You need at least 18 credit hours in humanities, social sciences, and writing in order to graduate from one of the College's 14 Bachelor of Science degree programs.  Some degree programs require more credit hours in this area.  You can learn more about the courses below, including course descriptions and prerequisites, in the University Catalog.

The following minimum requirements apply:

A. Writing: 3 credit hours. Choose one of the following:

  • ENES 1010 (first-year freshmen only, Fall 2011 or later, Pre-Engineering students are not eligible)
  • ENES 3100, WRTG 3030, WRTG 3035, or PHYS 3050


B. Humanities and Social Sciences: 15 credit hours of approved courses, of which 6 must be at the upper-division level (3000 or higher).  A non-official alphanumeric listing of approved HSS courses may be found here.

Explanation of Categories on the H&SS Course List

The particular courses included in these categories are easily found on the Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum web page.

  • The Herbst Program for Engineering, Ethics and Society teaches H&SS courses designed especially for engineers, including Engineering Honors courses. These all have "ENES" or "EHON" as their prefix, and all of them count as H&SS electives. See a list of offerings by the Herbst Program.
  • Foreign language courses (all courses at 1000- and 2000- levels; selected courses at 3000+ levels). Many of these classes are not listed in the A&S Core; however, the college encourages students to pursue the study of a new language. Students should NOT enroll in courses for which they have already mastered the material (e.g., if already fluent in a language other than English).

Note: A foreign languages department prefix is not sufficient for a course to be considered a foreign language course; the course must specifically address the learning of a target foreign language.

  • Approval is granted for any group of four courses that would count toward a minor field in any of the following departments in the College of Arts and Sciences: Economics, Ethnic Studies, History, Linguistics, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, or Women's Studies. (Note: These courses are approved for H&SS credit only if taken as a group of four courses that would count toward a minor field.) For further information on minor fields, check the "Minors" menu item on the College of Arts & Sciences department list.
  • Any other course specifically approved for all students by the Undergraduate Education Council of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

The following courses are so approved: 

  • ANTH 4330 — Human Ecology: Archaeological Aspects
  • ANTH 4600 — Human Ecology: Cultural Aspects
  • ARCH 3114 — History and Theories of Architecture I
  • ARCH 3214 — History and Theories of Architecture II
  • ARCH 4010 — Architectural Appreciation and Design
  • ASEN 3036 — Introduction to Human Spaceflight
  • ASEN 3046 — Humans in Aviation
  • ATLS 2000 — The Meaning of Information Technology
  • COEN 2050 — Engineering Leadership Gateway
  • COEN 3050 — Complex Challenges in Leadership
  • CSCI 4250/5250 — Computer Science:  The Canon
  • CVEN 4700 — Sustainability and the Built Environment
  • ECEN 3070 — Edges of Science
  • ECON 3070 — Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
  • ECON 3080 — Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory
  • EDUC 2020 — Step 1: Inquiry Approaches to Teaching
  • EDUC 4023 — Differentiating Instruction in Diverse Secondary Classrooms
  • EDUC 4050 — Knowledge and Learning in Mathematics and Science
  • EMUS/MUEL/MUSC 3642 — History of Jazz
  • ENVD 2001 — Social Factors in Environmental Design
  • ENVD 3114 – History & Theory of Environmental Design Small Scale: Buildings
  • ENVD 3134 – History & Theory of Environmental Design Medium Scale: Precincts
  • ENVS 3621 — Energy Policy and Society
  • GEEN 1100/CHEN 1000 — Social Impact of Technology/Creative Technology
  • GEEN 3300 — Sustainability Ethics and Practice
  • GEOG 1982 — World Regional Geography
  • GEOG 1992 — Human Geographies
  • GEOG 3402 — Natural Hazards
  • HIST 4417 — Environmental History of North America
  • INFO 3101 — History of Information, Science and Society 
  • MATH 4820 — History of Mathematical Ideas
  • MCDB 1030 — Plagues, People, and Microorganisms (through summer 2016 only)
  • MCDB 3330 — Evolution and Creationism
  • NRLN 3500 — Construction of Knowledge in the Fields
  • PHIL 1400 — Science and Society
  • PHYS 3000 — Science and Public Policy
  • PRLC 3810 — Global Issues in Leadership
  • PSCI 3206 — The Environment and Public Policy
  • PSYC 1001 — General Psychology
  • SOCY 4007 — Global Human Ecology
  • SOCYI/ENVS 4027 — Inequality, Democracy, and the Environment
  • SPAN 3000 — Advanced Spanish Language Skills
  • SPAN 3200 — Spanish Culture and Civilization
  • SUST 2800 — Special Topics: Introduction to Sustainability

Up to six credits of the following ROTC courses also count as H&SS electives: 

  • NAVR 2020, 3101, 4020, 4101
  • AIRR 2010, 2020, 4010, 4020
  • MILR 4082
  • HIST 4146

Up to one credit hour of COEN 1510 is also approved.

  • "Critical Thinking" courses offered by non-science departments through the Spring 2010 semester.
  • The college may consider meaningful groupings of courses in related H&SS subjects for H&SS electives, even if they are not courses in the A&S Core, when they are grouped so as to form a coherent plan of study. Students must petition for any proposed set of courses.

First-Year Seminar Courses may apply:

  • Some First-Year Seminars (FYSM) will apply as lower division Humanities & Social Science credit for the College of Engineering. Consult this list to see which FYSM courses are approved for College of Engineering students.

Strategies for Fulfilling H&SS Requirements

In choosing your H&SS electives, try to envision a coherent plan that combines both breadth and depth. Avoid accumulating a host of unrelated and/or introductory courses. There are many useful and reasonable ways to combine H&SS courses, but you need to think first about your particular interests and needs. A few organizing strategies:

  • Concentrate your courses in a single department, such as History, Philosophy, or Political Science. This sort of grouping may enable you to declare a minor field or earn a certificate; requirements vary by department.
  • The International Engineering Certificate, along with the Engineering, Science, and Society Certificate, offer options for fulfilling HSS requirements. See Certificate Options for details.
  • Consider courses in the Herbst Program of Humanities for Engineers, which offers seminars that are already designed to fit well with one another in a coherent, interdisciplinary program. The Herbst Program's small classes are an excellent opportunity for you to interact with faculty and with fellow students, and to work on your writing and public speaking skills. Each semester Herbst offers upper-division H&SS courses with no prerequisities. See the Herbst website for more information.
    • In addition to its regular freshman and junior/senior seminars, Herbst offers a variety of special interest classes, including: History of Science and Technology, Tradition and Identity, Engineering, Science, and Society, The Meaning of Information Technology, Leonardo da Vinci's World, X'ian China: Self-awareness and Images of the Other (Summer Course offered in X'ian, China)
    • HUEN 3100 Advanced Humanities for Engineers: The Human Quest Continues fulfills the college writing requirement for students entering fall 2007 or later.  HUEN 1010 Humanities for Engineers: The Human Quest fulfills the college writing requirement for students entering fall 2011 or later (HUEN 1010 available to first-year freshmen only).