College-preparatory elective ("g")

One unit (equivalent to one year or two semesters) of college-preparatory coursework is required. Courses must be:

  • One year (or two semesters) of a course approved specifically in the “g” subject area, including courses that combine any of the “a-f” subject areas in an interdisciplinary fashion; or
  • One year (or two semesters) of an additional approved “a-f” course beyond the minimum required for that subject area.

Goals of the requirement

The intent of the college-preparatory elective requirement is to encourage prospective UC students to fill out their high school programs with courses taken in grades 9-12 that will meet one or more of the following objectives:

  • Strengthen general study skills, particularly analytical reading, expository writing, and oral communications;
  • Provide an opportunity to begin work that could lead directly into a major program of study at the University; and
  • Experience, at some depth, new areas of academic disciplines that might form the basis for future major or minor studies at the University.

Course criteria & guidance

Beginning with the 2015-16 submission period, the following course criteria are effective for courses seeking approval in the college-preparatory elective ("g") subject area:

All elective courses must satisfy the following general criteria to meet the area “g” requirement:

  1. Be academically challenging;
  2. Involve substantial reading and writing;
  3. Include problem-solving and laboratory work, as appropriate;
  4. Show serious attention to analytical thinking, as well as factual content;
  5. Develop students’ oral and listening skills; and
  6. Incorporate learning to develop skills and cultivate interest in the academic enterprise.

Electives categorized in the “g” subject area

Courses specifically approved in the “g” subject area include those such as political science, economics, geography, humanities, psychology, sociology, anthropology, journalism, speech or debate, computer science, computer programming, and others. In addition, courses that are interdisciplinary in nature, drawing knowledge from two or more fields, are also acceptable.

Approved “g” courses that cannot be categorized in any of the “a-f” areas must provide academically challenging study at the same level of rigor as advanced courses in the “a-f” subject matter fields. These elective courses must be at the 11th or 12th grade level, have appropriate prerequisites, and present material at a sufficient depth to allow students to achieve mastery of fundamental knowledge the prepares them for University work or a future career path.

Electives categorized in the “a-f” subject areas

Courses categorized in any of the “a-f” subject areas that may satisfy the elective (“g”) requirement are expected to meet standards of quality similar to those for the “a-f” requirements. While it is preferred that elective courses selected from among the “a-f” categories would be at an advanced and/or specialized level, introductory or survey courses in all of the required “a-f” academic disciplines are acceptable as well.

Other options for satisfying the “g” subject requirement

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