Languages vs. Electives: Unravelling the PU Curriculum

PU, short for PUC, is the Pre-University Course, or intermediate-level education programme that students attend to qualify for college programmes. In Karnataka, pre-university programmes are divided into Science, Commerce and Arts (Humanities/Social Studies). In all three streams, students have to choose two Languages compulsorily, with English as a compulsory language and one optional language. Let us take a look at the PUC curriculum to help you choose the right stream.

PU Course Duration and Eligibility

PUC is a two-year-long high school programme, which translates to the 11th and 12th grades. Admission to any of the three streams, that is, Science, Commerce or Humanities is merit-based. To be eligible for the PUC programme, a candidate must have completed 10 years of schooling from SSLC, ICSE, CBSE or Equivalent board. The candidate’s 10th-grade Board exam results will determine which stream they can take. Generally, for the Science stream the minimum cut-off percentage is 60%, however, this varies among different institutions. For commerce and arts streams, the cut-off percentage is left to the institute’s discretion.

PU Streams: Languages vs. Electives

Different PU colleges offer different combinations of subjects. The choice of course combinations you choose in PUC will be determined by -

  • Your marks and seat availability
  • College cut-off marks
  • Your aptitude and interest
  • The requirements of the undergraduate course you wish to apply to
  • The career alternatives that you are considering
Science Commerce Arts (Humanities)
Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Maths, Computer Science, Electronics Accounts, Business Studies, Mathematics, Economics, Statistics, Computer Science Economics, Psychology, Sociology, and Political Science,

The languages that students have to choose compulsorily in all three streams are -

Compulsory Language (1st Language) Optional Language (2nd Language)
English French, Sanskrit, Hindi, Kannada

PU Course Curriculum: Languages vs. Electives

The course curriculum for every stream varies. For all three electives, the course is divided into four semesters and students will take a written exam at the end of each semester. The Final semester exam is the Board exam whose scores will determine their eligibility for college programmes. The science stream will have additional practical exams with the written exams.

Course Curriculum Science

Science students have the option to choose different course combinations in PUC such as -

  • PCMB - Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Biology
  • PCMC - Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Computer Science
  • PCME - Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Electronics

The mode of instruction includes lectures, seminars, and lab work.

Course Curriculum Commerce

Commerce students have the option to choose different course combinations in PUC such as -

  • ABMS - Accounts, Business Studies, Mathematics, Statistics
  • ABES - Accounts, Business Studies, Economics, Statistics
  • ABEM - Accounts, Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics
  • ABECs - Accounts, Business Studies, Economics, Computer Science
  • ABSCs - Accounts, Business Studies, Statistics, Computer Science

Course Curriculum Arts (Humanities)

Arts students have the option to choose different course combinations in PUC such as -

  • HEPyS - History, Economics, Psychology, Sociology
  • EPPyS - Economics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology
  • HEPS - History, Economics, Political Science, Sociology

Languages in PUC

English is the mode of instruction for PUC in all three electives. The language syllabus for English and optional languages includes prose, poetry, grammar, and composition which are relevant for building professional communication skills. The aim is to teach students English communication skills, expand their vocabulary, and learn English writing skills. Hindi and Sanskrit will be read and written using the Devanagari script while Kannada will use the Kannada script. So, students must be mindful of this when they opt for any of these languages.

Career Prospects:


Students taking Science are looking at careers in Pure Science Research, Medical profession, or Engineering. The different subject combinations make students eligible for college courses that will lead to various career options.

Combination Prospects
PCMB Medical Sciences, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, Nutrition, Sports Therapy, Environmental Sciences, Astrophysics
PCMC Computer Science, Information Technology, Management, Engineering
PCME Engineering, vocational courses, Researcher, Sound Engineering


Commerce students can consider career options in Business Management (Human Resources, Marketing, Sales, Finance), Stock market (Derivatives trading, commodity markets, share trader, broker), Investment Banking, Accountants (CA, CFA, CPA), Company Secretary, Law


Arts students can consider career options as Economists/Sociologists/Psychologists, Archaeologists, Human Resource Management, Political Scientists, Journalists, or Lawyers.

Final Thoughts

Science students can move to Commerce or Arts courses after PUC based on their scores and entrance exam results. Language courses are very important as they are scoring subjects and help develop critical thinking ability and articulation of ideas. Whichever career path you choose, good communication skills, knowing another language, and a strong academic background will help you succeed.