Liberal studies requirements

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All students seeking their first baccalaureate degree from Northern Arizona University must take thirty-five (35) units of liberal studies.  You will take courses to satisfy both the Foundation and Distribution requirements.

Foundation Requirements (7 units)

  • English Composition (4 units)
  • Mathematics (3 units)
Distribution Requirements (28 units)
  • Aesthetic and Humanistic Inquiry (AHI), 6 units
  • Cultural Understanding (CU), 6 units
  • Science (SAS/LAB), 7 units
    • Science and Applied Science (SAS), 3-4 units
    • Science and Applied Science with embedded Lab Science course (LAB), 3-4 units
  • Social and Political Worlds (SPW), 6 units
  • 3 additional units from any distribution block or foundation category to meet the 35 unit liberal studies requirement.
Make sure to choose classes from the approved list of Liberal Studies Courses with the help of an academic advisor.  A cross-listed course may only be counted in one block.  Some Liberal Studies courses may also fulfill NAU's Global or U.S. Ethnic Diversity requirements.  Please confer with your advisor. 
If your academic catalog is prior to 2014-2015, courses used for liberal studies may share the same prefix as your minor discipline but not your major discipline. 
If your academic catalog is 2014-2015 (or a subsequent catalog), up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements. These same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.  Courses used for the liberal studies distribution requirements can have the same prefix as a student's minor.  

Junior Writing and Senior Capstone

There are two university requirements designed to meet the aims and goals of the liberal studies program that are embedded within the academic major: a junior level writing course and a senior capstone experience. These courses are designed to build upon learning and skills developed through Liberal Studies and the major.

    Junior Level Writing Course

These courses are designated with a W at the end of the course number.
Junior level writing courses engage students in the writing process in
the context of a discipline or profession.

    Senior Capstone

These courses are designated with a C at the end of the course number.
Capstone courses are culminating experiences in the major that involve
students in application, synthesis, practice, or inquiry.