General Education Requirements

General education requirements are the foundation of knowledge upon which all University of Missouri degrees are built. They are specifically intended to prepare students as citizens who must make informed judgments about issues that go beyond the narrow area of their academic specialization. Students must complete the University General Education Requirements listed below. With careful planning, some courses may be chosen to meet both University General Education Requirements and one or more of the divisional, degree and major requirements. Students are strongly encouraged (and in some divisions they are required) to meet with an academic advisor to ensure adequate progress towards the selected degree and major. More information can be found at:

Common University General Education Requirements for all MU degrees

  • College Algebra (MATH 1100) or transferable equivalent1 (3 credits). Students may satisfy this requirement by:
  • English Exposition and Argumentation (ENGLSH 1000 or ENGLSH 1000H) or transferable equivalent1 (3 credits)
    • This course in expository prose, which stresses writing as a process involving critical reading and thinking skills, should be taken during your freshman year.
  • Writing Intensive course1, 2, 3 (6 credits, 2 courses)
  • American History or Government2, 5 (3 credits)
  • Math Reasoning Proficiency Course1, 2 (these courses must state that College Algebra is a prerequisite)
  • Complete an approved capstone course1 with MU course work in the student’s major
  • Distribution Requirement (27 credits) providing a breadth and depth of knowledge in three broad areas of study. The course work must include at least one course numbered 2000 or higher in two of the areas of distribution as described below.
    • Must include 9 credits in these sciences: biological science, physical science, and / or mathematical science4
    • including at least one biological or physical science and its related laboratory component6
    • representing two different areas of science
    • Must include 9 credits of behavioral and/or social science
    • Courses must be from at least two different departments in these areas
    • Must include 9 credits of humanities and/or fine arts
    • including courses from at least two different departments in these areas
      Of special note related to the humanities and or fine arts distribution:
    • Only one course of specified of Humanities and Fine Arts courses can be counted.
    • For specified courses, the category will be designated per section per semester.
    • Students in CAFNR, Engineering, SHP, HES, SNR, and Nursing may use this course towards fulfillment of the humanities distribution requirement, but only if the entire 12-13 hour elementary language sequence is completed. This course may NOT be used to fulfill the humanities requirement in A&S, Business, Education, Journalism and Social Work.
    • For the full list of courses that fulfill this distribution and the noted exceptions, go to:

 Must be completed with a grade of C- or better.


Designated courses may also be used toward the distribution requirement.


Course must be taken at MU unless requirement is waived via completion of an AA degree from a regionally-accredited, Missouri institution.


Must be courses in mathematics or statistics with College Algebra as a prerequisite.


 Fulfills State Law Requirement.


The term “laboratory” is used in reference to courses or portions of courses that satisfy the following criteria:

  • They provide students with an opportunity for the active collection and/or analysis of data from real-world observations and experiments. These activities need not take place in a conventional “laboratory” setting but may be undertaken anywhere that an appropriate experiment or observation can take place (e.g., in the field).
  • They promote scientific literacy and critical thinking/problem solving skills.
  • Whenever possible, they include opportunities for students to design experimental or observational protocols.
  • If the laboratory is directly associated with a specific lecture course or is included as part of a course that also includes lecture, the laboratory activities promote understanding of the content presented in the lecture.

Transfer Students and University General Education Requirements

All University, general-education requirements are considered completed for students who transfer to MU with an AA degree from a regionally-accredited Missouri institution. Transfer credits for other students are evaluated on a course-by-course basis. All students must complete University graduation requirements beyond the University general education requirements.

NOTE: Many departments, degrees and majors have more specific requirements for foundation course work in addition to the University, general-education requirement. However, the reverse is not true. Departments or academic units may not have fewer general education requirements than described by the University general education requirements. Careful planning will allow students to simultaneously meet University, general-education requirements and prepare for many of the more specific foundation courses required by their field of study.