Special regulations for courses in specific subject areas

The following guidelines are updated annually. These guidelines pertain to lower-division courses that have special regulations for transfer credit to the University of California. They should be used in conjunction with the general information already provided regarding the awarding of transfer credit, keeping in mind that transferable courses should be comparable in terms of their purpose, scope and depth appropriate to lower-division courses in the UC system or to a university-level course. See pages on field studies, independent studies/variable topics courses and online courses for regulations regarding these courses.

Subject areas (alphabetical)

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z


Administration of Criminal Justice Only one introductory course to the profession is allowed for transfer credit. The content of these courses should not specifically deal with the applied, functional aspects of law enforcement. See Criminology/Law and Society.

Agriculture The primary focus of these courses must be theoretical, although the course may contain some elements of an applied nature. Courses should be compared to those at UC Colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences or Natural and Agricultural Sciences or UC Departments such as Botany, Environmental Science or Plant Science.

American Sign Language Appropriate courses must be in American Sign Language, not signed English, and cover the deaf culture as well as the phonology, vocabulary, and grammar of American Sign Language. Courses which cover signed exact English or finger spelling are not acceptable. ASL courses can be use to satisfy the LOTE requirement as identified on the UC TCAs posted at www.assist.org.

Architecture Courses in this subject should emphasize architectural design and theory, rather than applied aspects such as drafting or building/construction technology. These types of courses may be found in UC departments such as Architecture and Civil Engineering. Credit for variable topics is not usually allowed due to credit limitations in this area.

Art Transferable courses in this area should stress aesthetic intent and content over technique. In addition to knowledge and appreciation, courses should stress principles and concepts that unify knowledge as well as the methods of investigation that characterize specific disciplines. Courses on the history of photography, color photography, mixed media and digital and computer art are acceptable. Commercial or professional art courses (Advertising, Commercial Photography, Interior Design, etc.) are not appropriate, nor are craft courses (Calligraphy, Jewelry Making, Weaving, etc.). Courses should include topics such as color, line, dimension and design theory.

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Biological (Life) Sciences Courses in this area should teach fundamental concepts and principles of the Biological Sciences discipline, how these were derived and how they are applied. Although specific prerequisites are not required for introductory courses, these courses are expected to be at the baccalaureate level in content and scope. It is not appropriate for courses in this area to be primarily professional or technical.

While courses generally are expected to have a laboratory or field component where appropriate, lab or fieldwork are not required for elective credit. Courses proposed for lower-division preparation for Biological Sciences majors must have Intermediate Algebra as a prerequisite. Credit will not be given for introductory courses taken after more advanced level courses in this area. Lab courses must include a lab manual.

Business Transfer credit will be allowed for an introductory business course, provided it focuses on the role of business as it relates to the greater society and includes topics on ethics, labor, finance marketing, etc. Credit is granted for up to one year in Principles of Accounting (including Managerial Accounting and Financial Accounting) and one course in Business Law. Calculus and some computer systems courses offered through a business department are transferable, if the majority of the content is math or computer-oriented and not business-oriented.

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Chemistry Courses in this subject should cover the basic principles of chemistry. UC allows only one introductory or survey course prior to the general course series for the major or non-major. Courses designated as applied, remedial/review or for certification are not considered appropriate. Courses proposed for lower-division preparation for Chemistry majors must have intermediate Algebra as a prerequisite. Credit will not be given for introductory courses taken after more advanced level courses in this area. Lab courses must include a lab manual.

College Success Courses (up to 3 semester units maximum) should cover topics such as critical thinking, perceptions of the value of a college degree, university history/policies, student culture, communication, health and wellness, sex, diversity, life planning, campus resources and student responsibility for education. Primary focus should not be career development and course should focus on the theories of succeeding in college. Community college catalog is a required text for this course. One course in College Success is allowed for credit.

Computer Science Courses in this area should cover topics such as introductory theory of the computer; its organization and logic; or development of a high-level programming language. Because of the wide variety of offerings in the field, course descriptions will be examined carefully and compared to courses offered at UC departments such as Computer Science; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Engineering; and Information and Computer Science. Credit for one course in computer literacy may be granted. An appropriate course in computer literacy should include these topics: introduction to the computer, a historical perspective, Internet/World Wide Web, email, Microsoft applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.). A course that covers only one or two of these topics is considered applied and practical and is not appropriate for transfer. Courses that provide technical training or are primarily business-oriented are not considered appropriate for transfer. Courses such as data processing and desktop publishing are not appropriate for transfer.

Criminology/Law and Society The content of these courses should focus on criminal theory and not specifically the functional aspects of law enforcement or administration of justice. UC grants credit for one course in each of the following areas; an introductory course; law and society; and the criminal justice system. These courses are found in UC departments of Criminology, Law and Society, Legal Studies and Sociology. See Administration of Justice.

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Dance Theory, history, choreography, notation or performance courses offered in any department are acceptable. No textbooks are required. There are no limits on dance courses. (Non-traditional courses such as Pilates and aerobics are considered PE and are limited to the PE maximum credit of 4 units.)

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Education Courses should focus on education within the context of its history, politics, culture, and effect on the individual and society. One introductory education course is allowed for transfer. Courses which combine the introductory teaching information, CSTP, and K12 Content Standards, as well as field experience in a "diverse public school setting," could be acceptable as an additional course.

Engineering Courses in this area must have a strong theory component, but may include some application. Surveying courses must have a prerequisite of at least Trigonometry. Most other engineering courses must have a prerequisite of at least introduction to calculus. These include Circuits, Statics and Properties of Materials. One course in Introduction to the Engineering Profession and one course in Introduction to Engineering CAD are also acceptable. Courses primarily skills-oriented, such as manufacturing technology or practical mappings are not considered appropriate for transfer.

The following courses must have Calculus as a prerequisite: Circuit Analysis, Statics, Engineering Materials-Processing, Strength of Materials.

Surveying courses must have a prerequisite of Trigonometry.

Graphics courses do not need a prerequisite. Descriptive Geometry and Dynamics does not need a prerequisite.

English As A Second Language UC Academic Senate regulations allow a maximum of 8 semester units of transfer credit for courses that emphasize writing. Only the highest levels of ESL, which prepare students for transferable English composition, may be approved for UC transferability. In order to approve ESL course work, paragraph development and progression to essay writing is needed. Courses that focus exclusively on listening, reading, or speaking skills are not appropriate for UC credit. Students are allowed up to 8 semester/12 quarter units of ESL/ELD  courses.

English Composition and Literature Courses in English composition must have a prerequisite of a course or examination comparable to the UC Entry Level Writing Requirement. Although such a prerequisite is not currently required for literature courses, the expectation is that they too will be college-level.  Children’s Literature courses are acceptable as a genre but not as a teaching/selection guide for teachers/parents. Literature courses must include a representative reading list. Courses should require extensive practice in writing (6,000-8,000 words) and require a substantial amount of reading of significant literature. Composition courses must include a stylebook. Literature courses must include a representative reading list. Remedial work in English is defined as work primarily focused on topics in spelling, punctuation, and usage, and in the basic structures of sentences, paragraphs, and short essays. 

English/Writing These courses are also called: Writing, Creative Writing, Script Writing (as in Drama/Theater departments), News Writing (Journalism), etc. All courses in which writing is the primary focus must have a minimum prerequisite or eligibility for a transferable English composition course. One course in Journalism is allowed for transfer credit. UC will approve more than one course for a school, but will add a limitation on the TCA. One course in Journalism is allowed for transfer credit. Courses may include topics such as fundamentals, history or media studies. Commercially oriented writing courses are not appropriate. Courses in this area may not be used to meet the English composition requirement for eligibility.

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Field Studies


Health Education/First Aid/Life Saving Credit may be granted for one course in Health Education, one course in First Aid and one course in Life Saving. Courses may include topics in community, general, personal or public health. Comparable courses may be found in UC departments such as Physical Education, School of Public Health, Social and Administrative Health Science, Sociology, etc.

History In 2010, UCOP received a request from UC history faculty about the need for expanded details in the outlines of history courses in the following areas: World History, Western Civilization, American History, Latin American History, History of Africa, and History of Asia. This request for expanded COR is only for series courses in these subjects rather than courses with specialized foci (e.g., The Latina/o Experience in the United States). Courses should emphasize the development of critical and historical thinking through various class assignments, e.g., out-of-class assignments, papers, independent or collaborative research, and include at least one reading beyond the assigned textbook. A recommended format for the COR would group course content into sections rather than a list of dates and locations covered in the course.

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Independent Study

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Languages other than English Language courses should provide instruction in the written and oral language as well as history and cultural traditions of the country associated with the language studied. Languages other than English for Native Speakers are appropriate for transfer. Courses primarily conversational must have as prerequisite a course equivalent to the third year of high school study or one year of college level coursework in the language. Also, the content of conversation courses should not be primarily business or travel-oriented. Conversation courses are not appropriate for IGETC.

Split level courses: In May 2005, UC faculty confirmed that foreign language is an area of sequential knowledge and validation in this area is acceptable. During the 2005-06 TCA update, agreements were adjusted to reflect this understanding. Courses that are equivalent to 2 years of high school study are identified by a footnote and with the IGETC area 6A designation for each foreign language at each CCC. In addition, courses beyond the proficiency level as well as the second half of split courses are also identified with the IGETC area 6A designation. UCOP no longer requires both courses of a split sequence to be taken in order for credit to be granted. The second half of a split course sequence may now validate the first half. In order for a split level course to meet area 3B for IGETC, the course must be a minimum of three units.

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Mathematics Mathematics courses including statistics must have a prerequisite course equivalent to intermediate algebra or higher. These courses will employ topics of advanced algebra as found in courses such as college algebra, pre-calculus, calculus, linear algebra, discrete mathematics, analytic geometry or elementary functions. One year in Elementary Math for Teacher Education may be considered for credit. Math for Teacher Education is not appropriate for Quantitative Reasoning.

Remedial work in mathematics is defined as work in topics from arithmetic, beginning and intermediate algebra, plane geometry, and trigonometry. A pre-calculus course, with intermediate algebra as a prerequisite, containing topics from advanced algebra, elementary functions (logarithmic, exponential, and trigonometric), and analytic geometry, is not considered remedial. Credit for trigonometry is not allowed if taught as a separate course. In the past, UC deducted one unit for courses which contained trigonometry content. Beginning fall 2006, based on UC faculty clarification credit will be granted for College Algebra and Precalculus courses as offered. A student may receive credit for either college algebra or pre-calculus, with a limitation of 5 semester/7.5 quarter units for the combination of courses or any portion completed.

UC continues to require intermediate algebra or its equivalent as a prerequisite for transferable math courses, including statistics. The community colleges will determine equivalence of prerequisite courses. Please note in your TCA submissions that the prerequisite(s) includes intermediate algebra, and if your campus offers any alternative (i.e., equivalent) course(s), be sure to list the alternatives as well.

Math for Liberal Arts Math for Liberal Arts should be on the same level as courses in college algebra, pre-calculus, finite math and statistics. These courses should cover many of the same topics, although in a manner more appropriate for students who will not be using those topics in their major field of study. For example, the area of exponential and logarithmic functions should be just as rigorous as that of a college algebra or pre-calculus course but focused on real-world applications. Math for liberal arts should also cover many of the topics found in statistics and finite mathematics courses but without as much detail.

Military Language Specialized and Military Language Schools should be held to the same standards as indicated above in the Language other than English section.

Military Science Courses are acceptable in the following areas of academic disciplines: literature, history, sociology, psychology, ethics, or engineering in the military services. Some courses of a practical nature may also be acceptable. Comparable courses may be found in the Military Science department or ROTC at UCB, UCSB and UCLA. Courses such as Land Navigation and Orienteering, Basic Mountaineering, Basic Leadership, Basic and Advanced Military Physical Conditioning are acceptable.

Military Service General military credit is not granted upon admission however credit may be granted using the ACE Armed Services Guides based on departmental or UC school or college recommendation after enrollment. If the student requests a review of this course work, advise the student to submit supplemental information upon which to make a decision similar to Independent study. CLEP is not accepted.

Mineralogy Courses in this subject require a prerequisite of either Physical Geology or Chemistry 1.

Music UC does not limit credit for the number of appropriate music courses a student may transfer. Theory and performance courses are appropriate for transfer credit. Electronic music courses should have prerequisites or include music theory and history. Courses that focus primarily on the commercial aspect of music are not considered appropriate for transfer.

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Online courses

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Physical Education Courses may fall into three categories: 1) Activities, 2) Theory, and 3) Academic/Scholarly. Credit for Activity courses is acceptable when physical movement is indicated in the course outline and is limited to 4 semester/6 quarter units. Theory courses are limited to 8 semester/12 quarter units. Courses primarily vocational such as Personal Trainer Certification, Aerobic Instructor Training or Fire Academy Protection Preparation are not considered appropriate for transfer credit. Textbooks are not required for P.E. Activity courses.

Physical Science Courses in this area should teach fundamental concepts and principles – how these were derived, and how they are applied. Although a specific prerequisite is not required for introductory courses, these courses are expected to be at the baccalaureate level in content and scope. It is not appropriate for courses in this area to be primarily professional or technical in nature. Credit will not be given for introductory courses taken after more advanced level courses in this area. Lab science courses must include a lab manual.

Physics UC allows only one introductory or survey course prior to the general course series for the major or non-major. Students may take one series in Physics; duplication of topics will result in deduction of credit. Major courses in this area should teach fundamental concepts and principles – how these were derived, and how they are applied. Physics for Physicists and Engineers must have a prerequisite of calculus; Physics for Biologists must have a prerequisite of trigonometry; and Physics for Liberal Arts Students must have a prerequisite of intermediate algebra. No credit for an introductory course following any course for the major or a more advanced level course. Lab courses must include a lab manual.

Psychology All courses must be academic in content focusing on research, theory and analysis. Courses should include the theory and application of information. Courses in which the student is a recipient of therapy or instruction aimed at personal improvement or information about the health aspects of psychology are not appropriate for transfer.

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Religion Courses in this area should focus on religion in an objective and scholarly manner. Courses should approach religion from a historical and literary point of view that is comparative and cultural. Courses that approach religion from a dogmatic, sectarian point of view meant to indoctrinate or convert are not appropriate for transfer.

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Social Sciences Courses should provide students with an understanding of the development and basic features of societies and cultures. Courses may include an examination of the historic and contemporary ideas that have shaped our world, an examination of the nature and principles of individual and group behaviors, or a study of social science methodologies. Courses that are primarily for personal enrichment are not appropriate for transfer.

Statistics/Probability These courses may be found in the social sciences, mathematics, economics and science departments. At minimum, statistics courses must have a prerequisite of intermediate algebra or its equivalent. A second course in statistics may be acceptable if content is sequential and not duplicative.

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Theater Arts Theory courses, as well as performance and production courses, are appropriate for transfer. Courses may include directing, film making, history, performance, production/stagecraft, costume design and makeup, theory and scriptwriting. Practical courses in Broadcasting such as radio/TV or other commercially oriented courses are not appropriate for transfer.

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Variable Topics Courses 

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