of Colorado at Boulder course work for eight consecutive fall and spring semesters.
    2. No fewer than 60 credit hours of applicable course work should be completed with passing grades by the end of the second year (24 calendar months), 90 hours by the end of the third year (36 calendar months), and 120 hours by the end of the fourth year. Students should enroll in and pass an average of 15 credit hours each semester.
    3. A minimum of 30 credit hours of college core-curriculum courses should be completed by the end of the second year, including college core-curriculum courses that also meet major requirements. All remaining college core-curriculum requirements must be fulfilled by the end of the eighth semester.
    4. Students should complete 45 upper-division hours by the end of the eighth semester of study.
    5. A GPA of at least 2.00 must be earned each semester.
    6. Grades of C- or better in all course work required for the major should be earned, and students should have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 in all major course work attempted.
    7. A recommended plan of study must be started toward the major no later than the start of the second semester of study (see note below for exceptions) 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.
    8. The major must be declared no later than the start of the second semester of study (see note below for exceptions), and students must remain in that major until graduation.
    9. Students should meet with their assigned primary advisor for the major during the fifth and seventh semesters of study.
    10. Students must register each semester within one week of the assigned registration time.
    11. Students should avoid taking courses that are in conflict with the written advice of their assigned primary advisor.
    12. Students should adhere to the General Credit and Enrollment Policies and Minimum Major Requirements listed in the Arts and Sciences section.
    13. Courses in conflict with major or college core curriculum requirements should be avoided.
    14. The college should be notified in writing of the student’s intent to graduate no later than the beginning of the seventh semester of study, and a graduation packet should be filed no later than the deadline for the appropriate graduation date (see Graduation Deadlines section).
    15. Documentation should be kept proving that these requirements were satisfied (e.g., records of advising meetings attended, advising records and instructions, etc.).

Note: The recommended plan of study for the following majors must be started in the first semester of study to be eligible for this guarantee: BA in biochemistry; chemistry; ecology and evolutionary biology; Japanese; integrative physiology; molecular, cellular, and developmental biology; geology; physics, and all majors that require foreign language course work when student proficiency falls below the entry-level language course of that major. Students seeking a BFA in dance or theatre must start the recommended plan of study for the corresponding BA program in the first semester of study and qualify for admission into the BFA program by the end of the third semester. Students seeking a BFA in film studies or fine arts must start the recommended plan of study for the corresponding BA program in the first semester of study and qualify for admission into the BFA program by the end of the fourth semester. If a student changes majors, the primary major advisor, in consultation with the College of Arts and Sciences assistant dean’s office, will review the courses taken to date to determine whether the college will continue to extend the four-year guarantee.

Multiple Degree Requirements

A double degree or a second BA degree can be earned if the criteria below are met for each of these options.

Double Degrees

Two different degrees (i.e., a BA and BFA from the College of Arts and Sciences, or two degrees from different schools or colleges) may be earned from CU-Boulder if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  1. 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.
  2. The student completes a minimum of 145 credit hours when both degrees are offered within Arts & Sciences.
  3. The student completes all requirements for both degrees when the degrees are offered by two different colleges.
  4. For the BA and BFA degrees, 90 credit hours of arts and sciences course work are required (courses from outside arts and sciences that have been approved for the arts and sciences core curriculum will apply toward the 90 credit hours).
  5. The student has completed all general education and major requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences.
  6. Both degrees must be awarded at the same time.

Second Baccalaureate Degrees

A student who has been awarded a baccalaureate degree, either from this college or elsewhere, may be granted a second baccalaureate degree provided the following conditions have been fulfilled:

  1. 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.)
  2. The major in the BA or BFA is different from the major in the first degree earned.
  3. Arts and sciences students must complete a minimum of 45 credit hours in University of Colorado courses on the Boulder campus toward the second degree after admission to the second degree program. Of these 45 credits, a minimum of 30 credits must be in arts and sciences upper-division credit hours completed as a matriculated student in the second degree in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder and at least 12 of these upper-division hours must be in the major. Courses taken as a nondegree student do not count in these minimum requirements.