The Liberal Arts Core

The Liberal Arts Core

The Liberal Arts Core curriculum, administered by University College in collaboration with UNC’s other colleges, is the centerpiece of an undergraduate’s student’s learning at UNC. To be an educated person means not only to possess a set of skills and knowledge within a discipline, but to be a continual learner, able to understand the connections between and among the academic disciplines. The vision and goals of the LAC encapsulate the university’s aspirations for all of its graduates.

Mission

The mission of the program is to give students a foundation in the liberal arts, enabling them to become responsible well-educated citizens capable of contributing effectively to a rapidly changing, technologically advanced, global society. The program’s curriculum is designed to introduce students to undergraduate studies; to foster their competencies in reading, writing, critical thinking, mathematics, and the use of technology; to improve their awareness of the multicultural character of contemporary society; and to give them a sense of connections among the various academic disciplines. Students who complete the program will be prepared to think for themselves, to marshal relevant information, to reason about complex issues, to reflect upon questions of principle, to express themselves effectively, to recognize the importance of the past, to appreciate cultures and values different from their own, to make choices with a sense of their ethical implications, to work towards a better future, and to function with skill and knowledge in an ever-changing world.

Requirements

Students are required to complete at least 40 hours, distributed among the following areas: Basic Core Courses, Multicultural and International Studies Courses, and Electives. Every student must successfully pass:

  • At least 31 hours of Basic Core Courses consisting of 28 hours selected from Areas 1-6 (distributed as indicated below) and one additional course from any subgroup in Area 3 or from a subgroup not already chosen in Area 5.
  • At least one Multicultural Studies course and at least one International Studies course (Areas 7-8). There are courses that may be counted simultaneously toward satisfying the requirement of 31 hours of Basic Core Courses and towards satisfying the Multicultural Studies and International Studies requirements.
  • Enough Electives to bring the total number of hours to at least 40 hours.

Guaranteed Transferability

Courses bearing the gtP designation have been approved by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) for inclusion in the Colorado Guaranteed Transfer Program. These courses will automatically transfer to any Colorado public institution and continue to count toward general education or other graduation requirements for any liberal arts or science associate or bachelor’s degree program, if you receive a grade of "C-" or better. Statewide articulation agreements prescribe specific general education and degree requirements in the following professional degree programs: business, early childhood, elementary education, engineering and nursing. Most of the other courses, not approved for the designation, will also be accepted in transfer by other institutions, but they may not fulfill general education or degree requirements.

Basic Core Courses

NOTE: Students pursuing Interdisciplinary Studies: Elementary Teaching Emphasis (ISET) with Elementary (K-Grade 6) Licensure and Interdisciplinary Studies: Liberal Arts Emphasis (ISLA) refer to Required Specific LAC Credits.

Areas 1-6 correspond to the categories in Colorado’s gtPathways. Although UNC has decided to treat History as a distinct area, the fact that History is classified as a required Social and Behavioral Sciences course in gtPathways means that the requirements for Areas 3 through 5 correspond exactly to the requirements in gtPathways for courses in Arts and Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Note that Basic Core Courses bearing the designation “gtP” have all been approved for inclusion in gtPathways. Basic Core Courses not bearing the designation have all been nominated for gtPathways. Once approved, they will be listed on the CCHE Web site at: http://highered.colorado.gov/Academics/Transfers/gtPathways/Curriculum.html.  

Special Notes

  • Up to nine semester credit hours of the courses listed that can be used to satisfy the requirements of a student’s first major and that carry the prefix of that major may also be used to satisfy the requirements of the Liberal Arts Core.
  • Any course listed that can be used to satisfy the requirements of a student’s first major but that does not carry the prefix of that major may also be used to satisfy the requirements of the Liberal Arts Core.
  • Any course listed that can be used to satisfy the requirements of a student’s minor or second major may also be used to satisfy the requirements of the Liberal Arts Core.
  • No course taken before the time it appears as a Liberal Arts Core course in the Catalog may be used to satisfy the requirements of the Liberal Arts Core.
  • No course taken after the time it is removed from the eligibility list for the Liberal Arts Core may be used to satisfy the requirements of the Liberal Arts Core.
  • Regardless of a student’s catalog year, any course taken at UNC after Summer 2006 may be used to satisfy a particular Liberal Arts Core requirement if and only if it is listed as an approved Liberal Arts Core course in the relevant area in the Catalog in effect at the time at which it was taken.
  • Each UNC Catalog is in effect for six years. UNC’s old “General Education” program therefore expired in Summer 2011. Students who were at any time subject to the requirements of that program must now satisfy the requirements of the Liberal Arts Core. If a course that was taken to satisfy one of the old General Education requirements is still listed as an approved course in the Liberal Arts Core, that course may still be counted toward the satisfaction of the relevant requirement in the Core. If it is no longer listed as an approved course in the Core, it may not be so counted.
  • Courses taken at UNC not approved for inclusion in the Core may not be substituted for courses that have been approved for inclusion in the Core in the satisfaction of the requirements of the Core. Any course being transferred to UNC that has not already been designated as equivalent to any course approved for inclusion within the Core will be referred to a designated representative of the relevant department/program for review. If it is decided that the course is equivalent to an approved Core course, it will be designated as such for all students desiring to transfer it to UNC in the future.

Waiver of Liberal Arts Core Requirements

  • Individuals with an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, or a Bachelor’s degree (regardless of date of completion) from an accredited public institution in the State of Colorado will have their Liberal Arts Core requirements waived.
  • Individuals with an out-of-state or private institution degree will qualify for a waiver of Liberal Arts Core requirements if they have successfully completed at least one course in each of the following areas: Communication (Area 1), Mathematics (Area 2), Arts & Humanities (Area 3), History (Area 4), Social & Behavioral Sciences (Area 5), and Physical & Life Sciences (Area 6).  If these requirements are not met, the student will need to fulfill the requirements of the Liberal Arts Core in full.

Exceptions to the Requirements of the Liberal Arts Core

  • If a student presents an ACT score of 30.0 or higher in English, or an SAT Critical Reading score of 630 or higher, he or she is exempt from ENG 122. A student must complete enough electives to bring the total number of hours to at least 40 hours of liberal arts core courses.
  • If a student presents an ACT score of 26.0 or higher in mathematics, or an SAT math score of 560 or higher, he or she is exempt from the Area 2 requirement. A student must complete enough electives to bring the total number of hours to at least 40 hours of liberal arts core courses.

Students interested in challenging a Liberal Arts Core course should contact the appropriate program to determine the availability of a challenge examination.

Exploring the Liberal Arts Program

Exploring the Liberal Arts is UNC’s program of study for first-year students who choose to begin building their academic foundation prior to declaring a major. Administered by University College’s Office of Academic Support and Advising, in collaboration with Career Services, this program provides students an environment of intensive professional advising that helps them discover their academic interests and aptitudes while exploring the rich and diverse course offerings in UNC’s Liberal Arts Core. Students emerge from their "exploring" experiences solidly grounded in an understanding of their path to academic success.