Distribution requirements for the B.A .degree consist of four courses each in philosophy, religion, social/behavioral sciences, and mathematics/natural sciences-as well as three courses in humanities, two courses at the intermediate level in a foreign language, two courses in literature, and one course in English composition. Courses in the major field fulfill the requirements in at least one of these areas. (For example, courses taken for a Biology major also fulfill the requirement in mathematics/natural science; courses taken for an English major also fulfill the requirements in humanities and in literature.)

CAUTION: No course taken pass/fail may fulfill a distribution requirement.

The various areas of distribution requirements are outlined below.

(Click on a link for requirement info)

1 - Philosophy
2 - Theology & Religious Studies
3 - Literature
4 - Foreign Language
5 - Mathematics / Natural Science
6 - Humanities
7 - Social and Behavioral Science
8 - English Composition

1. Philosophy
Philosophy 201 and 202 are required of all students in Arts and Sciences and are normally taken as part of the First Year Experience in the freshman year. (Students in the University Honors Program may substitute PHIL 211 and PHIL 212, or HSPH 101 and HSPH 102, as appropriate.) PHIL 201 and 202 are prerequisite for all other Philosophy courses. For their third and fourth required courses in Philosophy, students must choose one from each of the following two areas:

Area I: Logic, Morality and Action
301 Reasoning and Argumentation
303 Biomedical Ethics
309 Theories of Ethics
310 Philosophy of Art
311 Contemporary Moral Issues
332 Political Philosophy
333 Philosophy of Natural Right and Natural Law
351 Introduction to Symbolic Logic
403 Morality and Law

Area II: Nature, Knowledge and God
305 Metaphysics
308 Philosophy of God
313 Philosophy of Human Nature
315 Philosophy of Language
317 Philosophy of Religion
328 Philosophy of the Social Sciences
329 Philosophy of Science
331 Philosophy of Knowledge
334 Philosophy in the Islamic Lands

Note: Majors in the Department of Greek and Latin may count PHIL 353, History of Ancient Philosophy, as an Area II Philosophy distribution course.

2. Theology and Religious Studies
Most majors require 4 courses in Theology & Religious Studies (TRS): TRS 201 or HSTR 101 (Honors) plus any 3 TRS courses at any level. For programs requiring 3 courses, the requirement can be fulfilled by TRS 201 or HSTR 101 (Honors) plus any 2 TRS courses at any level. See the TRS undergraduate website for details.

3. Literature
Two semesters of literature are required: literature written in any language is acceptable, including in English translation. Also acceptable are courses in MDIA film studies, mythology (Greek & Roman or Norse), comparative literature, creative writing (only one creative writing course may count toward the literature requirement), honors HSHU 102 & 203, and honors HSCT 101 & 102.

NOT ACCEPTABLE: English writing (ENG 101, 101a, 103, 105, 111, 326, 327) do not fulfill the literature requirement. Courses in rhetoric, linguistics, grammar, history of language, and basic language instruction at the elementary or intermediate level do not fulfill the literature requirement. The following courses in Modern Languages do not fulfill the literature requirement: FREN 203, 204, 301, 330, 401; GER 203, 204, 301, 401, 402; ITAL 203, 204; ML 521; SPAN 203, 204, 210, 211, 301.

4. Foreign Language
A student must successfully complete two semesters of any classical or modern foreign language at the inter­mediate level. Every student is expected to enroll in a foreign language course each semester until the requirement is completed.

In Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Irish, Latin, and Spanish, intermediate level courses are numbered 103-104. (Spanish heritage speakers substitute SPAN 111 for 104 and the other language slot on the tracking sheet becomes a free elective.)

The distribution requirement in foreign language is fulfilled by the 103-104 courses, the 113 accelerated intermediate course (6 credits, by permission to highly qualified students only), or SPAN 111 (for heritage speakers only). For majors in the Modern Languages department or in Greek and Latin, any course in a language below the 200 level can be used only as a free elective.

NOTE: Courses in American Sign Language (ASL) do not fulfill the foreign language requirement.

The language require­ment may be waived if the student demonstrates fluency at the intermediate level in a language other than English, or if the student achieves a designated minimum score on either the SAT achievement test, AP/IB exams, or a place­ment examina­tion admin­istered by CUA when the student enters. Please contact the language placement coordinator Dr. Puente de Righi at Puente@cua.edu for more information.

NOTE: A student who has taken the CUA placement test and placed in the 203 level (advanced) MUST do an oral interview to confirm the advanced level. There are no exceptions to this requirement.

A student with a documented learning disability specific to language learning should contact CUA's Disability Support Services to discuss appropriate accommodations. See also Disability Accommodations in this handbook.


1) A grade of C- or higher in the preceding course is required for enrolling in a 102, 103, or 104 language course.

2) Prior to continuing a language studied previously (for two or more years in high school or one year in college), a student must take the placement examination prior to continuing that language at CUA; if the student does not take the placement exam, no credit will be given for any CUA course in that previously-studied language.

3) No student may take a language course for credit below the level into which he or she has been placed, and no student whose language requirement has been waived may take for credit the 101, 102, 112, 103, or 104, or 113 course in that language.

5. Mathematics / Natural Science
Students must complete four courses, including one MATH, from among the following: Physical Anthropology (ANTH 105, 108, 204, 218, 354), Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Honors Environmental Studies (HSEV 101 only), Mathe­matics (but not 108), or Physics. Statistics courses (ECON 323 and 324, PSY 322, SOC 301 or 503, EDUC 633, and SSS 501) are acceptable. At least two of the four courses must be in the same department.

CAUTION: MATH 108 is a free elective only and does not fulfill this distribution requirement. MATH 101 (not offered after 2007-2008) carried no credit and fulfilled no degree requirement.

CAUTION: Not all Anthropology courses fulfill the natural science requirement. Be sure to check carefully into which distribution area an ANTH course falls.

6. Humanities
Students must complete three courses from among the following: Architecture (ARPL 101, 211, 212); Art; Classics; Comparative Literature; Drama; English (102, 104 and 200 level or higher); Greek and Latin (above 104); History; Honors Culture & Technology (HSCT 101, 102, and others specifically designated); Honors Humanities (HSHU); HUM 101; Media Studies; Medieval & Byzantine Studies (MDST 201); Modern Languages (above the 200 level); Music; WASH 101. At least two courses must be in the same department.

NOTE: Courses in History (including ancient history designated as Classics) may be selected to fulfill the requirements either in humanities or in social and behavioral science.

7. Social and Behavioral Science
Students must complete four courses, including two in the same department, from offerings of the following: Anthropology other than those designated as natural science [see CAUTION below], Business & Economics, Classics (ancient history only), Education, History, Honors Environmental Studies (HSEV 203, 204 only), Honors Social Science (HSSS), Politics, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology; WASH 101.

NOTE: Courses in History (including CLAS courses in ancient history) may fulfill the requirements either in humanities or in social and behavioral science.

CAUTION: ANTH 105, 108, 218, and 354 are designated as natural science and do not fulfill the Social Science requirement. Be sure to check carefully into which distribution area an ANTH selection falls.

8. English Composition
All students must take English composition in the Freshman year. The required course (determined by placement) is ENG 101 (103 for non-native speakers), or 105. It must be completed with a grade of C- or better.