Academics

Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta.

Q: Does UCSC offer a ____ major? How is the ___ major at UC Santa Cruz? 

A: UC Santa Cruz offers 65 undergraduate majors in the following academic divisions: Arts, Humanities, Physical and Biological Sciences, Social Sciences, and the Jack Baskin School of Engineering. For a list of majors with more information about each one, go to the Admissions Major Pages. Each page has information on study and research opportunities, career opportunities for graduates in the major, how to prepare for the major, and links to the departments and course lists. 


Q: Does UCSC offer a pre-med program? A business program? What about preparation to become a teacher? 

A: UCSC offers a major in human biology, which provides excellent preparation for applying to medical school, and a business management economics program. For students interested in the law, UCSC offers a legal studies major and a "3 Plus 3" program in conjunction with UC Hastings College of the Law. In addition, UCSC offers a minor in education, as well as a graduate teaching credential program. For potential teachers in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), UCSC is home to the innovative Cal Teach program. 


Q: May I apply to UCSC with an undeclared major? When must I declare a major? 

A: Frosh may apply to UCSC without declaring a major, but they will be asked to choose an advising cluster in a general area of study, such as Human Psychology, Culture and Society or Life and Health Sciences. The advising clusters are designed to help students receive the best possible advising, based on their interests. Choice of major has no bearing on frosh admission decisions. 

Students who entered UCSC as frosh may declare a major as early as they would like, if they have decided which major to pursue and have satisfied prerequisites or admission requirements (if any) for the major. They are required to be formally declared in a major before enrolling in their third year (or equivalent).  

Upper-division transfer students must select a major when they apply to the university and are required to be declared in a major by the deadline in their second term of enrollment. 


Q: Can I double major? 

A: Students at UC Santa Cruz often double major in two different subjects. You must obtain approval from both departments to declare a double major. More information on pursuing a double major can be found in the Navigator online undergraduate handbook.


Q: How large are classes? 

A: Class level and major affect the size of classes a student will encounter. Students are likely to experience an increasing proportion of small classes as they progress from freshman to senior level. 

Currently, only 14.8% of our courses have more than 100 students enrolled, and 64% of our courses have fewer than 30 students enrolled. Our largest lecture hall, Classroom Unit 2, holds 473 students. 

The student/faculty ratio at UCSC is 20:1. 


Q: What are the graduation requirements? 

A: UCSC redesigned its undergraduate general education requirements in 2010 to provide all students a relevant and rich learning experience. A complete list of the general education requirements is included in the UCSC General Catalog.


Q: What support do freshmen have? Do they have advisers? 

A: All UCSC students have a number of advisers to help them navigate through the university, choose a major that is right for them, and graduate on time. Advisers include college advisers, college preceptors, and program, major, and department advisers. An introduction to advising for new students (both frosh and transfers) can be found on UCSC's advising web site

In addition, all freshmen are required to take a small, writing-intensive core course, which is offered by their residential college. The core courses are an excellent introduction to college-level reading and writing skills and are also a way to build a community within your college during your first quarter at UCSC. For information about the core courses, please start at the Residential Colleges homepage and click on the links for the 10 residential colleges. 


Q: What honors courses or programs are available? 

A: UC Santa Cruz offers a variety of honors and enrichment programs, including a first-year honors program; departmental and division honors and intensive programs; college honors; field studies and internships; international, national, statewide, and UC-wide honor societies; intensive programs of study, and other campuswide programs. 

For further information about these opportunities, see our Undergraduate Honors Program web pages.


Q: How can I get a UC Santa Cruz catalog?

A: The UC Santa Cruz General Catalog is only available as an online publication. It can be accessed at registrar.ucsc.edu/catalog.


Q: What is UC Santa Cruz's grading policy for undergraduates?

A: Undergraduates are graded on a traditional A-F (4.0) scale. Students may elect a pass/no pass option for no more than 25 per cent of their coursework; several majors further limit use of pass/no pass grading.


Q: What types of facilities exist at UC Santa Cruz?

A: UC Santa Cruz has many specialized facilities for the academic and extracurricular enrichment of its students:


Q: What academic programs are available off campus?

A: UC Santa Cruz offers exchange programs that enable students to study at other universities in the U.S. and abroad, and field programs providing off-campus placements that give students the opportunity to gain experience related to their academic and professional interests and to participate in public service. Through the field-placement programs, students gain or refine practical skills not usually taught in the classroom and provide needed services to various organizations, groups, and businesses. Students can receive academic credit for courses taken at other institutions and for fieldwork completed through almost all of these programs.

In addition to the opportunities available through the programs described at the link below, internships are sponsored by UCSC's Career and Internship Services Center, and independent field study is available through many departments on campus.

For more information on these programs, please see the Field and Exchange Programs page.


Q: What classes does UCSC Extension provide?

A: UCSC Extension Silicon Valley is an affiliated program that offers classes to professionals and members of the community. Many of these classes provide additional academic opportunities for UC Santa Cruz students. A complete description of the program and the classes offered is available at the UCSC Extension home page.