University Of Colorado Boulder Admission Requirement

University Of Colorado Boulder Admission Requirement

First-Year Students

Students are first-year applicants if they are currently enrolled in high school, or if they have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent and have not enrolled in a college or university since graduation.

Admission Criteria

Many factors are considered in evaluating students’ applications for admission to CU Boulder. Although academic performance in high school (high school GPA and the quality of coursework) is the most important indicator of success, other factors are also considered. These include students’ college entrance test scores (either the SAT or ACT), the trend in their grades, the extent to which the minimum academic preparation standards (MAPS) are met, their personal essays and the potential contributions they may make to the campus community. For information on MAPS, see the MAPS table in this section.

Applicants whose records reflect nontraditional grading systems, unusual curricula or high school equivalency through the GED test will receive individual consideration.

College Entrance Tests

CU Boulder is test optional and does not require test scores for admission consideration. If you would like to have test scores considered, you should indicate this on your Common Application. To submit scores, you can self-report in the application, upload an unofficial score report to your application status page, or submit an official score report to CU Boulder. For more information, see the Application Process section.

Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS)

Students who graduated from high school in 1988 or later are expected to have completed courses that meet certain minimum academic preparation standards (MAPS) before enrolling at CU Boulder. Students who attended a non-U.S. high school for two years or more are not subject to MAPS. Any MAPS deficiency will be considered during the admission review process. The MAPS for specific CU Boulder colleges and schools are listed in this section.

Students may be admitted to CU Boulder even though they have not met all the MAPS requirements. If that is the case, they are required to complete the appropriate MAPS courses once enrolled, and the credit hours may be applied toward graduation. All MAPS deficiencies must be completed prior to graduation from CU Boulder. Students may also complete missing MAPS coursework at other colleges or universities, through approved credit-by-examination programs or by testing out through the appropriate foreign language department.

Policies Concerning MAPS Deficiencies

The policies of the Boulder campus with respect to completing MAPS coursework after enrollment are as follows.

Appropriate missing MAPS coursework is generally included in the credit hours for graduation.

All coursework toward fulfillment of the MAPS must be taken for a letter grade.

It is strongly recommended that students enroll in and complete at least one MAPS course each term, beginning in the first term of enrollment, until such time as all MAPS are completed. This policy applies to new first-year students, transfer students and students transferring from other academic units on the Boulder campus and from other campuses of the university. Some colleges or schools may impose a sanction if the student does not complete one course per semester toward meeting MAPS deficiencies.

All students who first enroll in one academic unit at CU Boulder and subsequently transfer to another unit are required to meet the MAPS specified for the new unit, irrespective of their completion of MAPS units in their previous college or school.

Students in double-degree programs must meet MAPS requirements of both degree-granting units.

Students must consult with a CU Boulder academic advisor (or read their college or school’s academic publications) to determine which specific courses may be used to meet a MAPS requirement.

Advanced Placement

CU Boulder participates in the Advanced Placement program of the College Board. More than one-third of Boulder’s entering first-year students submit Advanced Placement (AP) test scores each year. Official scores must be sent to the admissions office directly from the College Board for both first-year students and transfer students. For a guide to specific equivalencies, see the Advanced Placement (AP) Credit Table. 

For more information, write or call:

AP Exams
P.O. Box 6671
Princeton, NJ 08541-6671
609-771-7300 or toll free 888-225-5427

International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma programs provide preuniversity study. IB examinations, whether leading to a full IB diploma or to an IB certificate often qualify students for advanced standing at CU Boulder. In general, credit hours are granted for approved IB examinations at the higher level with a score of 4 or better.

Students admitted to the University of Colorado Boulder who have graduated from high school having successfully completed an International Baccalaureate Diploma program shall be granted 24 hours of college credit. Students should check with their college or school to determine if or how the earned college credit hours apply toward degree requirements. No CU Boulder tuition shall be charged for these credit hours. These credit hours shall be granted, however, only if the student receives a score of 4 or better on an examination administered as part of the IB Diploma program. If the student scores less than 4 on any IB subject test, the credit hours granted shall be reduced accordingly.

An official copy of the diploma with test scores must be sent to the admissions office directly from the IB organization. For a guide to specific equivalencies, see International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit Table. For the most current information on how CU Boulder evaluates IB credit hours, visit the Credit for Coursework or Exams section of the First-Year Student Selection Process webpage.

For more information on test administration, write or call:

International Baccalaureate Organization
475 Riverside Drive
16th floor
New York, NY 10115

First-Year Applicants Not Granted Admission

Students who are not granted admission as entering first-year students may consider transferring to CU Boulder after successful study elsewhere. Students are encouraged to complete at least one full year of transferable college or university coursework, including any courses outlined in the MAPS table that were not met in high school.

Transfer Students

Applicants are considered transfer students if they enrolled in any college-level coursework (at another college or university, or other campus of the University of Colorado), full time or part time, since graduating from high school. Applicants are not considered transfer students if the only college-level classes they have taken were while enrolled in high school. To be considered for admission, transfer students must report all previous college work and have a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Competitive Admission Criteria

Transfer applicants are considered for admission on the basis of transfer as well as first-year student criteria, including minimum academic preparation standards (MAPS). All transfer applicants who graduated from high school in 1988 or later are expected to have completed MAPS requirements before enrolling at CU Boulder.

CU Boulder’s aim is to offer highly qualified and intellectually curious transfer students the opportunity to continue pursuing their educational goals. We practice a holistic admission review process, taking into account a variety of primary academic and secondary factors as they relate to your projected success in our competitive academic environment. You will be considered on an individual basis relative to a prediction of your academic success in the college to which you apply. For more information on competitive transfer admission guidelines, visit the Transfer Students webpage.

College of Arts and Sciences

A cumulative college GPA of 2.50 or better in appropriate general education courses is required. Students who complete 30 credit hours of transfer-level work with a cumulative GPA of 2.70 at a Colorado community college and who apply by the equal consideration deadline are assured admission to the College of Arts and Sciences. Students must complete all of the Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS) to be guaranteed admission.

NOTE: This information applies to students who entered college after spring 1988. For those students who entered college prior to summer 1988, contact the Office of Admissions.

Leeds School of Business

A cumulative college GPA of 3.00 or higher and completion of microeconomics and macroeconomics and either statistics (business statistics strongly preferred) or calculus with competitive letter grades is required for admissions.

School of Education

The School of Education offers two bachelor’s degree programs in Elementary Education (plus a Culturally & Linguistically Diverse endorsement) and Leadership & Community Engagement. A cumulative college GPA of 2.75 or better as well as 24 completed college credits in general education requirements, as well as a prerequisite course such as School and Society.

The School of Education also offers licensure programs in elementary, secondary and K-12 music education. The licensure fields in secondary education include English, foreign language, mathematics, science and social studies. Teacher licensure at the undergraduate level must be combined with a bachelor’s degree program. If applicants do not already have a bachelor’s degree, they should apply to a major of interest that will supplement their teaching goals. Once enrolled at CU Boulder, students have the opportunity to apply for the licensure program through the School of Education.

Teacher education applicants who have previously completed a four-year undergraduate degree program must submit their application to the Office of Admissions.

Refer to the School of Education section for more information about teacher education. Interested students may also visit the School of Education website.

Program in Environmental Design

A college GPA of 2.75 or higher is required. Preference is given to students who have had drafting, architecture and/or fine arts courses in college.  A good math and science background is also essential.

College of Engineering and Applied Science

A cumulative college GPA of 3.0 or higher is required.

Transfer applicants must have taken courses relevant to an engineering curriculum, including at least two semesters of college-level calculus and one semester of calculus-based physics or one semester of college-level chemistry. Chemical, Chemical and Biological and Environmental Engineering majors must take one semester of chemistry but are encouraged to take two semesters. (Exception: students [resident or nonresident] who apply for admission for a semester which occurs within 18 months of their high school graduation date may also be competitive without having taken the above coursework, as long as their high school academic record is competitive. In addition, if any college-level work has been completed, an overall GPA should be 3.0 or higher.)

Prerequisites must be completed with a grade of B or better.

The college guarantees admission to any of its baccalaureate degree programs to students transferring from Colorado public institutions of higher education who meet the College of Engineering and Applied Science Guaranteed Admission Criteria for Colorado Transfers.

College of Media, Communication and Information

Transfer students are required to have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students with more than 36 credit hours must have completed an introductory course in the major they intend to pursue, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher:

  • Communication majors: Public Speaking OR Group Communication
  • Information Science majors: Intro to Computer Science OR Intro to Programming
  • Journalism majors: Media News and Reporting OR New Media/Internet Media
  • Media Production majors: Intro to Film Art
  • Media Studies majors: Intro to Mass Media
  • Strategic Communication majors: Intro to Public Relations OR an equivalent Principles of Public Relations course

College of Music

A cumulative college GPA of 2.75 or higher and an audition of all applicants is required. More information may be found at the College of Music Undergraduate Transfer Students webpage.

College Entrance Tests

Transfer students are required to submit SAT or ACT scores, except those who have completed 24 or more semester hours of transferable college-level work at the time they apply. 

Students’ highest scores are used in the admission decision. If the same test is taken more than once, the scores on each subsection are combined to give the highest overall score. SAT subject test scores are not required. For more information, visit the Selection Process website.

Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS)

Effective for students who graduated from high school in spring 1988 or later, CU Boulder expects all transfer students to have completed courses that meet certain minimum academic preparation standards (MAPS). For MAPS requirements for specific CU Boulder colleges and schools, see the MAPS chart.

MAPS requirements not met in high school may be met through equivalent college-level coursework before or after transfer to CU Boulder. A semester course completed at the college level substitutes for a year of work in high school. Students who attended a non-U.S. high school for two years or more are not subject to MAPS.

International Students

International Degree-Seeking Students

The university invites applications from qualified international students. International applicants are those who already have, or will be applying for, a temporary U.S. visa such as F-1 and J-1. Applicants who are United States citizens, permanent residents, asylees or refugees are not considered international. These students should follow application and admission procedures for undergraduates or graduates as described elsewhere in this catalog.

More than 3,100 international students from more than 100 countries study at CU Boulder. Applications for admission are processed by the Office of Admissions. International students who wish to pursue a full-time program of study at the undergraduate or graduate level should visit the Admissions website for admission information and online application forms.

Assistance after admission is provided by International Student and Scholar Services, located in the Office of International Education. CU Boulder offers a full range of services to international students, including a host family program, orientation, special programs and activities for international students and personal attention to individual needs. For information, visit the International Student and Scholar Services Student Resources webpage.

Intensive English language instruction is also offered by the International English Center. For information, email or call +1-303-492-5547.

Prospective graduate students should visit the Graduate School Admissions website for information and application forms specific to the academic department in which they are interested. Prospective graduate students can also call the campus telephone operator at +1-303-492-1411 and ask to have the call transferred to the department of interest or write to the specific department, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309.

International Nondegree Students

The University of Colorado Boulder welcomes nondegree visiting international students from around the world. International students who are requesting a form I-20 (for an F-1 visa) are required to enroll full-time (6 credit hours in summer and 12 credit hours in fall and spring semesters). In order to maintain F-1 status, international students should not drop below full-time enrollment. Students on B-1/B-2 visas may be eligible to take one course. Visiting international students must meet academic prerequisites in order to enroll. Visiting international students who are not native speakers of English must also demonstrate English language proficiency by submitting valid TOEFL or IELTS scores, or by submitting proof that they completed at least one year of full-time academic study at a U.S. college or university or at an institution in a country where English is the native language (i.e., Australia, Canada).

Email for additional information.

Readmit Students

CU Boulder undergraduate degree-seeking students who have not attended the Boulder campus for three semesters (including summer) since their last graded semester must submit the undergraduate Application for Readmission to the Office of Admissions. No application fee is required. Students who have attended any other college or university since attending CU Boulder must submit official transcripts directly from the issuing institution(s) to the Office of Admissions.

Students seeking readmission into a different college or school than that in which they were previously enrolled must note the requested change on their application. Otherwise, the university assumes that students will return to the same field of study, if eligible to do so. Students who request a change in college or school for which they are not eligible must request reconsideration for their previous program.

Former students in the College of Arts and Sciences wishing to return to the college must apply to their previous major. Students who wish to pursue a second undergraduate degree must apply to a major different from the one in which they received their degree. Students may not apply for a second bachelor’s degree in the Leeds School of Business or the College of Media, Communication and Information.

Continuing undergraduate degree-seeking students who do not attend for three or fewer semesters (including summer), and who were not academically suspended are automatically eligible to return without having to readmit (does not apply to graduate students). This policy includes degree-seeking undergraduates who are only taking classes through Continuing Education. During these semesters of non-enrollment, students’ CU Boulder email and student portal accounts remain open. To return, students should register for classes during the regular enrollment period for the returning term. Students who received a refund of the confirmation deposit must repay it when returning. Consult the Withdrawal Return Chart for important details.

Nondegree Students

Students who wish to take CU Boulder courses but are not currently admitted to a degree program at the university are classified as “nondegree students.” Students apply as nondegree students through the Division of Continuing Education. Nondegree students may enroll in credit classes through the ACCESS (Available Credit Courses for Eligible Special Students) Program, the Evening Credit Program, the Online Credit Program, the Applied Music Program and Summer Session.

All nondegree students must have completed high school or have a high school equivalency diploma. Nondegree applicants under the age of 22 not enrolled in high school must meet criteria similar to first-year students entering CU Boulder. To determine eligibility, applicants must provide an unofficial copy of their high school transcripts and ACT/SAT scores.

If students have been denied admission to an undergraduate degree program, they may not enroll as nondegree students in the ACCESS Program for the semester for which they sought degree program admission. Nondegree student admission does not guarantee future admission to any degree program.

Nondegree students may also enroll for courses on a pass/fail basis. These courses are counted toward credit hours of pass/fail coursework permitted according to the rules of the college or school to which students are admitted once they achieve degree status.

Nondegree students must maintain a 2.00 cumulative GPA. Failure to maintain the required GPA will result in the inability to continue taking classes as a nondegree student.

High school students interested in taking courses at CU Boulder apply as nondegree students through the High School Dual Enrollment Program administered by the Division of Continuing Education.

International students who want to apply to the university as nondegree students should read the International Students section above. Students interested in teacher licensure should refer to the School of Education section.

Nondegree Students Transferring to a Degree Program

Students who are currently enrolled or have been enrolled at any CU campus as nondegree students may apply for admission to an undergraduate degree program.

Students wishing to transfer to a graduate degree program should refer to the Graduate School section and individual college and school sections.

A degree-seeking applicant may transfer an unlimited number of credit hours taken as a nondegree student on any University of Colorado campus. However, applicability of these credit hours toward degree requirements is established by the colleges and schools. It is suggested that a student apply to a degree program as soon as admission requirements, including MAPS deficiencies, have been met. It is essential that former nondegree students actively seek academic advising from the appropriate dean’s office once they have been accepted into a degree program.

Second Undergraduate Degree Applicants

Students may apply for a second undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado Boulder, but should explore the various options in graduate study available at the university before doing so.

Students applying for a second undergraduate degree must follow transfer admission guidelines, and those students who are admitted must keep in mind that all college and major requirements must be met in order to complete degree programs satisfactorily.

Restrictions mandated by general university policies, as well as specific college and school policies, include the following:

Applicants may not apply to the major in which they received their first undergraduate degree.

Applicants must apply to a specific major; applications for an open option or undetermined major cannot be considered.

Second undergraduate degree applicants in the Program in Environmental Design are encouraged to investigate graduate programs.

The Leeds School of Business and the College of Media, Communication and Information do not consider students who have already completed an undergraduate degree. These students are strongly encouraged to investigate graduate study.

Students who already have an undergraduate degree from the College of Engineering and Applied Science and who desire a second undergraduate degree are strongly encouraged to investigate graduate study as an option.

Credit hours earned as a nondegree student at the University of Colorado may not be used toward major degree requirements for a second degree in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Students from Other CU Campuses

Students who wish to transfer to Boulder from another University of Colorado campus (Colorado Springs, Denver or Anschutz), from CU Study Abroad or from CU Continuing Education should refer to the Transfer Applicants section.

These students must send a high school transcript, SAT or ACT scores and an official transcript from each college or university attended (outside the University of Colorado system) to the Office of Admissions. Currently enrolled degree students are not required to pay the application fee.

Special consideration is given to applicants transferring from degree programs at other campuses of the University of Colorado. Coursework completed at other campuses in the University of Colorado System will be a part of the student’s cumulative university record and will not be considered as transfer credit hours.

However, the applicability of this coursework toward specific CU Boulder degree requirements will be determined solely by CU Boulder colleges and schools.

External transfer credit presented by students to other University of Colorado campuses will be evaluated by CU Boulder guidelines upon the student’s matriculation into a degree program at CU Boulder.

Denied Admission as a First-Year Student

Students who were not admissible to the University of Colorado Boulder based on high school academic records are encouraged to apply for transfer admission after at least 24 credit hours of transferable college-level coursework are completed or in progress. This includes any minimum academic preparation standards (MAPS) requirements not met in high school.