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AXLE (Achieving eXcellence in Liberal Education) is more than a core curriculum—it's your passport to explore the incredible breadth and depth of everything the College of Arts and Science has to offer. Through AXLE, A&S students begin a unique journey of exploration and discovery that prepares them to tackle society's biggest problems, find success in our rapidly changing economy, and make a positive impact on our world.


In the College of Arts and Science, our focus is not on preparing you for a specific career, but on teaching you habits of the mind that will prepare you for any career. We do that through the power of the liberal arts: the foundational disciplines of human thought; disciplines that underpin every other area of inquiry.

AXLE is designed to introduce you to the liberal arts in a way that encourages broad-based, interdisciplinary learning, so you can truly explore the wealth of opportunities available to you at our top-tier, R1 institution. Through AXLE, our students often discover new abilities and passions that set them on a path to their life's purpose. They become well-rounded thinkers and communicators, equipped with the skills most sought-after by today's employers and able to bring a unique perspective to the table in any setting.

AXLE Requirements

AXLE consists of 42-45 credit hours, roughly one-third of the total credit hours required for graduation. Studies for your major will make up another third, and electives will fulfill the rest. AXLE consists of two primary components: the Writing Requirement and the Liberal Arts Requirement.

The Writing Requirement includes our basic English Composition requirement, plus three additional courses designed to hone your writing skills both generally and in the ways most appropriate for your chosen major.

The Liberal Arts Requirement forms the bulk of the AXLE curriculum and consists of 13 courses taken across six categories. Students must complete these courses across at least seven departments, to allow for the wide-ranging exploration that is so important to the undergraduate experience. The six categories for the Liberal Arts Requirement are:

  • Humanities and the Creative Arts (3 courses)
  • International Cultures (3 courses)
  • History and Culture of the United States (1 course)
  • Mathematics and Natural Sciences (3 courses)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (2 courses)
  • Perspectives (1 course)

To learn more about AXLE, download our Guide to AXLE & CASPAR or explore our AXLE Requirements page.