Distribution Requirements

To accomplish the mission of Liberal Studies, Northern Arizona University provides a program that challenges students to gain a deeper understanding of the natural environment and the world’s peoples, to explore the traditions and legacies that have created the dynamics and tensions that shape the world, to examine their potential contributions to society, and thus to better determine their own places in that world.  


Students are better equipped to reach such goals by taking courses from various categories called distribution blocks.  All distribution block courses are designed to promote the learning of five essential skills:

You must take courses in each of the four distribution blocks listed below.

Additionally, you are required to take an additional course from any distribution block (3 units), also referred to as “Liberal Studies Elective.”


The First Year Seminar is an optional topics course approved for credit within one of the distribution blocks listed above or as the “Liberal Studies Elective.”  This option is available to and recommended for students with fewer than thirty units.


The First Year Seminar will bring the best faculty teacher-scholars on campus together with first year students in small enrollment classes to explore rich and engaging topics related to faculty interests and current issues.  Through this experience, communities will be established among the Seminar students, strong mentoring relationships formed with Seminar faculty, and students will learn about research opportunities.  Click here for more information on FS courses.


Click here to view the current list of liberal studies courses. You can also refer to the current term’s schedule of classes (www.nau.edu/louie) to see if individual courses you are interested in are liberal studies courses. For full descriptions of these courses, see the course catalog in the LOUIE system (www.nau.edu/louie).


Please be aware that you can’t use courses with the course prefix of your major to meet liberal studies distribution requirements. However, you may use courses with the course prefix of your minor or second major.