General Education Requirements

The campus General Education requirements fall into several categories.  Those in Composition I, Natural Sciences and Technology, and Quantitative Reasoning are met by courses required in engineering curricula. Beginning with the class that entered in Fall 2000, students must complete a third-level college language course. Most students satisfy this requirement by completing three years of high school instruction in a single language.

The campus General Education requirements in social and behavioral sciences and in humanities and the arts can be met while satisfying the College of Engineering's liberal education course work requirements (see below). Proper choices will assure that these courses also satisfy the campus requirements in the areas of Western and non-Western cultures. Beginning with the class that entered in Fall 2018, students must also assure that they take a course that satisfies the campus requirement in the area of U.S. Minority Culture.  Many of these courses satisfy the campus Advanced Composition requirement, which assures that students have the advanced writing skills expected of all college graduates.

Students may obtain credit from different academic sources, i.e., residential instruction, advanced placement (AP or IB) tests, and transfer credits. All course work taken to satisfy campus general education requirements must be taken for grade.

For more information about General Education course work requirements, consult the campus' General Education website.

Unless exempt for having credit obtained by SAT, ACT, or AP Scores, students must complete the Composition I requirement during their first year by enrolling in one of the following courses or course combinations:

  • Rhetoric 105
  • Communication 111 and 112
  • English as a Second Language 111 and 112
  • English as a Second Language 115

Students should see their advisor if they have questions about the appropriate placement in a Comp I class.

The Advanced Composition requirement is fulfilled by a writing-intensive course beyond basic composition. It is required of all students, including transfer students. It is normally taken in the junior or senior years. 

The course used to fulfill this requirement varies with curriculum. Students should consult with their departmental academic advisor for current information. The campus list is a series of courses that have been approved for Advanced Composition credit. It is available here . 

The following policy statements may help in answering questions regarding this requirement.  

  • AP credit will not be accepted.
  • The Advanced Composition requirement can be fulfilled with a transfer course but only one that is specifically approved as satisfying the Advanced Composition requirement at UIUC.
  • If the requirement is satisfied in one curriculum and the student transfers to another, the requirement will remain satisfied. However, if the new curriculum uses a specific course for Advanced Composition that is required as part of the curriculum, the student must take that course. 
  • Advanced Composition courses can satisfy social sciences and humanities credit as well, if the course is on the approved SS&H list.


Students may petition to have a UIUC course reviewed to determine whether it meets the intent of an Advanced Composition course. Substantial documentation of the writing component must be provided.

High school language requirement: Effective for all entering first-year students in Fall 2000 or later (Fall 2002 for transfer students), the following language requirement must be completed for graduation.  This requirement may be satisfied by:

  • Successfully completing in high school the third year of a language other than English;
  • Successfully completing a third-semester college-level course in 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.

Students without three years of the same language in high school may complete the requirement in college.  One year of high school language is normally equivalent to a semester of college instruction. 

In order to enroll at Illinois in language courses beyond the first level, students must first take a placement test.   If testing shows that repetition is needed, credit will not be granted for college courses more than two college semesters below the high school achievement level.  For example, if a student has had three years of high school foreign language and is placed at the first level, as a result of the language placement test, credit will not be given for the first-level course but will be given for the second-level and higher.  If the placement test is not taken, no credit will be given for repeated course work and only the fourth level of the language fulfilling high school requirements may be taken for credits.

A course taken in college to fulfill the third level of the high school non-primary language requirement must be taken for letter grade.  For lower levels, it is allowed to take courses under the credit/no credit option. 

International applicants, who have attended high school in another country, are normally expected to fulfill the language requirement by taking three years of instruction in English and a minimum of three years in their primary language.  If not, it is possible to fulfill also the primary language requirement on campus by taking a proficiency test, if available.  


Students who can demonstrate and document a specific language-learning disability may complete the Language Petition for Accommodation for Students with Disabilities for an accommodation, and substitute appropriate alternative course work for the foreign language requirement. The petition will be considered by the LAS College Committee on Accommodations, who handles such matters for the campus.

Language Credits

Proficiency Credit 
Proficiency credit for language courses at the third level or higher can be obtained by proficiency examination (subject to the placement rule described in the previous section).

The campus General Education requirement in Cultural Studies is as follows, which may or may not fulfill other general education requirements.

Students who matriculated Spring 2018 or prior must complete two (2) courses taken for a grade. 

  1. one that is designated as Western/Comparative Culture(s) and
  2. one that is designated as Non-Western/U.S. Minority Culture(s).

Students who began Fall 2018 or after must complete three (3) courses taken for a grade. 

  1. one that is designated as Western/Comparative Culture(s) and
  2. one that is designated as Non-Western Culture(s), and
  3. one that is designated as U.S. Minority Culture.

Note:  These cultural studies requirements may also be counted as General Education electives.

Advising Tip:  Quickly find courses that satisfy more than one campus GenEd requirement.

General Education Electives deepen understanding of human culture and society, build skills in inquiry and critical thinking, and lay a foundation for civic engagement and lifelong learning.

  • For students enrolled in Academic Catalog years 2022-2023 and beyond: The Grainger College of Engineering requirements for the General Education requirements are 12 hours consisting of the following:
        1. 6 hours of campus GenEd courses in Humanities & the Arts. *
        2. 6 hours of campus GenEd courses in Social & Behavioral Sciences. *
  • For students enrolled in Academic Catalog years prior to 2022-2023: The Grainger College of Engineering requirements for the General Education requirements are 18 hours consisting of the following:
        1. 6 hours of campus GenEd courses in Humanities & the Arts. *
        2. 6 hours of campus GenEd courses in Social & Behavioral Sciences. *
        3. 6 hours from any of the following:
          1. Courses from The Grainger College of Engineering Liberal Education course list. **
          2. Courses from the Humanities & the Arts campus GenEd list 
          3. Courses from the Social & Behavioral Sciences campus GenEd list
          4. Courses that have a Cultural Studies designation 

* These courses must be taken for a grade. 

** Students may petition to have other courses reviewed to determine whether they meet the intent of the college general education requirements.