Major and Minor Requirements

To qualify for a bachelor’s degree at UCSC, you must complete the minimum requirements for a major program, as well as satisfy university, campus, and college requirements.

At UCSC, you have the option of pursuing a single major, a double major, or a combined major. The minimum requirements for an established major program are set by the sponsoring department. (If you are a transfer student, the department will determine which of your transferable courses may be used to satisfy major requirements.) The major involves substantial work in the discipline and requires no fewer than 40 upper-division or graduate credits. Only courses in which you earn a grade of Pass, C (2.0 GPA), or better satisfy major or minor requirements.

Additional Majors or Minors

To complete multiple majors and minors, you must fulfill all of the requirements for all majors and minors declared, including the comprehensive requirement for each major. In general, a single thesis may not be used for more than one major. You may count courses for more than one major or minor, as long as each major includes 40 upper-division credits not used to satisfy the minimum upper-division credits of any other major or minor, and each minor includes at least 25 upper-division credits not used to satisfy the minimum upper-division credits of any other major or minor.

The diploma of a student who has completed a double major in history and music, for example, would read “Bachelor of Arts with Majors in History and Music.”

Declaring a Major

The field of interest you indicate on your application to UCSC does not automatically place you in a major. You are advised to declare your major as soon as possible. Students who enter as lower-division students are required to declare a major before enrolling in the equivalent of their third year.* You will not be allowed to enroll in classes for the equivalent of your third year until you have declared a major. Junior transfer students must declare a major during their second quarter at UCSC by the deadline printed in the Academic and Administrative Calendar.

Be sure you are aware of all the necessary criteria for qualifying for the major. It is wise to apply for major status as soon as you feel sure of the field you wish to enter and have met qualification requirements (if any) for the major you wish to pursue.

Determine the requirements for possible majors as soon as possible. Certain majors require substantial preparation, with many interlocking course sequences and qualifying grades in major foundation courses. If you intend to pursue such a major, start work toward it early in your undergraduate career, and review your progress toward qualification regularly. (Review majors that interest you in the Academic Programs section of the catalog). Academic advisers can offer assistance in selecting courses appropriate to your individual needs.

*Note: This is the year you would become a junior given normal progress to degree. For example, if you transfer to UCSC as a beginning sophomore, it is your second year here.

Comprehensive Requirement

Every major at UCSC includes a senior exit requirement designed to integrate the knowledge and skills learned throughout the curriculum. This capstone requirement may be a senior thesis, senior seminar, comprehensive examination, or some other integrative experience. Choices for satisfying this requirement are specified with the requirements for each major.

Minor Programs

See Fields of Study for undergraduate minors currently offered at UC Santa Cruz. Completion of a minor is optional. If you wish, you may complete more than one minor.

The sponsoring department establishes the course requirements for a minor. The minor involves substantial work in the discipline and requires no fewer than 25 upper-division or graduate credits. The minor appears on your official transcript but not on your diploma.

Combined Major

A combined major allows you to complete a course of study involving two disciplines offered as regular programs at UC Santa Cruz.

Examples of combined majors include environmental studies/economics and Latin American and Latino studies/politics. A combined major is designed by faculty representatives from both disciplines. In general, fewer courses are required than for a double major, and students complete the comprehensive requirements as specified for each combined major. Combined majors currently available are listed in the footnotes in the Fields of Study.

The diploma of a student who has completed a combined major in environmental studies and economics, for example, would read “Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Environmental Studies/Economics.”

Individual Major

Students may also work with three faculty members to define an individual major specific to their academic goals. Proposals for individual majors require considerable effort to develop, and students are advised to consider double major, combined major, and major/minor alternatives. College advising offices can provide information on the individual major proposal and approval process.

Catalog Rights

Effective for all undergraduates who entered in fall quarter 1993 or after, students may follow the degree requirements from either the UCSC General Catalog published at the time of entering UCSC or subsequent catalog(s). Students need not follow a catalog in its entirety but may elect to follow different catalog years for their college requirements, university and general education requirements, requirements of their major(s), and requirements of any minor(s).

Catalog year will initially be set for the first year of enrollment at UCSC. Students may elect to follow requirements from other catalog year(s) when filing the Petition for Major/Minor Declaration. All requirements for graduation outlined in the catalog(s) selected must be met before graduation. Changing catalog year(s) is done by contacting your major adviser (for major or minor requirements) or your college adviser (for college, university, and general education requirements).

Students transferring from other collegiate institutions may elect to meet as graduation requirements one of the following:

  • those in effect at the time of transfer to UCSC;
  • those subsequently established; or
  • those in effect when the student entered a previous collegiate institution, provided that entry was not more than three years prior to the time of transfer to UCSC.

Students who seek readmission to UCSC after a break in attendance greater than two years (six regular quarters) must adhere to the graduation requirements in effect at the time of readmission or those subsequently established.

Although general education requirements are determined by catalog year, the specific courses that satisfy a particular GE requirement can change from year to year. The Office of the Registrar annually publishes an updated list of courses that satisfy each GE requirement (except Disciplinary Communication). Since the GE status of a course may change, to fulfill a GE requirement, a student must take the course in a year in which its GE status is recognized.

The courses that satisfy the Disciplinary Communication GE requirement for each major are published in each year’s General Catalog. Students should consult the General Catalog for the year in which they plan to take their DC course(s) to find out the courses that are needed.

Students who entered prior to 1993 should see an adviser. Their catalog year(s) for graduation, whether the year they entered UCSC or subsequent year(s), will be decided at the discretion of their major department and/or their college.

Institutional Responsibility

Undergraduate students who have made significant progress toward a degree in a specific major can assume that a degree will be granted if they meet all catalog degree requirements and maintain continuous enrollment and progress.

Should UCSC find it necessary to discontinue a specific major, every effort will be made to allow currently enrolled majors to complete their degrees within a reasonable period of time. This may include (1) movement to a similar or related degree track; (2) substitution of requirements; (3) development of an individual major proposal; or (4) completion of courses at another University of California campus through the Intercampus Visitor Program. Students with questions concerning this policy should contact their major and college advising offices.

In all cases, any financial obligations are the responsibility of the individual student involved.