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Subject Requirements

The University of California and the California State University System maintain the same set of course requirements for entering freshmen.  The list is comprised of 15 courses and is often referred to as the “a-g” list.


Required A-G Courses

a l History/Social Science – 2 years required
Two years of history/social science, including one year of world history, cultures and geography; and one year of U.S. history or one-half year of U.S. history and one-half year of civics or American government.

b l English – 4 years required
Four years of college-preparatory English that include frequent and regular writing, and reading of classic and modern literature. No more than one year of ESL-type courses can be used to meet this requirement.

c l Mathematics – 3 years required, 4 years recommended
Three years of college-preparatory mathematics that include the topics covered in elementary and advanced algebra and two- and three-dimensional geometry. Approved integrated math courses may be used to fulfill part or all of this requirement, as may math courses taken in the seventh and eighth grades that your high school accepts as equivalent to its own math courses.

d l Laboratory Science – 2 years required, 3 years recommended
Two years of laboratory science providing fundamental knowledge in at least two of these three foundational subjects: biology, chemistry, and physics. Advanced laboratory science classes that have biology, chemistry or physics as prerequisites and offer substantial additional material may be used to fulfill this requirement, as may the final two years of an approved three-year integrated science program that provides rigorous coverage of at least two of the three foundational subjects.

e l Language Other than English – 2 years required, 3 years recommended
Two years of the same language other than English. Courses should emphasize speaking and understanding, and include instruction in grammar, vocabulary, reading, composition, and culture. Courses in languages other than English taken in the seventh and eighth grades may be used to fulfill part of this requirement if your high school accepts them as equivalent to its own courses.

f l Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) – 1 year required
A single yearlong approved arts course from a single VPA discipline: dance, drama/theater, music or visual art.

g l College-Preparatory Electives – 1 year required
One year (two semesters), in addition to those required in a-f above, chosen from the following areas: visual and performing arts (non-introductory level courses), history, social science, English, advanced mathematics, laboratory science and language other than English (a third year in the language used for the e requirement or two years of another language).

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Subject Requirements

Parents and students may wish to consult their school’s specific list of courses that are approved as meeting the “a-g” requirements.  Each school’s list is found at:

More specific information on each of the subject requirements may be found at the following addresses: