Faculty talking with students


General Education Requirements


Philosophy of the Core:

The core curriculum of the CU Denver Downtown Campus is designed to provide each undergraduate student with a high quality general education based on a liberal arts foundation, while allowing students flexibility based on their individual backgrounds and specific career goals. The Core Curriculum develops multiple literacies, stimulates creative thinking, and utilizes technology. A goal of the CU Denver Core Curriculum is to engage students in developing sensitivity to diversity and developing their place in an urban environment as well as in the rapidly changing global environment. 


Specific core courses from the list of approved core courses may be identified by a college or program to satisfy requirements in the student’s major. 

The CU Denver core curriculum endeavors to meet several underlying goals:
  • Students earning bachelor's degrees should master the basic intellectual
    competencies (mathematics, reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking).
  • Students should be broadly educated around fundamental knowledge.
  • Students should have opportunities for making academic choices.



The CU Denver core curriculum is a campus-wide general education program applicable to all majors and independent of a student’s home school or college.  A college/school may restrict core course options to satisfy requirements in the student’s major. Students are encouraged to work with their academic advisor in the selection of core courses to meet graduation and career objectives.


The CU Denver core curriculum is outlined below.  Courses approved by the faculty for satisfying core learning objectives are identified in the core curriculum table of courses.

Intellectual Competencies:  9-10 hours

Students must earn a minimum letter grade of ‘C­–‘ (1.7) in each Intellectual Competency course to satisfy the core curriculum requirements.

​ENGL 1020, English Composition I​3 hours
​ENGL 2030, English Composition II​3 hours
Any lower division MATH course
​3-4 hours
Knowledge Areas:  19-22 hours

Students may not use approved core courses in the discipline defined by their major(s) to satisfy Knowledge Area requirements.  In restricted disciplines, only courses specifically approved for the Knowledge Area may be used to satisfy Core Curriculum requirements in that Knowledge Area.


The three Knowledge Areas are: Arts and Humanities; Behavioral and Social Sciences; and Biological and Physical Sciences, Mathematics.

Arts and Humanities:  6 hours
For students not majoring in either Arts or Humanities, one course must be from the Arts and the second from the Humanities.
​FINE​ETST (restricted)
​MUSC​Modern Language - CHIN, FREN, GRMN, SPAN
Students planning to transfer to a Colorado college/university under the gtPathways guaranteed transfer program must take one HIST or ETST history course approved as gtPathways HI-1.  Students should consult with their college advisor for a list of gtPathways-approved HI-1 courses.
Behavioral and Social Sciences:  6 hours
Students must take one course in Behavioral Sciences and one course in Social Sciences.
Behavioral Science
Social Science
​ANTH (restricted)
​PSYC (restricted)​EDFN
​ENVS (restricted)
​ETST (restricted)
​GEOG (restricted)
Biological and Physical Sciences, Mathematics:  7-10 hours
Students must take one biological or physical science course with a laboratory.  The second course may be a science course with or without a laboratory, or may be a mathematics course, excluding the course used to satisfy the Intellectual Competencies mathematics proficiency.
Biological and Physical SciencesMathematics
​ANTH (restricted)
GEOG (restricted)
​ENVS (restricted)
​PSYC (restricted)

International Perspectives:  3 hours

Students must take one international perspectives course.  An approved study abroad experience may satisfy this requirement.  Courses may be selected from the discipline defined by the student’s major(s).


Cultural Diversity:  3 hours

Students must take one upper division cultural diversity course.  Courses may be selected from the discipline defined by the student’s major(s).