General education & IGETC

General education (G.E.) 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.

G.E. requirements vary by campus

The G.E. requirement — sometimes called the breadth requirement — lists the specific courses students 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?

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 may be IGETC certified if they complete coursework at one or more California community colleges without regard to current enrollment status or number of units accrued at a California community college. Students who enrolled at a UC campus, then enrolled at a California community college and transfer to a different UC campus may use IGETC (students returning to the same UC campus cannot complete IGETC).

Completion options

Students have the option of completing IGETC at their California 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 (or the equivalent).

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 follow IGETC

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 prerequisites for the major required by the individual UC campus. However, they can choose to follow the IGETC for STEM pattern of course work in addition to major preparation. IGETC for STEM is a pattern of courses currently only available to students earning an associate degree for transfer (ADT) at a California community college in a major that explicitly offers IGETC for STEM as an option, and only if the UC program allows partial IGETC certification (see below for more information about partial certification).

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.

Partial certification

Students who do not complete IGETC before transferring will be required to satisfy the 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 should verify that their UC school/college/major program will accept partial certification. After transfer, 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.

GPA requirement

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 and IB exams

IGETC course credit may be earned for scores of 3, 4 or 5 on Advanced Placement (AP) exams or scores of 5, 6 or 7 on International Baccalaureate Higher Level (IB HL) exams that the community college faculty recognizes as equivalent to its IGETC-approved courses. An acceptable score on an English AP or IB exam may be used to meet the English Composition requirement, but not the Critical Thinking/English Composition requirement. A single exam cannot satisfy multiple requirements, with the exception of language exams which may satisfy a Humanities requirement and the Language other than English proficiency requirement. For more information, refer to the IGETC Standards, Policies, and Procedures Manual.

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, regardless of how many courses or units the student has completed at that community college.

Additional IGETC considerations

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. International coursework cannot be used to satisfy any area of IGETC except the Language other than English proficiency requirement (Area 6/6A).

In addition, some colleges or majors prefer that transfer students follow a more prescribed lower-division curriculum. Refer to the Quick Reference Guide to UC Admissions [PDF] for campus/program-specific recommendations.

Proficiency in a language other than English (IGETC Area 6/6A)

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 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's proficiency in the language is equivalent to at least two years of high school study.