How Do I Pick a Course?

First and second year students have a lot of flexibility when choosing to craft their schedule every semester with general education courses and electives. Students work closely with their Advisors to determine priorities and goals, and each term, students can choose which general education and elective courses to enroll into to move them closer to reaching those goals. Below is some general guidance and useful resources put together by School of Business Advisors to assist in choosing general education and elective courses.

General Education

Critical courses must be complete in the first four terms, and should be balanced appropriately across each term. General education courses must be completed prior to graduation.


  • Course offerings and availability - use the StudentAdmin system to see which courses are available and offered at your campus in the term in which you are planning to enroll
  • Your strengths and interests - use the Catalog to read pre-requisites and course descriptions to see which of the general education options might appeal to you (remember to check StudentAdmin first, since not all courses are offered every term or at every campus)
  • Balance and course credit load - be cautious to craft your schedule in a way that is balanced and plays to your strengths (for example, if you do not like science, do not take your lab science the same term you take PSYC 1100, and/or the same term you take a more challenging critical course)
  • Orientation/advising materials - rely on your orientation/advising materials to ensure you are not taking courses satisfying requirements you have already met


  • Generally, a typical Fall or Spring term for a first or second year Business student includes a combination of required criticals (1 or 2), required general education courses (1 or 2), and the student's choice of electives (1 or 2) for a total of 5 classes, between 13 and 16 credits. There are of course exceptions to this, but it should be done intentionally.
  • There is no need to "get them out of the way" so if that is your motivation to take a gen-ed, challenge yourself to approach it differently. General education is an essential component of the School of Business curriculum and adds value to your academic experience and professional preparation.


    The typical Business student needs approximately 30 elective credits. These credits ideally are taken intentionally across the duration of the student's educational career.


    • Are you looking for new subjects to learn about? Talk to friends, family, mentors in your network to see what may be most beneficial for you. There is a list of common electives for Business students below if you need inspiration.
    • Are there minors you are considering? Look at the catalog's list of non-Business minors to explore. Some minors will have 1000-level pre-requisites courses required before you are able to take minor required courses. Consider enrolling in pre-requisite courses to see if that minor is going to help you reach your goals. Keep in mind Business minors do not kick in until Junior year.
    • Are you planning on going abroad? If yes, chances are you are going to get electives done while abroad. Explore abroad options and discuss with your Advisor. While you plan, it may work best to take more general education courses so that you save your electives for when you are abroad.
    • Are you doing a dual degree? Technically, requirements for your other major will satisfy elective credits for your Business major, so you can meet with your other major's Advisor to plan requirements and plug those in as your elective courses.


    • Generally, each term should have at least one elective course. There are of course exceptions to this, but it should be done intentionally.
    • Electives are a great way to explore new things and differentiate yourself. Going abroad, doing a minor, learning a language are all great ways to earn elective credits.
    Be sure to read your requirements carefully, and register for the exact course you intend (for example, ANTH 1006 is not and will not count for ANTH 1000).
    Example with 13 credits (ideal for first term):
    • MATH 1070Q (critical, 3 cr)
    • ECON 1201 (critical, 3 cr)
    • HIST 1400 (gen-ed, 3 cr)
    • WGSS 1105 (elective, 3 cr)
    • UNIV 1800 (elective, 1 cr)
    Example with 16 credits (likely second or third term):
    • MATH 1071Q (critical, 3 cr)
    • ENGL 1007 or 1010 (critical, 4 cr)
    • ANTH 1000 (gen-ed, 3 cr)
    • NRE 1000E (gen-ed, 3 cr)
    • POLS 1002 (elective, 3 cr)
    Note that these courses may not be offered every term or at every campus.
    • ANTH 1006 - Intro to Anthropology
    • ANTH 1500 - Great Discoveries in Archaeology
    • CAMS 1101 - Greek Civilization
    • CLCS 1101 - Classics of World Lit
    • COMM 1300 - Mass Communication Systems
    • DRAM 1101 - Intro to Theater
    • ECON 1101 - Economics Through Film
    • FREN 1169 - France & the Francophone World: 1850-Today
    • FREN 1177 - Witches and Wizards in France
    • GEOG 1000 - Intro to Geography
    • GEOG 1070 - Natural Disasters & Environmental Change
    • GEOG 1200 - The City in Western Tradition
    • GERM 1169 - Contemporary Germany in Europe
    • GERM 1171 - The German Film
    • GSCI 1070 - Natural Disasters & Environmental Change
    • HDFS 1060 - Close Relationships Across the Lifespan
    • HDFS 1070 - Individual and Family Development
    • HEJS 1103 - The Jewish Identity
    • ILCS 1170 - Intro to Italy Through Its Regions
    • MARN 1001 - The Sea Around Us
    • MARN 1002 - Intro to Oceanography
    • POLS 1002 - Intro to Political Theory
    • POLS 1402 - Intro to International Relations
    • PP 1001 - Intro to Public Policy
    • PUBH 1001 - Intro to Public Health
    • SLHS 1150 - Intro to Communication Disorders
    • SOCI 1001 - Intro to Sociology
    • WGSS 1105 - Gender & Sexuality in Everyday Life


    View the General Education website for some frequently asked questions and answers about general education.
    Every student is a different type of learner with different interests. This means some courses will be a great experience for you where that same course might not have been for another student, and vice versa. To research some courses you are considering, we recommend you review the course in the Catalog, consider your interests and strengths, talk with friends, and connect with the School of Business Peer Advisors on your campus to learn more.

    As a reminder, someone else’s experience may not be the same as yours so if you are interested in the subject matter, take the course!  If you are struggling to choose between two course options, the Add/Drop period occurs during the first ten days of the Fall and Spring semesters so if you attend the first few classes and review the syllabi for each course, you can decide which one you can drop before the deadline with no marks on your transcript.
    There is no requirement saying that you must integrate an elective each term. However, given that the typical Business student requires approximately 30 elective credits, if you do not integrate electives into one term it means you are taking more electives in a later term. For example, if a student only has criticals and gen-eds in their first three terms and no electives, it means the student's fourth term will likely be all electives, which can sometimes feel unproductive if not planned intentionally. This may work well for someone spending the semester abroad, but will not work well for someone who wants to complete a minor in one term, which is highly unlikely and perhaps impossible. This is why it is important to think about goals and priorities early on, and plan accordingly!