Hub Policies & Procedures

The BU Hub

The BU Hub, Boston University’s general education program, provides a shared academic and intellectual experience for all BU undergraduates. The program emphasizes working across multiple disciplines to prepare for a complex and diverse world. Beginning in Fall 2018, all students who enter BU as first-years will share the same general education requirements. Beginning Fall 2020, entering transfer students will also fall under the BU Hub for their general education requirements. Your experience within the Hub will be part of what defines your Boston University degree.


All students who matriculated as first-years in Fall 2018 or later share the same BU Hub requirements, regardless of their program of study. The same is true of entering transfer students beginning in Fall 2020, who follow a specially tailored Hub curriculum.

Entering first-year students must earn 26 Hub units, spread across the 6 Capacities. The minimum requirements are listed below. However, most students will earn many more than the minimum number of units, especially in areas central to their major field of study.

Transfer students take BU courses that fulfill units in each of the Hub areas below and must earn all 10 Hub units in order to graduate.

Hub Requirements for Entering First-Year Students

Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Historical Interpretation

Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings (1 unit)
Aesthetic Exploration (1 unit)
Historical Consciousness (1 unit)

Scientific and Social Inquiry

Scientific Inquiry I (1 unit)
Social Inquiry I (1 unit)
Scientific Inquiry II OR Social Inquiry II (1 unit)

Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative Reasoning I (1 unit)
Quantitative Reasoning II (1 unit)

Diversity, Civic Engagement, and Global Citizenship

The Individual in Community (1 unit)
Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy (2 units)
Ethical Reasoning (1 unit)


First-Year Writing Seminar (1 unit)
Writing, Research, and Inquiry (1 unit)
Writing-Intensive Course (2 units)
Oral and/or Signed Communication (1 unit)
Digital/Multimedia Expression (1 unit)

Intellectual Toolkit

Critical Thinking (2 units)
Research and Information Literacy (2 units)
Teamwork/Collaboration (2 units)
Creativity/Innovation (2 units)

In addition to these requirements, students are encouraged to pursue opportunities on campus to develop Life Skills.

Hub Requirements for Transfer Students

Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Historical Interpretation

Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings OR Aesthetic Exploration OR Historical Consciousness (1 unit)

Scientific and Social Inquiry

Scientific Inquiry I OR Scientific Inquiry II* (1 unit)
Social Inquiry I OR Social Inquiry II* (1 unit)

Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative Reasoning II* (1 unit)

Diversity, Civic Engagement, and Global Citizenship

The Individual in Community OR Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy OR Ethical Reasoning (1 unit)


Writing, Research, and Inquiry (CAS WR 150 or equivalent) OR Writing-Intensive Course* (1 unit)

Intellectual Toolkit

Critical Thinking (1 unit)
Research and Information Literacy (1 unit)
Teamwork/Collaboration (1 unit)
Creativity/Innovation (1 unit)

In addition to these requirements, students are encouraged to pursue opportunities on campus to develop Life Skills.

*Please note: Scientific Inquiry II, Social Inquiry II, Quantitative Reasoning II, and the Communication Hub areas all assume and build on previous coursework in these disciplines.

Earning Hub Units

There are three ways students can earn Hub units.

  • Students who earn a high enough score on certain AP, IB, and other Advanced Credit Exams can earn Hub unit(s). To see which Advanced Credit Exams carry Hub units, see the Advanced Credit & Dual Enrollment section of the BU Admissions website.
  • Hundreds of BU courses carry Hub units. To earn all of your Hub units, you will take courses both within and outside of your major field of study. A BU course can only carry Hub units after a faculty member has worked through a collaborative approval process with the General Education Curriculum Committee. If you take a course without Hub units that is later approved for Hub units, you will not be awarded those units – the approval is not retroactive, as courses often go through significant revision during the approval process.
  • A Hub cocurricular experience can carry one Hub unit. To see the list of Hub cocurriculars, click here. Entering first-year students can earn up to 2 Hub units of their total Hub requirements through Hub cocurriculars. Transfer students can earn up to 1 Hub unit of their total Hub requirements through Hub cocurriculars. While students can enroll in multiple Hub cocurriculars (i.e., Hub cocurriculars with different course numbers), Hub cocurriculars are not repeatable for additional Hub units. 

Study Abroad

You will see that a number of courses within BU’s many study abroad programs carry Hub units. Consulting with your academic advisor and with a study abroad advisor can be helpful in determining how you will earn Hub units while you are away.

A small number of students each year choose to enroll directly in a non-Boston University international program for their study abroad experience. Depending on your interests, this can be a good choice. Courses offered in programs that are not affiliated with BU do not carry Hub units, so you will need to work with your advisor to determine how you will earn all of your units during your semesters in residence.

Transfer Courses

The BU Hub is a Boston University program. Courses offered through other universities do not carry Hub units. Students may still choose to take courses at another institution (check the Bulletin and consult with your advisor about your program policies) to meet major or minor requirements or to earn elective credits. 

Because transfer courses may not be used to meet general education requirements, you should consult with an advisor before registering for a course at another institution, to make sure you understand whether (and if so, how) the course will count toward your degree.

Sequencing of Requirements

As you think through your undergraduate program of study, you should keep in mind that some courses must be taken before others.

Some courses that interest you within the Hub may have prerequisites, so you will want to factor those prerequisites into your planning.

WR 120 (or its equivalent) must be taken before both WR 150 (or its equivalent) and Writing-Intensive courses. However, WR 150 (or its equivalent) is not a prerequisite for a Writing-Intensive course.

If you want to take a second language to earn a unit in Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, it is usually courses taken at the 4th-semester level that carry these units. You can check the Bulletin for specific information about the language that interests you. Lower-level language courses also carry a unit in Individual in Community.

While any course within the Hub may have prerequisites, it is particularly likely that Quantitative Reasoning II courses, Scientific Inquiry II courses, and Social Inquiry II courses will have prerequisites (although this is not always the case). As you map out future courses, be sure to keep prerequisites in mind.

For many students, taking a Quantitative Reasoning I course before a Quantitative Reasoning II course will be a logical sequence. However, depending on the course and on a student’s background, this will not always be the case. You do not need to take Quantitative Reasoning I before Quantitative Reasoning II. The same is true for Scientific Inquiry and Social Inquiry .

In addition, you can substitute a level II class for a level I course, as long as you have met the prerequisites. So, for instance, you could take two Quantitative Reasoning II courses to meet your Quantitative Reasoning requirement. The same is true for Scientific Inquiry and Social Inquiry.

As you think about your overall plan of study, think about what would be helpful for you to learn earlier rather than later. For instance, if you are considering writing a thesis, it might be helpful to you to take your Writing-Intensive courses before your senior year, to get more practice and constructive feedback before you begin the thesis. If you don’t know much about Digital/Multimedia but think it might be helpful to you in producing class projects or in pursuing a cocurricular activity that interests you, you might want to take a course that carries that unit in your first couple of years.


While Hub cocurriculars are 0-credit ungraded learning experiences, all other Hub courses must be taken for a letter grade A – F (not P*/F*) in order to earn the Hub units. The Cross-College Challenge (XCC), the Hub’s optional capstone experience, is a 4-credit course that is taken for a letter grade.

If a student takes a course designated as “Repeatable for Additional Credit,” the student, upon repeating that course, will again earn any Hub units carried by that course.

To see the policy regarding an Incomplete in a course that carries Hub units, review the Incomplete Policy in the Bulletin for the School offering the course. For instance, the policy regarding an Incomplete in CAS WR 120 would be the CAS policy, found in the CAS Bulletin. To see the policy regarding Incompletes in courses that carry the “HUB” prefix, click here.

You can find the policy for filing a grade grievance for a Hub course in the Bulletin.

Cross-College Challenge (XCC)

The Cross-College Challenge (XCC) is an optional project-based learning experience. It operates as a 4-credit course that is taken for a letter grade (A – F). The XCC carries four Hub units. Depending on your program of study, it may count for other degree requirements, in addition to Hub requirements. The XCC is only open to juniors and seniors.

Life Skills

Boston University offers a number of opportunities for students to develop skills that will help them lead healthy, productive, rewarding lives during their time at BU and long after. Recognizing that students come to campus with unique backgrounds and different needs, the BU Hub does not require you to work on particular life skills. Rather, it encourages you to consult with an advisor to identify which opportunities might be most useful to you, given your particular set of circumstances and experiences. To see a list of Life Skills opportunities, click here. You are not required to earn units in this area.

Academic Conduct

Boston University’s Academic Conduct Code applies to all courses and cocurricular learning experiences that carry Hub units. Students engaged in innovative learning experiences, such as the Cross-College Challenge (XCC), should be sure to attend to course policies around collaboration and citation of sources.

Academic conduct cases that arise in Hub learning experiences with the prefix “HUB” will be adjudicated by the College of Arts & Sciences.


Exceptions to Hub requirements are rarely made. In truly unusual circumstances, a student’s school or college will work with the Hub Exceptions Committee to determine whether any adjustments are warranted. Students should address questions regarding exceptions to their school’s advising office or student services office. For a list of school/college liaisons to the Hub Exceptions Committee, please visit the BU Undergraduate Advising website.