General Requirements

University general education requirements for all MU degrees

General Education Requirements General education requirements are the foundation of knowledge upon which all University of Missouri degrees are built. They are specifically intended to prepare students as citizens who must make informed judgments about issues that go beyond the narrow area of their academic specialization. Students must complete the University General Education Requirements listed below. With careful planning, some courses may be chosen to meet both University General Education Requirements and one or more of the divisional, degree and major requirements.5 Students are strongly encouraged (and in some divisions they are required) to meet with an academic advisor to ensure adequate progress towards the selected degree and major. More information can be found at:

University General Education Requirements for all MU degrees

These requirements are applicable to students subject to this version of the catalog.  To reference earlier editions of the University Catalog go to Archived Catalogs under the General Information section on the catalog home page.

  • Math and Quantitative Reasoning1 (1 course, 3 credits)  
    Students may satisfy this requirement by:
    • Completing an appropriate math course (MATH 1050, MATH 1100 or MATH 1160 or transfer equivalent to MU 1160A) or STAT 12001
    • Completing a calculus course at MU (MATH 1400, MATH 1500, MATH 1700, or MATH 2300)1, which provides back-credit for MATH 1100 (or MATH 1160)
    • Transferring a calculus course  (MATH 1400 or MATH 1500) with a grade of C- or higher, which provides a limited college algebra exemption.  See the college algebra exemption page for more information.
    • Transferring  STAT 25001 or receiving AP credit for STAT 2500, which provides a limited college algebra exemption. See the college algebra exemption page for more information.
    • Passing the Proctored ALEKS exam with a sufficient score, thereby demonstrating proficiency in college algebra.
    • Possessing the minimum ACT or SAT Math subscores, thereby providing an exemption.  (See for further details.)
  • English Exposition and Argumentation (ENGLSH 1000 or ENGLSH 1000H) or transferable equivalent1 (1 course)
  • First Writing Intensive course, this may be satisfied by completing1, 2 (3 credits)
    • A  writing intensive-designated coursework from anywhere in the University curriculum, or from an English Composition I transfer course equivalent from another Missouri regionally-accredited institution or a border state (ENGLSH 1010W).
  • American History or Government2, 4 (3 credits)
  • Distribution Requirement (27 credits) providing a breadth and depth of knowledge in three broad areas of study. The course work must include at least one course numbered 2000 or higher in two of the areas of distribution as described below.
    • Must include 9 credits in these sciences: biological science, physical science, and/or mathematical science3
      • including at least one biological or physical science and its related laboratory component. See MU General Education site for a list of Lab courses.
      • representing two different areas of science
    • Must include 9 credits of behavioral and/or social science
      • Courses must be from at least two different departments in these areas
    • Must include 9 credits of humanities and/or fine arts
      • including courses from at least two different departments in these areas
  • For the full list of courses that fulfill this distribution and the noted exceptions, go to:

Transfer Students and University General Education Requirements

MU general-education requirements may be completed at MU or are considered completed for students who:

  • Transfer to MU with an AA degree from a regionally-accredited Missouri institution or
  • Complete CORE 42 at MU or at another CORE 42 signatory Missouri institution
  • Complete general education at a CORE 42 signatory Missouri institution

Transfer credits for other students are evaluated on a course-by-course basis. All students must complete University graduation requirements beyond the University general education requirements.

CORE 42 Transfer Curriculum

The CORE 42 Transfer Curriculum is a block of at least 42 credit hours that will transfer as a block and be considered to have met all General Education requirements at all Missouri public colleges and universities, as well as independent Missouri institutions that have signed onto the agreement via the Missouri Department of Higher Education (visit

Students who complete the CORE 42 curriculum will meet the general education requirements. 

To complete the curriculum, students must earn a minimum number of credit hours in five knowledge areas:

• Mathematical sciences – three credit hours

• Natural sciences – seven credit hours, including a course with a lab

• Humanities and fine arts – nine credit hours from at least two disciplines

• Social and behavioral sciences – nine credit hours, including a civics course

• Written and oral communications – nine credit hours (six in written communications and three in oral communications)

Credits earned beyond the minimum in each Knowledge area count toward the 42-hour minimum. 

MOTR Course Equivalencies

Courses designated with a Missouri Transfer (MOTR) course number, guarantees the one-to-one transfer of these courses among all Missouri public institutions of higher education.  

For more information about CORE 42 and MOTR Course Equivalencies, visit

NOTE: Many departments, degrees and majors have more specific requirements for foundation course work in addition to the University, general-education requirement. However, the reverse is not true. Departments or academic units may not have fewer general education requirements than described by the University general education requirements. Careful planning will allow students to simultaneously meet University, general-education requirements and prepare for many of the more specific foundation courses required by their field of study.