General Education Program requirements
If you first entered
the UI before
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has designed the General Education Program to provide you with a solid foundation on which to build your education, your career and, ultimately, your life as an educated person. As you begin your study at the University of Iowa, General Education courses will help you develop fundamental skills and knowledge that will prepare you for courses in your major.
Required Semester Hours
Rhetoric 4 s.h.
Rhetoric courses help you to develop speaking, writing, listening, and critical reading skills, as well as to build competence in research, analysis, and argumentation. Because these skills are basic to the rest of your study in the College, you must register for your assigned Rhetoric course at your first or second registration.
Interpretation of Literature 3 s.h.
Interpretation of Literature courses expand the skills you learned in Rhetoric. These courses focus on the major genres of literature (short and long fiction, poetry, drama, and the essay) and improve your ability to read and analyze a variety of texts.
World Languages See requirements below
Courses in this area 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.
To complete this requirement, you must
- Complete the fourth year in a world language in high school; or
- Complete four semesters* in an approved General Education world language course sequence at the University of Iowa [note the exception for Latin], or the equivalent courses at another college or university, or during study abroad; or
- Pass a written and oral achievement test measuring proficiency in a world language taught at the University of Iowa, equivalent to that usually attained after four semesters of college study; or
- Achieve a passing score on Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or other approved college-level world languages examination program.
*You may be required to complete fewer than four semesters based on your language placement test results.
Required Semester Hours
Natural Sciences 7 s.h.
Natural sciences courses explore the scope and major concepts of a scientific discipline. In these courses, you will learn 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 3 s.h.
This requirement will help you to develop important analytical skills through the practice of quantitative or formal symbolic reasoning. 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 including those used in the disciplines of computer science, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, and statistics.
Social Sciences 3 s.h.
Courses in this area 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.
Required Semester Hours
Historical Perspectives 3 s.h.
These courses will help you to comprehend the historical processes of change and continuity, and to develop your ability to generalize, explain, and interpret historical change. You will also learn to understand the past in its own terms.
International and Global Issues 3 s.h.
By focusing predominantly on countries or issues outside of the United States, these courses will encourage you to understand contemporary issues from an international perspective. You will develop knowledge of one or more contemporary global or international issues, gain a greater awareness of various international perspectives, and improve your skills of analysis and critical inquiry.
Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts 3 s.h.
These courses will provide opportunities for you to appreciate the arts and to analyze them within their historical and theoretical contexts. You will also develop the analytic, expressive, and imaginative abilities needed to understand, appreciate, and to create art.
Values, Society, and Diversity 3 s.h.
These courses explore fundamental questions about human experience from a variety of perspectives. You will consider topics in relation to your own values and actions and will gain a deeper appreciation of how cultural differences arise and the importance of diversity.
Questions? General Education Requirements F.A.Q.