Student Resources

Cardinal Core Purpose

Through the Cardinal Core program you will explore multiple areas of knowledge in new ways and develop core skills that will enable you to succeed in any degree program and prepare you to live and work in a dynamic, global society.

Cardinal Core Program Requirements

The Cardinal Core program at the University of Louisville prepares students to do the advanced work needed for their baccalaureate degrees and prepares them to contribute to society throughout their lives through their professional work and civic engagement. The program emphasizes the development of key intellectual skills relevant to any career path: critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, effective communication, and the understanding of historical, social, and cultural diversity. Students will develop skills and acquire knowledge in the following content areas of Arts and Humanities, Historical Perspectives, Oral Communication, Quantitative Reasoning, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Natural Sciences, Written Communication, and the competency area of Diversity in the United States and Globally. Upon completion of the program, students will be prepared to analyze complex problems and evaluate possible courses of action in an environment characterized by diversity and the need for sustainable solutions.

Students should demonstrate proficiency (through course work or external credit) in the three skills areas (Written Communication, Oral Communication, and Quantitative Reasoning) before completing the first 30 degree-applicable credit hours earned at UofL. Within 60 hours, the student should have completed 21 hours of Cardinal Core courses.

The Cardinal Core program requires a minimum of 31 credit hours from approved course categories as outlined in the table below. Students must complete a minimum of 12 hours in the Skills courses, a minimum of 19 hours in the Disciplinary Perspectives courses, and within the 31 hours students must accumulate 6 hours in Diversity credit. Academic advisors can guide students in the selection of courses.



Minimum Number of Credit Hours


Written Communication (WC)



Oral Communication (OC)



Quantitative Reasoning (QR)


Disciplinary Perspectives

Arts & Humanities (AH)

6 (at least 2 courses from different disciplines)


Social & Behavioral Sciences (SB) and Historical Perspective (SBH)

6 (at least 2 courses from different disciplines and 3 hrs. must be in Historical Perspective)


Natural Sciences (S, SL, B)

7 (lecture and lab in a single discipline; an additional 3 hours in a second discipline)


US. Diversity (D1)



Global Diversity (D2)






The Diversity requirements will be met by taking courses in other Cardinal Core categories that also carry the D1 or D2 designation. This requirement, therefore, does not add hours to the total Cardinal Core program.

Crosswalk of NEW Cardinal Core Requirements and General Education Program Requirements Prior to Summer 2018

General Education Program Requirements (Prior to Summer 2018)

Cardinal Core Program Requirements (Effective Summer 2018)


WC (6 hrs: the first 3 hrs. must be a writing course in the Department of English or be an approved Honors course substitute)

WC (6 hrs: the first 3 hrs. must be a writing course in or credit approved by the Department of English)

No change

OC (3 hrs)

OC (3 hrs)

No change

M (3 hrs)

QR (3 hrs)

M courses are now coded as QR

AH (6 hrs: one course in Arts; one in Humanities)

AH (6 hrs: at least two courses from different disciplines)

Students no longer have to take one course in the Arts and one in the Humanities, but still need to take courses from two different disciplines to fulfill the AH requirement.


SB (9 hrs: one course in the Department of History; the remaining 6 hours in two other disciplines)

SB (6 hrs: at least two courses from different disciplines and 3 hrs. must be in Historical Perspective (SBH)

The Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement has been reduced from 9 to 6 hours. The history requirement has been changed to Historical Perspective (SBH) and courses that fulfill this requirement are coded as such. SB requirements still require courses from two different disciplines.

*Students who have previously fulfilled their History requirement are considered to have met the Historical Perspective (SBH) requirement.

S, SL, and B (7 hrs:lecture and lab in a single discipline; an additional 3 hours in a second discipline)

S, SL, and B (7 hrs: lecture and lab in a single discipline; an additional 3 hours in a second discipline)

No change

Cultural Diversity (CD1 and CD2)
6 hours in courses designated Cultural Diversity (CD1 and CD2), at least 3 hours of which will focus on persons of African, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Native American ancestry (CD1 courses).

Diversity (D1 and D2)
3 hours in a designated U.S. Diversity (D1) course and 3 hours in a designated Global Diversity (D2) course

Cultural Diversity (CD1 and CD2) competency area has transitioned to U.S. Diversity (D1) and Global Diversity (D2). Students must take 3 hrs. in each Diversity (D1 and D2) competency area.

*To support the transition to the new program, CD1 courses will automatically fulfill the D1 credit and CD2 courses will fulfill the D2 credit.

Students who took two CD1 courses (6 hrs. of CD credit) under the previous General Education Program will not be required to take any further Diversity courses to fulfill Cardinal Core program requirements.

Total Credit Hours (Minimum): 34

Total Credit Hours: 31

The total (minimum) credit hours required has been reduced from 34 credit hours to 31 hours under the new Cardinal Core program.

2023-24 Cardinal Core Course Listings (PDF)

2022-23 Cardinal Core Course Listings (PDF)

2021-22 Cardinal Core Course Listings (PDF)

Cardinal Core Course Codes Defined

Cardinal Core Student Learning Outcomes (PDF)

Diversity (D1 and D2) Requirements and Appeals

Cardinal Core Variance Request Form

Undergraduate Variance Request Form

Contact Information

For questions related to program planning, transition of courses, and degree requirements please contact your academic advisor. A list of advising centers with contact information is provided below.

College of Arts and Sciences
(502) 852-5502

College of Business Advising
(502) 852-7439

Honors Program Advising
(502) 852-6293

Speed School of Engineering Advising
(502) 852-8084

Kent School of Social Work
(502) 852-7418

Dental Hygiene Program Advising
(502) 852-5081

School of Music Advising
(502) 852-6907

School of Nursing Advising
(502) 852-1196

College of Education & Human Development Advising
(502) 852-5597

School of Public Health Advising
(502) 852-5559

Exploratory & Transition Advising
(502) 852-7969