The University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems require that incoming freshman have completed a certain set of courses in high school. There courses are known as the ‘a-g” courses because each letter has a subject area assigned to it.
If you want to attend a private university or an out-of-state college, these are good preparatory subjects to follow. Most universities have similar requirements and recommendations for admission. For example, the University of Southern California encourages high school students to complete a rigorous curriculum in English, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign language, and the arts. For students intending to major in a STEM field or applying to a selective university such as USC, we strongly recommend you take more than the minimum "a-g" courses (i.e., five or six years of mathematics up to AP Calculus AB or AP Calculus BC, and three or four years of laboratory science).
- History/social science (“a”) – Two years, 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.
- English (“b”) – Four years of college preparatory English that integrates reading of classic and modern literature, frequent and regular writing, and practice listening and speaking.
- Mathematics (“c”) –Three years (5 years recommended up to AP Calculus) of college-preparatory math, including or integrating the topics covered in elementary and advanced algebra and two- and three-dimensional geometry.
- Laboratory science (“d”) – Two years (3 years recommended) of laboratory science providing fundamental knowledge in at least two of the three disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.
- Language other than English (“e”) – Two years (3 years recommended) of the same language other than English or equivalent to the second level of high school instruction.
- Visual and performing arts (“f”) – One year chosen from dance, music, theater or the visual arts.
- College-preparatory elective (“g”) – One year chosen from the “a-f” courses beyond those used to satisfy the requirements above, or courses that have been approved solely in the elective area.
Source: UC A-G Subject Requirements
*Certain Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses may be used to meet these subject area requirements; ask your counselor for a list of UC approved CTE courses.
*Certain classes you may have completed in 7th or 8th grade may be used to satisfy "c" (math) and "e" (language other than English) requirements.
Published on November 9th, 2017
Last updated on March 24th, 2022