Degree Components

The Bachelor of Arts degree requires 120 units, including at least 45 units of upper division work.


  • A unit (sometimes referred to as a semester hour or credit) is the equivalent of 50 minutes of class time per week, for 15 weeks. Most lecture courses are 3 units.
  • A 3-unit course usually meets for 50 minutes three times a week, or twice a week for one hour and 15 minutes. Occasionally, courses are offered one day per week for 2 ½ hours.
  • A 4-year graduation plan requires the completion of 30 units per year. This is usually accomplished by completing 15 units each semester.


Lower division courses are numbered 100 – 299 and are normally taken in the freshman and sophomore years. Upper division courses are numbered 300 – 599 and are normally taken in the junior and senior years.

The degree requirements are divided into three areas:


  1. The Core curriculum embodies LMU’s educational vision and mission. It provides breadth, a strong foundation in human values, and the skills necessary for a lifetime of intellectual growth. The core consists of 48 units (16 courses), about one third of the degree program.
  2. The Major provides a framework around which are built the critical, transferable skills that will serve you throughout your lifetime. A major must be formally declared in order to complete a degree program.
  3. Electives are courses that are not used to fulfill requirements in the core or major. Depending on the major, about one fourth of the degree requirements are electives. Electives can be used to explore new areas of interest, to complete a 2nd major or minor, or to round out any skills you want to develop further


What is a major?


Majors in the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts provide a field of concentration that develops a depth of understanding in the humanities or social sciences. Each requires a specific number of lower division and upper division courses, which will vary depending on the major. All majors and their requirements are listed in the LMU Bulletin.

Every major will develop skills in writing, communication, critical thinking and analysis. All majors at the undergraduate level provide breadth that will prepare you for almost any entry-level career or for graduate study.

How do I choose a major?


Students choose a field of study based on their interests, abilities and career goals. Many first year students are undecided about their majors, even if they have declared one. Others change their majors as they gain insight and information. This is quite normal. Campus resources, including your advisor, Career Development Services, and the LMU Bulletin can assist you in the decision-making process. Students must officially declare a major by the junior year.


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