The General Education CLAS Core gives you the opportunity to explore new areas of study and discover new interests. It has been designed by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to ensure that when you enter your major—and then take your UI degree into the world—you have the skills and knowledge to succeed.

Through the CLAS Core, you will learn to think in new ways about our 21st-century global society, while appreciating the history that has shaped us. You will learn to gather and interpret information of all kinds, from the scientific to the literary and artistic. You will learn how to communicate your ideas through writing, speaking, and the arts, and how to work with all types of people to generate ideas and solve problems.

General Education CLAS Core requirements are slightly different depending on when students first enter UI. Be sure to communicate with your advisor about your General Education requirements! For example, students who enter UI Summer 2022 or after will need to complete the Sustainability requirement.

A student in hawkeye gear working hard at studying

Categories and requirements

Communication and literacy

The required semester hours in this step will depend on your World Languages experience.

Diversity and inclusion

Required semester hours: 3

These courses encourage you to explore the historical and structural basis of inequality while learning about the challenges and benefits of diversity. You will have the opportunity to discuss your own ideas and experiences while coming to understand others better.


Required semester hours: 4

Rhetoric courses develop speaking, writing, listening, and reading skills, and build competence in research, analysis, and argumentation. You must register for your assigned Rhetoric course at your first or second registration.

Interpretation of Literature

Required semester hours: 3

These courses expand the skills you learned in Rhetoric. These courses focus on the major genres of literature (fiction, poetry, drama, and essays) and improve your ability to read and analyze a variety of texts.

World languages

Required semester hours: variable based on student's language placement

These courses provide you with speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in a second language, as well as knowledge of the cultures in which the language is spoken. Learn more about the world languages requirement.


Required for students entering UI Summer 2022 and after


Required semester hours: no additional s.h.

Students complete this requirement by choosing an approved GE CLAS Core course that integrates Sustainability (with no additional semester hours) with a course from the Natural, Quantitative, and Social Sciences category or the Culture, Society, and the Arts category.

Courses study the interconnectedness of human actions across complex natural systems, focusing on the consequences of this interconnectedness and related ongoing effects over time and by place. Sustainability learning outcomes are integrated with the outcomes for another GE CLAS Core area so that one approved course satisfies this requirement without adding semester hours.

Natural, quantitative, and social sciences

Choose your course from each area for a total of 13 required semester hours

Natural sciences

Required semester hours: 7

These courses will teach you the attitudes and practices of scientific investigators, including logic, precision, experimentation, tentativeness, and objectivity. In courses with a laboratory component, you will gain experience in the methods of scientific inquiry.

Quantitative or formal reasoning

Required semester hours: 3

To help you develop important analytical skills, these courses focus on the presentation and evaluation of evidence and argument, the understanding of the use and misuse of data, and the organization of information in quantitative or other formal symbolic systems.


Social sciences

Required semester hours: 3

These courses focus on human behavior and the institutions and social systems that shape—and are shaped by—that behavior. Courses provide an overview of one or more social science disciplines and their theories and methods.

Culture, society, and the arts

Choose your course from each area for a total of 12 required semester hours

Historical perspectives

Required semester hours: 3

These courses will help you comprehend the historical processes of change and continuity, and to develop your ability to generalize, explain, and interpret historical change. You will learn to understand the past in its own terms.

Literary, visual, and performing arts

Required semester hours: 3

These courses encourage the appreciation of the arts while teaching their historical and theoretical contexts. Many of these courses give students the opportunity to experience the artistic process while developing their own analytic and imaginative abilities.

International and global issues

Required semester hours: 3

By focusing predominantly on countries or issues outside of the United States, these courses encourage you to understand issues from an international perspective.

Values and culture

Required semester hours: 3

These courses invite you to ask fundamental questions about the human experience and its meaning as you become more aware of what, exactly, defines culture and values. You will have a chance to consider your own values and beliefs and their importance to your lifelong goals.