Policies Governing Arts & Sciences Courses

Because the Bachelor of Arts degree is fundamentally an Arts and Sciences curriculum,  students are required to complete a minimum number of c.u. in the Arts & Sciences across the entire degree including General Educationminor,  major, and Elective requirements.

At least 16 of the course units outside the major must be in the Arts & Sciences. Students in dual degree programs are only expected to take 14 Arts & Sciences c.u. outside their primary major.

The total number of Arts & Sciences c.u. required across all the requirements for the B.A. degree is determined by the 16 Arts & Sciences c.u. outside the primary major and by the number of Arts & Sciences c.u. required in the major or major concentration.

In some cases, students may need additional c.u. beyond the major and Arts and Sciences in order to complete the total number of c.u. needed for the degree. In those cases, students can choose courses from across the University. 

Courses in the Bachelor of Arts Degree are considered Arts and Sciences c.u. if they are:

  • Courses offered by a department or program in the School of Arts and Sciences (with the exception of courses for the BAAS program)
  • Courses in the Communication Program in the Annenberg School
  • Advanced placement credits given by the above departments and programs
  • Transfer and away credits given by the above departments and programs
  • Non-Arts & Sciences courses used in the General Education requirements or non-Arts & Sciences courses that are cross listed with an Arts & Sciences undergraduate department or program.  They can be identified by the “College 16 CU (AU16)” attribute in Path@Penn

List of Arts & Sciences Courses Attributes

Students who are unclear as to whether a given course is in the College should consult with an assistant dean in the College Office.

Non-Arts & Sciences courses are any courses not covered by the considerations above .

Depending on the major or major and concentration, students may elect to take between zero and four non-Arts & Sciences course units that can count towards the overall B.A. degree.  Students can take more non-Arts & Sciences courses beyond the minimum allowed in the degree at their own discretion and as their course load allows. 

Students can take non-Arts & Sciences courses as long as they meet the prerequisites, co-requisites, and have met the criteria to enroll in that particular course outside of Arts & Sciences. Students should be aware that other undergraduate and graduate schools at the University of Pennsylvania have their own curricular rules that Arts & Sciences students must follow. In some cases, students may not be allowed to register for a course because a major, minor, or concentration is required. In other cases, students may not be allowed to select pass/fail or even to participate due to curricular reasons set by the other school. 

The College does not award  credit for ROTC or Preceptorial courses.

As part of the commitment to interdisciplinary programs, the School of Arts and Sciences has a special partnership with the Weitzman School of Design to offer three majors to Arts & Sciences students, resulting in a Bachelor of Arts degree in either Design (DSGN), Fine Arts (FNAR), or Architecture (ARCH).

These majors require fewer overall Arts & Sciences c.u.

Courses that are DSGN, FNAR, or ARCH but are not cross listed with a course from the School of Arts & Sciences and/or do not have the "College 16 CU (AU16)" attribute in Path@Penn will not be counted toward the overall Arts & Sciences requirement need for each respective major whether they are inside or outside of the major.

Students in these three majors should consult with Path@Penn to monitor their Arts and Sciences course requirement as they complete their degree.