Choosing Courses

At IU Bloomington you have hundreds of courses available to you.  Making thoughtful choices about your courses is one of the most important steps you can take as you develop your academic and career plan.  Use this opportunity to sample the unknown, to learn about a subject that is unfamiliar, and to be open to new ways of thinking and to new ideas.  Be intentional!  You can find courses that are both engaging and that offer you valuable life skills.

What courses fulfill General Education requirements?

At Indiana University Bloomington (IUB), you are expected to fulfill a set of essential, skill-building requirements that are the same for all students, regardless of major. This group of courses is referred to as the IUB General Education Curriculum (or “IUB GenEd,” for short) and, if chosen thoughtfully, will assist you with exploring majors and careers that interest you. Many of the “Recommended 1st Courses” listed by departments in Explore Programs also fulfill IUB GenEd requirements.

Visit the IUBOVPUE YouTube channel to hear more about IUB Gen Ed from students, faculty, and advisors.

IU Bloomington General Education Requirements

The following requirements apply to every undergraduate student who began studies on the IUB campus in the summer of 2011 or later:

  • English Composition (EC)

    English Composition courses enable the development of a wide range of fundamental writing, reading and thinking skills that support your success in your other college courses.

    The General Education Bulletin describes characteristics of English Composition courses more fully.

    Requirement: One course with a grade of C or better. Please note that some schools, degrees, or majors may have a higher grade requirement.

    Choose one of the following three course options to fulfill the English Composition (EC) requirement:

    Some students may have previously fulfilled the EC requirement in one of the following ways:

    You are exempt from the English Composition requirement if you:

    • earned an SAT Critical Reading score of 670-800, or
    • earned an ACT English score of 32-36, or
    • earned an SAT Evidence Based Reading and Writing score of 670 or above (for applications received prior to August 1, 2017), or
    • earned an SAT Evidence Based Reading and Writing score of 710 or above (for applications received August 1, 2017 and after). 

    You have fulfilled the English Composition requirement if you have:

    • earned an Advanced Placement (AP) English: Composition and Literature score of 4 or 5, or
    • earned an Advanced Placement (AP) English: Language and Composition score of 4 or 5, or
    • completed a dual-credit composition course (with the minimum required grade for your intended school) while enrolled in high school, or
    • completed an equivalent composition course (with the minimum required grade for your intended school) at another campus of Indiana University, or
    • completed an equivalent**, transferable composition course at another college or university.

    ** Learn how courses transfer to IUB by viewing the Credit Transfer Service database.

  • Mathematical Modeling (MM)

    Mathematical Modeling courses allow you to gain strong fundamental mathematical skills by applying mathematical concepts in real-world circumstances.  The courses build analytical and problem-solving abilities that will serve you in your classes and other endeavors.  

    The General Education Bulletin describes characteristics of Mathematical Modeling courses more fully.

    Requirement: Students must successfully complete one of the courses or course sequences listed below. Your orientation advisor will assist you in choosing the appropriate course based on your ALEKS score (taken online before you arrive) and your SAT and ACT scores.

    • MATH-M 106 The Mathematics of Decision and Beauty
    • MATH-D 116 and D 117   Introduction to Finite Mathematics I and II (2 cr. + 2 cr.)*
    • MATH-M 118   Finite Mathematics (3 cr.)
    • MATH-V 118   Finite Mathematics with Applications: Finite Mathematics for the Social and Biological Sciences (3 cr.)
    • MATH-V 118   Finite Mathematics with Applications: Finite and Consumer Math (3 cr.)
    • MATH-V 118   Finite Math in Action (3 cr.)
    • MATH-S 118   Honors Finite Mathematics (3 cr.)
    • MATH-M 119   Brief Survey of Calculus I (3 cr.)
    • MATH-V 119   Applied Brief Calculus I (3 cr.)
    • MATH-M 211  Calculus I (4 cr.)
    • MATH-S 211   Honors Calculus I (4cr.)

    *MATH-D 116–D 117 is a two-course sequence

  • Arts and Humanities (A&H)

    Requirement: At least 2 courses for at least 6 credit hours

    View Arts and Humanities course options in the General Education Bulletin or on the General Education at IU Bloomington website.

    Arts and Humanities General Education: Studying Human Expression

    Arts and Humanities (A&H) courses offer you the opportunity to investigate the many ways in which human beings express themselves. You will study ways of interpreting meaning in those expressions and learn more about who you are and how to express yourself effectively by joining in an ongoing conversation about ideas.

    What you will do in Arts and Humanities Gen Ed courses:

    • Thinking rationally and critically
    • Constructing clear arguments
    • Evaluating other points of view
    • Analyzing how ideas and emotions are conveyed in literature, visual art, music, and drama
    • Grappling with moral and ethical issues
    • Creating your own works of artistic expression
  • Social and Historical Studies (S&H)

    Requirement: At least 2 courses for at least 6 credit hours

    View Social and Historical Studies course options in the General Education Bulletin or on the General Education at IU Bloomington website.

    Social and Historical General Education: Studying Human Interaction

    Social and Historical Studies (S&H) courses help you study many forms of human behavior and interaction.  By learning the broader contexts that shape and drive our behaviors, you will come to understand why people—and the institutions they inhabit—behave as they do.

    What you will do in Social and Historical Gen Ed courses:

    • Understanding and evaluating theories about many forms of human interaction
    • Applying and assessing the methods used in the social sciences
    • Appreciating human diversity
    • Practicing analytical and persuasive communications skills particular to the social sciences
    • Absorbing in-depth and complex knowledge in a social science area of particular interest to you, including History, Economics, Political Science, Sociology, Criminal Justice and Geography
  • Natural and Mathematical Sciences (N&M)

    Requirement: At least 2 courses (including at least one Natural Sciences course) for at least 5 credit hours, or one 5-credit hour laboratory course

    View Natural and Mathematical Science course options in the General Education Bulletin or on the General Education at IU Bloomington website.

    Natural and Mathematical Science General Education: Studying Human Inquiry

    Natural and Mathematical Science (N&M) courses enable you to learn how to participate in a unique human achievement: the development and practice of a method of inquiring about how our world works. You will better understand how scientific inquiry distinguishes fact from falsehood, how to learn scientific knowledge about the world in areas of interest to you, and how you might contribute to those ever-growing bodies of knowledge.

    What you will do in Natural and Mathematical Science Gen Ed courses:

    • Constructing and testing hypotheses
    • Practicing rigorous analytical thinking
    • Collecting, interpreting and evaluating data
    • Engaging in active problem-solving
  • World Languages and Cultures (WLC)

    Requirement: Students must successfully complete one of the following three options:

    1. Language Study: The study of a single world language through the second semester of the second-year level. Proficiency can be demonstrated through language placement testing at orientation.
    2. World Culture Courses: Two World Cultures courses, for at least 6 credit hours.
    3. International Experience: An approved study abroad program or internship of at least 6 credit hours and at least six weeks abroad in duration (or a combination of programs totaling 6 credit hours). For information about opportunities for studying abroad, visit the IU Overseas Study Program website.

    View World Languages and Cultures course options in the General Education Bulletin or on the General Education at IU Bloomington website.

    World Languages and Cultures General Education: Studying Human Diversity

    World Languages and Cultures (WLC) courses give you the opportunity to expand your knowledge of the tremendous variety of ways that people express themselves through their cultures in a globally connected world. You will learn about world affairs and the values held by peoples of different cultures.  Carefully chosen courses to fulfill this requirement may help you prepare for study abroad programs.

    What you will do in World Languages and Cultures Gen Ed courses:

    • Understanding the features that distinguish one culture from another
    • Thinking comparatively about cultural perspectives
    • Developing the linguistic skills necessary for communication in another language at the intermediate level
    • Practicing analytical skills necessary to understand how nations and cultures interact
    • Seeing yourself and your own culture more clearly in relation to cultures around the world

Should I take courses for my major in my first semester?

Every major recommends courses that are not only appropriate for your first semester at IUB but also assist you with making degree progress.  Whether you take a major course in your first semester depends on your level of interest in that major and your academic and career goals.

Use the Explore Programs tool to find the complete list of majors available at IU. Select your major or the majors of interest to find the recommended first courses and watch our Explore Programs tutorial for additional information.