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Great Plains Studies is an interdisciplinary/ intercollegiate program of the Center for Great Plains Studies, 1155 Q Street. A minor in Great Plains Studies is a useful program for students who plan a career in business, education, planning, policy analysis, agriculture, public relations, marketing, and any profession or career where an in-depth understanding of the Plains region would be advantageous. Courses that comprise the program are based in the following cooperating departments: African American and African Studies; Agricultural Economics; Agronomy; Anthropology and Geography; Architecture; Art and Art History; Biological Sciences; Communication Studies; Community and Regional Planning; Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; English; Ethnic Studies; History; Latino and Latin American Studies; Modern Languages and Literatures; Music; Native American Studies; Natural Resource Sciences; Political Science; Sociology; and Women and Gender Studies. Internships are strongly encouraged and may be used to fulfill major or minor requirements.


College Admission

The entrance requirements for the College of Arts and Sciences are the same as the UNL General Admission Requirements. Students who are admitted through the Admission by Review process may have certain conditions attached to their enrollment at UNL. These conditions are explained under “Removal of Deficiencies.”

In addition to these requirements, the College of Arts and Sciences strongly recommends a third and fourth year of one foreign language in high school. Four years of high school coursework in the same language will fulfill the College of Arts and Sciences’ language requirement. It will also allow students to continue language study at a more advanced level at UNL, and provide more opportunity to study abroad.


Academic and Career Advising

The Academic and Career Advising Center in 107 Oldfather is a centrally located and easily accessed resource for students in all majors in the College of Arts and Sciences. The professional academic advisors and career coaches offer 1-1 meetings on a walk-in and appointment basis weekdays. Advisors will provide assistance choosing majors and minors, understanding degree requirements and academic policies, completing paperwork, meeting deadlines, adding/dropping courses, and planning for graduation. In addition, career coaches can help students identify career options related to their interests and connect them with experiences like internships, research, and more that will prepare them for those career options. These specially trained advisors and coaches also serve as first point of contact in the College for all incoming freshmen and transfer students during New Student Enrollment.

Students in the College who have declared a major will be assigned an academic advisor who is their first point of contact for a variety of questions. Academic advisors help students be successful in adjusting to UNL overall as well as making progress toward degree completion. The assigned advisor may be located within the department of their primary major, or in the Advising Center. Students can identify their assigned advisor in MyRED on the academics tab. In addition, faculty advisors are experts in their discipline, including advanced coursework and requirements, opportunities for research, student organizations, and considering graduate school in the discipline. Students who have declared a pre-health or pre-law area of interest will also work with advisors in the Exploratory and Pre-Professional Advising Center (Explore Center) in 127 Love Library South, who are specially trained to guide students preparing to enter a professional school.

For complete and current information on advisors for majors, minors, or pre-professional areas, contact the Arts and Sciences Academic and Career Advising Center, 107 Oldfather Hall, 402-472-4190,

College Degree Requirements

College Distribution Requirements

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science (16 hours + Language)

The College of Arts and Sciences distribution requirements are designed to ensure a breadth of courses within the liberal arts degree. By engaging in study in several different areas within the College, students develop the ability to learn in a variety of ways and apply their knowledge from a variety of perspectives. All requirements are in addition to University ACE requirements.

  • A student may not use a single course to satisfy both an ACE outcome and a College distribution requirement.
  • A student may not use a single course to satisfy more than one College Distribution Requirement. 
  • A student may not use a course from their primary major to satisfy the Breadth Requirement (F), but may apply an ancillary requirement of the primary major or a course from their second major toward this requirement.
  • Independent study, directed readings, or internship courses cannot be used to satisfy a College Distribution Requirement.
  • Cross-listed courses from interdisciplinary programs will be applied in the same area as courses from the home/cross-listed department.
College Distribution Requirements
CDR A - Written Communication3
Select from courses approved for ACE outcome 1.
CDR B and BL - Natural, Physical, and Mathematical Sciences with Lab4
Select from biochemistry, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geology, meteorology, mathematics, physics and statistics. Must include one lab in the natural or physical sciences. Lab courses may be selected from biochemistry, biological sciences, chemistry, geology, meteorology and physics.
Some courses from geography and anthropology may also be used to satisfy the lab requirement above. 1
CDR C - Humanities3
Select from classics, English, history, modern languages and literatures, philosophy, and religious studies. 2
CDR D - Social Science3
Select from anthropology, communication studies, geography, political science, psychology, or sociology. 3
CDR E - Language0-16
Fulfilled by the completion of the 6-credit-hour second-year sequence in a single foreign language in one of the following departments: Classics and religious studies, or modern languages and literatures. Instruction is currently available in Arabic, Chinese, Czech, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish.
A student who has completed the fourth-year level of one foreign language in high school is exempt from the languages requirement, but encouraged to continue on in their language study.
CDR F - Additional Breadth3
Select from natural, physical and mathematical sciences (Area B), humanities (Area C), or social sciences (Area D). Cannot be a course from the primary major.
Credit Hours Subtotal: 16-32

Scientific Base

Bachelor of Science Only (60 hours)

The bachelor of science degree requires students to complete 60 hours in mathematical, physical and natural sciences. Approved courses for scientific base credit come from the following College of Arts and Sciences disciplines: actuarial science, anthropology (selected courses), astronomy, biochemistry (excluding BIOC 101), biological sciences (excluding BIOS 100 or BIOS 203), chemistry (excluding CHEM 101), computer science (excluding CSCE 10), geography (selected courses), geology, life sciences, mathematics (excluding courses below MATH 104), meteorology, microbiology, physics and statistics.

See your degree audit or a College of Arts and Sciences advisor for a complete list including individual classes that fall outside of the disciplines listed above. Up to 12 hours of scientific and technical courses offered by other colleges may be accepted toward this requirement with approval of a college advisor.

Language Requirement

UNL and the College of Arts and Sciences place great value on academic exposure and proficiency in a second language. The UNL entrance requirement of two years of the same foreign language or the College’s language distribution requirement (CDR E) will rarely be waived and only with relevant documentation. See the main College of Arts and Sciences page for more details.

Minimum Hours Required for Graduation

A minimum of 120 semester hours of credit is required for graduation from the College of Arts and Sciences. A total grade point average of at least 2.0 is required.

Grade Rules

Restrictions on C- and D Grades

The College will accept no more than 15 semester hours of C- and D grades from other domestic institutions except for UNO and UNK. All courses taken at UNO and UNK impact the UNL transcript. No transfer of C- and D grades can be applied toward requirements in a major or a minor. No UNL C- and D grades can be applied toward requirements in a major or a minor. International coursework (including education abroad) with a final grade equivalent to a C- or lower will not be validated by College of Arts and Sciences departments to be degree applicable.

Pass/No Pass Privilege

The College of Arts and Sciences adheres to the University regulations for the Pass/No Pass (P/N) privilege with the following additional regulations:

  • Pass/No Pass hours can count toward fulfillment of University ACE requirements and college distribution requirements up to the 24-hour maximum.
  • Most arts and sciences departments and programs do not allow courses graded Pass/No Pass to apply to the major or minor. Students should refer to the department’s or program’s section of the catalog for clarification. By college rule, departments can allow up to 6 hours of Pass/No Pass in the major or minor.
  • Departments may specify that certain courses of theirs can be taken only on a P/N basis.
  • The college will permit no more than a total of 24 semester hours of P/N grades to be applied toward degree requirements. This total includes all Pass grades earned at UNL and other U.S. schools. NOTE: This 24-hour limit is more restrictive than the University regulation.

Grading Appeals

A student who feels that he/she has been unfairly graded must ordinarily take the following sequential steps in a timely manner, usually by initiating the appeal in the semester following the awarding of the grade:

  1. Talk with the instructor concerned. Most problems are resolved at this point.
  2. Talk to the instructor’s department chairperson.
  3. Take the case to the Grading Appeal Committee of the department concerned. The Committee should be contacted through the department chairperson.
  4. Take the case to the College Grading Appeals Committee by contacting the Dean’s Office, 1223 Oldfather Hall.

Course Level Requirements

Courses Numbered at the 300 or 400 Level

Thirty (30) of the 120 semester hours of credit must be in courses numbered at the 300 or 400 level. Of those 30 hours, 15 hours (1/2) must be completed in residence at UNL.

Residency Requirement

Students must complete at least 30 of the 120 total hours for their degree at UNL. Students must complete at least 1/2 of their major coursework including 6 hours at the 300 or 400 level in their major, and 15 of the 30 hours required at the 300 or 400 level in residence. Credit earned during education abroad may be used toward the residency requirement only if students register through UNL.

ACE Requirements

Consistent with the mission and values of the University, ACE is based on a shared set of four institutional objectives and ten student learning outcomes. The ACE program was approved by faculty in all eight undergraduate colleges and endorsed by the Faculty Senate, the student government, and the Academic Planning Committee in January 2008 for implementation in the fall 2009. ACE aligns with current national initiatives in general education.

To meet the ACE Program requirement, a student will complete a minimum of 3 credit hours for each of the ten ACE Student Learning Outcomes (a total of 30 ACE credit hours). See the ACE website at: for the most current information and the most recently certified courses.

Catalog to Use

Students must fulfill the requirements stated in the catalog for the academic year in which they are first admitted to and enrolled as a degree-seeking student at UNL. In consultation with advisors, a student may choose to follow a subsequent catalog for any academic year in which they are admitted to and enrolled as a degree-seeking student at UNL in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students must complete all degree requirements from a single catalog year. Beginning in 1990-1991 the catalog which a student follows for degree requirements may not be more than 10 years old at the time of graduation.

Requirements for Minor Offered by Department

Eighteen (18) hours including 6 hours at the 300 or 400 level. No more than 6 hours from one department.

Required Course
GPSP 170 / ANTH 170 / GEOG 170 / NRES 170 / SOCI 170Introduction to Great Plains Studies3
Credit Hours Subtotal: 3
Select two courses from each of two of the themes below:12
Arts and Literature
American Art 1865-1945
19th-Century American Art
American Art, 1893-1939
Art and Anthropology of Native North Americans
Literature of Place
African American Literature since 1865
Introduction to Native American Literature
Literature and the Environment
Willa Cather and Her World
Humanities on the Plains
Canadian Fiction
Topics in Native American Literature
American Music
Culture and Community
Anthropology of the Great Plains
Peoples and Cultures of Native Latin America
Indigenous Peoples of North America
Indigenous Peoples of the Great Plains
Introduction to Great Plains Archaeology
Contemporary Issues of Indigenous Peoples in North America
Historical Geography of the Great Plains
Cultural Survival: Indigenous People's Rights
Women of the Great Plains
Cultural Encounters on the Great Plains
Native American History
History of Plains Indians
African-American Women's History
Mexican-American History
Native American Women
The Mythic West
History of Nebraska and the Great Plains
Nebraska Government and Politics
Land and Environment
Resource and Environmental Economics I
Rural Sociology
Policy Issues in Agriculture and Natural Resources
Ethics in Agriculture and Natural Resources
Soil Resources
Introduction to Landscape Management
North American Wildland Plants
Great Plains Ecosystem
Ecological Issues in the Great Plains
Science, Systems, Environment and Sustainability
Geography of Nebraska
Grasslands Seminar
Principles of Ecology
Introduction to Forest Management
Climate and Society
Credit Hours Subtotal: 12
Great Plains Course at Large
Select one additional course from the themes above or from the list below: 3
Farm and Ranch Management
Rural Community Economics
Environmental Law
Water Law
Forage Crop and Pasture Management
Landscape Solutions
Wildland Plants
North American Archaeology
Ethnographic Field School (Great Plains Sections)
Prairie Ecology (Cedar Point)
Avian Biology (Cedar Point)
Field Entomology (Cedar Point)
Field Parasitology (Cedar Point)
Ichthyology (Cedar Point)
American Literature since 1865
Native American Women Writers
Environmental Engagement and the Community
Geography of the United States
Great Plains Field Pedology
Ecosystem Ecology
Independent Directed Readings
Honors Course
19th Century America
African American History: After 1877
North American Environmental History
History of Women and Gender in the American West
Native American History: Selected Topics
Agroforestry Systems in Sustainable Agriculture
Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
Environmental Sociology
Credit Hours Subtotal: 3
Total Credit Hours18

Grade Rules

C- and D Grades

A grade of C or above is required for all courses in the minor.

Pass/No Pass

No course taken Pass/No Pass will be counted toward the minor.

Introduction to Great Plains StudiesCrosslisted with ANTH 170, GEOG 170, NRES 170, SOCI 170

Description: Interdisciplinary study of the natural environment, social environment, human heritage, arts and humanities of the Great Plains.

Course details
Credit Hours:3
Max credits per semester:3
Max credits per degree:3
Course Format:LEC
Groups:Regional Geography

Credit Hours:3


Special Topics in Great Plains Studies

Description: Topics vary

Course details
Credit Hours:3
Max credits per semester:3
Max credits per degree:12
Course Format:LEC

Credit Hours:3


Women of the Great PlainsCrosslisted with GEOG 377, WMNS 377

Description: The intersection of gender, identity, power, and representation throughout time and space in the Great Plains of the United States and Canada.

Course details
Credit Hours:3
Max credits per semester:3
Max credits per degree:3
Course Format:LEC
ACE Outcomes: ACE 9 Global/Diversity ACE 5 Humanities

Credit Hours:3

ACE:ACE 9 Global/Diversity ACE 5 Humanities

Cultural Encounters on the Great PlainsCrosslisted with COMM 378

Description: Inter-cultural encounters which have occurred on the Great Plains with a focus on American Indians, African, African-American, Latino, Asian, South Asian, and European cultures.

Course details
Credit Hours:3
Max credits per semester:3
Max credits per degree:3
Course Format:LEC
ACE Outcomes: ACE 9 Global/Diversity

Credit Hours:3

ACE:ACE 9 Global/Diversity

Independent Directed Readings
Course details
Credit Hours:1-3
Max credits per semester:3
Max credits per degree:3
Course Format:IND

Credit Hours:1-3


Honors Course

Prerequisites: Permission.

Must be taken under the direction of a faculty fellow of the Center for Great Plains Studies.

Course details
Credit Hours:1-3
Max credits per semester:3
Max credits per degree:3
Course Format:IND

Credit Hours:1-3


InternshipCrosslisted with GPSP 895

Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing; and permission.

P/N only.

Course details
Credit Hours:1-6
Max credits per semester:6
Max credits per degree:6
Course Format:FLD

Credit Hours:1-6