The College of Arts & Sciences offers its students a variety of academic and extracurricular opportunities to engage in. You’ll want to take the opportunity to familiarize yourself with all we have to offer, so please take a look through the information below and our Class of 2027 Welcome page to learn more.
Welcome from the Dean
Read a message of welcome to prospective Arts & Sciences students from the Dean.
What you can do at CAS
At BU’s College of Arts & Sciences (CAS), you’re empowered to follow your own path to success. Along the way, you’ll develop interpersonal, analytical, and creative-thinking skills that will help you overcome whatever challenges life throws at you. You’ll learn from inspiring faculty, perform hands-on research, and interact with other smart, curious students. Find out more about the experiential, hands-on learning opportunities available to you.
Majors and Minors in the Arts & Sciences
The majors in our arts and sciences curriculum are designed to ensure you experience the challenges and rewards of studying an academic discipline or interdisciplinary subject in considerable depth. Our graduates go on to work in a variety of fields, such as medicine, law, education, technology, business and marketing, engineering, communications, and entertainment.
Major requirements usually consist of 9 to 16 required courses with a minimum of 8 courses in a single department or program, plus a varying number of courses in other closely related departments. With the help of an advisor, each student in the College of Arts & Sciences chooses and completes one of the majors described here. You may elect to double-major or to supplement your major with a minor. Dual BA/MA and BA/MS programs provide students the opportunity to earn two degrees, usually over the course of five academic years. Official specializations and double majors are listed under the major descriptions.
You can view a complete of majors and minors available to CAS students here.
To graduate, students must complete a minimum of 128 credits (excluding PDP, ROTC, and CAS FY and SY courses), the BU Hub requirements (see below), major requirements, and the study of a second language to the intermediate level. Students must receive a minimum grade of C or higher in courses taken to satisfy major and minor requirements. All students must receive a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 to graduate. For more information, visit the Boston University Undergraduate Programs Bulletin.
General Education Requirements: The BU Hub
General Education Requirements: The BU Hub
The BU Hub is the University’s innovative general education program for all BU undergraduates. Along with the major, it forms the core of students’ academic experience at BU. As a shared curriculum for undergraduates, it connects students from all of BU’s undergraduate schools and colleges and provides opportunities for them to take courses across the University. Through the program, students explore a broad array of disciplines while acquiring the breadth of knowledge and essential skills that they will need to thrive in today’s world. The Hub prepares students for their future professional lives by ensuring they develop the thinking, communication, and interpersonal skills they will need, wherever their career path leads.
In the Hub, students will develop six essential capacities:
- Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Historical Interpretation
- Scientific and Social Inquiry
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Diversity, Civic Engagement, and Global Citizenship
- Communication: Written, Oral and/or Signed, and Digital/Multimedia
- Intellectual Toolkit: Critical Thinking, Research and Information Literacy, Teamwork/Collaboration, Creativity/Innovation, and Life Skills
Students have broad choice in how they fulfill Hub requirements and can choose from over 1,800 Hub courses and cocurriculars. There are also optional BU Hub Pathways that allow students to fulfill some or many of their Hub requirements by taking Hub courses from across the University with a focus on an interdisciplinary topic of global significance (current Hub Pathways include Social & Racial Justice and Environment & Society). In addition, the Hub offers a course sequence on social and racial justice that explores the historical/systemic bases of social and racial inequity and how to engage in related advocacy and action.
Hub courses can count toward major and minor requirements, and students can take Hub courses throughout their entire undergraduate experience. For more information, visit the BU Hub website at bu.edu/hub.
BU Cross-College Challenge (XCC)
The BU Cross-College Challenge (XCC) is the Hub’s signature interdisciplinary project-based, 4-credit elective course open to juniors and seniors from all of BU’s undergraduate schools and colleges. The XCC engages students in team projects that address a real-world problem or an enduring human question. Students who are especially passionate about a particular subject matter and prepared to be active participants in a rigorous team-based experience are highly recommended for the program.
For more information, visit the XCC website at bu.edu/xcc.
CAS Writing Program
CAS Writing Program
The CAS Writing Program offers theme-based writing seminars through which most CAS undergraduates satisfy their BU Hub requirements for “First-Year Writing Seminar” (WR 120) and “Writing, Research, and Inquiry” (WR 151, WR 152, or WR 153). The courses focus on topics such as Global Documentary, The Corporation in American Culture, Imagining American Islam, Black Female Lives Matter, Migration Culture, Lincoln and His Legacy, American Environmental History, Ethical Missteps in Public Health, Medical Debates, and Boston Now seminars, which involve outside-the-classroom learning throughout the city (for example, Public Gardens and Urban Wilds: Boston’s Natural History).
Depending on which Writing, Research, & Inquiry course they choose, students will earn an additional Hub unit in either “Oral and/or Signed Communication” (WR 151), “Digital/Multimedia Expression” (WR 152), or “Creativity/Innovation” (WR 153). Some students for whom English is not their first language may place into the program‘s Academic Writing for ELL Students seminars (WR 111 and WR 112). These provide Hub units in “The Individual in Community” (WR 111) and “Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy” (WR 112).
CAS Academic Advisors do so much more than help you select and register for a sequence of courses. Advisors support your intellectual growth while encouraging your personal development. You will have many academic options to consider and many choices to make. They can advise you on how to best explore experiential or co-curricular learning experiences such as study abroad, research, and internships. These considerations and choices should be discussed with multiple advisors during your time at BU.
Every student in CAS begins their academic journey with their First-Year Advisor. Your First-year Advisor may be an advisor from your major department or an advisor from the CAS Academic Advising Center. This person has a wide knowledge-set about BU. They will guide you generally about the best ways to think holistically about your undergraduate experience, including:
- Academic planning and academic opportunities at BU
- Course planning and registration for future semesters
- Questions about your Hub requirements or CAS College Requirements
- Campus resources such as career counselors, academic support specialists, financial aid or fellowship advisors, etc.
Your Major Advisor (they may be a different advisor than your First-Year Advisor) is specific to your declared program of study. You will be assigned this advisor at the beginning of your first semester. Your major advisor is who you will be responsible for meeting with each semester during registration periods, with a proposed course plan for registration. If you are Undeclared, you will meet with your First-Year Advisor during the registration period.
We encourage you to use advisors as guides and mentors, which means you are expected to be actively engaged with your advisors. Take time to set up meetings with your advisors with just the goal of telling them about yourself and your interests.
You may have specialty advisors available to you as well. Examples are:
- Pre-Health Advisors or Pre-Law Advisors: If you are following a pre-health track for the purpose of potentially pursuing a medical career (medicine, veterinary medicine, and other health-related fields), or you have a goal of possibly attending law school, advisors in the Pre-Professional Advising Office are available to meet and speak with you when you are at Orientation and once the semester begins.
- If you are in the Core Program, you will have a core advisor available to you to discuss your Core curriculum and how it applies to your Hub requirements.
Finally, you may utilize the CAS Academic Advising Center for access to academic advisors, who can assist you with any type of academic inquiry, but specific examples would be:
- Understanding CAS policy or procedures
- How to apply external credit post-matriculation
- Understanding University academic standards and your academic standing, or talking with you about academic concerns
- Graduation or degree completion planning
- Discussing with you such issues as adding a minor, a double degree, or the dual degree program so that you may make informed decisions regarding your academic plan
The Core Curriculum
The Core Curriculum in the College of Arts & Sciences is a liberal arts learning community for students who love books, ideas, and intellectual discussion. Centered around weekly lectures and small discussion classes capped at 16 students, the program features faculty from departments across CAS. Core invites students to engage with enduring and transformative texts, art, and stories that build a foundation for most majors. We believe that building a learning community requires many voices and perspectives, and we strive to foster a learning environment where students from all backgrounds, majors, and specialties can contribute to the conversations and enter into dialogue with the challenges of our present moment.
Core’s pathways through the humanities, natural science, and social science courses are designed to foster intellectual growth and address questions common to all disciplines. Students will receive Hub units in every Core class, and there are ways to satisfy all of Hub in the Core while earning a Minor.
Here is how it works: Core’s eight foundational classes work together as a distinct curriculum or can be navigated individually to build your own foundation. CAS students can build a path through Core by completing the Core Minor, the Minor in Core Independent Studies (MCIS), or Core Honors, each of these offer a liberal arts foundation to your chosen major. First-year students can begin by completing our two-semester humanities sequence CC101: Ancient Worlds, in the fall, and CC102: The Way, in the spring. These two courses establish a firm foundation in critical thinking and successful writing. Students who take our natural sciences sequence CC111: Origins, in the fall, and CC212: Reality, Science and the Modern World, in the spring, will see the role that science plays in our everyday lives. Core pathways can be designed for STEM and transfer students too, just email us for more information.
Disability & Access Services
Boston University is committed to supporting the academic, social, and cultural integration of individuals with disabilities. Our mission is to foster academic excellence, personal responsibility, and leadership growth in students with disabilities. Individuals are encouraged to contact Disability & Access Services (DAS) to discuss support services and accommodations they may need. Services include auxiliary aids such as sign-language interpreters, exam accommodation, note-taking services, text in alternative format, and assistive technology. Accommodations are provided on a case-by-case basis depending on the individual’s diagnosis and documented needs. DAS is also available to consult with individuals and groups regarding architectural, programmatic, digital, or communication access. The University’s Compliance Officer for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is the Director of DAS, Lorraine E. Wolf, Ph.D., who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diversity & Inclusion Resources
At CAS and BU, we strive to foster an academic environment that enables students from all backgrounds to flourish. In doing so, we are seeking to enhance and improve upon the university’s legacy of proactive inclusion and social justice. Part of creating an empowering and accessible learning environment is providing the resources for students from a wide range of backgrounds to find support, information, and community.
For a full listing of diversity & inclusion resources for current students, including university offices and student organizations, go here.
Student Programs & Leadership
The Student Programs & Leadership Office provides opportunities for an enriched academic life for students in CAS. Our programs are designed to help students navigate our large and vibrant University, connect with classmates and professors, hone leadership skills, and prepare for life beyond BU. The primary way for first-year students to get involved with Student Programs & Leadership is through a first-year seminar course: FY101.
FY101: The First-Year Experience
FY101 is a course that teaches new students “how to college.” With the leadership of a staff instructor and an upper-level student Peer Mentor, FY101 exposes students to the people and resources that will help them to be successful at BU
What is FY101?
- One credit and one hour per week
- Open to all first-year students
- A chance to connect with other students in a small class (17 students or fewer)
- A relaxed, stress-free environment
- An opportunity to explore the city of Boston
In the spring semester, students can take FY102, a one-credit seminar-style class designed to help students with the next step in their major and career path. Topics include Introduction to Career Development, Introduction to Careers in Tech, Introduction to Careers in Government and Public Service, and more. FY102 is taught by academic advisors and counselors in the Center for Career Development.
Boston University College of Arts & Sciences
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Phone: 617-353-2400; email: email@example.com
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