Choosing Courses

How will I choose my first classes? The building blocks of your schedule:

At New Student Orientation, you will meet with an advisor who will help you choose 4 - 6 classes for your first semester. At Indiana University Bloomington, you have many courses available to you. Selecting your courses is an important step in developing your academic and career plan. This is an opportunity to explore the unknown, to learn about subjects that are unfamiliar, and to be open to new ways of thinking. You can find courses that are both engaging and that offer you valuable life skills.

Which courses fulfill General Education requirements?

All IUB students, regardless of major, need to complete a set of important skill-building requirements. These courses are called the IUB General Education Curriculum (or “IUB GenEd,” for short). Chosen carefully, they will help you to explore academic and personal interests. Many of the “Recommended First Courses” listed by departments in Explore Programs also fulfill IUB GenEd requirements.

Visit the IUBOVPUE YouTube channel to hear more about IUB GenEd 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 courses help you develop fundamental writing, reading, and thinking skills that support success in your college writing courses.

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 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.

Student, Faculty, and Advisor Perspectives on English Composition:

Mathematical Modeling courses will build strong fundamental mathematical skills by applying numerical concepts to real-world situations. These courses build quantitative and problem-solving abilities.

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.

Student, Faculty, and Advisor Perspectives on Mathematical Modeling:

Arts and Humanities (A&H) courses offer the opportunity to investigate ways human beings express themselves and how they make sense of the world. Through these courses, you will master explaining, analyzing, and interpreting abstract ideas. You will also learn new and creative ways of doing things.

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

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

Arts and Humanities General Education: Studying Human Expression

What you will do in A&H GenEd courses:

  • Think rationally and critically
  • Construct clear arguments
  • Evaluate other points of view
  • Analyze how ideas and emotions are conveyed in literature, visual art, music, and drama
  • Grapple with moral and ethical issues
  • Create your own works of artistic expression

Student, Faculty, and Advisor Perspectives on Arts and Humanities:

Social and Historical Studies (S&H) courses help you understand how human societies work. Through these courses, you will learn to synthesize information from various points of view and gain analytical and problem-solving skills.

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

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

Social and Historical General Education: Studying Human Interaction

What you will do in Social and Historical GenEd courses:

  • Understand and evaluate theories about many forms of human interaction
  • Apply and assessing the methods used in the social sciences
  • Appreciate human diversity
  • Practice analytical and persuasive communications skills particular to the social sciences
  • Absorb 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

Student, Faculty, and Advisor Perspectives on Social and Historical Studies:

Natural and Mathematical Science (N&M) courses enable you to study how the world and universe around us work. In addition to developing quantitative skills, you will learn how to find scientific evidence based on observation and experimentation, with repeatable findings as proof.

Requirement: At least two 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 on the General Education at IU Bloomington website.

Natural and Mathematical Science General Education: Studying Human Inquiry

What you will do in Natural and Mathematical Science GenEd courses:

  • Construct and testing hypotheses
  • Practice rigorous analytical thinking
  • Collect, interpret, and evaluate data
  • Engage in active problem solving

Student, Faculty, and Advisor Perspectives on Natural and Mathematical Sciences:

World Languages and Cultures (WLC) courses will help you to explore how people communicate through their languages and cultures in a globally connected world. You will learn about systems of beliefs and values held by peoples of different cultures.

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: At least 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 IUB Overseas Study Program website.

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

World Languages and Cultures General Education: Studying Human Diversity

What you will do in World Languages and Cultures GenEd courses:

  • Understand the features that distinguish one culture from another
  • Think comparatively about cultural perspectives
  • Develop the linguistic skills necessary for communication in another language at the intermediate level
  • Practice 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

Student, Faculty, and Advisor Perspectives on World Languages and Cultures:

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

Every major recommends introductory required courses for your first semester. Many of these courses will also allow you to make progress toward graduation. Taking major courses in your first semester depends on your level of interest in that major, as well as your academic and career goals.

Use Explore Programs to find the complete list of majors available at IUB. Select your majors of interest to find the recommended first courses.