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Degree Requirements for First Year Students

University Requirements

Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR)

The University of California requires all undergraduate students (including international students) to demonstrate a minimum proficiency in English composition within three quarters of enterning the University.

Refer to the Analytical Writing Program for how to meet the ELWR

American History and Institutions (AHI)

A knowledge of American history and of the principle of American institutions under federal and state constitutions is required of all candidates for the bachelor's degree. Exception for all international students on F-1 or J-1 visas: the college will waive AHI at the end of the final quarter.

Refer to the UC San Diego General Catalog for how to meet AHI. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

A knowledge of diversity, equity, and inclusion is required for all candidates for a bachelor's degree. This requirement is satisfied by passing one four-unit course.

Refer to Undergraduate Education for the approved list of courses to satisfy DEI. 

Unit Requirements

  • A minimum of 180 units; at least 60 units must be upper-division
  • No more than 25% of UC San Diego course units graded on a Pass/No Pass basis
  • At least 35 of the final 45 units complete at UC San Diego

GPA Requirement

A 2.0 or higher GPA in all courses taken at University of California including: UC Summer Session, UC Education Abroad Program, UC Sacramento Center, and the UC San Diego Washington Program (UCDC).

General Education

The Eighth College GE curriculum is designed to be flexible and to complement any major.

Critical Community Engagement

The four-course Critical Community Engagement sequence includes three lower-division courses (two of which involve intense instruction in university-level writing) and one upper-division project-based course. All four courses provide training in interdisciplinary inquiry and community engagement. They bring together modes of thought and content from both alternatives courses and other coursework, including major courses, the campus-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion requirement, and electives. These courses focus on interdisciplinary approaches to complex problems and successful solutions.

Critical Community Engagement courses must be taken at UC San Diego and must be taken for a letter grade.

Critical Community Engagement 1 - Offered Winter and Spring

This course introduces ethical partnership across complex social, historical, and political positions. The course addresses contested framings of community and participation through practical examples, theoretical conceptions, and empirical studies. Students will give close attention to shared circumstance and negotiation of power relations.

Offered Winter and Spring Quarters

Critical Community Engagement 2 - Offered Fall and Winter

This course introduces students to writing as a community-informed endeavor. Students will develop writing practices to engage in respectful, meaningful, ethical, and reciprocal community partnerships. Using participatory action and community-rooted research, students will develop reading, writing, and thinking practices that recognize, honor, and foster community knowledge.

Offered Fall and Winter Quarters

Critical Community Engagement 3 - Offered Fall and Spring

This writing-intensive course is preparation for the upper-division project. It allows students to examine their role in society, in their communities, and in the campus and surrounding areas. Topics will include self-awareness, wellness, empathy, and community work. In addition, students will learn strategies for identifying and leveraging the strengths of persons, institutions, as well as the natural and built environments. The goal is that students, upon completion, will have the necessary background to engage in a community-engaged project, which will be the topic of a research paper. 

Offered Fall and Spring Quarters

Critical Community Engagement 120 - Offered Fall, Winter, and Spring

This project-based capstone course will require a community-engaged project. The result could be either an individual or group project, presented in a variety of media types (e.g., written, performed, film, exhibition, etc.).

Offered Fall, Winter and Spring Quarters

Breadth Requirements

Breadth Requirements can be completed any time throughout the undergraduate career, depending on individual academic goals and preferences.

Breadth courses may overlap with major, minor and/or university requirements. Approved Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and transfer credit will be applied.

Breadth courses can be taken for letter grade or P/NP.

Breadth Resources:

Select two courses of interest from each of the following five areas:

Arts - 2 courses

Humanities - 2 courses

In addtion to the humanities courses listed above, language courses at the 3rd-quarter level or higher may be used to satisfy the Humanities area of the Eighth College Breadth Requirement. Language courses encourage community engagement by empowering students to interact with members of the many communities where the language is used. These language courses also help students understand the viewpoints of these communities and the challenges they face. 

Below is the list of language courses accepted for the Eighth College Humanities Breadth Requirement.

Natural Sciences - 2 courses

Quantitative Methods and Engineering - 2 courses

Social Sciences - 2 courses

Major Requirements

All UC San Diego majors require the equivalent of at least twelve or more upper-division courses (forty-eight or more units). Consult department and program advisors regarding major requirements and opportunities - visit your major's website to see their requirements and how to connect with their advising staff.