The September Program of Study

Students admitted into the College must complete the two-year interdisciplinary liberal arts program to be eligible to continue into the junior year. Upon completion of the program, students will have earned a minimum of 40 credit hours within the College’s liberal arts program, and up to 24 elective credit hours taken in one of the other schools or colleges at Boston University, for a total minimum of 64 credits. Required CGS program courses include two writing courses in the first year and two natural science courses in the second year. To complete the CGS program, students select at least three additional CGS humanities courses and at least three additional CGS social sciences courses. For more information, see the College of General Studies September Program page.

Completion of these credits places students halfway through the 128-credit graduation requirement for most of the baccalaureate degree programs within Boston University. All CGS courses carry BU Hub units. CGS courses fulfill most Hub areas in all six Hub capacities. Students in other schools and colleges at Boston University can take CGS courses to fulfill Hub requirements.

For more information, see the College’s Academic Progress & Graduation policy.

Learning Outcomes

Written and Oral Communication: Students will demonstrate detailed attention to and successful execution of a wide range of conventions particular to a specific discipline and/or writing task (including organization, content, presentation, formatting, and stylistic choices); Students will use graceful language that skillfully communicates meaning to readers with clarity and fluency, and is virtually error free.

Gathering, Analyzing, and Documenting Information: Students will synthesize in-depth information from a range of high-quality, credible, relevant sources that are appropriate for the discipline and genre to develop ideas and documents these sources fully using MLA or Chicago style.

Awareness of Specific Historical, Literary, and Cultural Contexts: Students will use appropriate, relevant, and compelling content and sufficient detail to illustrate mastery of the subject, including historical, literary, and cultural contexts.

Rhetorical and Aesthetic Conventions: Students will demonstrate a thorough understanding of context, audience, and purpose. Students will make skillful rhetorical choices and show deep appreciation for literary and aesthetic conventions and their effects.

Critical Thinking and Perspective-Taking: Students will examine questions from a range of viewpoints, taking into account the complexities of an issue. Students’ conclusions and related outcomes will be logical and reflect their informed evaluation and ability to place evidence and perspectives discussed in priority order.

Integrative and Applied Learning: Students will make insightful connections across disciplines and perspectives. Students will draw conclusions by combining examples, facts, theories, or methodologies from more than one field of study to arrive at a sophisticated interdisciplinary understanding.

Quantitative Methods: Students will use quantitative analysis of data as the basis for deep and thoughtful judgments, drawing insightful and carefully qualified conclusions from this work. 


All students entering as freshmen in Fall 2018 and after will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements are flexible and can be satisfied in many different ways, through coursework in and beyond the CGS program, and in some cases, through co-curricular activities. All CGS courses carry BU Hub units. CGS course requirements fulfill most Hub areas in all six Hub capacities. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses within and outside the major or, in some cases, co-curricular experiences.

The following outline is a guide to the course of study undertaken by students in the College of General Studies September Program. Outside institutions may use this information in evaluating College of General Studies coursework for transfer credit. For more detailed course descriptions, consult the Courses section in this website.

Rhetoric (required)

  • Freshman year
    • CGS RH 101 English Composition: Argument & Critical Thinking (4 cr): satisfies the BU Hub First-Year Writing Seminar requirement
    • CGS RH 102 English Composition & Research (4 cr): satisfies the BU Hub Writing, Research, and Inquiry requirement

    Humanities (students select at least three CGS HU courses to fulfill the requirement)

    • Freshman year
      • CGS HU 101 Traditions in the Humanities: The Ancient World Through the Renaissance (4 cr)
      • CGS HU 102 Breaks with Tradition: The Enlightenment to the Present (4 cr)
      • Sophomore year
        • CGS HU 201 Plato to Nietzsche (4 cr)
        • CGS HU 202 History of 20th-Century Ethical Philosophy and Applied Ethics (4 cr)

        Social Sciences (students select at least three CGS SS courses to fulfill the requirement)

        • Freshman year
          • CGS SS 101 How Societies Work: An Introduction to the Social Sciences (4 cr) 
          • CGS SS 102 Modernization: Politics, Economics, and Culture (4 cr)
        • Sophomore year
          • CGS SS 201 Social Change and Modernization in the Non-Western World: Russia and China (4 cr) 
          • CGS SS 202 America’s Response to Aggression and Revolution: US Foreign Policy Since the 1930s (4 cr)

        Natural Sciences (required)

        • Sophomore year
          • CGS NS 201 Biology I (4 cr)
          • CGS NS 202 Human Ecology/Global Ecology (4 cr) Directed Study (Optional)

          Undergraduate Research

          CGS provides students with two options for pursuing undergraduate research opportunities: Directed Study and the CGS Undergraduate Research Experience.

          Directed Study (research for class credit) is a College of General Studies course in which a student pursues independent research for academic credit under the guidance of a faculty member. A student who undertakes a Directed Study usually does so to explore in more depth areas covered broadly in courses, or to explore topics not ordinarily covered in the curriculum. In most cases, students initiate the Directed Study, i.e., they have an idea for a course of study and they approach a CGS faculty member to work with them for Directed Study credit. In other cases, however, students may also request Directed Study credit for working with a CGS professor through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), a University-wide academic program that promotes Boston University undergraduates’ participation in faculty-mentored research projects across all disciplines. Further information and application are available on the CGS website and in the Student Services office, CGS Room 211.

          Undergraduate Research Experience (research for a stipend): Funded by the Center for Interdisciplinary Teaching & Learning (CITL), the CGS Undergraduate Research Experience is a unique opportunity for students to work directly with CGS faculty members on current research projects while earning a stipend for their research work. Learn more about past research projects here and contact CITL for more information at

          Internships (Optional)

          The College of General Studies offers students the opportunity to receive one credit for internships that require academic credit. Students will be billed for the credit, if applicable. (As always, if a CGS student does not have a 3.0 cumulative GPA or above and is registered for more than 18 credits, he/she will be billed for the overload credit.)

          Credit will appear as course “CGS SS 200: Internship” on the transcript. CGS SS 200 does not fulfill a degree requirement at Boston University and does not count toward graduation.

          CGS SS 200 is graded on a Pass/Fail basis, and does not affect GPA. A passing grade is assigned once the internship is complete. Students must submit the Internship Supervisor Verification Form (ISVF) to CGS Student Services, Room 211.