Clusters are sets of related courses. Each cluster contains a minimum of twelve credits of coursework, which is equivalent, in most cases, to three courses.

Each cluster falls within one of these three academic divisions in the College:

  1. Humanities
  2. Social sciences
  3. Natural sciences and engineering

In each of these three divisions, students will be expected to complete a formal set of coursework: a major, a minor, or a cluster. See the degree requirements page for a more complete description of the division requirements.

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Cluster Search Engine

You can use the Cluster Search Engine to search for clusters that share a common characteristic. This is the easiest way to find all clusters that contain a particular course, relate to the same subject, or are from the same department.

Cluster Policies

General | Non-UR Coursework | Overlaps | Engineering Students | Modifying Clusters


  • The average grade within the cluster must be C or better.
  • The search engine is continuously updated. If you notice an error, please send an email to
  • Links to the course descriptions are provided as a convenience. The course descriptions themselves are supplied by the academic departments. If a course description is missing, or seems to be incorrect, please contact the department directly.
  • Every cluster, as specified here in the Cluster Search Engine or through an authorized exception, contains at least two courses that are from the same division as the cluster. Cross-listed courses are categorized according to the distribution area of the "parent" section. (See Schedule of Courses on the Internet to determine "parent" (P) section.)

Non-UR Coursework:

  • Normally, only courses taken at the University of Rochester can be used to fulfill cluster requirements. However:
    • Courses completed on any study abroad program may, with the consent of the department offering the cluster, be used in a cluster. Students submit a “Proposal for Exception to Departmental Cluster,” signed by the authorized person in the department, to CCAS in Lattimore 312.
    • Other courses taken elsewhere may, on occasion, be used in clusters. Students check first with the authorized person in the department of the cluster. If the department agrees, then students submit a “Proposal for Exception to Departmental Cluster,” signed by the authorized person in the department, along with a petition to the Administrative Committee asking permission for this exception to the College rules, to CCAS in Lattimore 312.


  • Students are not permitted to use the same course to fulfill the requirements of two different clusters.
  • Students are permitted to satisfy only one distributional area with offerings from any single department or program. (As an example, consider that a philosophy major is considered to be within the humanities. That department offers many clusters, one of which is situated in the natural sciences. A student who majors in philosophy is not permitted also to complete the natural science cluster in philosophy. Similarly, students may not use the Ethics and Values Cluster from the philosophy department to fulfill the humanities division, if they plan to use the Logic Cluster, also from the philosophy department, to fulfill the natural sciences division.)
  • The course used to fulfill the primary writing requirement may not be used in a cluster.
  • Upper-level writing courses may count toward clusters as well as toward the writing requirement.

Engineering Students:

  • Students who complete one of the professionally accredited engineering majors (i.e., chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and biomedical engineering) need to complete only one cluster outside the area of the major. Students may still need to complete additional humanities and/or social science courses and should consult their departmental advisor for details.

Modifying Clusters:

  • For more information about any particular cluster, to request an exception to an authorized cluster, or to propose a new cluster within one department, please contact the undergraduate advisor in that department. If the department agrees, then students must submit a Cluster Exception form.
  • If a department wishes to add, delete or modify a cluster, it should submit the changes in writing to the Curriculum Committee, in care of the Dean's Office, Lattimore 317.