Increasing Access to "a-g" Curriculum

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What is the relationship of "a-g" to high school graduation requirements?

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California’s high school graduation requirements  are defined in the state Education Code. The state requirements are not the same as the "a-g" requirements. Even if a high school course gives credit toward graduation, it only counts toward the "a-g" requirements if it has been certified by UC. Furthermore, UC/CSU often require more years of study in particular subjects (such as four years of college preparatory English) than is required by the state. 

While the state requirements are less demanding in terms of number and rigor of academic courses than the "a-g" requirements, they require different courses as well.  In addition to passing academic courses, students must take two years of physical education as well as pass the high school exit exam (CAHSEE) to graduate from high school. Details on these requirements are available from the California Department of Education (CDE).

High school/district graduation requirements also might vary from the "a-g" requirements. Again, district requirements are usually less demanding in terms of the number of rigorous academic courses, but usually have a minimum number of units, and often add requirements like completing a senior project and/or some amount of community service. Students should be sure to check with their school or district office to ensure that they know all that is required of them to graduate.

Perhaps the easiest way to compare the California state graduation requirements with the UC and CSU course entry requirements is to visit the CDE website, which provides a matrix comparing the three. Don't forget that your school's may require additional courses to graduate!

Another great resource is the UC "a-g" guide site.  The UC-CSU comparison matrix details the requirements for each and where they differ. Both UC and CSU have their own websites with information about applying to the various campuses. Students going to community college should remember that fulfilling the "a-g" requirements now will make transferring to a four-year institution a much easier process.

Details on the UC requirements.

Details on the CSU requirements.


CSU-UC Comparison of Minimum Eligibility Requirements for Freshman

University of California Office of the President

This site compares UC and CSU course requirements for freshman admission.

California State University Admissions Handbook

California State University, 2009-2010

Cal State Admissions Handbook 2009-2010

University of California Quick Reference for Counselors

University of California 2010-2011

UC Quick Reference for Counselors


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Last modified on 12/31/2009

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