The University of Miami's General Education Requirements are designed to ensure that graduates have acquired essential intellectual skills and exposure to a range of perspectives and academic disciplines. The General Education Requirements provide students with the opportunity to study methods and achievements in all areas of human inquiry and creative endeavor, and to cultivate abilities essential for acquisition of knowledge. The General Education Requirements allow students to create an integrative map for their academic careers, providing a context for more focused studies.

As an institution of higher learning in an increasingly diverse and global community, our goals are to produce graduates who have been exposed to a broad spectrum of educational opportunities, and to prepare them for successful participation in the world. The University’s General Education Requirements consist of coursework taken before, within, and in addition to students’ specialized study in their areas of concentration. Whereas the requirements of majors specified by schools and colleges within the University emphasize depth of learning, the General Education Requirements stress breadth of knowledge.

Areas of Proficiency

The Areas of Proficiency requirements ensure that students either already possess, or develop at the University, the ability to express themselves effectively, to use quantitative skills with facility, and to reason cogently.

Written Communication Skills

Effective writing skills advance ideas efficiently and persuasively, so the expectation is that students become adept at using writing as an effective communication tool. Students fulfill this requirement by satisfactorily completing WRS 105 together with WRS 106, WRS 107 or ENG 106, or the equivalent. Appropriate Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) scores in written communication skills may be used to satisfy this requirement. An appropriate score on the SAT or ACT examination may earn a student exemption from, but not credit for, WRS 105. Students who enter UM with credits for WRS 105WRS 106WRS 107  or ENG 106 may take WRS 208 in place of one of the required WRS courses.

Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate effective written communication skills in relation to specific rhetorical tasks.
  • Construct original, well-reasoned arguments using a range of materials.
  • Integrate and synthesize appropriate and relevant primary and secondary sources in their writing.
new students without prior college credit in Written communication skills will be placed as follows:
  • WRS 103 ACT English score below 18 or SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing or Critical Reading score below 430, or TOEFL iBT Writing score below 18.
  • WRS 105: ACT English score 18-31 or SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing or Critical Reading score 430-690, or TOEFL iBT Writing score 18 or above.
  • WRS 106 or WRS 107 or ENG 106: ACT English score 32 or above or SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing or Critical Reading score 700 or above

Written Communication Skills General Education Requirements must be completed prior to attaining junior year classification.

Quantitative Skills

In a world increasingly influenced by science and technology, it is important for students to acquire the capacity to understand and use essential quantitative skills. The Quantitative Skills Proficiency Requirement helps students learn to use quantitative skills and tools to solve problems, including the interpretation, manipulation, and application of quantitative data. Students fulfill this requirement by completing either a Department of Mathematics course numbered MTH 108 Precalculus Mathematics II or higher, MTH 113 Finite Mathematics (recommended for non-STEM majors), or a statistics course approved by the student’s college/school and the University Curriculum Committee in consultation with appropriate academic units.

Students in the following majors in the Frost School of Music may meet the Quantitative Skills Proficiency Requirement by taking MTH 101 Algebra for College Students: Instrumental Performance, Keyboard Performance, Vocal Performance, Studio Music and Jazz Instrument, Studio Music and Jazz Vocal, Music Education, and Music Therapy.

Students in the following degree programs may use the approved courses indicated below to meet the Quantitative Skills Proficiency Requirement:

  • Bachelor of Business Administration: MAS 110 Quantitative Applications in Business
  • Bachelor of Liberal Arts: EPS 351 Introduction to Statistics and Research Design, MAS 110 Quantitative Applications in Business, or PSY 291 Introduction to Biobehavioral Statistics
  • Bachelor of Science in Communication: JMM 285 Applied Statistics for Journalism and Media Management or STC 103 Statistical Reasoning for Strategic Communication
  • Bachelor of Science in Education in Community and Applied Physiological Studies: EPS 351 Introduction to Statistics and Research Design
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: NUR 202 Introductory Statistics in Health Care (also listed as BPH 202 and HCS 202)
  • Bachelor of Science in Public Health: BPH 202 Introductory Statistics in Health Care (also listed as NUR 202 and HCS 202)

Students may be able to fulfill Quantitative Skills Proficiency Requirement through credit earned through the following tests: AP, IB, A-Level, and Cambridge Pre-U. Please click here to see how credit/exemption may be earned through these tests. For students in the Frost School of Music, an appropriate score on the SAT, ACT or proctored ALEKS examination may earn a student exemption from, but not credit for, the math requirement of the student's degree program.

After satisfactory completion of the Quantitative Skills Proficiency courses, students will be able to:

  • Select and use appropriate quantitative methods and tools to solve problems; and
  • Interpret, manipulate, and apply quantitative data to solve problems.

Areas of Knowledge

The Areas of Knowledge requirement is intended to help students understand and appreciate intellectual achievements in major areas of human inquiry and creative endeavor.  Students can satisfy this requirement through the majors, minors, or cognates.

In the Cognates Program, students examine creative expression in the arts, literature, and philosophy; study human development and behavior; and explore the mathematical, scientific, and technological world. Students fulfill an Area of Knowledge requirement by completing a cognate in one of the three areas of the university curriculum: Arts & Humanities (A&H); People & Society (P&S); and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM). A cognate normally requires nine credits of coursework and can be either a thematic or an individualized cognate. Thematic cognates consist of courses grouped by theme, while individualized cognates consist of courses that have the same area of knowledge designation. Completed cognates are listed on the students' transcripts.

As an alternative to using a cognate to fulfill an Area of Knowledge requirement, a major or minor may be used to fulfill the Area of Knowledge requirement. Approved thematic cognates can be found using the cognate search engine which allows students to search for thematic cognates based on cognate features, courses, and keywords. Each thematic cognate is administered by a department or program designated as the “Responsible Academic Unit” (RAU). Inquiries about a thematic cognate should be directed to the cognate's RAU.

The following rules apply to all cognates: (1) A course may not be used to satisfy the requirements of more than one cognate that a student uses to fulfill the Areas of Knowledge requirement. This rule applies whether the Area of Knowledge requirement is being met by a major, a minor, or a designated cognate. The fact that a school requires students to take courses which the school considers to be outside the major or minor, but must be taken to fulfill the requirements for that major or minor, does not allow the course to be counted for both purposes. However, the fact that a course is listed as one which must be taken to meet the requirements for a major or minor does not necessarily preclude a student from participating in a cognate which has that course as one of its options. In many cases, the student could take one of the other courses included in the cognate.  (2) At least three different subject-coded areas must be covered in meeting the Area of Knowledge requirements of the University.

Arts & Humanities

Arts & Humanities cognates engage students in the study of the most enduring and influential works of art, imagination, and culture. Through study, creation, and performance, courses in this area enable students to understand the works of artists, musicians, novelists, philosophers, playwrights, poets, historians, and theologians. These courses cultivate the ability to interpret, critically evaluate, and experience the creative products of human culture and expression.

After fulfilling the Arts & Humanities requirement, students will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate and interpret the creative products of humanistic and artistic expression, applying appropriate vocabulary and concepts for their description and analysis.
  • Understand the creation and performance of art.

People & Society

People & Society cognates help students understand and analyze the organization of society and the patterns of social change in the past and in the contemporary world.

After fulfilling the People & Society requirement, students will be able to:

  • Analyze the organization of society.
  • Analyze patterns of social change.

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM)

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) cognates develop students’ abilities to think critically about mathematical, scientific, and technological issues, through an understanding of processes and methods of scientific inquiry involving experimentation, observation, and quantitative analysis. The cognates nurture literacies that enable students to make informed decisions in an increasingly complex world.

After fulfilling the STEM requirement, students will be able to:

  • Understand the use of quantitative tools, experimentation, and observation to analyze and solve mathematical, scientific, environmental, and technological problems.
  • Interpret quantitative data and draw useful conclusions.

Individualized Cognates

Students may create an individualized cognate to fulfill an Area of Knowledge requirement. All of the courses used in an individualized cognate must have the Area of Knowledge attribute in CaneLink for the requirement that they are being used to fulfill, even if they are transfer credits. If a course has been approved to be utilized in an individualized cognate, an Area of Knowledge attribute will be listed in CaneLink. No exceptions will be accepted. A searchable list of courses eligible to be used in individualized cognates is available here.

Individualized cognates use the following academic plan codes: AT_0080 (Arts & Humanities), PS_0070 (People & Society), and ST_0026 (STEM). 


Thematic cognates taken to fulfill the Areas of Knowledge requirement (including cognates fulfilled by majors and minors) must have different Responsible Academic Units (RAUs). No more than two Areas of Knowledge may be fulfilled by thematic cognates whose RAUs are in the same school or college, except for the College of Arts and Sciences. Majors and minors may cover more than one Area of Knowledge but may be used to fulfill the requirement in only one of those areas. A course may count in only one cognate used to fulfill the Areas of Knowledge requirement (including cognates fulfilled by majors and minors). Students may petition for individual course substitutions in thematic cognates by application to the cognate’s RAU. Transfer courses, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, CLEP, and dual enrollment courses that are transferred in with specific UM course equivalencies can be used in thematic cognates.  Courses that transfer in with non-specific UM course credit hours can be used in thematic cognates only by application to the cognate's RAU. Only courses, UM or transfer, that have an Area of Knowledge attribute in CaneLink can be used in an individualized cognate.