History / social science ("a")

Two units (equivalent to two years) of history / social science required, including:

  • One year of world history, cultures and historical geography, and
  • One year of U.S. history, or one-half year of U.S history and one-half year of American government or civics.

Course guidance

All history / social science courses should be empirically based and promote critical thinking and questioning regarding historical events and perspectives.

World history, cultures and historical geography

  • World history courses do not need to cover every culture or period in the history of humankind. A suitable course could be an in-depth study of a single culture, such as a yearlong study of Chinese civilization. Alternatively, several cultures might be studied and compared, as in a more traditional world history, culture and historical geography course.
  • An important element of appropriate courses is that the focus be outside the United States and, whenever possible, away from cultures very similar to our own, e.g. England and Canada.
  • May be a single yearlong course or two one-semester courses.

U.S. history

  • Courses should cover the full span of American history, be embedded in the wider context of U.S. history and carefully avoid isolating particular groups from the larger society of which they are a part.
  • U.S. history courses may present and analyze historical events and movements with a particular focus such as gender and family in American life or science and technology in American society.

American government / civics

  • Focus may be on the U.S. federal government or comparative politics.
  • Both yearlong and semester courses are acceptable.

Sample courses

Samples of courses approved in the “a” subject area are available for reference as you prepare your own course for UC approval.


Other options for satisfying the “a” subject requirement

UC-transferable college courses or satisfactory scores on SAT Subject, AP or IB exams can also be used to fulfill the history / social science subject requirement.