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Don Nickel - Counseling & Matriculation

GE For High Unit Majors

Some majors are referred to as 'high unit' majors because it is necessary to complete a large number of lower division major requirements. Engineering and any major related to the sciences are typical high unit majors. Most majors are not high unit majors. Examples include History, English, Psychology, Child Development etc. A major like Biology, for example, is a high unit major because of all the biology, chemistry, calculus and physics necessary to complete the lower division major requirements. Any major that involves more than 50 units is certainly considered to be a high unit major. Referring to ASSIST  will reveal whether your major is a high unit major.

Students in a high unit major are not advised to complete the IGETC if transferring to a UC. Students in high-unit majors like engineering or the sciences and planning to attend a UC should complete the minimum seven course GE requirement. High unit majors planning to attend a CSU must still complete 45 units of GE. Remember, that you want to transfer when you have completed a minimum of 90 transferable units. You should meet with a counselor to determine what courses you should take for GE.

This means you will be focusing on your major classes at the expense of completing your GE requirements. After you transfer you may have additional GE courses to complete, but they may be fewer than you would have taken if you followed the IGETC. High unit majors often have GE courses waived by the transfer institution.

The minimum seven course GE requirements: (using IGETC as a reference)

Three courses from the following:

  • English: EWRT 1A
  • Critical Thinking: EWRT 2 or PHIL 3 or SPCH 9
  • Math: One course with Math 114 as a prerequisite.

Plus four additional courses from at least two of the following subject areas:

  • Arts & Humanities
  • Physical & Biological Sciences
  • Social & Behavioral Science

Note: If you are a science or engineering major you can count science courses (ex: BIOL 6A, CHEM 1A, PHYS 4A) that is required for the major to count as well for GE under the physical & biological sciences. For example, a Biology major could count CHEM 1A and BIOL 6A towards the four additional GE courses. The student would then need just two additional GE courses from either Area 3 or 4.

Example of a high unit major


email Email: Don Nickel
Phone: 408.864.5423
Office: RSS 240




Last Updated: 4/21/10