Writing "a-g" courses

Tips & techniques

Review the subject area course criteria

Before beginning the “a-g” course development and submission process, review the subject area course criteria to ensure that the curricular focus of the course meets the requirements and guidelines of its respective subject area. The course criteria for the seven “a-g” subject areas was developed by the Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS), a committee of the University's Academic Senate that includes faculty representatives from each UC campus.

Become familiar with all aspects of the “a-g” subject area course criteria. Look out for requirements specific to each subject area. Some subject areas require courses to include appropriate pre- or co-requisite work, substantial reading and writing, laboratory activities and relevant information addressing how students are developing and using critical thinking and habits of mind skills. A-G approval is based on the course demonstrating compliance with the "a-g" subject area course criteria.

Focus on course content

Submitted course descriptions should emphasize the core knowledge and skills students are expected to learn, including concepts, theory and texts. Provide adequate detail about the content, outlining and describing major themes, topics and sub-topics. There should be clear evidence of the level of rigor of the course and the development of essential critical thinking skills.

Explanation of key assignments should include the intent and significance of each, in addition to a general description.

For courses that integrate academic and career-technical content, provide a detailed description of the academic and technical content in your course submission. Discuss how the career-technical content is used as a strategy to deepen understanding of theoretical concepts and brings the curriculum to life through real-world applications.

Be specific and detailed

All sections of your course submission should be expository in nature. Bulleted lists of topics and assignments do not provide our analysts adequate insight into the content, intent and rigor of the curriculum. UC expects to see information that shows specific, detailed evidence of the academically challenging content and use of essential skills and habits of mind.

Write to your audience

Just as you advise your students - write to your audience. Keep in mind that the audience is the High School Articulation unit. Include relevant information that would assist those reviewing the course and provide UC a better understanding and clarity about the intent of the curriculum. Recognize that UC is looking for breadth and depth of the content and rigor, and evidence of the development of essential analytical and critical thinking skills.

If appropriate, provide a context for the course so that the subject area analysts understand how the course fits into broader school reform efforts, programs, pathways and students’ needs.

Presentation is important

UC may ask for different and more specific information than what may be typically submitted to a school board. Use the Quick-Start Guide for New A-G Course Submissions [PDF] to ensure that all pertinent information is prepared and included in the course submission.

Use formats, text and jargon that are easy to read and understand. Irregular text and formatting makes it harder for our analysts to properly assess a course’s content for “a-g” approval.

Tools & resources

Quick-start guide for new courses

The Quick-Start Guide for New A-G Course Submissions [PDF] provides a comprehensive overview of the new course submission form and the required course content information needed for “a-g” review.

Sample courses

Registered users can access the repository of approved “a-g” courses including the full course descriptions for approved “a-g” courses.

Webinars & more

The UC High School Articulation unit conducts webinars and other presentations focusing on “a-g” course development and submission. Archived presentations and webinars are also available.

Other resources

Browse through the list of resources, including programs and helpful documents, for curriculum and professional development.