High School Preparation Guidelines

High School Preparation Guidelines

Effective: January 3, 2011

Last Updated: Approved by EPC on April 28, 2010; amended and approved by Campus Assembly on November 9, 2010; revised and approved by EPC March 7, 2012; approved by Campus Assembly April 17, 2012; approved by EVCAA May 1, 2019; approved by EVCAA December 6, 2019.

Policy Owner: Academic Affairs

These University undergraduate admission expectations were prepared and adopted in conjunction with the University system and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

A strong curriculum during high school will enhance your success in college. A student’s senior year is especially important. The University expects students to continue with college preparatory coursework, including English and math, for all four years of high school and maintain their strong academic performance through graduation. Please note that admission to some programs is competitive and successful applicants to those programs typically exceed the expectations listed below.

1. English

Four years, including writing, literature, and speech. Within the writing component, students may elect work in composition, creative writing, journalism, or research writing. Literature may include both American and world literatures; speech may include both public speaking and debate.

2. Mathematics

  • Three years, including two years of algebra, one of which must be intermediate or advanced algebra, and one year of geometry.
  • It is strongly recommended that students seeking admission to majors requiring advanced math complete four years of high school mathematics. Review the UMD Catalog for program requirements of various degrees.

3. Science

Three years, including at least one course each in the biological and physical sciences, with at least one course that requires significant laboratory experience. The biological and physical science requirements would most commonly be met by courses in biology, chemistry, and physics. Other courses could include human anatomy and physiology, botany, zoology, and geology.

4. Social Studies

Three years, including one year each of geography and American history. 

5. World Language

Two years of a single world language. Language Courses should develop students to be competent in the language, and enhance their cultural appreciation and awareness by exposing them to international societies.

6. Arts

One year in the visual or performing arts including instruction in the history and critical interpretation of the art form. Courses in the arts should offer students the opportunity to experience the arts directly as creators/performers and as critical, informed observers.

Completing all of the high school preparation course guidelines enhances students’ preparation for success in college and strengthens their application for admission. Admission decisions are based on the holistic assessment of each application, and students not meeting all of the guidelines may still be admissible with otherwise strong applications overall. Consult with the Office of Admissions if this applies to you.