Intellectual Breadth & General Elective FAQ

  • What is the difference between Intellectual Breadth and General Elective?
    Intellectual Breadth and General Elective are two forms of electives that you will need to take for your Engineering degree. All students are required to take 16 credits of Intellectual Breadth (humanities, social sciences, and liberal arts courses) through LSA. At least 3 of these 16 credits must be HU specifically, and at least 3 of the 16 credits must be at the 300-level or higher; often, students will complete both of these requirements at once with a 300- or 400-level HU course, leaving the rest of their Intellectual Breadth courses more flexible.

    Each Engineering student is required to take 9-16 General Elective credits; the exact number will vary based on the student’s major. You can view General Electives as the “leftover” credits (of the 128 to graduate) that are not taken up by common or major requirements. These courses can be from any department/discipline on campus; additional Intellectual Breadth courses, courses taken in the major past the mandated requirements, courses in other Engineering fields, and elective courses taken in LSA or other Colleges can all count toward General Elective.

  • Can I count courses toward both Intellectual Breadth and General Elective?
    No. Certain courses have the potential to fulfill both requirements, but will only ever be counted for one. For example, Econ 101 is a SS course, and thus will count toward Intellectual Breadth. If all 16 credits of Intellectual Breadth have been completed, then the course will count toward General Elective instead. If there are still Intellectual Breadth courses left to complete, Econ 101 will automatically count for that requirement instead of General Elective.

  • Can HU/SS courses required for my LSA minor also count toward the Intellectual Breadth requirement?
    Yes, as long as the courses are marked HU or SS, and are not marked BS, NS, QR/1, or QR/2 in the LSA Course Guide. Courses taken for any minor will automatically double-count for Intellectual Breadth or General Elective. Make sure to consult your academic advisor to make sure you are fulfilling your requirements!

  • Can I count any of my AP credits as Intellectual Breadth or General Elective?
    Yes, test credit (e.g., AP/IB/A-Level/language placement) can be used to satisfy any of the common elective requirements except for the 3 credit HU requirement. Please note that the type of credit you receive will depend on whether the subject is a HU/SS or not (e.g., statistics, biology, environmental science will count toward General Elective, while English, history, and political science will count toward General Elective).