Subject Area CSU Strong Candidate State of
Colorado HEAR*
Mathematics 4 4
English 4 4
Science 3 3
Social Studies 3 3
World Language 2, same language 1
Academic Elective 2 2

 *The State of Colorado Higher Education Admission Requirements (HEAR) are recommended for admission to any Colorado four-year public institution.

General course work details

  • One unit equals one year of a high school course or one semester of a college course.
  • Grades of C- or better are preferred. Grades of D, F, or P(ass) may not be competitive in a selective admission environment.
  • In the rare cases that courses cannot be easily categorized or may fall into more than one category, we defer to the student’s high school to identify how the course is categorized. For example, statistics may be counted as a math course at some schools and a business (elective) course at others; we defer to the high school’s classification.
  • Applicants who are deficient in one or more areas are encouraged to use the “Academic Explanation” section of the application to provide details (e.g., 504/IEP modification, extenuating circumstances). We can admit students with deficiencies when we can identify other strengths (e.g., additional academic core or electives in place of a world language or efforts made to overcome academic struggles, etc.).

Subject-based course work details


  • We prefer algebra 1, geometry, algebra 2 and a fourth unit at or above the level of algebra 2, though any fourth unit that’s college-prep at or above the level of algebra 1 is acceptable. Comparable college-prep sequences are acceptable.
  • High school level math courses taken prior to 9th grade meet course standards, whether reflected on the high school transcript or assumed based on course sequence.
  • In cases where four years of high school math are completed prior to senior year due to acceleration, applicants are strongly encouraged (but not required) to continue math through the senior year.
  • Extended algebra, applied math, technical math, consumer math, and other skill-building courses may satisfy the four year math recommendation, but they may be less competitive in a selective admission environment.


  • English courses can include literature, writing, speech, grammar, debate and journalism and is determined according to what the student’s high school/district defines as receiving English credit.
  • English as a Second Language/ELL courses can meet course work requirements provided the applicant has since completed two or more years of non-ESL English course work (i.e., ESL for grades 9-10 can count as long as grades 11-12 are “mainstream” non-ESL). In some cases, English proficiency documentation may be required as part of the application for admission.


  • Two units must be lab sciences. Lab sciences are those that apply all components of the scientific method (i.e., hypothesis/research, test design with independent and dependent variables, test implementation, data collection and analysis) whether through hands-on or virtual experiences.
  • Courses can include natural, physical, and life science classes such as biology, chemistry, physics, physical science, environmental science, and astronomy.

Social Studies

  • One unit must be U.S. history or World Civilizations.
  • Examples of courses in this category include any state/regional history classes, civics, government, geography, economics, psychology, and sociology.
  • Sheltered or ELL/ESL courses can meet course work requirements provided the applicant has at least two years of non-ESL course work (i.e., sheltered social studies courses in grades 9-10 can count as long as all courses in grades 11-12 are “mainstream” non-ESL).

World Language/Foreign Language

  • High school level language courses taken prior to 9th grade are acceptable toward meeting admission requirements, provided a second year is taken in grade 9 or after. While we prefer that the course credit and grade be reflected on the transcript, we recognize that some high school transcripts cannot reflect academic work taken prior to 9th grade.
  • Any world/foreign language used for the purposes of human communication and cultural representation is acceptable, including American Sign Language (ASL), which can be an effective option for students with certain learning styles. Computer programming languages do not constitute world/foreign languages.
  • “Heritage Language” courses for English language learners (ESL/ELL) can satisfy this subject requirement provided they otherwise satisfy the English core subject requirement with additional course work (i.e., we will not “double count” courses to meet both world language and English categories simultaneously). In some cases, English proficiency documentation may be required as part of the application for admission.
  • Students who have not satisfied the world language recommendation due to the presence of a disability or limitations in school curricula are encouraged to use the Academic Explanation section of the application to address this; students in these types of circumstances face no disadvantage in the admission process.

Academic Electives

  • Academic electives can be additional units in any of the core subjects above beyond the minimum number required. They also may include fine and performing arts (art, music and drama/theatre); computer science; and career-technical education programs such as agriculture and engineering.
  • Courses that typically do not qualify as academic electives or core subjects include physical education, aide, advisement, and so on.

Students are encouraged to defer to their high school with questions about how courses should be categorized; we defer to the local definition of subjects/courses in reporting this information to the state of Colorado.