CSU Transfer Requirements - General Education
As part of the requirements for a bachelor's degree, all CSU students must meet general education requirements. The California State University General Education-Breadth requirements includes a minimum of 48 semesters (72 quarter) units, which consist of 39 semester (58.5 quarter) units of lower division and at least 9 semester (12 quarter) units of upper division courses. Students can fulfill the lower division requirements at a community college prior to transferring to the CSU.
Transferring General Education (GE) Requirements
California community college students may complete all of the 30 semester (45 quarter) units of lower-division courses for CSU GE-Breadth Requirements (for CSU only) or the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (for both CSU and UC) at a California community college before transferring to a CSU campus.
California Community Colleges and other qualified institutions can certify completion of up to 39 lower-division semester (58.5 quarter)units applicable to GE-Breadth requirements or a total package of 37 semester (58.5 quarter)units for IGETC.
The CSU GE- Breadth Requirements is a lower-division 39 semester(58.5 quarter) unit pattern. Transfer students must take specified courses in the areas of:
- Area A — English Language Communication and Critical Thinking
- Area B — Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning
- Area C — Arts and Humanities
- Area D — Social Sciences
- Area E — Lifelong Learning and Self-Development
Each California Community College has a list of courses that can be used in each of the areas. (The list is also available at www.assist.org.)
Each of the areas has a minimum number of units or courses. See the CSU Mentor Transfer Student Planner for more information about each of the areas.
Credit By Exam
Transfer students may earn general education or lower division major credits by taking a CSU accepted external examination in place of a course. The CSU faculties have determined the passing scores, minimum units of credit earned, and certification area (for General Education Breadth and/or U.S. History, Constitution, and American Ideals) of standardized external examinations, such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and College-Level External Examinations CLEP. Each campus in the California State University system determines how it will apply credits earned by external examinations toward the degree major.
California community college can certify the acceptable external examination units in the General Education certification using the currently approved list AP, IB and CLEP exams list above. For students not already certified in GE and/or American Institutions, the CSU campus determines how to apply the credits earned from external exams toward the local degree requirements.
Approved General Education Courses at other Institutions:
(Click on each college's name to view a list of CSU GE approved courses)
Don Bosco Technical Institute (as of Summer 2006)
Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising
Heald Colleges (as of Summer 2010)
Humphreys College(as of Fall 2008)
Marymount California University
San Joaquin Valley College
University of Maryland University College
This information was reviewed and/or updated on 11/19/2015.
General education & IGETC
General education requirements are designed to give UC undergraduates a broad background in all major academic disciplines — natural sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, humanities and fine arts. The general education requirement — often called the breadth requirement — lists the specific courses they must take or number of credit hours they must earn in each discipline.
Each school and college at every UC campus has its own general education requirement. With careful planning, students can meet many of the lower-division requirements before they transfer. Students at a California community college also have the option of completing the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) to satisfy the lower-division general education requirements at any UC campus.
What is IGETC?
IGETC is a series of courses that prospective transfer students attending California community colleges may complete to satisfy the lower-division breadth/general education requirements at both the University of California and the California State University.
Students may be IGETC certified if they complete coursework at one or more California community colleges without regard to current enrollment status or number of units accrued at a California community college.
Students who enrolled at a UC campus, then enrolled at a California community college and transfer to a different UC campus may use IGETC (students returning to the same UC campus cannot complete IGETC).
Students have the option of completing IGETC at their California community college or the specific lower-division breadth/general education requirements of the UC school or college at the campus they plan to attend.
The UC agreement
UC has an agreement with each California community college that specifies which of its courses may be applied to each category of IGETC. Courses taken at more than one California community college may be used to fulfill IGETC and all courses must be completed with a grade of C or better.
Which type of student should follow IGETC
IGETC is most helpful to students who want to keep their options open — specifically, those who know they want to transfer but haven't yet decided upon a particular institution, campus or major.
Which type of student should not
Certain students, however, will not be well served by following IGETC. Students who intend to transfer into majors that require extensive lower-division preparation, such as engineering or the physical and natural sciences, should concentrate on completing the many prerequisites for the major that the college screens for to determine eligibility for admission. However, they can choose to follow the IGETC for STEM pattern of course work. IGETC for STEM is a pattern of courses currently only available to students earning an associate degree for transfer (ADT) at a California community college that offers IGETC for STEM as an option.
Not a requirement, but a consideration
IGETC is not an admission requirement. Completing it does not guarantee admission to the campus or program of choice. However, completing the lower-division breadth/general education requirements — whether through IGETC or the campus-specific requirements — may be considered by the campus in selecting among qualified applicants.
Students who do not complete IGETC before transferring will be required to satisfy the specific lower-division general education/breadth requirements of the UC college or school they attend. However, California community colleges may grant partial certification of IGETC to students who are missing no more than two requirements. Students submitting partial IGETC certification should complete the missing requirements at either UC or a California community college as designated by their department. Students who have been granted partial IGETC certification should not return to the community college for a full certification.
IGETC subject and unit requirement
One course in English composition and one course in critical thinking/English composition.
|2 courses*||6 semester units or|
8-10 quarter units
Mathematical concepts and quantitative reasoning
|1 course||3 semester units or|
4-5 quarter units
Arts and humanities
Three courses with at least one from the arts and one from the humanities.
|3 courses||9 semester units or 12-15 quarter units|
Social and behavioral sciences
Three courses from at least two disciplines, or an interdisciplinary sequence.
|3 courses||9 semester units or|
12-15 quarter units
Physical and biological sciences
One physical science course and one biological science course, at least one of which includes a laboratory.
|2 courses||7-9 semester units or|
9-12 quarter units
Language other than English *
Proficiency equivalent to two years of high school courses in the same language.
|11 courses*||34 semester units|
* Students intending to transfer to CSU are required to take an additional course in oral communication and do not need to demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English.
IGETC courses must be completed with a grade of C or better. A grade of credit or pass may be used if the community college's policy states that it is equivalent to a grade of C or better.
Proficiency in a language other than English
Students may demonstrate proficiency for the purpose of fulfilling the Language Other Than English IGETC requirement in one of the following ways:
- Complete two years of high school coursework in one language other than English with a grade of C or better.
- Complete a course or courses at a college or university with a grade of C or better in each course. Any course (excluding conversation courses) considered by the college or university to be equivalent to two years of high school language may be used. Many college catalogs list the prerequisite for the second course in a language as: Language 1 at this college, or two years of high school language. In this case Language 1 clears both years of the requirement.
- Achieve a satisfactory score on the SAT Subject Test in languages other than English. If the test was taken before May 1995, the first score is the minimum; if the test was taken after May 1995, use the second score.
- Chinese With Listening: not offered before 1995/520
- French/French With Listening: 500/540
- German/German With Listening: 500/510
- Hebrew (Modern): 500/470
- Italian: 500/520
- Japanese With Listening: 500/510
- Korean/Korean With Listening: not offered before 1995/500
- Latin: 500/530
- Spanish/Spanish With Listening: 500/520
- Achieve a score of 3, 4 or 5 on a College Board Advanced Placement (AP) examination in a language other than English.
- Achieve a score of 5 or higher on an International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level Examination in a language other than English.
- Satisfactorily complete a proficiency test administered by a community college, university or other college in a language other than English. The test must assess the student proficiency at a level equivalent to at least two years of high school language.
- Complete, with grades of C or better, two years of formal schooling at the sixth-grade level or higher in an institution where the language of instruction is not English. If secondary school was completed in a non-English-speaking country and the language of instruction of the secondary school was not English, language other than English proficiency can be certified for IGETC without further evaluation. The student must present appropriate documentation of attendance at the secondary school.
- Earn a passing grade on the international A level or O level exam in a language other than English.
- If an appropriate achievement test is not available to assert proficiency, have competency verified by a faculty member associated with a California community college. Such verification requires that the college provide a document on letterhead asserting that the student's proficiency in the language is equivalent to two years of high school study.
If an appropriate achievement test is not available to assert a student's proficiency in a language other than English, a faculty member associated with a California community college can verify competency. The college must provide a document on letterhead asserting that the student proficiency in the language is equivalent to two years of high school study.
IGETC course agreements
A community college course can satisfy only one IGETC subject area even if it is listed on the IGETC Course Agreement in more than one area. However, a single course may be counted toward IGETC and a major requirement.
Coursework completed outside the California community colleges may be acceptable to clear some IGETC requirements (with the exception of IGETC area 1B: Critical Thinking) as long as the community college faculty recognizes the course in question as equivalent to one or more of its IGETC-approved courses.
Certification of IGETC completion is the responsibility of the last community college a student attends prior to transfer.
Students with a substantial amount of coursework from institutions outside the United States should consult with a community college counselor to determine whether they should complete IGETC or the lower-division breadth/general education requirements at the campus they plan to attend.
In addition, some colleges or majors prefer that transfer students follow a more prescribed lower-division curriculum. Refer to the Transfer Matrix [PDF] for campus/program-specific recommendations.