Options for satisfying the "a-g" requirements

The “a-g” subject requirements are designed as an effective preparation, on many levels, for undergraduate work and assure the UC faculty that students have attained a body of general knowledge that will provide breadth and perspective to new, more advanced study. To be considered for admission to UC, students must complete the "a-g" subject requirements, have, at a minimum, a 3.0 UC GPA and take the SAT Reasoning or ACT with Writing exam.

There are a number of ways to fulfill this requirement. The options for satisfying the “a-g” subject requirements are described below. A downloadable guide is also available.

High school courses

The most common method students use to fulfill the “a-g” course pattern is by completing college-preparatory high school courses with grades of C or better. For California residents, these courses must appear on their high school’s “a-g” course list for the academic year the course was taken.

These high school courses must be academically challenging, involve substantial reading and writing, require students to think analytically as well as master factual content and develop critical oral and listening skills. All courses must also meet subject-specific course criteria and be reviewed by UC for "a-g" certification.

Students are not restricted to completing high school coursework at their home high school to satisfy their subject requirements. They may use a course from any California high school or program that appears on the institution's “a-g” course list for the year the course was completed.

College courses

Completing a three or more semester unit (or 4 or more quarter unit) UC-transferable college course with a grade of C or better is another method to fulfill the “a-g” subject requirements. Designated nontransferable English and math courses can also satisfy their respective subject requirements.


Exam scores

Earning a satisfactory score on a SAT Subject, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) exam can fulfill an entire (or part of) an “a-g” subject requirement.


Principal certification

A student may choose to use coursework taken at an institution or program that does not have an “a-g” course list to satisfy their "a-g" subject requirements. This would include courses taken from:

  • Non-accredited, non-online California high schools*
  • Accredited, non-online high schools that have not established an “a-g” course list*
  • University extension programs 
  • Language schools
  • Online publishers*
  • Foreign exchange programs
  • Supplemental learning centers

In order for coursework completed at any of the above types of institutions/programs to be recognized by UC to satisfy the "a-g" subject requirements, the principal of the student's home high school must certify that the course is comparable to other college-preparatory courses offered at the high school. UC expects that such “certification” follows a careful review of the curriculum and/or testing of ability level by the principal, department chair, district curriculum director or other qualified school/district personnel. The principal designates their certification by granting permission for the course to be listed on the student's transcript, along with credits granted and grades earned.

*Important Note: Using principal certification for non-UC-approved online courses to fulfill the “a-g” subject requirements is acceptable only through the 2012-13 academic year. Beginning with the 2013-14 academic year, students may only use UC-approved online courses to satisfy their subject requirements. The principal certification process for online courses cannot be used for the laboratory science (“d”) and visual and performing arts (“f”) subject areas.