Resources › For Students and Parents What Is an Elective? Share Flipboard Email Print PeopleImages / Getty Images For Students and Parents Homework Help Homework Tips Learning Styles & Skills Study Methods Time Management Private School Test Prep College Admissions College Life Graduate School Business School Law School Distance Learning View More By Grace Fleming Education Expert M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia B.A., History, Armstrong State University Grace Fleming, M.Ed., is a senior academic advisor at Georgia Southern University, where she helps students improve their academic performance and develop good study skills. our editorial process Grace Fleming Updated October 23, 2017 There are certain courses you need to take to fulfill the requirements for earning a diploma or a degree. These courses are usually stated very clearly in a curriculum or degree program requirements list. What Is an Elective? Courses that don’t fulfill a specific slot in a degree program requirement list are elective classes. Some degree programs contain a certain amount of elective credit hours, which means those programs allow students to enjoy some flexibility in a few areas and take classes that interest them—as long as those classes are offered at a certain level of difficulty. Many Choices For example, students majoring in English Literature may have the opportunity to take two upper-level elective courses from a Humanities department. Those courses could include anything from Art Appreciation to German History. Transfer Student? When students transfer from one school to another, they may find that many courses they’ve taken (for credit) actually transfer into the new school as elective credits. This happens if the second school doesn’t offer courses that the first school offered. The transferred courses simply don’t fit into any curriculum.