UC Davis offers the Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in over 100 major programs, as well as over 110 minors in a variety of disciplines; see Degrees Offered by UC Davis. For complete program information; see Colleges of:
Bachelor's Degree Requirements
Students must satisfy four groups of requirements before they can become eligible for candidacy for the bachelor's degree:
- University Requirements; applies to all colleges.
- General Education Requirements; applies to all colleges.
- College requirements: see tabs for | Agricultural & Environmental Sciences | Biological Sciences | Engineering | Letters & Science
- Major requirements as listed in Departments, Programs, & Degrees.
Students are responsible for seeing that all of their degree requirements are fulfilled.
To earn a Bachelor's Degree, all students must fulfill the following University of California requirements:
- Entry Level Writing
- American History & Institutions
- General Education
- College; see tabs for | Agricultural & Environmental Sciences | Biological Sciences | Engineering | Letters & Science
- Major/Degree; course requirements for each major/degree are listed in Departments, Programs, & Degrees.
Every undergraduate student at UC Davis must demonstrate college-level proficiency in writing by satisfying the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR). Students cannot fulfill the lower division writing requirement without fulfilling the ELWR. Students who do not satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement by the end of the third quarter will be disenrolled from the University per UC Davis Senate Regulation 521. There are several ways to fulfill the ELWR at UC Davis:
Fulfilling ELWR Before Entering UC Davis
Students can fulfill the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR) before they begin at UC Davis with tests and coursework including:
- 680 or better on the College Board SAT Reasoning Test, Writing (last administration January 2016); or
- 680 or better on the SAT, Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing* (beginning with Fall 2018 admits on a pilot basis); or
* UC is accepting a score of 680 or better on the SAT, Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing to satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement on a pilot basis, beginning with new students entering UC in Fall 2018. The pilot will remain in effect until a new policy is adopted by the Academic Senate.
AP (Advanced Placement) Scores
- 3 or above on either Advanced Placement Examination in English; or
- 30 or better on the ACT, English Language Arts; or
- 30 or better on the ACT, Combined English/Writing (last administered June 2015); or
IB (International Baccalaureate) Scores
- 5 or above on an International Baccalaureate Higher Level English A: Literature exam (formerly known as Higher Level English A1 exam); or
- 6 or above on the International Baccalaureate Standard Level English A: Literature exam (formerly known as Standard Level English A1 exam); or
- 5 or above on an International Baccalaureate Higher Level English A: Language and Literature exam; or
- 6 or above on an International Baccalaureate Standard Level English A: Language and Literature exam; or
Analytical Writing Placement Exam
Passing the Analytical Writing Placement Examination (AWPE); or
Earning a grade of C or higher in an acceptable 3 semester-unit or 4 quarter-unit college level composition course.
California High School Students
Every May, the University of California's Office of the President offers a writing placement exam for California high school seniors who have not met ELWR and plan to attend a UC campus the next fall. The exam—called the UC Analytical Writing Placement Examination (AWPE)—is administered the second Saturday of May at testing centers throughout the state of California. The exam lasts for two hours. The AWPE instructs test-takers to read a short passage provided by a proctor and then write a response to the passage by hand within the two hour exam. The AWPE may only be taken once. Learn more about the AWPE at the University of California's Office of the President website, including registration information, sample exams, sample responses, and the scoring guide.
Fulfilling ELWR After Entering UC Davis
Undergraduate students who enter UC Davis and have not satisfied the ELWR in one of the ways described above can complete the requirement by:
Enrolling in WR 39A, a 4 unit writing course offered by UC Online that carries units toward graduation credit, and receiving a C or higher; or
Enrolling in Workload 57, a 4.5 unit writing course offered by Sacramento City College on the UC Davis campus that counts toward minimum progress but carries no units toward graduation, and receiving a C or higher; or
Passing the AWPE, if it was not taken prior to entering UC Davis. The AWPE may only be taken once.
Writing 39A is an online course taught by UC Irvine faculty through UC Online; the 4 units count toward graduation credit and factors into a student's GPA. Students who are interested in registering for WR 39A should be sure that they meet the eligibility requirements and consult with their academic advisor in their home college prior to registration. P/NP grade mode is not permitted if taking WR 39A for ELWR fulfillment. To satisfy the requirement, students must earn a course grade of C or higher; students who receive a grade lower than C must repeat Workload 57 or Writing 39A. Students who do not satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement by the end of the third quarter will be disenrolled from the University per UC Davis Senate Regulation 521.
Workload 57 is a face-to-face course taught by Sacramento City College faculty on the UC Davis campus; the 4.5 units of the course count toward the minimum progress requirement but does not carry units toward graduation credit nor does it factor into a student's GPA. To satisfy the requirement, students must earn a course grade of C or higher; students who receive a grade lower than C must repeat Workload 57 or Writing 39A to fulfill ELWR. Students who do not satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement by the end of the third quarter will be disenrolled from the University per UC Davis Senate Regulation 521. The Analytical Writing Placement Examination (AWPE) at UC Davis Passing the Analytical Writing Placement Examination (AWPE) fulfills ELWR. The AWPE may be taken only once per student regardless of when it is taken: either as a high school student or once arriving on campus as a UC Davis student. To learn more about the time, location, test format, and registration process for UC Davis offerings of AWPE at the start of the quarter, please visit our website. Additional Support for Multilingual Students UC Davis students whose native or primary school language is not English will take the English Language Placement Exam (ELPE) to determine which writing course to take first. The English Language Placement Exam (ELPE), which may be taken only once, will be delivered via Canvas and taken remotely during one of several testing periods during the summer before the first quarter. Students whose ELPE results require them to take one or more UWP ESL courses will have the standard three quarters to meet the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR) plus the number of quarters they are held for UWP ESL coursework. The ELWR timeline begins with the first quarter of enrollment at UC Davis and continues each quarter. Students who do not satisfy the ELWR within the time limit will be disenrolled from the University per UC Davis Senate Regulation 521.
The American History & 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.
You may meet this requirement in any of these ways:
- Complete one high school unit in American history, or 1/2 high school unit in American history and 1/2 high school unit in civics or American government, with a grade of C or better in each course
- Complete any one of the following courses:
- African American and African Studies (AAS) 010, 100
- Asian American Studies (ASA) 001, 002
- Chicana/Chicano Studies (CHI) 010
- Economics (ECN) 111A, 111B
- History (HIS) 17A, 17B, 72A, 72B, 170A, 170B, 170C, 171A, 171B, 174A, 174B, 174C, 176A, 176B, 177A, 177B, 179, 180A, 180B, 183A, 183B (upper division courses may be taken only with the consent of the instructor)
- Native American Studies (NAS) 001, 10, 116, 130A, 130B, 130C
- Political Science (POL) 001, 005, 100, 102, 104, 105, 106, 108, 109, 113, 130, 131, 160, 163
- Students electing to complete one of the above courses in order to meet this requirement are subject to the rules for prerequisites and majors.
- Present evidence that the requirement has been accepted as satisfied at another campus of the university.
- Present evidence that the requirement has been satisfied through courses in the area of American History and Institutions at another collegiate institution whose credits are acceptable for transfer to UC Davis.
- Successful completion of the Advanced Placement (AP) Examination in United States Government and Politics taken May 2014 and prior with a score of 3 or higher. As of May 2015 AP examination, AP United States Government and Politics no longer satisfies the American History and Institutions requirement.
- Successful completion of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Examination in History of the Americas Higher Level (HL) with a score of 5, 6, or 7.
- Successful completion of the SAT Subject Examination in U.S. History with a score of 550 or higher.
International students, regardless of the type of visa they hold, must meet the university’s American History and Institutions requirement for graduation.
Minimum. A minimum of 180 quarter units is required for graduation. These must be distributed according to the minimum requirements set forth by the faculty of your college.
Unit Credit Limitations. For certain courses, there may be limits established on the number of units countable towards the 180-unit minimum required for the degree. To avoid discovering just before graduation that a student is short on units, a student should regularly meet with their advisor to keep track of the number of units taken and credited.
Internship Courses. A maximum of 15 units of internship courses may be counted toward the 180-unit bachelor’s degree requirement; however, some colleges have set a lower maximum. Unless the student has completed a minimum of 84 units, the student shall not receive University credit for an internship course numbered 192. (ASR 532.A & B)
Special Study Courses. Unless the student has completed a minimum of 84 units, the student shall not receive University credit for an Special Study courses course numbered 194H or 199. (ASR 535)
Transfer Courses. The acceptability of transfer courses for unit credit is determined by Undergraduate Admissions. The acceptability of such courses toward specific requirements is determined by the individual college or school. Students should refer to the Advanced Placement Examination chart and their transcripts to eliminate the possibility of duplication of credit.
The minimum residence requirement for a bachelor’s degree at the University of California is one academic year (three quarters). Thirty-five of the final 45 quarter units completed by each candidate must be earned while in residence on the UC Davis campus (UCSR 630.A). Each summer session in which a student completes a course of at least 2 quarter units may be counted as half a quarter’s residence.
Regularly approved courses (laboratory, field, or other individual work) done outside of a regular session but under the direction of a department of instruction may be accepted upon the recommendation of the department in partial fulfillment of the residence requirement for the bachelor’s degree. Registration is with the consent of the instructor only.
UC Davis Extension courses are not accepted as part of the university residence requirement.
There are additional residence requirements for students enrolled in the Colleges of Letters & Science. If you are planning to study abroad during your senior year, you should consult your college dean's office or the Biology Academic Success Center.
With the approval of the dean of a student’s college or school, a candidate for the bachelor’s degree who was in active service in the armed forces of the United States in the year preceding the awarding of the degree may be recommended for the degree after only one quarter of university residence in which the candidate completes at least 16 units or passes a comprehensive examination in the major or field of concentration (UCSR 614).
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. Each colllege has specific requirements, as well; see College Requirements, below.
The General Education (GE) 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 growth by providing knowledge of both the content and the methodologies of different academic disciplines. It involves students in the learning process by its expectation of considerable writing and class participation, and encourages students to consider the relationships between disciplines.
The GE requirement has two components, Topical Breadth and Core Literacies, and is defined in terms of units, not courses.
Topical Breadth Component—52 units
A GE course in topical breadth addresses broad subject areas that are important to the student's general knowledge. The units of most undergraduate courses at UC Davis are assigned to one of the three Topical Breadth Areas.
Note: In the case of a course that has been certified in more than one Topical Breadth Area, a student may count the units of the course in only one of the areas in which it has been certified.
- Arts & Humanities—12-20 units. Courses in this area provide students with knowledge of significant intellectual traditions, cultural achievements and historical processes.
- Science & Engineering—12-20 units. Courses in this area provide students with knowledge of major scientific ideas and applications. They seek to communicate the scope, power, limitations and appeal of science.
- Social Sciences—12-20 units. Courses in this area provide students with knowledge of the individual, social, political and economic activities of people.
Core Literacies Component—35 units
The literacies are crucial both for success in one's profession and also for a thoughtful engaged citizenship in the community, nation and world.
Note: In the case of a course that has been certified in more than one Core Literacy Area, a student may count the units of the course in only one of the core literacy areas in which it has been certified. Additionally, GE credit for a core literacy course a student completes before it was an approved GE literacy course is subject to the relevant dean's office or the Biology Academic Success Center approval.
1. Literacy with Words & Images at least 20 units. The objective of this core literacy is to help students communicate their ideas effectively in written, oral and visual forms. The requirement also seeks to enhance students' critical judgment of oral, written, and visual messages created by others.
Note: A student must have completed the Entry Level Writing Requirement (formerly known as the Subject A requirement) before receiving General Education credit for coursework satisfying requirements a, b, and Writing Experience coursework satisfying requirement c, below.
a. English Composition—8 units. As described by College of College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, College of Biological Sciences, College of Engineering, or College of Letters & Science.
b. Writing Experience coursework in the student's major or in other departments—at least 6 units. Courses in writing experience provide students instruction on how to communicate ideas in the subject matter of the course. The opportunity to improve writing after having received careful commentary is crucial to this requirement.
c. Oral Skills coursework or additional writing experience coursework—at least 3 units. Courses in oral literacy involve effective communication of ideas through oral presentation and build on and strengthen the critical thinking skills exercised through writing. As an alternative to developing oral communication skills, the student may take additional coursework certified as writing experience (see requirement b, above).
d. Visual Literacy coursework—at least 3 units. Courses in visual literacy provide students with the analytical skills they need to understand how still and moving images, art and architecture, illustrations accompanying written text, graphs and charts, and other visual embodiments of ideas inform and persuade people. Coursework may stress the skills needed to communicate through visual means as well as the analytical skills needed to be a thoughtful consumer of visual messages.
2. Civic & Cultural Literacy—at least 9 units. The objective of this core literacy is to prepare students for thoughtful, active participation in civic society. Students will learn to think analytically about American institutions and social relations, understand the diversity of American cultures, and see the relationships between national and local cultures and the world.
a. American Cultures, Governance, and History—at least 3 units. Courses in American Cultures, Governance, and History provide students with an understanding and appreciation of the social and cultural diversity of the United States and of the relationships between these diverse cultures and larger patterns of national history and institutions.
b. Domestic Diversity—at least 3 units. Courses in Domestic Diversity provide students with an understanding of issues such as race, ethnicity, social class, gender, sexuality, and religion within the United States, and develop the student's ability to think critically about diverse socio-cultural perspectives.
c. World Cultures—at least 3 units. Courses in World Cultures provide students with a global perspective in a world where communication technologies, economic relationships, and the flow of people across national borders increasingly challenge national identities and create transnational cultures. Students can satisfy this requirement through coursework or through certified study abroad.
3. Quantitative Literacy—at least 3 units. The objective of this core literacy is to provide students with an understanding of quantitative reasoning and skills for evaluating claims and knowledge generated through quantitative methods.
4. Scientific Literacy—at least 3 units. The objective of this core literacy is to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental ways scientists approach problems and generate new knowledge, and an understanding of how scientific findings relate to other disciplines and to public policy.
Meeting Total Units Requirement. With the exception of units used to satisfy the English Composition element, units approved for a Core Literacy will be accepted toward satisfaction of the appropriate Topical Breadth component. Course units that satisfy requirements in the candidate's major or majors may also be counted toward satisfaction of General Education requirements.
Grading. Students may take courses P/NP to fulfill their General Education requirements, up to the limits set by college and campus regulations. Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate. Students may not present Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credit in satisfaction of GE requirements, except insofar as it may be applied to the English Composition component of the Literacy with Words and Images requirement.
Transfer Students who have successfully completed the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) lower division course work are exempt from all General Education requirements that may be met with lower-division courses. Transfer students who have not completed the IGETC, and who are not entitled to graduate under the provisions of a General Catalog issued prior to Fall 2011 as permitted by the applicable college policy on degree requirement changes, are required to satisfy all General Education components under the revised requirement but may offer previously completed coursework toward their satisfaction.
Approved General Education Courses
For a list of the courses that provide General Education credit; see General Education. Please note that you cannot claim GE credit for a course you completed before it was an approved GE course.