General education & IGETC
General education requirements are designed to give UC undergraduates a broad background in all major academic disciplines — natural sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, humanities and fine arts. The general education requirement — often called the breadth requirement — lists the specific courses they must take or number of credit hours they must earn in each discipline.
Each school and college at every UC campus has its own general education requirement. With careful planning, students can meet many of the lower-division requirements before they transfer. Students at a California community college also have the option of completing the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) to satisfy the lower-division general education requirements at any UC campus.
What is IGETC?
The Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) is a series of courses that prospective transfer students attending California community colleges may complete to satisfy the lower-division breadth/general education requirements at both the University of California and the California State University.
Students with a post-secondary school record who wish to pursue IGETC must meet the definition of California community college transfer applicants. They must:
- Have been enrolled at one or more California community colleges for at least two terms (excluding summer sessions)
- Have attended, immediately before admission to a UC campus, a California community college (excluding summer sessions)
- Must complete at least 30 semester (45 quarter) UC-transferable units at one or more California community colleges.
Students have the option of completing IGETC at their community college or the specific lower-division breadth/general education requirements of the UC school or college at the campus they plan to attend.
The UC agreement
UC has an agreement with each California community college that specifies which of its courses may be applied to each category of IGETC. Courses taken at more than one California community college may be used to fulfill IGETC and all courses must be completed with a grade of C or better.
Which type of student should follow IGETC
IGETC is most helpful to students who want to keep their options open — specifically, those who know they want to transfer but haven't yet decided upon a particular institution, campus or major.
Which type of student should not
Certain students, however, will not be well served by following IGETC. Students who intend to transfer into majors that require extensive lower-division preparation, such as engineering or the physical and natural sciences, should concentrate on completing the many prerequisites for the major that the college screens for to determine eligibility for admission
Not a requirement, but a consideration
IGETC is not an admission requirement. Completing it does not guarantee admission to the campus or program of choice. However, completing the lower-division breadth/general education requirements — whether through IGETC or the campus-specific requirements — may be considered by the campus in selecting among qualified applicants.
Students who do not complete IGETC before transferring will be required to satisfy the specific lower-division general education/breadth requirements of the UC college or school they attend. However, California community colleges may grant partial certification of IGETC to students who are missing no more than two requirements. Students submitting partial IGETC certification should complete the missing requirements at either UC or a California community college as designated by their department. Students who have been granted partial IGETC certification should not return to the community college for a full certification.
IGETC subject and unit requirement
One course in English composition and one course in critical thinking/English composition.
||6 semester units or
8-10 quarter units
Mathematical concepts and quantitative reasoning
|1 course|| 3 semester units or
4-5 quarter units
Arts and humanities
Three courses with at least one from the arts and one from the humanities.
|3 courses||9 semester units or 12-15 quarter units|
Social and behavioral sciences
Three courses from at least two disciplines, or an interdisciplinary sequence.
|3 courses||9 semester units or
12-15 quarter units
Physical and biological sciences
One physical science course and one biological science course, at least one of which includes a laboratory.
|2 courses||7-9 semester units or
9-12 quarter units
Language other than English *
Proficiency equivalent to two years of high school courses in the same language.
|11 courses*||34 semester units|
* Students intending to transfer to CSU are required to take an additional course in oral communication and do not need to demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English.
IGETC courses must be completed with a grade of C or better. A grade of credit or pass may be used if the community college's policy states that it is equivalent to a grade of C or better.
Use of AP exams
IGETC course credit may be earned for scores of 3, 4 or 5 on Advanced Placement (AP) exams that the community college faculty recognizes as equivalent to its IGETC-approved courses. An acceptable score on an English AP exam may be used to meet the English Composition requirement, not the Critical Thinking/English Composition requirement.
Proficiency in a language other than English
Students may demonstrate proficiency for the purpose of fulfilling the Language Other Than English IGETC requirement in one of the following ways:
- Complete two years of high school coursework in one language other than English with a grade of C or better.
- Complete a course or courses at a college or university with a grade of C or better in each course. Any course (excluding conversation courses) considered by the college or university to be equivalent to two years of high school language may be used. Many college catalogs list the prerequisite for the second course in a language as: Language 1 at this college, or two years of high school language. In this case Language 1 clears both years of the requirement.
- Achieve a satisfactory score
on the SAT Subject Test in languages other than English. If the test
was taken before May 1995, the first score is the minimum; if the test was
taken after May 1995, use the second score.
- Chinese With Listening: not offered before 1995/520
- French/French With Listening: 500/540
- German/German With Listening: 500/510
- Hebrew (Modern): 500/470
- Italian: 500/520
- Japanese With Listening: 500/510
- Korean/Korean With Listening: not offered before 1995/500
- Latin: 500/530
- Spanish/Spanish With Listening: 500/520
- Achieve a score of 3, 4 or 5 on a College Board Advanced Placement (AP) examination in a language other than English.
- Achieve a score of 5 or higher on an International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level Examination in a language other than English.
- Satisfactorily complete a proficiency test administered by a community college, university or other college in a language other than English. The test must assess the student proficiency at a level equivalent to at least two years of high school language.
- Complete, with grades of C or better, two years of formal schooling at the sixth-grade level or higher in an institution where the language of instruction is not English. If secondary school was completed in a non-English-speaking country and the language of instruction of the secondary school was not English, language other than English proficiency can be certified for IGETC without further evaluation. The student must present appropriate documentation of attendance at the secondary school.
- Earn a passing grade on the international A level or O level exam in a language other than English.
- If an appropriate achievement test is not available to assert proficiency, have competency verified by a faculty member associated with a California community college. Such verification requires that the college provide a document on letterhead asserting that the student's proficiency in the language is equivalent to two years of high school study.
If an appropriate achievement test is not available to assert a student's proficiency in a language other than English, a faculty member associated with a California community college can verify competency. The college must provide a document on letterhead asserting that the student proficiency in the language is equivalent to two years of high school study.
IGETC course agreements
A community college course can satisfy only one IGETC subject area even if it is listed on the IGETC Course Agreement in more than one area. However, a single course may be counted toward IGETC and a major requirement.
Coursework completed outside the California community colleges may be acceptable to clear some IGETC requirements (with the exception of IGETC area 1B: Critical Thinking) as long as the community college faculty recognizes the course in question as equivalent to one or more of its IGETC-approved courses.
Certification of IGETC completion is the responsibility of the last community college a student attends prior to transfer.
Students with a substantial amount of coursework from institutions outside the United States should consult with a community college counselor to determine whether they should complete IGETC or the lower-division breadth/general education requirements at the campus they plan to attend.
In addition, some colleges or majors prefer that transfer students follow a more prescribed lower-division curriculum, as described here:
- Berkeley: IGETC is acceptable for all majors in the College of Letters and Science. The Haas School of Business and the colleges of Engineering, Environmental Design and Chemistry have extensive, prescribed major prerequisites. In general, IGETC is not appropriate preparation for majors in these colleges. Although IGETC satisfies breadth requirements for most majors in the College of Natural Resources, specific lower-division major requirements must still be satisfied. For more information, check with the college or visit the ASSIST website.
- Davis: IGETC works well for students planning for Bachelor of Arts majors with few units of lower-division preparation. Bachelor of Science degrees and high-unit majors often have many courses of lower-division preparation. In these cases, the UC Davis GE pattern is the best choice. Students in the College of Engineering who have satisfied IGETC are still required to complete two upper-division general education courses at UC Davis.
- Irvine: All schools accept IGETC. However, selection by the campus is based on demonstrated academic achievement and preparation for the intended major.
- Los Angeles: The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science does not accept IGETC.
- Merced: The School of Engineering and the School of Natural Sciences do not recommend IGETC.
- Riverside: The Marlan and Rosemary Bourns
College of Engineering accepts
completion of IGETC as satisfying the majority of the college's breadth requirement for transfer students. Some additional breadth coursework may be required after enrollment (for details, see the Bourns College of Engineering Breadth Requirements). However, prospective students are strongly encouraged to focus on preparation coursework for their desired major, such as mathematics, science and other technical preparation coursework. Strong technical preparation is essential for success in the admission process and, subsequently, in all coursework at Bournes.
The College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences does not accept IGETC, although courses taken to satisfy IGETC may be applied toward the college's breadth pattern. The College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the School of Business Administration accept IGETC.
- San Diego: IGETC is accepted by John Muir, Earl Warren, Sixth and Thurgood Marshall Colleges only. Students completing IGETC are welcomed at Eleanor Roosevelt and Revelle Colleges; however, they must fulfill the specific general education requirements of those colleges. At UC San Diego, all majors are available to students in each college, so students who choose IGETC will not be restricted in their choice of major as a result.
- Santa Barbara: Students who transfer into the College of Letters and Science and the College of Creative Studies may use IGETC to substitute for general education requirements. Students planning to transfer into a major in computer science or the biological or physical sciences must be careful to complete lower-division major prerequisites to ensure competitiveness and make normal, timely progress through the major. Transfer students in the College of Engineering are encouraged to focus on the preparation for their major rather than on general education courses, but may also use IGETC to substitute for general education requirements. As part of their general education, all students in the College of Engineering are required to complete a depth requirement. Students who wish to satisfy the depth requirement prior to transfer must complete a yearlong sequence in the history of world civilization, history of Western civilization, history of the United States, history of Western philosophy or history of Western art. Students may want to choose courses for IGETC that will concurrently satisfy the depth requirement. Students may also complete the depth requirement with upper-division coursework after transferring.
- Santa Cruz: Transfer students intending to pursue any major in the physical and biological sciences or the Jack Baskin School of Engineering should not follow IGETC because it will not provide them with enough lower-division preparation for their majors.