First Steps

Students walking on steps at Wells Library

Step 3: Choose Your Courses

One of the most exciting, and sometimes challenging, aspects of enrolling at IU Bloomington (IUB) for the first time is the number of courses from which you will be able to choose.  Step 3 will help you learn more about IUB’s many course offerings so you can prepare for your orientation advising appointment by completing the Academic Planning Worksheet (APW) or Transfer Academic Planning Worksheet (TAPW).  You will find links to specific course lists below and a link to course descriptions in the box on the right side of this page.

What courses fulfill Common Ground General Education requirements?

At IUB, you are expected to fulfill a set of basic requirements that are the same for all students, regardless of what major they choose. These are referred to as the IUB General Education Common Ground Curriculum (or “IUB Gen Ed,” for short). These classes cover a wide range of skills and areas of knowledge that are essential for any degree at IUB.

The links below describe IUB Gen Ed requirements and list courses offered at IUB in the coming semester that count toward that requirement. 

Bloomington General Education Course Lists

Choosing plenty of interesting courses from the above lists and placing them on your APW  or TAPW are the most important steps you can take to prepare for your orientation advising appointment and your first semester at IUB.

Should I take courses for my major in my first semester?

In Step 2, you explored majors  and looked more closely at those in which you may be interested.  Every major recommends courses that are not only appropriate for your first semester at IUB but also assist you with making degree progress.  Whether you take a major course in your first semester depends on your level of interest in that major and the subject matter of that particular course.

What about other courses based on personal interests and choices?

Gen Ed lists are important, but they do not contain all the courses you can choose from in your first year. The lists below will help you complete your fall schedule.

Additional Course Options

Where can I learn more about courses that sound promising to me?

The course lists above give you important information: The title, the department code, and the course number necessary to register for the course. But you’ll need to know more to make confident choices. Course descriptions for good first-year choices are available in a file you can download and print. These descriptions tell you much more about the topics you’ll be covering and the instructor’s expectations.

Note: these course descriptions were compiled in late May and do not reflect recent changes.  You may search for classes using the Class Schedule:Active link to view up-to-date course information.  Click on “details” in the search results to read descriptions.

What if I already have college credits?

It's important that you inform your orientation advisor of any courses you've taken that might count (or transfer) as college credit.  Gather information about all college courses and tests you have taken and list them on your APW or TAPW.  Your advisor will help you understand how this credit may fulfill degree requirements so that you can avoid duplicating coursework.

Will I get credit for AP, IB, or SAT II test scores?

List all tests taken along with credit you have earned, or may earn, on your APW or TAPW

Check the AP and IB charts to see if the scores you have received on AP, IB (HL), or SAT II Subject tests are high enough to earn course credit (and credit hours) at IUB. The following points will help you understand what test credit means as you choose your first college courses:

  • If you have earned specific course credit and credit hours through any of these tests, then you have completed a course that will count toward degree requirements.
  • Not all exams are accepted, and in some cases, you will see the designation “-UN.” This means that the credit earned is “Undistributed,” and so it does not have a specific course equivalent at IUB.  The credit hours earned for these undistributed courses, however, will usually apply toward graduation hours.
  • Some programs (such as medical schools) may not accept SAT II/IB/AP test credit to fulfill admission prerequisites, even if you receive credit from IUB.
  • Course credit earned through such tests may not be the strongest preparation for the courses that come next toward your major or a professional program.

I’m still not sure what courses to take. What should I do?

Your orientation advisor will have additional information to help you choose courses for your first semester. But here’s some simple yet important advice you can act on now:

If the course sounds interesting, put it on your list!

It will be helpful in your progress toward a degree in some way. For example, if the courses you found when you explored majors of interest are also on the IUB Gen Ed lists, then those courses count toward both major and Gen Ed requirements.

We at University Division encourage you to embrace this opportunity to choose courses that not only fulfill requirements, but also interest you and/or may provide some insight into majors you’re interested in exploring.