Subject and Course Requirements for the
University of California and California State University Systems

San Diego Unified School District high school graduation requirements are described in detail here. The chart below summarizes the SDUSD course requirements for high school graduation in relation to the subject requirements for entrance into the University of California—the UC a–g requirements—and the California State University.

The UC a-g requirements may be summarized as follows:

  1. Two years of history
  2. Four years of English
  3. Three years of mathematics
  4. Two years of laboratory science
  5. Two years of a language other than English
  6. One year of a single visual or performing art
  7. One additional year of study, from the categories above or a list of specially designated college preparatory electives

Detailed information about the UC a-g requirements may be found here. Detailed information about the California State University (CSU) system?s admission requirements may be found here. The UC—not the district—determines which district courses meet its a–g requirements and lists approved courses by individual high school. CSU uses the UC’s lists of approved courses; it does not approve courses on its own.

Not every district course meets the UC a-g admission requirements. Those that do are marked with a P (for college preparatory) or HP for (honors-level preparatory) in the curriculum area sections and individual course descriptions. However, each district high school seeking recognition of these courses by UC or CSU for its students must include the courses on its individual list of UC-approved courses.

In addition to meeting the subject requirements summarized in the chart, prospective students customarily must also satisfy other criteria for college admission. It must be emphasized that college entrance requirements vary; readers should understand that meeting the high school graduation requirements and the subject requirements for entrance described below does not guarantee entrance to specific colleges.

Campuses of the University of California may use some or all of the following criteria for admission:

  • Academic grade-point average (GPA) calculated on all academic courses completed in the a?g subject areas in grades 10?12, including additional points for completion of University-certified honors courses (see fourth bullet below). The grade-point average is calculated by dividing the total a–g units completed in grades 10–12 by the total grade points earned. Grade points are assigned as follows: A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, F = 0. The University assigns extra points for up to four units of University-certified honors-level courses taken in grades 10?12. For such courses, extra grade points are assigned as follows: A = 5, B = 4, C = 3. Honors-level courses include:
    • Advanced Placement (AP) courses in the a?g college preparatory subjects, designed to prepare students for an AP examination from the College Board
    • Designated International Baccalaureate (IB) courses offered by schools participating in the IB program.
    • Other courses that meet the University?s specific honors-level criteria; these include the word Honors in their titles.
    • College courses taken as a part of a board-approved high school–college partnership agreement. College courses must be transferable to the University of California to receive weighted credit.
  • Scores on the SAT or the ACT assessments.
  • The number, content of, and student performance in courses completed in academic subjects beyond the minimum specified by the University–s eligibility requirements.
  • The number of and performance in University-approved honors courses, College Board Advanced Placement courses, International Baccalaureate Higher Level courses, and transferable college courses completed.
  • The quality of the senior-year program, as measured by the type and number of academic courses (see the third and forth bullets above) in progress or planned.
  • The quality of student academic performance relative to the educational opportunities available in the applicant?s secondary school.
  • Outstanding performance in one or more specific academic subject areas.
  • Outstanding work in one or more special projects in any academic field of study.
  • Recent, marked improvement in academic performance, as demonstrated by academic grade-point average and quality of coursework (see third and fourth bullets above) completed and in progress, with particular attention given to the last two years of high school.

California State University campuses also require students to take either the SAT or the ACT. Test scores and high school grade point average are combined to determine student eligibility for admission. Grade-point average is based on grades earned in courses completed after grade 9, excluding grades for physical education and military science and including bonus points for each C or higher grade in approved honors courses.

SDUSD High School Graduation Requirements in Comparison to
UC and CSU Admission Requirements


SDUSD Graduation Requirements
(44 credits required)
University of California Admission Requirements* California State University Admission Requirements*
History–Social Science
Laboratory Science
Languages other than English
Visual and Performing Arts
College Preparatory Electives
Physical Education
* Must pass with a grade of C or better.