The subject (“a-g”) requirement

  1. What does "a-g" mean?
  1. How does a student know which California community college courses satisfy the “a-g” requirements?
  1. Does one semester of a language other than English taken at a college/university satisfy one year of UC's LOTE requirement?
  1. I read that the mean number of "a-g" courses taken by admitted freshmen was 46.2. What does this mean?
  1. A student transferred to our high school in the middle of the year after successfully completing the first semester of European History. Our school does not have a European History course, so we placed the student in World History for second semester. Will the two courses fulfill UC's World History requirement for admission?
  1. Can a student use an English as a Second Language (ESL) course to satisfy UC's "a-g" requirement in English? If so, what level would the course have to be?
  1. If a student received a D in ninth-grade English, can they meet the four-year "b" requirement by taking a course in mythology in the 12th grade along with another English course?
  1. If a student completes an English Linguistics class at a UC campus, will that count toward meeting the high school "b" requirement?
  1. A student took Algebra 1 and Geometry in middle school then took Algebra 2 and Trigonometry in high school. As a senior, they are enrolled in AP Statistics but want to drop it. If they do, will they have enough math to be UC eligible?
  1. Will AP Statistics or AP Calculus validate the three-year math requirement if this is all a student takes in high school? How will this affect the student's GPA?
  1. If a student took the AP Calculus exam without taking the class and scored a 3 or above, will this meet the three-year math requirement? How will this affect the student's GPA?
  1. If a student takes calculus or statistics at a college/university but the high school refuses to give them high school credit for these classes, do these classes still qualify the students for UC admission even if the classes are not listed on the high school transcript?
  1. If a student takes AP Biology and Marine Biology, will their admission be jeopardized if they haven't taken chemistry or physics?
  1. Does AP Environmental Science meet UC's "d" laboratory science requirement?
  1. Are American Sign Language courses acceptable to fulfill the language other than English ("e") requirement?
  1. A student completed his first two years of high school in the Philippines, where the language of instruction was Tagalog. Will the two years of Tagalog satisfy the first two years of the "b" requirement?
  1. If the prerequisite for Spanish 1B at a college/university is two years of high school Spanish, can it be assumed that Spanish 1A is equivalent to two years of high school Spanish and therefore meets the "e" requirement for freshman applicants?
  1. A student took a visual and performing arts course as a junior, when it was UC-approved. The course is no longer approved. Has the student satisfied the VPA requirement?
  1. Can a student take a Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) course out of order or two semesters in the same year?
  1. Can a student mix and match Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) courses?
  1. If a student lacks the full yearlong VPA requirement but is otherwise a very strong student academically and have met all other admission requirements, is it imperative that they take another VPA class?
  1. What college/university courses satisfy the VPA requirement for high school students?
  1. How does a student know which California community college courses satisfy the VPA requirement?
  1. I have a student who has taken two semesters of Marching Band, but at the school they previous attended offered Marching Band as PE credit. Can these courses be used to meet the VPA requirement?
  1. Would a student's involvement in competitive dance/music/theater for many years be an acceptable substitute for the yearlong VPA ("f") requirement?
  1. Our high school recently obtained WASC accreditation, but we do not yet have an approved "a-g" course list. How will this affect our seniors who want to apply to UC?
  1. Can students use courses taken away from their home high schools to meet the "a-g" requirement?
  1. Will UC-approved courses in language other than English and mathematics completed in seventh and eighth grades count toward the subject requirements?

 

What does "a-g" mean?

“a-g” refers to the subjects, and number of years of each, that are required to meet the subject requirement for admission to UC.

The "a-g" subjects are (“a”) history/social science, (“b”) English, (“c”) mathematics, (“d”) laboratory science, (“e”) language other than English, (“f”) visual and performing arts, and (“g”) college-preparatory electives. UC labels them by the letters "a-g" rather than numbers or some other labeling system.

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How does a student know which California community college courses satisfy the “a-g” requirements?

Go to the UC Doorways website and search by name of the California community college then review the CCC “a-g” course list.

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Does one semester of a language other than English taken at a college/university satisfy one year of UC's LOTE requirement?

In many cases, the first semester of a transferable language course will meet the entire two-year Language Other Than English ("e") subject requirement. If the college's catalog clearly states that the prerequisite for taking the second semester of the language is successful completion of two years of the same language in high school, then the first semester course in which a grade of C or higher is earned will fulfill the "e" requirement.

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I read that the mean number of "a-g" courses taken by admitted freshmen was 46.2. What does this mean?

This is the average number of semester “a-g” courses taken by admitted freshmen in grades seven through 12 who are ultimately admitted to a UC campus. Some seventh- and eighth-grade math and language other than English courses count toward the "a-g" total.

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A student transferred to our high school in the middle of the year after successfully completing the first semester of European History. Our school does not have a European History course, so we placed the student in World History for second semester. Will the two courses fulfill UC's World History requirement for admission?

Yes. UC requires a year of world history, European history, or world history, geography and cultures, but the two semesters of the year do not need to be one yearlong course.

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Can a student use an English as a Second Language (ESL) course to satisfy UC's "a-g" requirement in English? If so, what level would the course have to be?

UC accepts only one ESL/English Language Development (ELD) course at an advanced level (third or fourth level) to satisfy one year of the "b" English requirement. The ESL/ELD course cannot be taken during senior year and must be on the California high school's list of UC-approved courses.

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If a student received a D in ninth-grade English, can they meet the four-year "b" requirement by taking a course in mythology in the 12th grade along with another English course?

Yes, the student would have completed four years of English, even though two of those courses are completed in the 12th grade. For a California high school, the course must be on the school’s UC-approved “a-g” course list.

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If a student completes an English Linguistics class at a UC campus, will that count toward meeting the high school "b" requirement?

Generally, a linguistics course would not satisfy the "b" requirement, but would be a "g" elective. The University expects reading and writing to be part of a college-preparatory English course, and the reading is expected to include full-length works.

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A student took Algebra 1 and Geometry in middle school then took Algebra 2 and Trigonometry in high school. As a senior, they are enrolled in AP Statistics but want to drop it. If they do, will they have enough math to be UC eligible?

UC requires three years of mathematics; four years are recommended. Since the student has taken Algebra I and II, Geometry and Trigonometry, they have satisfied the requirement. Depending on their intended major, however, AP Statistics could make them a more competitive applicant.

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Will AP Statistics or AP Calculus validate the three-year math requirement if this is all a student takes in high school? How will this affect the student's GPA?

For students applying for the fall 2015 term and thereafter: No. Neither Statistics nor Calculus will validate the omission of a Geometry course. All students applying for admission to UC for fall 2015 and later will be required to take a Geometry course. Statistics and Calculus will still validate Algebra I and II.

For detailed information about validation and what course validates other courses, see the Validation Matrix [PDF].

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If a student took the AP Calculus exam without taking the class and scored a 3 or above, will this meet the three-year math requirement? How will this affect the student's GPA?

For students applying for the fall 2015 term and thereafter: No. A score of 3 or above on the AP Calculus exam clears only the Algebra I and II requirement, not Geometry. All students applying for admission to UC for fall 2015 and later will be required to take a Geometry course.

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If a student takes calculus or statistics at a college/university but the high school refuses to give them high school credit for these classes, do these classes still qualify the students for UC admission even if the classes are not listed on the high school transcript?

Yes, as long as the college/university classes are transferable to UC they count toward UC's subject requirement. Students should report this coursework and their grades on their UC applications. If they are admitted, they will be required to provide a college/university transcript along with their high school transcript.

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If a student takes AP Biology and Marine Biology, will their admission be jeopardized if they haven't taken chemistry or physics?

Yes. The two-year science requirement requires students to take courses that cover two of these three foundational subjects: biology, chemistry and physics. The student would not be eligible because both of his science courses are from the same discipline. They must take chemistry, physics, or an approved interdisciplinary science to fulfill the requirement.

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Does AP Environmental Science meet UC's "d" laboratory science requirement?

Yes. AP Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary course, and combined with one other laboratory science course from one of the three foundational subjects — biology, chemistry or physics — will satisfy the two-year laboratory science subject requirement.

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Are American Sign Language courses acceptable to fulfill the language other than English ("e") requirement?

Yes, American Sign Language courses meet the language other than English requirement.

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A student completed his first two years of high school in the Philippines, where the language of instruction was Tagalog. Will the two years of Tagalog satisfy the first two years of the "b" requirement?

Yes. Courses in composition/literature in the student's native language can be used for the English ("b") requirement. The student will still need to take two years of English composition/literature in the United States to complete the requirement. For more information, see page 4 of our chart, Options for Satisfying A-G Subject Requirements [PDF].

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If the prerequisite for Spanish 1B at a college/university is two years of high school Spanish, can it be assumed that Spanish 1A is equivalent to two years of high school Spanish and therefore meets the "e" requirement for freshman applicants?

Yes, if the prerequisite for college/university level Spanish 1B is college/university level Spanish 1A or two years of high school Spanish, the 1A course would meet the "e" requirement.

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A student took a visual and performing arts course as a junior, when it was UC-approved. The course is no longer approved. Has the student satisfied the VPA requirement?

Yes. If the course was on the school's UC-approved course list when the student took it, it will be accepted.

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Can a student take a Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) course out of order or two semesters in the same year?

Yes, if the yearlong VPA course is completed in sequential order -- first part of the course in one academic year followed by the second part of the course in a different academic year. (In other words, the course must be completed in sequence).

And, yes, for yearlong VPA courses, the University will accept the course even if the student takes both semesters concurrently.

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Can a student mix and match Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) courses?

If the school only offers semester long VPA courses, then two semesters must be in the subject discipline, for example, two dance courses, or two drama courses, etc.

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If a student lacks the full yearlong VPA requirement but is otherwise a very strong student academically and have met all other admission requirements, is it imperative that they take another VPA class?

All students must complete all of UC’s subject requirements, including VPA; in particular for California resident students, in order to meet the criteria for admission in the statewide or local context, yes the student must meet the full yearlong VPA requirement. UC has other options for meeting the requirement; see Options for Satisfying A-G Subject Requirements [PDF].

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What college/university courses satisfy the VPA requirement for high school students?

Any transferable course of 3 semester (4 quarter) units that clearly falls within one of the four visual arts/performing arts disciplines (dance, drama/theater, music or visual art) will satisfy the VPA requirement.

How does a student know which California community college courses satisfy the VPA requirement?

Go to the UC Doorways website and search by name of the California community college then review the CCC “a-g” course list for the area “f” requirement.

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I have a student who has taken two semesters of Marching Band, but at the school they previous attended offered Marching Band as PE credit. Can these courses be used to meet the VPA requirement?

No. In this case, Marching Band could not be used because the school listed it as PE.

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Would a student's involvement in competitive dance/music/theater for many years be an acceptable substitute for the yearlong VPA ("f") requirement?

No. UC does not accept private lessons or competition performance for this requirement.

View more information about the required content of VPA courses and examples of acceptable and unacceptable VPA courses.

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Our high school recently obtained WASC accreditation, but we do not yet have an approved "a-g" course list. How will this affect our seniors who want to apply to UC?

While your school completes the process of establishing an "a-g" course list (see UC's A-G Guide website for more information), your students will have to meet requirements by examination alone.

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Can students use courses taken away from their home high schools to meet the "a-g" requirement?

Approved "a-g" coursework taken at other California high schools accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC); high school courses completed at any U.S. regionally accredited high school or an international secondary school approved by the Ministry of Education in the country, may be used to satisfy the UC admission requirements. Courses taken at any of the following types of institutions and/or programs are treated differently:

  • Non-WASC-accredited California high schools
  • WASC-accredited high schools that have not established a UC-certified "a-g" course list
  • University extension programs
  • Language schools
  • Online providers: online high school courses cannot be used to meet UC's laboratory science ("d") requirement (except those offered through approved providers) or the visual and performing arts ("f") requirement.
  • Foreign exchange programs
  • Supplemental learning centers

For coursework completed at any of the above types of institutions/programs to be recognized by UC in the admissions process, the principal of the student's home high school must certify that the course is comparable to other college-preparatory courses offered at the high school. UC expects that such certification follows a careful review of the curriculum and/or testing of ability level by the principal, department chair, district curriculum director or other qualified school or district personnel. The principal designates his or her certification by granting permission for the course to be listed on the student's transcript, along with credits granted and grades earned.

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Will UC-approved courses in language other than English and mathematics completed in seventh and eighth grades count toward the subject requirements?

Yes. UC's admission application requests that students provide information on language other than English and mathematics courses completed in seventh and eighth grades. Provided that a student earned grades of C or higher in these courses, they can be applied to the subject requirements.

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