Let’s talk about All-University Core Curriculum (AUCCs)

students listen intently inside a classroom

If you’ve spent a little time (or a lot), learning about CSU on our websites or talking with admissions counselors, you probably have heard of CSU’s All-University Core Curriculum. Often shortened by the campus community to AUCCs, these core classes cover everything from math to writing and humanities to social sciences and history. Most first-year CSU students are required to fulfill a certain number of credits in each subject area in their first few semesters at CSU. Let’s explore the ins and outs of the All-University Core Curriculum requirements and what it means for you.

What are AUCCs and why do I have to take them?

You can think of CSU’s All-University Course Curriculum as the general classes required of every first-year student. Nearly every college and community college have requirements similar to these, giving students a chance to brush up on skills they’ll use in more-advanced classes later. CSU calls these skills essential competencies — defining them as the ability to write clearly, speak effectively, recognize diverse perspectives, understand and apply quantitative reasoning, make sense of abstract ideas, reason analytically, and read critically. AUCCs help to refine your academic skills and introduce you to areas of knowledge, methodologies, and ways of working in various fields of study.

What are the required courses and how will they affect my studies?

Requirements are subject to change over the years, but generally you can expect to take several writing (intermediate and advanced writing) classes, a math or statistics class, several science courses that involve labs, and several classes in arts and humanities, social sciences, history, and diversity and global awareness. But don’t think these requirements will limit your choices or interest areas; each AUCC category offers dozens of class choices. Here are just a few:

Quantitative Reasoning (math)

  • Math in the Social Sciences
  • Calculus in Management Sciences or Calculus in Biological Sciences
  • Personal Finance and Investing

Writing and Advanced Writing

  • Writing in Digital Environments
  • Business Writing and Communication
  • Specialized Professional Writing

Biological and Physical Sciences

  • Human Diversity
  • Introduction to Geology-Parks and Monuments
  • Insects, Science, and Society

Arts and Humanities

  • Native American Cultural Experience
  • Awareness and Appreciation of Design
  • Communication and Popular Culture

Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Soundscapes: Music as Human Practice
  • Media in Society
  • Introduction to Women’s Studies

Historical Perspectives

  • African American, Asian American, or Native American History
  • Self/Community in American Culture
  • Western Civilization

Diversity and Global Awareness

  • Reading Without Borders
  • Border Crossings: People/Politics/Culture
  • International Relations

An inside perspective on AUCCs and some tips from current students

What were your favorite AUCC classes?

“My favorite AUCC class was called Writing Arguments. The professor challenged me, gave amazing feedback on my writing, and taught lessons that were applicable to the real-world.”

“I loved Statistics for Business Students. It set me up really well for the quantitative analysis that would be required later in my major. It was also a class I was nervous to take because I did not really consider myself good at stats, but the class had a teaching assistant who supported a small group. She held office hours, helped with homework, and was available via email to answer last minute questions. With her help, I did really well in the class and felt more confident about my math skills.”

“I loved Art History because it was so different from my major and I am extremely interested in art history. The professor also was passionate about it so it made it fun to take. ”

“I enjoyed The History and Philosophy of Scientific Thought. It was incredibly difficult but also incredibly interesting.”

“I’ve heard many people say Music Appreciation was super fun (and easy).”

Any tips for future Rams who may not be familiar with AUCCs?

“I encourage them to check out the page that lists and describes all of them. It helps put it into context. It is also helpful to know that it is the same for every major on campus and is the biggest reason why changing your major at CSU is so easy (this coming from personal experience).”

“AUCCs are required so try and find one that sounds interesting to you. Maybe take one that is completely different from your major because you will be taking so many within your major later on. I would familiarize yourself with AUCCs and what exactly you need, because there are so many options to take!”

“I personally front-loaded a lot of my AUCC/general education credits and would really recommend it. You might take a bit of a hit to your GPA but it gives you schedule space for jobs and other interests later. Because I worked hard my first few semesters to get my AUCCs and basic credits out of the way, I was able to add a minor and work several on-campus jobs.”

“Take something that you’re interested in! AUCCs are great ways to “reset” your brain and take something completely different from your major! I found that taking AUCCs on topics totally different from classes within my major actually made taking my course requirements more fun.”

“Although they may a subject that you never thought you’d ever have to take, see them as a cool opportunity to stretch yourself a bit!”

Explore All University Course Curriculum class options

Take a look at the master list of all the current AUCC courses, credit requirements, and more in the catalog.


Prairie Smallwood

Prairie Smallwood is a writer and content creator for the Office of Admissions at Colorado State University. She is passionate about education and exploration, and knows that going to college can be both an adventure and an overwhelming experience. She aims to create content that helps students through that journey — the wonderful, the scary, and everything in between.