View the CU Denver Undergraduate Core and gtPATHWAYS Curriculum
All undergraduate students at CU Denver must complete a 34-to-38-semester-hour core curriculum of general education course work. The CU Denver core curriculum is specifically designed as the foundation for academic success for the baccalaureate degree as well as for a lifetime of success.
The undergraduate core curriculum is based on a philosophy of a liberal arts education. The phrase “liberal arts” originates from Latin roots liber, “to be free,” and ars, “skill or ability to do something.” Thus, a liberal arts education develops a set of skills to set one free. Course work in a traditional liberal arts education is designed to provide an understanding of ourselves, ours and other cultures and our environment.1
The undergraduate core curriculum emphasizes intellectual competencies and provides optional choices to develop a skill base in the broad knowledge areas that make up the undergraduate curriculum. A detailed chart of faculty-approved core courses and college core requirements is available at the following link: CU Denver Undergraduate Core Curriculum, gtPATHWAYS .
The Core Curriculum Oversight Committee, composed of faculty in each undergraduate school and college, monitors the curriculum.
1. H. Thorne Compton, “The Liberal Arts and Critical Thinking: Building Blocks of the Educated Person,” in A Student Guide to Higher Education, John N. Gardner and A. Jerome Jewler, Editors, Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont, CA, Chapter 1988.
English Composition (two courses)
- English composition courses develop critical thinking, reading, writing, information literacy and research-based writing skills.
Mathematics (one course)
- Mathematics courses develop critical thinking, logic, quantitative reasoning and numerical relationships/patterns in behavioral/social and physical phenomena.
Arts and Humanities (two courses)
- Arts courses develop creativity, self-expression, aesthetics and stimulation of thought. Topic areas include arts, fine arts, music, professional music and theatre.
- Humanities courses develop ethics and priorities, human experience and development, contemporary life issues and responsibilities and impacts of social actions. Topic areas include English literature, modern languages, history, philosophy and religious studies.
Behavioral and Social Sciences (two courses)
- Behavioral science courses develop an understanding of human behavior, communication and an analysis of human experience and development. Topic areas include anthropology, communication and psychology.
- Social science courses develop an understanding of human society and the interrelationship of social phenomena. Topic areas include economics, geography, political science, sociology and ethnic studies.
Biological and Physical Sciences, Mathematics (two courses)
- Biological and physical science courses develop knowledge through the scientific method, scientific reasoning and solutions to complex phenomena in nature. Topic areas include biology, chemistry, geology, physics and environmental science.
- Mathematics courses are typically not classified as a science but provide the tools and models to investigate science and to formulate hypotheses and laws.
International Perspectives (One Course)
- International perspectives courses develop insight into globalization impacts and the influence of an expanding multicultural society.
Cultural Diversity (One Course)
- Cultural diversity courses provide insight and analysis of race and gender issues within the United States.
The value of a liberal arts-oriented core curriculum greatly exceeds its basic economic value, providing personal life and workforce skills necessary for a dynamic 21st century. Students should work closely with academic advisors to choose courses from the core curriculum that compliment their majors and future careers.
Guaranteed Transfer: gtPATHWAYS Program
The Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) has charged each Colorado public institution of higher education with providing undergraduate students a set of general education courses guaranteed to transfer as core credit to any other Colorado public institution. This program is called gtPATHWAYS, with “gt” referring to guaranteed transfer.
Transferring students are able to apply up to 31 semester hours of gtPATHWAYS approved courses with grades of C- (1.7) or higher toward their general education program at the receiving institution. Students may also apply gtPathways-approved courses to courses in their major, depending on policies at CU Denver.
Students transferring to CU Denver with an associate’s degree from a Colorado community/junior college in the gtPATHWAYS program are guaranteed fulfillment of all lower-division core curriculum requirements. Students planning to transfer in/out of CU Denver under the gtPATHWAYS program should work with their academic advisor to obtain details of transfer credit.
General education courses approved for the gtPATHWAYS program are identified in the CU Denver Undergraduate Core Curriculum, gtPATHWAYS . gtPATHWAYS-approved courses are also identified in the Courses chapter of this catalog. For example, the suffix GT-SC1 in “BIOL 1550-4. Basic Biology: Ecology and the Diversity of Life: GT-SC1” identifies the course as a gtPATHWAYS approved science course with a laboratory.
Further information about the statewide transfer program, including the list of approved courses and distribution requirements, is available at http://highered.colorado.gov/Academics/Transfers/gtPathways/default.html.