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UC/CSU requirements


This is a video tutorial series put out by UC Santa Barbara on how to fill out the UC application:




Effective with the class of 2003 the University of California and California State University systems agreed to adopt the same pattern of academic courses required for freshman eligibility, enabling high school students to take the same courses to prepare for admission to both institutions. Although in most instances, the CSU and UC have fully aligned their basic requirements for eligibility for admission, in some areas, CSU and UC will continue to have different admissions practices. This pattern of courses is known as the "a-g" Subject Requirements. 


The (UC) University of California system has established a comprehensive web site for all application and admission information for the UC system. It also  contains hotlinks to all UC campus websites, High School “a-g” lists as well as Junior College Transfer Agreements. You must disable your "pop-up" blocker to use the application feature

UC Freshman Admission Requirements: 

  • Complete 15 UC-required college-preparatory ("a-g") courses, with 11 of those done by the end of 11th grade
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better (weighted by honors/AP bonus points) in these courses
  • Take the ACT with Writing or SAT Reasoning Test. SAT Subject Tests are now be optional
  • Eligibility in the Local Context status is offered to student's in the top 9 percent of their class (this does not guarantee admission to a specific campus).

The (CSU) California State University system has established a system wide homepage that provides hotlinks to all CSU campus homepages. School comparisons by region, SAT/ACT scores, major, and GPA are available.  CSU applications are also be submitted through this site! You must disable your "pop-up" blocker to use the application feature. It can be accessed at:  CSU mentor


The UC/CSU "a-g" Subject Requirements: The academic requirements for both systems are: four years of English, three years of mathematics, two years of history/social science, two years of laboratory science, two years of a language other than English, one year of visual and performing arts and one year of college preparatory electives. These are known as the "a-g" subject requirements. To view the Upland High School courses that have been "a-g" approved click on the following hyperlink: "a-g" Subject List


For information on alternative options for satisfying the "a-g" requirements click on the following hyperlink: Aternate "a-g" options


For information about the UC's Campus Admission practices click here: UC Campus Admission Practices

To view the CSU to UC admission requirements comparison matrix click on the following hyperlinkCSU to UC Admissions Comparison Matrix 

Grade point average : Effective for students seeking admission to both the UC & CSU as first-time freshmen for the fall 2004 term and beyond, the grade point average calculation will include only those grades earned in courses taken during the 10th, 11th and 12th grades of high school and used to satisfy the 15-unit college preparatory course requirement.

Click here for more details on how to calculate your UC/CSU GPA

Honors points: Both the UC & CSU will award honors points in calculating the GPA for up to eight semesters of UC-approved honors-level courses, IB Higher Level and AP courses taken in 11th and 12th grades, including up to two UC-approved honors courses, IB Higher Level and AP courses completed in the 10th grade.

Laboratory science: Students seeking admission to both the UC & CSU as a first-time freshman will be required to satisfactorily complete two laboratory science college preparatory courses. They will require that the two years of lab science include at least one biological science and at least one physical science from the UC list of approved lab science courses. One course must be selected from area "d" (laboratory science), and the second course must be selected from area "d" or area "g" (lab science elective).

Mathematics: The UC & CSU high school requirement in mathematics (algebra, geometry and advanced/second year algebra) may be validated with higher-level college preparatory mathematics courses with "C" grades or better in such courses as trigonometry, analytic geometry and calculus. In addition, advanced/second year algebra can validate first year algebra.

Multiple sittings of SAT and ACT: The CSU will continue to use the highest partial score(s) from multiple sittings of the ACT or SAT. Continuation of current CSU practice will be different from UC practice. The University of California uses the composite score from the SAT I or ACT, although it uses the highest composite score when multiple SAT I and ACT test results are presented.

Repeating Courses: UC & CSU policy states that courses in which a student has earned a D or F grade cannot be used to satisfy the Subject Requirement. If a student has earned a D or F grade in a required subject, the deficiency may be satisfied in one of three ways: (1) by repetition, (2) by completion of advanced work (in specified subject areas only) or (3) by examination scores. If the exact course in which a D/F grade was originally earned is repeated and a grade of C or higher is earned, the original D/F grade will NOT be included in the GPA calculation and the new grade will be used. Additional policies related to repeating courses are listed below:

  • Courses used to satisfy the "a-g" requirements taken in the ninth grade or earlier in which D or F grades are earned are treated as subject omissions. As with all ninth-grade courses, the grades are not included in calculating the Scholarship Requirement GPA.
  • Courses used to satisfy the "a-g" requirements taken for the first time in the 10th-12th grades, in which D or F grades are earned, are treated as subject omissions and scholarship deficiencies. If the courses are not repeated, the D or F grades are used in calculating the Scholarship Requirement GPA.
  • D or F grades earned in courses that are taken beyond the minimum required to satisfy the "a-g" requirements are not used in calculating the Scholarship Requirement GPA.
  • Courses used to satisfy the "a-g" requirements may not be taken Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit.
  • Courses used to satisfy the "a-g" requirements in which the student earns an Incomplete are treated as subject omissions.
  • If a student repeats a course used to satisfy the "a-g" requirements in which he or she originally earned a grade of C or higher, the repeated grade will not be used in calculating the Scholarship Requirement GPA.

For more on the UC policy on repeating classes click on the following hyperlink: Repeating Courses

Validation of "D" grades in foreign language and math: Both the UC & CSU require that applicants have a grade of "C" or better in each term of the required "a-g" courses except that a "D" grade may be validated with a higher grade in the second semester or the next higher level course in foreign languages and mathematics. Even though the course requirement has been validated, the "D" grade will still remain in the grade point calculation.

Validation of language other than English: Both the UC & CSU can validate the requirement for two years of language other than English with a first semester college level course in that language. The college course must show that the first semester of college study is equivalent to two years of high school study. Higher levels of either high school or college level language other than English courses can also validate lower levels of the same language courses.

For more information about the UC's Validation policy for math and foreign language click on the following hyperlink: UC Validation Policy


List of UC Majors


When campuses receive applications from more prospective freshman students than they can admit, they draw on the 14 criteria below to select among qualified applicants. This process is called comprehensive review. Keep in mind that the pool of students who apply to UC is different every year. The level of academic performance necessary for admission to a particular campus or major will vary, depending on the number of applicants and their academic qualifications, as well as the number of available spaces.

  1. Academic grade point average in all completed "a-g" courses, including additional points for completed University certified honors courses.
  2. Scores on the ACT Assessment plus Writing or SAT Reasoning Test, and SAT Subject Tests (no longer a requirement but maybe recommended).
  3. Number of, content of and performance in academic courses beyond the minimum "ag" requirements.
  4. Number of and performance in Universityapproved honors courses and Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and transferable college courses.
  5. Identification by UC as being ranked in the top 4 percent of the student's high school class at the end of his or her junior year ("eligible in the local context" or ELC).
  6. Quality of the student's senior-year program, as measured by the type and number of academic courses in progress or planned.
  7. Quality of the student's academic performance relative to the educational opportunities available in his or her high school.
  8. Outstanding performance in one or more academic subject areas.
  9. Outstanding work in one or more special projects in any academic field of study.
  10. Recent, marked improvement in academic performance, as demonstrated by academic GPA and the quality of coursework completed or in progress.
  11. Special talents, achievements and awards in a particular field, such as visual and performing arts, communication or athletic endeavors; special skills, such as demonstrated written and oral proficiency in other languages; special interests, such as intensive study and exploration of other cultures; experiences that demonstrate unusual promise for leadership, such as significant community service or significant participation in student government; or other significant experiences or achievements that demonstrate the student's promise for contributing to the intellectual vitality of a campus.
  12. Completion of special projects undertaken in the context of the student's high school curriculum or in conjunction with special school events, projects or programs.
  13. Academic accomplishments in light of the student's life experiences and special circumstances.
  14. Location of the student's secondary school and residence. Freshman Selection by Campus Each UC campus designs its own method for evaluating the factors considered in comprehensive review.


The personal insight questions are about getting to know you better — your life experience, interests, ambitions and inspirations.



Think of it as your interview with the admissions office. Be open. Be reflective. Find your individual voice and express it.

While this section of the application is just one part we consider when making our admission decision, it helps provide context for the rest of your application.


The personal statement has been replaced with the new personal insight questions in the fall 2017 application (for students applying in fall 2016). It's hoped this new format will give you clearer guidance and more flexibility in the kind of information you want to share with the University of California.

Freshman questions & directions »

Writing tips »