About Cognates

The Cognates Program comprises the Areas of Knowledge component of the University of Miami’s framework for General Education. The Cognate Search Engine can help you shape a program of learning that is broad, coherent, exciting, substantive, and uniquely your own.

A cognate is a group of at least three courses, for at least nine credit hours, that share a theme or focus determined by the faculty. A cognate may center on a discipline, a problem, a topic, a region, a method, a time period, another language, or an experience abroad, among many other possibilities. Each cognate has course options that provide flexibility to complete it.

To fulfill the Cognates Program, you select and complete three cognates, one from each of the basic Areas of Knowledge: 1) Arts & Humanities (A&H); 2) People & Society (P&S); and 3) Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM).

Each major and minor constitutes a cognate in one Area of Knowledge; so the typical program is:
  • A major and two cognates, each in a different Area of Knowledge.
Other options include:
  • A major, a minor, and a cognate, each in a different Area of Knowledge.
  • A major and two minors, each in a different Area of Knowledge.
  • Two majors and a minor, each in a different Area of Knowledge.

Choosing a Cognate

You choose your cognates. Your interests, goals, and curiosities should guide your decision. You may select more cognates than the required three. Each cognate you complete will appear on your transcript.

The Cognate Search Engine lists the cognates currently available. It lets you search for cognates based on their features, courses, and keywords. Each cognate is administered by an academic department or program, known as the RAU (Responsible Academic Unit), that devised and sponsors the cognate. If you have questions about a cognate or wish to propose a substitution for a course in it, you should consult the RAU responsible for the cognate. Your academic advisor can help you make the appropriate contact.

Individualized Cognate

In particular cases, students may propose individualized cognates. Transfer students who enter the University with 30 or more credits may propose an individualized cognate as one of the three required cognates. Individualized cognates allow for flexible use of transfer credits to fulfill a cognate requirement, as approved by the dean/advising office in the transfer student's School/College. Foote Fellows may also propose individualized cognates, which also require the approval of their School or College advising office.

By fusing the University's intellectual strengths with your distinctive interests, the Cognates Program lets your educational passions and strengths drive your learning. Your education will matter most, and you will do your best college work, if you are engaged with and by what you study.

Glossary

Cognate, a major, a minor, or a group of at least three courses, for at least nine credit hours, that share a theme or focus determined by the faculty.

Substitution Request, a student may request to substitute a course in a cognate for one not listed as part of that cognate. The student should submit their request to the Responsible Academic Unit (RAU) sponsoring the cognate for their approval. Once approved, the student submits the approval to their school/college for processing. (Substitution Request Form)

Individualized Cognate, transfer students who enter the University with 30 or more earned credits may propose one cognate comprised of courses they have taken at other institutions. For transfer students, individualized cognates allow for flexible use of transfer credits to fulfill a cognate requirement. (Indv. Cognate Transfer Students)

Individualized Cognate, Foote Fellows, may propose cognates comprised of courses offered at the University. The Division of Undergraduate Education, Office of the Provost will review and approve or deny the proposal for an individualized cognate. (There is no limit to the number that may be proposed.) (Indv. Cognate Foote Fellows)

Student Proposed Cognate, students may propose a cognate to a Responsible Academic Unit (RAU). The proposal should include a set of at least five generally accessible courses that exhibit a common theme or focus. If the faculty in the RAU concur with the students’ proposal, the RAU will submit it to the appropriate school and university committees for adoption as a regular cognate available to all students.

Frequently Asked Questions

Explore Cognates

Search by:

  • Keywords
  • Course Names
  • Course Codes (ENC 101)
For complete information about general education requirements and cognates, please consult the University Bulletin.

What is the educational purpose of the Cognates Program?

The University Bulletin states: “The Areas of Knowledge requirement is designed to help students understand and appreciate intellectual achievements in major areas of human inquiry and creative endeavor.” To accomplish this goal, the Cognates Program “aims to provide a broad array of intellectual and cultural exploration.”

Can students take more than one cognate in a single RAU?

The University Bulletin states: “The three cognates taken to fulfill the Areas of Knowledge requirement (including cognates fulfilled by majors and minors) must have different RAUs.” Beyond the required three cognates, students may take cognates from any RAU.

Can students take multiple cognates in the same School or College?

Except for students enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences, students must take at least one cognate outside their School or College to satisfy the Areas of Knowledge requirement.

How do students enroll in a cognate?

Students should declare their cognates, as they do their minors and majors, by the end of their sophomore year at the latest. Students should meet with their academic advisor to learn their School’s or College’s process for declaring cognates.

Can a course count towards more than one cognate?

The University Bulletin states: “A course may count in only one cognate used to fulfill the Areas of Knowledge requirement (including cognates fulfilled by majors and minors).”

Can courses taken outside UM count towards cognates?

The University Bulletin states: “Transfer courses, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, CLEP, dual enrollment, etc., that are transferred in with specific UM course equivalencies can be used in cognates. Courses that transfer in with non-specific UM course credit hours can be used in cognates only by application to the cognate’s Responsible Academic Unit (RAU).” Students should consult with their academic advisors on applying non-UM courses to cognates.

Can a student’s major or minor require the student to take a specific cognate to fulfill the Areas of Knowledge component?

Majors and minors cannot require students to take specific cognates to fulfill the Areas of Knowledge requirement.

Explore Cognates

Search by:

  • Keywords
  • Course Names
  • Course Codes (ENC 101)

How does a student enroll in a cognate?

Cognates must be declared (like majors and minors). Each college and school provides a process for this.

Can a course count towards more than one cognate?

A course may be used to fulfill the requirements of only one cognate (including cognates fulfilled by majors and minors) that a student uses to fulfill the Areas of Knowledge requirement.

Can a student substitute courses in a cognate?

Students may petition for individual course substitutions in cognates. This is done by delivering a completed application for substitution to the RAU of the cognate. Substitution will be granted only if there are compelling reasons.

Can courses taken outside UM count towards cognates?

Yes, transfer courses, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, CLEP, dual enrollment, etc., that are transferred to UM with specific UM course credit, can be used in cognates.

Can multiple cognates be taken in the same academic department or program?

The three cognates (including cognates fulfilled by majors and minors) taken to fulfill the Areas of Knowledge requirement must have different RAUs. Students may take extra cognates from any RAU.

Can multiple cognates be taken in the same college or school?

No more than two Areas of Knowledge may be fulfilled by cognates (including cognates fulfilled by majors and minors) whose RAUs are in the same school or college, except for the College of Arts and Sciences. Students may take extra cognates from any school or college.

Can a student's major or minor require the student to take any specific cognates?

Majors and minors cannot require students to take specific cognates to fulfill the cognate requirements outside the Area of Knowledge fulfilled by the major or minor.

Can a student change from the cognates format back to the old general education format?

No.

Explore Cognates

Search by:

  • Keywords
  • Course Names
  • Course Codes (ENC 101)

How does a student enroll in a cognate?

Cognates must be declared (like majors and minors). Each college and school provides a process for this.

Can a course count towards more than one cognate?

A course may be used to fulfill the requirements of only one cognate (including cognates fulfilled by majors and minors) that a student uses to fulfill the Areas of Knowledge requirement.

Can a student substitute courses in a cognate?

Students may petition for individual course substitutions in cognates. This is done by delivering a completed application for substitution to the RAU of the cognate. Substitution will be granted only if there are compelling reasons.

Can courses taken outside UM count towards cognates?

Yes, transfer courses, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, CLEP, dual enrollment, etc., that are transferred to UM with specific UM course credit, can be used in cognates.

Can multiple cognates be taken in the same academic department or program?

The three cognates (including cognates fulfilled by majors and minors) taken to fulfill the Areas of Knowledge requirement must have different RAUs. Students may take extra cognates from any RAU.

Can multiple cognates be taken in the same college or school?

No more than two Areas of Knowledge may be fulfilled by cognates (including cognates fulfilled by majors and minors) whose RAUs are in the same school or college, except for the College of Arts and Sciences. Students may take extra cognates from any school or college.

Can a student's major or minor require the student to take any specific cognates?

Majors and minors cannot require students to take specific cognates to fulfill the cognate requirements outside the Area of Knowledge fulfilled by the major or minor.

Can a student change from the cognates format back to the old general education format?

No.