General Education Requirements

General Education Requirements - Fall 2011 to Present

The following requirements pertain to students who matriculated for the first time in Fall 2011 or later. If you matriculated prior to Fall 2011, visit the Pre-2011 requirements (page 112).


The UC Davis General Education (GE) requirement has two components: Topical Breadth (52 units) and Core Literacies (35 units). With the exception of units used to satisfy the English Composition literacy, units satisfying a Core Literacy component are also allowed to satisfy a Topical Breadth area. Course units that satisfy requirements in your major may also be counted toward satisfaction of General Education requirements.

Topical Breadth: 52 units required

A GE course in topical breadth addresses broad subject areas that are important to one's general knowledge. The units of most undergraduate courses at UC Davis are assigned to one of the following three Topical Breadth areas.

Note: If a course is certified in more than one Topical Breadth area, you may count the course units toward only one Topical Breadth area.

  • Arts and Humanities: 12 to 20 units
  • Science and Engineering: 12 to 20 units
  • Social Sciences: 12 to 20 units

Core Literacies: 35 units required

These literacies are crucial for success in both one's profession and for thoughtful, engaged citizenship in the community, nation, and world.

Note: If a course is certified in more than one Core Literacy area, you may count the course units toward only one Core Literacy area. 

  1.  Literacy with Words and Images: 20 units
    a.  English Composition (as specified by your college): 8 units
    b.  Writing Experience coursework in your major or in other departments: 6 units
    c.  Oral Skills coursework or additional writing experience coursework: 3 units
    d.  Visual Literacy coursework: 3 units

  2. Civic and Cultural Literacy: 9 units
    a.  American Cultures, Governance, and History: 3 units*
    b.  Domestic Diversity: 3 units*
    c.  World Cultures: 3 units*

  3. Quantitative Literacy: 3 units

  4. Scientific Literacy: 3 units

*Catalog Note: If you are graduating under catalog rules for academic year 2017-18 or later, you must take the 9 Civic and Cultural Literacy units as listed above. If you are graduating under catalog rules for academic years 2011-12 through 2016-17, however, the requirement is slightly different: you must take 6 units of American Cultures, Governance, and History (of which 3 units must also be certified in Domestic Diversity) and 3 units of World Cultures coursework, for a total of 9 Civic and Cultural Literacy units. Please contact your advisor with any questions.

Additional Conditions

Entry Level Writing Requirement

No course passed prior to satisfaction of the Entry Level Writing Requirement can count toward General Education requirements for writing experience coursework.


You may take courses P/NP to fulfill General Education requirements, up to the limits set by college and campus regulations.

Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB)

You may not use AP or IB credit to satisfy GE requirements, with one exception: at the discretion of your college, AP or IB credit may apply to the English Composition literacy. See additional information here.

Transfer Students

Transfer Students who have successfully completed Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) lower division coursework are exempt from all General Education requirements that may be met with lower division courses. Transfer students who have not completed the IGETC, and who are not entitled to graduate under the provisions of a General Catalog issued prior to Fall 2011 as permitted by the applicable college policy on degree requirement changes, are required to satisfy all General Education components under the current General Education requirement but may offer previously completed coursework toward its satisfaction. See additional information here.