Academic Requirements & Policies

Most College of Liberal Arts (CLA) students graduate with a bachelor of arts (BA) degree.  However, CLA also offers degrees in bachelor of music, bachelor of science, bachelor of individualized studies, and bachelor of fine arts. The degree you receive will be determined by the major program you choose to follow. You will work with your advisors to choose a major program that fits your interests, your academic goals, and your long-term professional goals.

CLA Degree Requirements

Requirements for a CLA degree vary slightly depending on the program you choose to follow. All students are required to complete liberal education requirements as the basis of their degree program. All BA and BIS degrees, regardless of major, require students to complete CLA's second language requirement.

Academic Progress

A minimum 2.0 GPA is required in your University of Minnesota coursework overall. Each semester, the college publicly recognizes superior academic performance through the Dean's List. If your cumulative or term GPA falls below 2.0 you will be placed on academic probation.  You need to take an average of 15 credits each semester (and a minimum of 13 credits per term) to graduate in four years.

Graduating With Distinction or With Honors

Students who complete at least 60 semester credits at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities campus may graduate with distinction, if their cumulative GPA is 3.75 or higher, or with high distinction, if their cumulative GPA is 3.90 or higher. Students interested in graduating with Latin honors - cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude - must participate in the University Honors Program.

First Year Experience

All incoming CLA freshmen are required to participate in the CLA First Year Experience (CLA 1001 & CLA 1002) program. The First Year Experience is a two-semester course designed to organize a variety of in-class and out-of-class learning experiences and to encourage students to make connections with resources and opportunities in the College of Liberal Arts as early as possible in their college career.

Major Exploration

Your academic advisor can help you identify major and minor programs that best meet your interests and goals.  You will use planning tools like APAS and Graduation Planner that can help you explore and plan out your degree programs. You may also visit CLA Career & Internship Services to explore potential career paths or take interest surveys that may help you narrow your focus when choosing a major. Also to help in this planning process, CLA has put together an PDF iconExploring Majors Checklist that will remind you of the steps you need to take to declare a major and/or minor program. The Center for Academic Planning and Exploration (CAPE) provides personalized one-to-one coaching to help undergraduate students like you develop an Action Plan to aid in your major and career decision-making process.

Transfer Credits

Transfer credits will be considered when determining your degree requirements. If you are a transfer student, work with your academic and departmental advisors to determine which of your transfer coursework will fulfill liberal education and/or major/minor requirements.

Graduation Planning

Academic advisors will work with you to plan your degree and program requirements to be ready to graduate in four years. It is important that you meet regularly with your advisor to ensure that you are maintaining timely progress toward your degree. The year guides set benchmarks for you to graduate after four years of study. CLA advisors will work with you as you prepare apply to graduate and celebrate your accomplishments by attending commencement.