General Education Requirements
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign requires that all undergraduate students take General Education - or "Gen Ed" - courses to gain and use broad knowledge beyond the specialized learning they will do in a major field of study. These Gen Ed requirements cover the kinds of knowledge all students should have: the humanities and arts, social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences and technology, quantitative reasoning, composition/writing, and cultural studies.
General Education courses at Illinois are mindful of our students' diverse backgrounds, needs, and interests, and are an essential component of the transformative learning that prepares our graduates to become alumni who make a significant societal impact. These courses build students' abilities to think critically, solve problems, generate new ideas and create knowledge, make connections between academic disciplines, respect and understand differences, and develop as citizens and leaders.
General Education at Illinois is more than a set of required courses; it is a gateway into the Illinois experience.
Courses are noted as fulfilling one or more of the following categories:
- Composition I
- Advanced Composition
- Humanities and the Arts: Literature & the Arts or Historical & Philosophical Perspectives
- Natural Sciences and Technology: Life Science or Physical Science
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Social and Behavioral Sciences
- Cultural Studies: Western/Comparative Cultures, Non-Western Cultures, and US Minority Cultures
For a list of current courses approved for General Education credit, please visit the Course Explorer.
Written Communication Requirement
- Satisfactory proficiency in written communication is a requirement for all undergraduate degrees awarded at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. This proficiency can be certified by the satisfactory completion of the “Composition I” general education requirement via the one-semester, four-hour course Rhetoric 105 (Writing and Research); the two-semester, eight-hour sequence of Rhetoric 101 (Principles of Writing) and 102 (Principles of Research) with Rhetoric 100 tutorials in both semesters; or the two-semester, six-hour sequence Communication 111 and 112 (Oral & Written Communication I and II).
- A student who achieved, prior to enrolling in college-level coursework, a sufficiently high score on either the appropriate college-preparatory English exam (currently ACT, SAT, AP, or IB) will earn course credit that fulfills the general education “Composition I” requirement and thus will satisfy the Written Communication requirement for graduation. More information can be found under “Proficiency Testing” at go.illinois.edu/pnp.
- Non-native English-speaking students who are mandated to take the English Placement Test (EPT) and given an English as a Second Language (ESL) placement must fulfill their Written Communication requirement by taking the two-semester, six-hour sequence of ESL 111 and 112 or the one-semester, four-hour ESL 115 course. They might also be required to take ESL 110 (Pronunciation). Non-native English-speaking students who are not required to take the EPT due to sufficiently high TOEFL iBT or IELTS scores may elect to satisfy the Written Communication requirement by taking the ESL, or the Rhetoric, or the Communication sequences. Students in this category who wish to take ESL must take the EPT to determine correct placement.
- If the academic credentials of a transfer student do not indicate fulfillment of coursework equivalent to fulfill the Written Communication graduation requirement, the student will need to do additional coursework to satisfy this requirement. Non-native English-speaking transfer students may be required to take the English Placement Test (EPT).
- Satisfactory proficiency in academic writing in English is a requirement for all graduate degrees awarded at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
- Graduate students who are admitted on limited status because they do not meet this proficiency requirement prior to admission may be placed into mandatory ESL courses based on the results of the EPT exam.
- Proficiency can then be certified by the satisfactory completion of a one-semester course (ESL 515) or the two-semester sequence (ESL 511 and 512). Students may also select equivalent coursework from the "English for specific purposes" tracks available through ESL (e.g., business track ESL 521, 522). International graduate students may also be required to take ESL 510 (Pronunciation).
- Mandatory ESL course assignments must be fulfilled in order to be eligible for graduation.
Kinesiology, Language Other Than English, and Undergraduate Open Seminar Credit
Credit for Kinesiology
Kinesiology courses numbered from 100 through 111 are activity courses. Credit earned in kinesiology activity courses may be included in the grade point average at the discretion of the individual colleges. Up to eight hours of these courses may be included in the total hours required for graduation.
- Effective for all entering freshmen in Fall 2000 or later, the following language requirement must be completed for graduation.
- This requirement may be satisfied by:
- Successfully completing a third-semester college-level course in a language other than English;
- Successful completion, in high school, of the third year of a language other than English; or
- Demonstrating proficiency at the third semester level in a language proficiency examination approved by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the appropriate department.
- Generally, one year of high school language study is equivalent to one semester of college study.
- Current list of courses approved to satisfy the language requirement.
- If you enter UIUC without three years of language other than English in high school, or you plan to continue with the language you studied in high school, you must take a language placement test to determine the courses in which you should enroll.
- An exception to the University third-level requirements is for the students in the Gies College of Business (BUS) who matriculated prior to Fall 2021 and all students in the Sciences and Letters Curriculum of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS). These students are expected to gain language knowledge equivalent to the completion of the fourth semester of college study in a language. The Language requirement may be met in any of the following ways:
- Successfully completing a fourth-semester college-level course in a language other than English;
- Successful completion, in high school, of the fourth year of a language other than English;
- Successful completion of the third-semester level in each of two different languages other than English by any combination of high school and college work;
- Demonstrating proficiency at the fourth-semester level in a language proficiency examination approved by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the appropriate department.
- Students enrolled in the LAS Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Specialized Curricula are exempt from the four semester LAS Language requirement and must instead adhere to the Campus requirement of three semesters or equivalent. Please contact your adviser if you have any further questions.
- Except as prohibited or limited by the established policy of the student's college, credit in University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign language courses other than English taken to remove high school entrance deficiencies may, at the discretion of the college:
- be counted in the total hours required for graduation, or
- be accepted in partial or complete satisfaction of the language other than English requirement for the degree.
- Normally no more than ten hours of proficiency credit for the study of a single language other than English at the elementary and intermediate level shall be counted for graduation in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Additional credit may be granted for advanced courses emphasizing literature and language structure rather than communicative competence in the language.
Students with a verified Seal of Biliteracy will earn 8 hours of credit equivalent to the first two levels of foreign language regardless of the language other than English. The credit will appear as 8.00 Earned hours from Seal of Biliteracy on the official University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign transcript in the Transfer Credit Accepted by the Institution section.
Credit for Undergraduate Open Seminar Courses
- Credit in each 199 course shall not exceed four credit hours per semester.
- A student may accumulate an unlimited number of credit hours in 199 courses, but no more than 12 such hours listed on the student’s transcript may be counted toward fulfilling graduation requirements, except in cases in which a larger number of credit hours in 199 courses is an integral part of a formal, college-approved program of study (e.g., Individual Plans of Study).
- A 199 course appears on a student's transcript with the departmental rubric and the title "Undergraduate Open Seminar" when a specific section title has not been assigned by the department offering the course.