This link has been created to help parents and students better understand the admissions practices of the University of California (UC), and the California State University Systems (CSU).


The UC and CSU Have Standardized Their Admissions Guidelines
The University of California and California State University have agreed to adopt the same pattern of academic courses required for freshman eligibility, enabling high school students to take the same courses to prepare for admission to both institutions. Although in most instances, the CSU and UC have fully aligned their basic requirements for eligibility for admission, in some areas, CSU and UC will continue to have different admissions practices. To explain where the two systems are aligned and where they differ, the following summary was prepared.


Academic Requirements: The requirements for both systems: four years of English, three years of mathematics, two years of history/social science, two years of laboratory science, two years of a language other than English, one year of visual and performing arts and one year of college preparatory electives. These are known as the "a-g" requirements.


Grade Point Average (GPA): For students seeking admission to both the UC & CSU, the grade point average calculation will include only those grades earned in courses taken during the 10th, 11th and 12th grades of high school and used to satisfy the 15-unit college preparatory course requirement.


Honors Points: Both the UC & CSU will award honors points in calculating the GPA for up to eight semesters of UC-approved honors-level courses, IB Higher Level and AP courses taken in 11th and 12th grades, including up to two UC-approved honors courses, IB Higher Level and AP courses completed in the 10th grade.


Laboratory Science: Students seeking admission to both the UC & CSU as a first-time freshman will be required to satisfactorily complete two science college preparatory courses. The UC requires two years of lab science from the UC list of approved lab science area “d” courses. For the CSU, at least one course must be selected from area “d” (laboratory science), and the second course may be selected from area “d” or area “g” (science elective); one physical and one biological science course are required for the CSU.


Mathematics: The UC & CSU high school requirement in mathematics (Math 1, Math 2, Math 3, or algebra, geometry and advanced/second year algebra) may be validated with higher-level college preparatory mathematics courses with “C” grades or better in such courses as trigonometry, analytic geometry and calculus. In addition, advanced/second year algebra can validate first year algebra.


Multiple Sittings of SAT and ACT: The CSU will continue to use the highest partial score(s) from multiple sittings of the ACT or SAT. Continuation of current CSU practice will be different from UC practice. The University of California uses the composite score from the SAT I or ACT, although it uses the highest composite score when multiple SAT I and ACT test results are presented.


Repeating Courses: UC & CSU policy states that courses in which a student has earned a D or F grade cannot be used to satisfy the Subject Requirement. If a student has earned a D or F grade in a required subject, the deficiency may be satisfied in one of three ways: (1) by repetition, (2) by completion of advanced work (in specified subject areas only) or (3) by examination scores. If the exact course in which a D/F grade was originally earned is repeated and a grade of C or higher is earned, the original D/F grade will NOT be included in the GPA calculation and the new grade will be used. Additional policies related to repeating courses are listed below:

  • Courses used to satisfy the “a-g” requirements taken in the ninth grade or earlier in which D or F grades are earned are treated as subject omissions. As with all ninth-grade courses, the grades are not included in calculating the Scholarship Requirement GPA.

  • Courses used to satisfy the “a-g” requirements taken for the first time in the 10th-12th grades, in which D or F grades are earned, are treated as subject omissions and scholarship deficiencies. If the courses are not repeated, the D or F grades are used in calculating the Scholarship Requirement GPA.

  • D or F grades earned in courses that are taken beyond the minimum required to satisfy the “a-g” requirements are not used in calculating the Scholarship Requirement GPA.

  • Courses used to satisfy the “a-g” requirements may not be taken Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit.

  • Courses used to satisfy the “a-g” requirements in which the student earns an Incomplete are treated as subject omissions.

  • If a student repeats a course used to satisfy the “a-g” requirements in which he or she originally earned a grade of C or higher, the repeated grade will not be used in calculating the Scholarship Requirement GPA. 

Validation of "D" grades in Foreign Language and Math: Both the UC & CSU require that applicants have a grade of “C” or better in each term of the required “a-g” courses except that a “D” grade may be validated with a higher grade in the second semester or the next higher level course in foreign languages and mathematics. Even though the course requirement has been validated, the “D” grade will still remain in the grade point calculation. 


Validation of Language Other Than English (LOTE): Both the UC & CSU can validate the requirement for two years of language other than English with a first semester college level course in that language. The college course must show that the first semester of college study is equivalent to two years of high school study. Higher levels of either high school or college level language other than English courses can also validate lower levels of the same language courses