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Area Distribution Requirement

LSA seeks to instill an understanding and an appreciation of all major areas of learning. Students are not expected to master all areas in detail, but they should develop a coherent view of essential concepts, structures, and intellectual methods that typify these disciplines.

Courses offered by the academic departments and programs of the College are divided into five area categories:

  • the Natural Sciences
  • the Social Sciences
  • the Humanities
  • Mathematics and Symbolic Analysis
  • Creative Expression

Each of these divisions represents a different perspective on human knowledge and learning; some departments and programs overlap these divisions while others may stand outside them.

Distribution Requirement

All candidates for the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees from the College must fulfill the 30-credit Distribution Requirement.

This broad intellectual experience, which forms an essential part of a liberal arts education, is to be achieved in the following way:

  1. Students must complete seven credits in each of the following three areas: Natural Science (NS), Social Science (SS), and Humanities (HU), for a total of 21 credits.
  2. Students must also complete three additional credits in three of the following five areas: (NS), (SS), (HU), Mathematical and Symbolic Analysis (MSA), and Creative Expression (CE), for a total of nine credits. Credits in courses designated Interdisciplinary (ID) may be used to satisfy up to nine credits of this part of the requirement.

General Policies for Area Distribution Plans

An area distribution plan may include:

  1. prerequisites to a major elected outside the department of the major;
  2. courses elected pass/fail, credit/no credit, or by any other non-graded pattern;
  3. courses elected to satisfy one of two major plans by students who elect a double major;
  4. transfer credit from other schools and colleges of the University of Michigan and from other academic institutions;
  5. a course elected outside the department of major or major requirements used to meet the Upper-Level Writing Requirement, the Race and Ethnicity Requirement, or the Quantitative Reasoning Requirement;
  6. courses in Non-LSA units offering courses with a Creative Expression designation. (Credits are counted as non-LSA.)

An area distribution plan may not include:

  1. any course from the department of major;
  2. required cognates in a major plan;
  3. courses at the 400-level and above;
  4. experiential courses, Independent Study, and University (UC) mini-courses;
  5. Advanced Placement credits.