Higher Education Admission Requirements

Page updated March 30, 2015

In 2003, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education adopted the Higher Education Admission Requirements which are entry requirements for students planning to attend any of Colorado’s public four-year colleges or universities. The requirements go into effect in two phases: Phase 1 for students graduating in 2008 and 2009, and Phase 2 for students graduating in 2010 and beyond. Private colleges and universities set their own admission standards, so students should contact those institutions directly for information regarding their enrollment policies. Additionally, public two-year colleges have open enrollment policies, meaning that students applying to these schools do not need to meet the following admissions requirements.

Students planning to attend a four-year college or university in Colorado will need to complete the following classes in order to fulfill the Higher Education Admission Requirements. In addition to the Higher Education Admission Requirements, students must also meet the Admission Eligibility Index.

Meeting the Higher Education Admissions Requirements does not guarantee admission to a four-year public institution. Colleges and universities may have additional requirements.

Academic Area*

2008/2009 Graduates

2010+ Graduates


4 years

4 years

Mathematics  (Must include Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II or equivalents)***

3 years

4 years

Natural/Physical Sciences (two units must be lab-based)***

3 years

3 years

Social Sciences (at least one unit of U.S. or world history)

3 years

3 years

World/Foreign Language****

not required

1 year

Academic Electives*****

2 years


* CCHE, CDE, and School Districts are developing standards for alternative demonstration of proficiency to be accepted in lieu of course completion. For course guidelines see paragraph 4.01 of the Admissions Standards Policy.
**Two units of ESL English may count for HEAR requirements when combined with two units of successfully completed college preparatory English.
***College-preparatory ESL mathematics/science courses that include content and academic rigor/level comparable to other acceptable courses may satisfy HEAR requirements.
****American Sign Language (ASL) courses can count toward the Word/Foreign Language requirement.

*****Acceptable Academic Electives include additional courses in English, mathematics, natural/physical sciences and social sciences, foreign languages, art, music, journalism, drama, computer science, honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate courses, and appropriate CTE courses.

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education does not review individual high school courses to determine whether or not they meet Colorado’s Higher Education Admissions Requirements. Because local school districts in Colorado oversee their high school curricula and colleges and universities establish their own entrance requirements, it is their discretion to determine what coursework meets the Higher Education Admission Requirements.

Other Resources