Undergraduate Requirements


Download the current General Engineering Academic Requirements (GEAR) publication or find a previous year's GEAR in the archives. GEAR is available as a .pdf.

Progress check/Degree Audit

Review your progress toward graduation by running a Degree Audit available through GOLD.


Harold Frank Hall, Rm. 1006
Office hours: Monday-Friday 9:00-12:00 & 1:00-4:00
Email: coe-info@engineering.ucsb.edu 
Phone: (805) 893-2809


College Requirements

All undergraduates in the College of Engineering must meet the following requirements to receive their degree: (links to skip to section)

University Requirements

University of California Entry Level Writing Requirement

All students entering the University of California must demonstrate an ability to write effectively by fulfilling the entry level writing requirement. This requirement may be met in one of the following ways prior to admission:

  1. Achieving a score of 30 or better on the ACT, Combined English Language Arts (ELA) test;
  2. Achieving a score of 680 or better on the SAT, Evidence-Based Reading and Writing test
  3. Achieving a score of 3 or higher on either Advanced Placement Examination in English;
  4. Achieving a score of 3 or higher on either the Advanced Placement Seminar or Advanced Placement Research;
  5. Achieving a score of 5 or higher on the higher level English A International Baccalaureate Examination;
  6. Achieving a score of 6 or higher on the standard level English A1 International Baccalaureate Examination; 
  7. Passing the University of California system-wide Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE) while in high school;
  8. Entering the university with transcripts showing the completion of an acceptable 3-semester unit or 4-quarter unit course in English composition equivalent to Writing 2 at UCSB, with a grade of C or better

Students who have not met the UC Entry Level Writing Requirement in one of the ways listed above will be required to take the Collaborative Writing Placement (CWP) prior to the start of fall quarter at UCSB (see the UCSB Writing Program website for more information). An appropriate score on will satisfy the requirement. 

Students who enter UCSB without having fulfilled the university’s Entry Level Writing requirement and who do not achieve an appropriate score on the examination given on campus must enroll in Writing 1, 1E or LING 12 within their first year at UCSB. A grade of C or higher in Writing 1, 1E or LING 12 is needed to satisfy the requirement. Students who earn a grade of C- or lower in Writing 1, 1E or LING 12 will be required to repeat the course in successive quarters until the requirement is satisfied.

Once students matriculate at UCSB, they may not fulfill the requirement by enrolling at another institution. Transfer courses equivalent to Area A1 and A2 requirements will not be accepted for unit or subject credit unless the UC Entry Level Writing requirement has already been met. Students will only be allowed to meet the Area A requirement of the General Education Requirements with courses taken after satisfying the UC Entry Level Writing requirement. The Entry Level Writing requirement must be completed by the end of the third quarter of matriculation. Students who do not meet this deadline will be blocked from further enrollment at UCSB.

American History & Institutions

The American History and Institutions requirement is based on the principle that American students enrolled at an American university should have some knowledge of the history and government of their country. You may meet this requirement in any one of the following ways:

  1. Achieving a score of 3 or higher on the College Board Advanced Placement Examination in American History or American Government and Politics; or
  2. Passing a non-credit examination in American history or American institutions, offered in the Department of History during the first week of each quarter. Consult the department for further information; or
  3. Achieving a score of 650 or higher on SAT II: Subject Test in American History; or
  4. Completing one four-unit course (see the General Catalog or current Schedule of Classes for a list of valid courses)

Courses used to fulfill the American History and Institutions requirement may also be applied to General Education or major requirements, or both where appropriate. Equivalent courses taken at other accredited colleges or universities, in UC Extension, or in summer session may be acceptable. Students who transfer to UCSB from another campus of the University of California where the American History and Institutions Requirement has been considered satisfied will automatically fulfill the requirement at UCSB.

International students on a nonimmigrant visa may petition for a waiver of this requirement.

Unit Requirement

A minimum of 180 quarter units is required for graduation from UCSB. Most majors in the College of Engineering require more than 180 units.

The Office of Admissions determines the acceptability of transfer courses for unit credit. Please see the transfer of credit page for more information on transfer credit.

Academic Residence Requirement

Candidates for a bachelor's degree must be registered in the university for at least three terms to fulfill the university's academic residence requirement. A term is a regular quarter, including summer session, in which a student completes 6 or more units of resident (on-campus) courses. Each UC summer session in which a student completes at least two units but fewer than six is the equivalent of half a term's residence. In this context, summer session refers to the entire summer session period of twelve weeks and not to an individual summer session mini-session.

At least 35 of the final 45 units must be taken in the college or school in which the degree is to be awarded. Courses taken in UC Extension to not satisfy residence requirements.

College of Engineering Residence Requirement

Students in the College of Engineering must complete at least 27 upper-division units, of which at least 20 must be in the upper-division major, while in residence in the college. In the case of double majors, at least 20 upper division units bust be completed in each major (i.e., not double counted) while in residence in the College of Engineering and in the College of Letters and Science. Courses used in satisfaction of residence in one major may not be applied to residence in another major. Courses taken in University Extension and those completed in the university's Education Abroad Program do not apply to the residence requirement.

Education Abroad or UCDC Program Participants

Students who participate in the University of California Education Abroad program or UCDC program are responsible for all academic residence requirements as explained above. Students who participate in EAP or UCDC as seniors, the rule requiring 35 of the final 45 units in the college or school in which the degree is to awarded is modified to 35 of the final 90 units. Students must secure prior approval to use this modification and may graduate without returning to UCSB provided that they have satisfied all degree requirements by the end of their year abroad. Those who have any remaining degree requirements must return to UCSB to complete a minimum of 12 units on campus while fulfilling final degree requirements.

Grade-Point Average Requirement

At the time of graduation, students in the College of Engineering and the College of Letters and Science must have at least a 2.0 grade-point average in (1) all courses undertaken at the University of California (UC) except those graded passed/not passed; (2) all UC courses required for the student's overall major program, both lower- and upper-division; and (3) all UC courses required for the student's upper-division major program.

Courses undertaken at any of the UC campuses (with the exception of UC Extension courses) are included in the computation of the grade-point average (GPA). UCSB courses taken by concurrent enrollment through Extension, beginning Fall 2000, will be included in UCSB's GPA.

Students who wish to receive recognition for completion of a minor must have earned a grade-point average of at least 2.0 in all courses required for the minor, and in all courses required or acceptable for the upper-division minor. Courses graded Incomplete, except those taken on a passed/not passed basis, will be included as F grades in final computations. Certain courses designated as remedial are offered for workload credit only and do not figure in calculation of the GPA.

College Requirements (General Education)

For an in-depth listing of the GE requirements and courses approved for specific requirements please refer to the GEAR publication.

General Subject Areas

Only courses approved by the UCSB Academic Senate will apply toward General Education Requirements.  Students are encouraged to review course information in GOLD to determine if courses will apply toward a requirement, run regular degree audits, and consult with an academic advisor to ensure all requirements are met before graduation. 

All students must follow the pattern of distribution shown below:

I. Area A: English Reading and Composition

Students must complete Writing 2 or 2E and one course from Writing 50, 50E, 105CD, 105CW, 105M, 105PD, 105PS, 105S, 105SW, 107B, 107EP, 107G, 107J, 107L, 107M, 107T, 107WC, 109ED, 109ES, 109HP, or 109ST.

NOTE: Students must complete the UC Entry Level Writing Requirement before enrolling in courses that fulfill the Area A requirement of the General Education program. Please see above or refer to the current GEAR publication or the UCSB General Catalog for a list of ways to satisfy the UC Entry Level Writing requirement.

II. Areas D, E, F, G, and H: Social Sciences, Culture and Thought, the Arts, Literature, and Foreign Language

Student must complete a minimum of 6 courses.

2017-2018 and Prior Catalog Years:

  • Areas D and E: A minimum of 2 courses must be completed in areas D and E.
  • Areas F and G: A minimum of 2 courses must be completed in areas F and G.
  • Two Additional Courses: A minimum of 2 additional courses from Areas D, E, F, G or H.

2018-2019 and Future Catalog Years:

  • Area D: A minimum of 2 courses
  • Area E: A minimum of 2 courses
  • Area F: A minimum of 1 course
  • Area G: A minimum of 1 course

Special Subject Area Requirements

In the process of fulfilling the General Education students must complete the following Special Subject Area requirements. Courses applicable to these requirements may be found in the GEAR publication.

Writing Requirement

At least four designated courses that fulfill the Writing Requirement.  The objective of the Writing Requirement is for students to study and practice writing, reading, and critical analysis within specific disciplines.  Students will demonstrate abilities by producing writing work totaling at least 1800 words that is independent of or in addition to written examinations.

NOTES: The writing requirement may be met only with designated UCSB courses approved by the Academic Senate. ENGR 101 and ENGR 103 may be used as a writing requirement class, even by those students for whom ENGR 101 is required for the major. New transfer students should consult with the College Undergraduate Studies Office regarding this requirement.

Depth Requirement (2017-2018 Catalog Year and Prior ONLY)

(Three options)

The first option is the completion of two classes in each of two departments (four classes total).  At least one course in each department must be upper division - the other course may be upper division or lower division.  Only courses from American History and Institution, General Subject Areas D, E, F, G, or H, or Special Subject Areas (Writing, Ethnicity, or European Traditions) may be used to meet the depth requirement.

Alternatively, (second option) this entire depth requirement may be satisfied by completion of one of the following sequences: Chicano Studies 1A-B-C, Comparative Literature 30A-B-C, French 50AX-BX-CX, History 2A-B-C, History 2AH-BH-CH, History 4A-B-C, History 4AH-BH-CH, History 17A-B-C, History 17AH-BH-CH, Philosophy 20A-B-C, Religious Studies 80A-B-C or any three courses from Art History 6A-B-C-DS-DW-E-F-G-H-K. Students selecting this option must complete the entire course sequence. Selection of this option does not change the number of courses required.

Option three is to complete an approved minor, (or double major) in a discipline encompassed by areas D, E, F, or G. This can be done by petition only.  Submit petitions to the College of Engineering, Undergraduate Studies Office before your final quarter. By the third week of the quarter in which a student declares candidacy, students completing the requirement with an approved minor must provide the college with documentation from the department that offers the minor stating that they have either fully completed the minor or will complete it with work in progress (WIP).

Ethnicity Requirement

At least one course that focuses on the history and the cultural, intellectual, and social experience of one of the following groups: Native Americans, African Americans, Chicanos/Latinos, or Asian Americans. Alternatively, students may take a course that provides a comparative and integrative context for understanding the experience of oppressed and excluded racial minorities in the United States.

European Traditions Requirement*

Course that focuses on European cultures or cultures within the European tradition.

*2017-2018 and Prior Catalog Years: One course from European Traditions required.

World Cultures Requirement*

Course that focuses on the history, thought, and practices of one or more cultures outside of the European tradition.

*2018-2019 and Future Catalog Years: One course from European Traditions or World Cultures is required. 

Other Regulations

  • 2017-2018 Catalog Year and Prior ONLY: No more than two courses from the same department may apply to the General Education areas D, E, F, and G. (Except if a student completes one of the specific 3-course sequences, such as History 4A-B-C, listed above for the depth requirement.)
  • A course listed in more than one general subject area can be applied to only one of these areas (Example: Art History 6A cannot be applied to both areas E and F). However, a course can be applied towards a single general subject area and any special subject areas that that course fulfills (Example: Black Studies 14 can be applied to the Writing and Ethnicity requirements in addition to the Area F requirement).
  • Some courses taken to satisfy the General Education requirements may also be applied simultaneously to the American History and Institutions requirement. Such courses must be on the list of approved General Education courses and on the list of approved American History and Institutions courses.
  • Courses taken to fulfill a General Education requirement may be taken on a P/NP basis, if the course is offered with that grading option (refer to GOLD for the grading option for a particular course).

Major Requirements

Requirements for each major are specific to your curriculum year. Your curriculum year usually corresponds to the school year when you started at UCSB as an engineer, however, your curriculum year may change due to one of the following circumstances:

  • Change of Major: If you have changed your major, you were placed on the curriculum at the time of the major change.
  • Break in Enrollment: Undergraduate students admitted fall 1997 or later who interrupt their studies at UCSB with one or more breaks totaling nine quarters or more (excluding summer sessions) will be required to follow a newer catalog year.
  • By Petition: If students feel a change of catalog year would be beneficial and appropriate given their circumstances they may petition to change their catalog year. Please consult with an advisor in the Undergraduate Studies Office or your major department for more information.

If you are unsure of which curriculum to follow, please consult with an advisor in the Undergraduate Studies Office or your major department.