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College of Letters and Science

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. 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 the Undergraduate Education and Advising Office 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, 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 in the 200, 300, and 400 series subject to the restrictions described in Academic Information, in this catalog. 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 an unlimited number of units in graduate 200 series courses and up to a combined total of 9 units in 300 and 400 series professional courses toward degree requirements. These units, however, are not counted as upper division units unless this is granted by petition to the Undergraduate Education and Advising Office.

A. The recommendations of the instructor in the course and the department chairperson—in addition to approval from the Undergraduate Education and Advising Office—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. 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 the dean prior to registration. The degree credit allowed by the dean 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 the Undergraduate Education and Advising Office 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 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

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 UC Davis campus; work completed while registered in the UC Study Abroad Program or the UC Davis Extension Open Campus Program does not satisfy campus or College Residence requirements.

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 prior approval from the Undergraduate Education and Advising Office.

English Composition Requirement

The English Composition requirement can be met in one of two ways:

1. By passing the English Composition Examination upon completion of 70 units of degree credit (the examination does not yield credit);


2. By completing with a grade of C- (or P ) or better

a. One course from English 3, Comparative Literature 1, 2, 3, 4, Native American Studies 5, or University Writing Program 1, 1V, 1Y;


b. One course from University Writing Program 101, 102 series, or 104 series, which must be taken after 84 units have been completed.

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, or 104 series, will be accepted toward satisfaction of the English Composition requirement. Note that University Writing Program 101 and 104 series courses or the equivalent must be taken after you have completed 84 units of transferable degree credit.

If your transfer work does not include an acceptable English composition course taken after you had completed or accumulated 84 units, you may fulfill the requirement by examination (see below) or take one course from University Writing Program 101, 102 series, or 104 series at UC Davis.

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 webpage at http://writing.ucdavis.edu/programs-and-services/upper-division-composition-exam-information/upper-division-composition-exam-information. 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.

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; units used in satisfaction of the campus General Education requirement in Science and Engineering topical breath 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, 5, 15, 151, 152, 153, 154A, 154BN, 156A, 156B, 157, 158
  • Astronomy
  • Avian Sciences 13
  • Biological Sciences
  • Cell Biology and Human Anatomy 101, 101L
  • Chemistry
  • Engineering 6, 10, 35, 102
  • Engineering: Biomedical 126
  • Engineering: Computer Science 10, 30, 40, 50, 60, 120, 122A, 122B, 140A, 140B, 142, 150, 152A, 152B, 153, 154A, 154B, 158, 160, 163, 165A, 165B, 170, 175, 177, 178
  • 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
  • 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, 101, 103A, 103B, 104, 113, 121, 122, 123, 124, 126, 127, 129, 130, 131, 135, 146, 180B
  • Statistics
  • Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology 10

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 the Deans' Office 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; see Pass/Not Passed (P/NP) Grading.

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 the Letters and Science Deans' Office so that satisfaction of the College requirement can be noted on your record.

College Board Advanced Placement Examination. 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 Examination. 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.

Major Degree Certification

Requirements for major programs are described in the Undergraduate Courses chapter of this catalog . 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.

Degree Check

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. To help you in these efforts, the Undergraduate Education and Advising Office provides on its website informational materials and instructions on how to evaluate your progress on college and university requirements; see http://www.ls.ucdavis.edu/advising/ Many departments provide similar information regarding your major requirements.

Once you have completed 90 units of degree credit, you should contact your departmental adviser for a check of your major requirements. At approximately this point, you will also be required to request an official degree check summarizing your progress in fulfilling college and university requirements from the Undergraduate Education and Advising Office; see http://ls.ucdavis.edu/advising/academic-advising/mandatory-adv.html for additional information.

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 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 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.

Page content manager can be reached at Catalog-Comment@ucdavis.edu.

Updated: March 22, 2017 10:38 AM