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Liberal Studies Requirements

Type: Definitions
Effective Date: 4/7/2014

Liberal Studies Requirements

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

  • English Composition (minimum of 4 units)
  • Mathematics (minimum of 3 units)

Distribution block requirements

  • Aesthetic and Humanistic Inquiry - AHI (minimum of 6 units)
  • Cultural Understanding - CU (minimum of 6 units)
  • Science (minimum of 7 units)
    • 3-4 units of Science and Applied Science - SAS course(s) AND
    • 3-4 units of Science and Applied Science with embedded Lab Science course - LAB
  • Social and Political Worlds - SPW (minimum of 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 adviser. 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.

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 your 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. They are 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.

For more detailed information on the Liberal Studies Program and its requirements, see the Liberal Studies page.

Liberal Studies Substitution

Request to substitute a transfer course for a liberal studies course. (Form must be completed by NAU advisor.) Exception: Capstone and JLWR substitutions or waivers are approved by your advisor, the chair of your department, and the associate dean of your college or school. See policy number: 100801, Requirements for Baccalaureate Degrees. 

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