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ASU competency requirements

Competency requirements may be met with high school work, college work or test scores. These requirements must be met regardless of your major or the number of transferable hours you have earned. Students must earn a minimum of a 2.00 GPA in each competency area.

Admission may be granted with one deficiency in no more than two competency areas. Deficiencies in both math and laboratory science are not acceptable.

There are a couple of exceptions to needing to meet competency requirements. Refer to exceptions below.

English competency requirement

Meet one of the following:

  • four years of high school English (composition/literature based)
  • minimum test score of 21 on ACT English, or 580 on new SAT evidence-based reading and writing or 530 on Old SAT critical reading
  • one transferable three-semester-hour college English composition course

English Composition Placement:

All freshman and transfer students who have not earned a "C" or better in a transferable freshman English composition course, or who have not received a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement Examination in English offered by the College Entrance Examination Board (see related sites), must submit ACT or SAT scores before registration to be placed in an appropriate English course.

Mathematics competency requirement

Meet one of the following:

  • four years of high school courses: one year each of algebra I, geometry, algebra II, and an advanced math class for which algebra II is a prerequisite
  • minimum test score of 24 on ACT math, or 560 on new SAT math, or 540 on old SAT math
  • one transferable three-semester-hour college math course for which at least intermediate algebra is a prerequisite

Laboratory science competency requirement

Students may meet one of the following or any combination of the three as long as they have three different laboratory-based sciences:

  • three years of different high school laboratory sciences

    Lab sciences should be a whole year in length. Please select three from the following list: biology, chemistry, earth science or physics. A laboratory-based integrated science course may be allowed to substitute for one of the three lab sciences. Additionally, an advanced placement course, a higher level international baccalaureate course, or other honors course taken in the last two years of high school in the same subject as a previous course can still satisfy one lab science requirement.

  • minimum test scores in three standardized tests from three different subject matters 

    The following tests may be taken: SAT II subject test score in chemistry-600, biology-590, physics-620 or ACT test score in science-20.
  • three transferable four-semester-hour college laboratory science courses from the following: biology, chemistry, earth science or physics

    An integrated laboratory science or advanced level laboratory-based science may be substituted for one of the possible laboratory subjects.

Social science competency requirement

Meet one of the following options from Section A and one from Section B:

Section A

  • one year of high school American history
  • minimum SAT II subject test score of 560 on American history/social studies
  • one transferable three-semester-hour college American history course

Section B

  • one year of high school social science (e.g., European history, world history, economics, sociology, geography, government, psychology or anthropology)
  • minimum SAT II subject test score of 580 on world history
  • one transferable three-semester-hour college social science course

Foreign language competency requirement

Meet one of the following:

  • two years of the same high school foreign language
  • attainment of minimum score on a national standardized foreign language test or placement into a third semester college foreign language class based on university placement exam results
  • two transferable three- or four-semester-hour, college-level courses in the same foreign language

Fine arts or career and technical education competency requirement

Meet one of the following:

  • one year (or a combination of two semesters) of high school fine arts or career and technical education 
  • one transferable three-credit college fine arts course


You do not need to meet competency requirements if one of the following statements is true:

  • You have completed an associate or higher level degree from a regionally accredited postsecondary institution with a minimum 2.00 GPA ("A"=4.00) if you are an Arizona resident, or you have a minimum 2.50 GPA ("A"=4.00) if you are a nonresident.  
  • You have completed the Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC) with a minimum 2.00 GPA ("A"=4.00) if you are an Arizona resident or a 2.50 GPA ("A"=4.00) if you are a nonresident.

See also the ASU General Catalog.