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Degree Requirements

You must satisfy four groups of requirements before you can become eligible for candidacy for a bachelor's degree.  The four groups are:

You are responsible for seeing that all of your degree requirements are fulfilled. The following Graduation Requirement Self-Check will help you ensure that all requirements are met.

Graduation/Degree Requirement Self-Check (GE3) (GE3 Effective Fall Quarter 2011)

Graduation/Degree Requirement Self-Check (GE2) (Previous GE2 requirements)

University Requirements

University and campus requirements apply to all undergraduate students regardless of college and major.

  • Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR)
  • The University of California requires every undergraduate student to demonstrate college-level proficiency in English composition. Satisfaction of the Entry-Level Writing requirement is a prerequisite to all other undergraduate courses in English and must be fulfilled before General Education courses can count toward the General Education Writing Experience Requirement.

    For more information about the Entry Level Writing Requirement, visit

  • American History and Institutions Requirement (AHIR)
  • The American History and Institutions requirement ensures that every graduating student will have at least a minimum knowledge of the background of this country's development and an understanding of the political, economic and social interrelationships of its way of life.

    For more information about the American History and Institutions Requirement, visit
  • General Education (GE) Requirement
  • The General Education requirement promotes the intellectual growth of all undergraduates by ensuring that they acquire a breadth of knowledge that will enlarge their perspectives beyond the focus of a major and serve them well as participants in a knowledge-based society. It seeks to stimulate continued intellectual growth by providing students with knowledge not only of the content but also of the methodologies of different academic disciplines. It involves students in the learning process by its expectation of considerable writing and class participation. It encourages students to consider the relationships between disciplines.

    For more information on the GE requirements, visit

  • Campus Unit Requirement
  • A minimum of 180 quarter units are required for graduation. A maximum of 12 units of Internship Courses (92, 192, or a combination) may be counted toward the 180-unit bachelor's degree requirement. 

    More information about the Campus Unit Requirement.
  • Campus Residence Requirement
  • The minimum residence requirement for a bachelor's degree at the University of California is one academic year (three quarters). 35 of the final 45 quarter units completed by each candidate must be earned while in residence at UC.

    For more information about the Campus Residence Requirement, visit 

  • Campus Scholarship Requirement
  • To receive a bachelor's degree, you must obtain twice as many grade points as units (a 2.000 GPA) for all courses you have attempted in the university. An exception to this rule is made for those students undertaking certain honors courses.

    For more information about the Campus Scholarship Requirement, visit

College of Letters and Science Requirements

Letters and Science requirements are established for the students pursuing a major in the College of Letters and Science.

  • Area (Breadth) Requirement
  • The College Breadth Requirement promotes the intellectual growth of students by asking them to acquire a broader background of knowledge than is provided by the usual major. The Breadth requirement also guides students in exploring the interdependence of knowledge.

    A.B. Degree. Satisfaction of the campus General Education requirement.

    B.S. Degree. A total of 90 units in natural sciences/ mathematics from the list below; units used in satisfaction of the campus General Education requirement in Science and Engineering topical breath, that are also on the Natural Sciences and Mathematics list (see below), may also be used to satisfy this requirement.

    Courses numbered 92, 97T, 97TC, 98, 192, 197T, 197TC, 198 and from 200 through 499 cannot be counted toward satisfaction of the natural sciences/mathematics Area requirement. A maximum of 10 units in special study courses (99, 194H, 199) may be counted toward that portion of the Area requirement. Subject to the restrictions just listed, courses acceptable for fulfilling the 90-unit natural sciences/mathematics Area requirement are:

    Natural Sciences and Mathematics

    • Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology 100
    • Anthropology 1, 1Y, 5, 13, 15, 54, 151, 152, 153, 154A, 154BN, 154C, 154CL, 155, 156A, 156B, 157, 158, 159, 160, 180, 182
    • Astronomy
    • Avian Sciences 13
    • Biological Sciences
    • Cell Biology and Human Anatomy 101, 101L
    • Chemistry
    • Cognitive Science 107*
    • Communication 150V
    • Economics 107*
    • Engineering 6, 10, 35, 102
    • Engineering: Biomedical 126
    • Engineering: Computer Science 010, 012, 017, 020, 030, 032A, 032B, 032C, 034, 036A, 036B, 036C, 040, 050, 060, 089A-L, 113, 115, 116, 120, 122A, 122B, 124, 127, 129, 130, 132, 140A, 140B, 142, 145, 150, 152A, 152B, 152C, 153, 154A, 154B, 158, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165A, 165B, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 178, 189A-N, 191, 193A, 193B
    • Engineering: Electrical and Computer 70, 170, 173A
    • Entomology 10, 100, 153
    • Environmental and Resource Sciences 30, 131
    • Environmental Science and Policy 30, 100, 121
    • Environmental Toxicology 101
    • Evolution and Ecology
    • Exercise Biology 101, 103, 106, 106L, 110, 111, 112, 113, 115, 116, 117, 126
    • Fiber and Polymer Science 110
    • Food Science and Technology 100A, 100B, 101A, 101B
    • Geology
    • Integrated Studies 8A
    • Linguistics 127, 175, 177
    • Mathematics
    • Microbiology
    • Molecular and Cellular Biology
    • Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior
    • Nutrition 10, 111AV, 111B
    • Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology 126
    • Physical Education 133, 135
    • Physics
    • Plant Biology
    • Psychology 41, 100, 100Y, 101, 103A, 103B, 104, 113, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133*, 135, 137, 146, 180B
    • Statistics
    • Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology 10
    *Denotes cross-listed course
    Updated Feb. 2024
  • English Composition Requirement
  • All undergraduates in the College of Letters and Science must fulfill a two-course writing requirement, by completing each course with a grade of C- (or P) or higher or by testing out of one or both courses. All courses require a minimum of 6,000 words of writing, designed to introduce students to academic and professional writing, advance their analytic skills, and improve their writing process. Students may satisfy the writing requirement by completing:

    1.  one course from UWP 1, English 3, Comparative Literature 1, 2, 3, 4, or Native American Studies 5
    2.  after completing 84 units, one course selected from University Writing Program (UWP) 101, UWP 102 series, or UWP 104 series; or completing four units of upper division Writing Experience (WE) designated coursework approved by the English Language and Literacy (ELL) Committee of the College of Letters and Science (these units may only count for the English Composition requirement, not towards the 6 units of General Education - Core Literacy/Writing Experience requirement). Subject to the restrictions just listed, additional ELL approved courses acceptable for satisfying the upper division will be listed here:

    Upper Division English Composition Courses Approved by English Language and Literacy (ELL) 
    Courses listed below must have been completed during or after the effective term to satisfy the requirement. 

    • Effective Fall 2023
    • Comparative Literature (COM) 139, 146, 166A
      English (ENL) 110B, 117, 133, 150A, 166, 180
    • Effective Winter 2024
    • Anthropology (ANT) 170
      English (ENL) 110A
      Physics (PHY) 122A, 122B, 157

    Transfer Courses in English Composition. Transfer courses considered to be equivalent or comparable to English 3, Comparative Literature 1, 2, 3, 4, Native American Studies 5, or University Writing Program 1, 1V, 1Y, 101, 102 or 104 series, will be accepted toward satisfaction of the English Composition requirement. Note that University Writing Program 101, 102 and 104 series courses or the equivalent must be taken after you have completed 84 units of degree credit.

    Upper Division Composition Examination. The no-fee examination is typically offered on a Saturday morning in October, January and April. No examinations are given during the summer.

    For specific examination dates, instructions, and to sign up to take an examination, see the University Writing Program-Upper Division Composition Exam Information at It is recommended that students with disabilities contact the Student Disability Center at 530-752-3184 and the Entry Level Writing Program Office 530-752-0450 at least two weeks prior to the exam date to arrange accommodations.

    Students are advised to complete this requirement in their junior year.

  • Foreign Language Requirement; A.B. and B.A.S. Degrees
  • A key component of liberal education, the study of another language exposes students to a ubiquitous and highly diverse component of human behavior and interaction. Language learning enables students to communicate effectively in an increasingly internationalized world, enhances their ability to understand ways of thinking different from their own, gives them direct access to cultural production from another time and place, awakens in them an awareness of the conditioned nature of their assumptions about the world, and trains them to cope more effectively with intellectual and practical problems they may face in their future careers.

    The College of Letters and Science encourages its students to acquire functional proficiency in at least one language other than English before graduating. At a minimum, the College requires A.B. candidates to complete three sequenced quarters (15 units) of courses, or its equivalent, in one foreign language. B.S. candidate requirements are determined by their respective major program.

    Languages Satisfying the Requirement

    The Foreign Language Requirement may be satisfied in any language offered at UC Davis, including ancient languages, or which is normally taught at—and for which transfer credit is allowed— from another institution, including American Sign Language. Students may also satisfy this requirement by examination in a language not offered on the UC Davis campus (see below).

    Satisfaction of the Requirement

    At UC Davis or Another Accredited Institution. You may satisfy the requirement by taking 15 quarter units of one foreign or classical language offered at UC Davis. You may also fulfill this requirement by taking the equivalent number of transferable quarter units in one foreign language at an accredited institution.

    Transfer students should consult the Transfer Credit Evaluation, which is issued by Undergraduate Education and Advising in the Office of the Dean, within a quarter after their first enrollment at UC Davis. Students planning to continue to study the same language at UC Davis must consult the relevant language coordinator.

    If you have successfully completed the second or third year of a language in the tenth or higher grade in high school, you may receive unit credit for course 1 of that language when taken at UC Davis, but the grading mode will be P/NP only. Although a Passed or Not Passed grade will be charged to your P/NP option, no petition is required.

    Through Study Abroad. Certain study abroad programs offered by UC Davis through the Study Abroad Center, UC Education Abroad Program and other accredited institutions may be used to satisfy the requirement. Some of these programs do not have a language prerequisite, but others do. If you intend to apply for a study abroad program with a language prerequisite, you should plan on completing the relevant foreign language requirement by the end of your second or third year, depending on the program.

    With the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC). IGETC is a series of courses which prospective transfer students attending California community colleges may complete to satisfy the lower division breadth/general education requirements at the University of California. Students may satisfy the Foreign Language requirement by attaining certification of IGETC completion.

    By Examination: Proficiency Exam. The UC Davis Language Center (DLC) offers proficiency tests in numerous languages. A proficiency test does not yield unit credit; it only determines whether the Foreign Language requirement has been met or at which point in the language sequence you should enroll. Students must follow the language program's placement policy if they decide to study the language at UC Davis.

    By Examination: Standardized Tests. College Board Subject Test: Earning a qualifying score of at least 550 on a College Board Foreign Language Subject Test satisfies the requirement. This test may be taken at any time during your high school career. Once your score is on file at Undergraduate Admissions, notify Undergraduate Education and Advising in the Office of the Dean so that satisfaction of the College requirement can be noted on your record.

    College Board Advanced Placement Exam. A score of 5, 4 or 3 on any foreign language College Board Advanced Placement Examination, with the exception of Latin, taken in high school will satisfy the Foreign Language requirement.

    International Baccalaureate Higher Level Exam. A score of 7, 6, or 5 on the French A1, A2, or B Examination, the German A1, A2 or B Examination, the Italian A1 Examination, the Latin Examination, the Portuguese A1, A2 or B Examination, or the Spanish A1 Examination taken in high school will satisfy the Foreign Language requirement.

    By Examination: Other Means. If you have not completed the required level language course, but assume you have attained equivalent language fluency and cultural knowledge, you may satisfy the language requirement by passing a proficiency examination. For more information, consult the appropriate foreign language department. You may validate your knowledge of a language acquired by any means before matriculating at UC Davis by taking a proficiency test or another form of evaluation (if available in the relevant language department). A test may not be taken, however, in a language for which you have already received degree credit.

  • College Unit Requirements
  • A minimum of 180 units is required for the bachelor’s degree. 64 units must be earned in upper division courses.

    Registration Beyond the 225-unit Limit. You are expected to fulfill all degree requirements within the 180- to 225-unit range. Once 225 units have been completed (excluding units awarded for College Board Advanced Placement Examinations or International Baccalaureate Examinations), you may register only with the permission. Such permission is rarely granted and then typically only to allow completion of minimum degree requirements. A hold will be placed on a student's record when they reach 200 total units, requiring submission of an academic plan to verify the degree can be completed within the 225-unit cap. You will be expected to adhere to a program of courses agreed upon and to meet other conditions that may have been set. Approval must be obtained from Undergraduate Education and Advising in the Office of the Dean before you will be permitted to register for courses for the quarter following completion of 225 or more units.

    If you are in good standing, you will be able to complete 12 quarters or the equivalent (e.g., four years) of college work even if you have earned more than 225 units before you finish your fourth year. You must petition for continuation, however, and file the quarter-by-quarter course program you have planned.

    Unit Credit Limitations

    For certain courses, limits have been established on the number of units that can be counted towards the 180-unit minimum required for the degree. To avoid discovering just before graduation that you are short units, meet with an advisor regularly and keep track of the number of units you have taken in each of the following categories.

    Limitation on Credit for Graduate and Professional Courses. Undergraduates may enroll in graduate and professional courses subject to the restrictions outlined on the petition to Request to Take a 200, 300 or 400 - Numbered Course for Degree Credit. Graduate and professional courses that have been completed will be listed on the student’s transcript in the usual manner. However, the units earned may be counted toward degree requirements only under the conditions listed below.

    Within the limitations A, B and C given below, undergraduate students in the College may count up to a combined total of 9 units in graduate 200 series courses and in 300 and 400 series professional courses toward degree requirements. These units, however, are not counted as upper division units.

    A. The recommendations of the instructor in the course and the department chairperson—in addition to approval from Undergraduate Education and Advising in the Office of the Dean—must be obtained by petition in order to receive credit toward the degree for the following kinds of courses:

    • All graduate courses 200–298, whether offered by a department or program outside of or within the College of Letters and Science.

    • All professional courses 300–398 for teachers offered outside of the College of Letters and Science.

    • All postgraduate professional courses 400–498 offered outside of the College of Letters and Science.

    • All variable unit courses 300–398 and 400–498 offered within the College of Letters and Science.

    B. The minimum eligibility conditions for an undergraduate student in the College to petition for degree credit for a 200, 300, or 400 series course are a UC grade point average of 3.300 and completion of 18 upper division units basic to the subject matter of the course. These eligibility conditions may be waived, however, upon the recommendation of the course instructor and concurrence of the department chairperson if the student’s preparation warrants exception.

    C. Undergraduates in the College cannot receive degree credit for special study courses 299, 399, or 499.

    Limitation on Credit for Units Graded P. Students in the College of Letters and Science are subject to an additional limitation on the number of units that may be completed employing the Passed/Not Passed grading option. Graduating seniors and other students planning to undertake graduate or professional studies, should consult an adviser before electing for Passed/Not Passed grading in courses required for the major program.  

    Excluding courses that are graded on a Passed/Not Passed (P/NP) basis only, the number of units graded P that may be accepted towards a degree in the College of Letters and Science is limited to not more than one fourth of the units completed in residence on the UC Davis campus.

    The Academic Senate limits the total number of courses graded P, including units earned in courses graded “P/NP only,” to one third of the units completed on the UC Davis campus. This limitation applies to all UC Davis undergraduates, including Letters and Science students.

    Limitation on Credit for UC Davis Extension Courses.

    A. UC Davis Extension courses with a designator of “X.” Students may apply credit earned through lower division and upper division UC Davis Extension “X” courses towards the 180-unit requirement only with written approval from Undergraduate Education and Advising in the Office of the Dean prior to registration. The degree credit allowed for such courses is usually less than the unit value listed in the course description. Additional limitations on UC Davis Extension “X” courses include: a maximum of 9 units may be offered for elective credit only and may not be applied toward fulfillment of the Area, Foreign Language, Upper Division, or Residence requirements of the College.

    B. UC Davis Extension courses with a designator of “XD.” Students may apply credit earned through lower division and upper division UC Davis Extension “XD” courses towards the 180-unit requirement. Additionally, credit from such courses may be applied toward fulfillment of all university, campus, college and major unit and subject matter requirements—including the Area, Foreign Language, Upper Division and Residence requirements of the College—in the same manner that the corresponding regular UC Davis course is so accepted.

    C. UC Davis Extension courses with a designator of “XDC” [Open Campus (Concurrent) Program]. Subject to the following conditions, students may apply credit earned through lower division and upper division UC Davis Extension Open Campus (Concurrent) courses—i.e., those bearing the “XDC” designator-towards university unit and subject requirements, and, effective Fall 2003, the calculation of the student's UC GPA, upon admission or readmission to regular student status at UC Davis.

    • Students on leave of absence and regular status students when matriculated, or regular status students for a period of one calendar year following the last term of regular enrollment at UC Davis, may not enroll in Open Campus (Concurrent) courses. Exceptions to this policy for undergraduate students may be made only under extraordinary circumstances by petition with prior approval by Undergraduate Education and Advising in the Office of the Dean and the Dean of UC Davis Extension.

    • Concurrent (“XDC”) courses do not count toward satisfaction of the University residence requirement or the residence requirements of the campus or the college.

    • Concurrent (“XDC”) courses may constitute at most half of the units offered in satisfaction of the upper division requirements of the major.

    • In the event that the faculty of the college imposes further restrictions on the number of units of UC Davis Extension Open Campus (Concurrent) course work that may be applied to undergraduate degree programs, the allowable number of units of course work will be determined chronologically, starting with the course completed first. Grade point credit for such courses will be determined in the same manner.

    Other Unit Credit Limitations. The following are additional courses that have limits on the number of units that can be counted toward your degree.

    • Internship courses (numbers 92, 192): 12 units maximum including internship units taken at other institutions; see Nonstandard courses

    • Music 130, 131, 140-150 (combined): 19 units maximum

    • Nonstandard courses (92, 97T, 97TC, 99, 192, 194H, 197T, 197TC, 199 and similar courses): 30 units maximum or one sixth (1/6) of the units taken at UC Davis, whichever is the smaller; note the separate unit limits on internship, special study and tutoring courses; and major limitations

    • Physical Education 1 and 6 (combined): 6 units maximum

    • Special Study courses (99, 194H, 199): 5 units maximum in any one quarter; see Nonstandard courses

    • Tutoring courses (97T, 97TC, 197T, 197TC): 10 units maximum; see Nonstandard courses, above

  • College Residence Requirement
  • While registered in the College of Letters and Science, a minimum of 27 upper division units, including 18 upper division units in the major, must be completed on the Davis campus; work completed while registered in the UC Education Abroad Program or the UC Davis Extension Open Campus Program does not satisfy the College Residence requirements.
  • College Scholarship Requirement
  • The minimum grade point average to satisfy the scholarship requirement is 2.000 for all courses counted toward the major and for all upper division courses used to satisfy major requirements. Only grades earned in courses taken at UC Davis will be included in the grade point computations. To obtain these minimum averages in the major, you may repeat courses that are graded D or F. If you have to repeat a course more than once, you need approval from Undergraduate Education and Advising in the Office of the Dean.

Major Degree Certification

These requirements are fulfilled by completing a major program offered by a teaching department or program committee in the College of Letters and Science (see the list of majors) or an individual major program approved by the College’s Committee on Individual Majors.

No more than six units in internship courses (numbered 92, 192, or similar internship courses) may be accepted in satisfaction of the requirements of major programs. Courses numbered 97T, 97TC, 197T and 197TC do not satisfy unit or course requirements in the major. Please check with your major advisor to determine if there are any additional restrictions for your specific major.

You can also learn more about the requirements for a major by talking with a Major Advisor and visiting the departmental website.

Degree Check

Freshman admits:  In your third year, you will be notified by Undergraduate Education and Advising in the Office of the Dean that a summary of your progress in fulfilling college and university requirements has been completed. At approximately this point, you should contact your departmental adviser for a check of your major requirements.

Transfer admits:  During Orientation, you should be in contact with your departmental adviser for a check of your major requirements. You will receive notification of the evaluation of your transfer institution credit summarizing your progress in fulfilling college, campus and university requirements in late summer/early fall after your official transcripts have been processed.  

Senior year:  Before the beginning of your senior year, take some time to consider your goals and to plan the academic program for your final year as an undergraduate. To plan properly and to ensure that you get the most out of your remaining education and complete all graduation requirements as well, you should know what requirements remain unsatisfied. You are encouraged to utilize the MyDegree advising tool for assistance. While not a replacement for academic advising by your college and major advisors, it is an online advising tool that allows you to understand your degree requirements, track your progress towards degree completion, and explore alternative and/or additional fields of study.

Degree Requirement Changes

On occasion, the faculty makes changes in the requirements that students must satisfy to obtain the baccalaureate degree. So that you will not be penalized by changes that may work to your disadvantage and so that you will benefit by changes that assist you in completing your degree requirements, it is College policy that, unless otherwise specified by the Davis Division of the Academic Senate, you may choose to fulfill the university, campus and College requirements as stated in any UC Davis General Catalog in effect at any time you were registered as a full-time student at a postsecondary institution of higher education; e.g., community college, college or university.

Once you have chosen the year of the General Catalog under which you wish to be governed, you must satisfy all of the university, campus and college requirements specified in that catalog. With respect to the completion of your major requirements, most of the majors in the College of Letters and Science require completion of the major degree requirements in effect at the time you officially declared your major. However, because departments differ in how they handle these matters, check with the department or major program office if you have any questions about which requirements apply to you.