Areas of Inquiry

Almost half of your degree will consist of courses in the Areas of Inquiry (AOI), more credits than most majors. These broad subject areas represent the foundation of your UW Bothell education and will support the advanced learning you will do the rest of your life, including the work for your major. The objective is to introduce you to many new ideas, rather than training you in one specific subject, so that you are in a position to create linkages across a wide expanse of different topics and disciplines.

You will likely find one Area of Inquiry more consistently appealing than another. That’s okay. Your future major may lie in that Area. Nonetheless, you will get the most out of your time at UW Bothell if you recognize that all Areas have a powerful contribution to make to your overall growth, and that all Areas represent time-honored traditions of inquiry. Embrace the exploration of new ideas and work diligently to make connections, especially where none seem to exist.

The number of credits of AoI required by each school of UW Bothell varies. A number of UW Bothell courses may be listed in the Time Schedule and Course Catalog as being applicable to more than one Area of Inquiry. An example is BIS 236: Introduction to Interactive Media. It is designated as (A&H/SSc). This means that it may count toward one or the other, but not both Areas of Inquiry.

Arts & Humanities (A&H)

A&H courses focus on questions of meaning and value in human life, as well as the effective expression of the human experience. Art is used here in a very broad sense, from the ancient Greek arête, meaning excellence. While first-year languages courses have limitations on use towards A&H, second-year language courses and beyond always apply.
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Social Sciences (SSc)

SSc courses focus on the study of human behavior both individually and socially. This includes the history, development, and dynamics of human behavior, as well as social and cultural institutions.
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Natural Sciences (NSc)

NSc courses focus on the scientific study of the physical world.
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Grades required

Any passing grades (0.7 and above) are acceptable. Courses may not be taken on the satisfactory/not satisfactory (S/NS) grading option.

Overlap with other requirements

  • For majors in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, you may count 15 credits from your major department toward Areas of Inquiry. Overlap rules for majors in other colleges and schools vary; refer to the catalog listing of the specific major for details.
  • If you complete two majors, and at least one of the majors is in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, you may count 15 credits from one major toward Areas of Inquiry, and any number of credits from the other major. You choose which major has restricted overlap.
  • You may count any number of credits from courses counted toward a minor, or toward the additional writing requirement or the Reasoning (RSN) requirement, toward Areas of Inquiry as well.
  • English Composition courses do not count toward Areas of Inquiry.
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AP and IB

Except for AP credit in English composition, most credit granted from College Board Advanced Placement examinations and International Baccalaureate can be counted toward Areas of Inquiry. If you have AP or IB scores, check out the AP tables and the IB tables.

For transfer students

Some transfer courses will count toward the Areas of Inquiry requirement. Transfer courses that will not count include most business, engineering, and technical courses; physical education courses; and English Composition courses.

Many courses that transfer as X-credit (e.g., HIST 1XX) will be assigned to the appropriate Area of Inquiry automatically, based on the department. However, some departments (e.g., PSYCH) have courses that fall in different Areas and so must be evaluated by an adviser, who will determine in which Area(s) each course falls.

Although UW Bothell courses taken S/NS cannot be counted toward Areas of Inquiry, transfer courses taken on a pass-fail basis before you first enter UW Bothell can be counted toward Areas of Inquiry.

You can check the UW Equivalency Guide for Washington Community and Technical Colleges to determine which courses from Washington community colleges count toward UW Bothell’s Areas of Inquiry requirement; they are marked in the lists as A&H, SSc, or NSc.

A student who has a transfer associate’s degree from a Washington community college is allowed to count transferred courses toward the Areas of Knowledge requirement in the category the community college counted the courses. The courses most often affected are history and philosophy courses. If you have a transfer AA and transfer courses in history or philosophy you will want to become familiar with the Direct Transfer Agreement.

For postbaccalaureate students

Students who enter UW Bothell with a bachelor’s degree already completed, and plan to earn a second bachelor’s degree from UW Bothell, are not required to complete the Areas of Inquiry requirement.

Finding courses

You can generate a complete list of the Areas of Inquiry courses on MyPlan.
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