UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

General Subject Area Requirements

The following General Education subject area descriptions and course lists are applicable to students in the College of Letters and Science and the College of Engineering.  To find out the specific number of courses required from each area for a particular college and degree objective, please see the appropriate college's section under "Colleges and Departments":

Note: Additional courses may have been approved to fulfill various General Education Area Requirements after the cut-off date for publication in this catalog. For up-to-date information, students in the College of Letters and Science should refer to the Letters and Science Academic Requirements (LASAR) brochure (available in the UCSB Bookstore), and students in the College of Engineering should refer to the College of Engineering General Engineering Academic (GEAR) Requirements brochure.


English Reading and Composition
Objective: To learn to analyze purposes, audiences, and contexts for writing through study of and practice with writing.

The Area A Requirement consists of two parts: Area A1 and A2 and may be fulfilled in one of three ways:

  1. by credit received from Advancement Placement Exams or International Baccalaureate Exams. Please note that AP or IB credit may prevent you from earning units for Writing 2, 2E, or 2LK and Writing 50, 50E, 50LK: go to Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and A Level Credit for details.
  2. by credit from appropriate courses transferred from another institution—see a College of Letters and Science advisor the Writing Program advisor for details.
  3. by successfully completing two approved UCSB courses:
    • Courses that fulfill Area A1: Writing 2, 2E, 2LK
    • Courses that fulfill Area A2: English 10, 10AC, 10EM, 10LC; Writing 50, 50E, 105 AA-ZZ, 107AA-ZZ, 109AA-ZZ.

Note: Students must complete the General University Entry Level Writing requirement before enrolling in courses that fulfill the Area A requirement of the General Education Program.

Program Learning Outcomes—GE Area A: English Reading and Composition

Foreign Language
(College of Letters and Science only)

Objective: To display basic familiarity with a written and/or spoken foreign language appropriate to the discipline.

The foreign language requirement may be satisfied in one of the following four ways:

  1. By completing foreign language level 3 (third quarter) at UCSB or its equivalent at another college or university. Students fulfilling Area B with this method will require 184 overall units to fulfill degree requirements.
  2. By achieving a score of 3 or higher on the College Board Advanced Placement Examination in a foreign language, or by earning a score of 5 or higher on a higher level International Baccalaureate Exam in a foreign language, or by earning one of the following minimum scores on the Foreign Language SAT II: Chinese with Listening—570; French/French with Listening—590; German/German with Listening—570; Modern Hebrew—500; Italian—570; Japanese with Listening—570; Korean with Listening —550; Latin—580; Spanish/Spanish with Listening—570.
  3. By completing the third year of one language in high school with a grade-point average for third-year language of at least C.
  4. By passing a UCSB foreign language placement examination at the appropriate level.

Program Learning Outcomes—G.E. Area B: Language

Science, Mathematics, and Technology (College of Letters and Science only)
Objective: To understand methods and applications of science and mathematics, apply them to problems, and describe solutions using language appropriate to the discipline.

Program Learning Outcomes—G.E. Area C: Science, Mathematics, and Technology

Social Science
Objective: To apply perspectives, theories, and methods of social science research to understand what motivates, influences, and/or determines the behaviors of individuals, groups, and societies. Area D courses are based upon systematic studies of human behavior, which may include observation, experimentation, deductive reasoning, and quantitative analysis.

Program Learning Outcomes—G.E. Area D: Social Sciences

Culture and Thought

Objective: To learn to situate and investigate questions about world cultures through the study of human history and thought and to learn about the roles that citizens play in the construction and negotiation of human history and cultures.

Program Learning Outcomes—G.E. Area E: Culture and Thought

Objective: To develop an appreciation of fine and performing arts, popular arts, and visual culture and to express relationships between arts and historical or cultural contexts.

Program Learning Outcomes—G.E. Area F: Arts

Objective: To learn to analyze texts using methods appropriate to literary study and to situate analysis within contexts where texts circulate.

Program Learning Outcomes—G.E. Area G: Literature

Foreign Language (College of Engineering only)
Objective: To help students gain a familiarity with a foreign language.

Courses applicable to these requirements are listed below: