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Undergraduate Colleges

One of the features that sets UC San Diego apart from other major universities in the United States is its family of undergraduate colleges: Revelle, John Muir, Thurgood Marshall, Earl Warren, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sixth, and Seventh.

The division of the campus community into small colleges was patterned after the concept that has served Oxford and Cambridge so successfully for centuries. The founders of the UC San Diego campus were convinced that students learn more and find greater fulfillment in their personal lives when joined academically and socially with a relatively small group of students. At the same time, the advantages of size in a university, including a faculty of international renown, first-rate teaching and research facilities, laboratories, libraries, and other amenities, were to be an important part of the design.

The result was an arrangement—the UC San Diego college system—that combined the academic advantages of a large research university with the finest features of a small liberal arts college. Each of the semiautonomous undergraduate colleges has its own campus neighborhood, residence facilities, staff, traditions, general-education requirements, and distinctive educational philosophy. Each faculty member on the general campus is assigned to a college as well as to a department. The system was inaugurated with the opening of Revelle College in 1964. In the following years, six more colleges—Muir, Marshall, Warren, Roosevelt, Sixth, and Seventh—were established. Although many university campuses in the United States have a separate college structure, in most cases, these colleges are designed to serve specific disciplines, such as engineering or business administration. At UC San Diego, however, any undergraduate may select from the full range of majors available. The choice of a college is not based on a student’s major, but on preferences in terms of the various educational philosophies and environments offered by the colleges.

The college system at UC San Diego allows undergraduates to choose from among seven distinct general-education curricula supplementing their major requirements. These curricula range from a very structured liberal arts program to a program with a broad range of electives. By contrast, most universities offer only one general-education curriculum.

Students must rank the colleges in order of preference when applying for admission. Brief summaries of the various college curricula and philosophies follow.

Revelle College

Revelle College stresses breadth and depth in its general-education curriculum. A structured liberal arts program of study establishes a strong educational foundation for any major and prepares the student for the lifelong process of intellectual inquiry. Revelle students are required to complete sequences in calculus and science, with separate courses available for science and nonscience majors. Revelle College also requires a highly respected core humanities sequence and courses in the arts and social sciences. Students either meet proficiency in a foreign language or complete the fourth quarter of college-level instruction. During the final two years, students concentrate on developing a high level of competence in an academic discipline.

Revelle College is distinguished by its emphasis on specific general-education requirements and rigorous academic standards. A high percentage of Revelle College students enroll in graduate or professional schools (law, medicine, management, etc.), graduate with double majors, design individualized interdisciplinary majors, work on a research project, or graduate with university honors.

John Muir College

The general-education and graduation requirements at John Muir College focus on breadth and depth of learning and encourage students to take an active role in their intellectual development. Students complete four year-long sequences in social sciences, natural sciences, or mathematics; and two of the following three areas: fine arts, foreign languages or humanities. In addition, students must complete two analytical writing courses. Other graduation requirements at Muir College include the completion of sixty upper-division units and 180 cumulative units.

Muir College is distinguished by its atmosphere of friendliness, inclusivity, informality, and deep concern for the rights and welfare of others. With our flexible general-education requirements, Muir students have plenty of time to get engaged in the life of the college. In fact, Muir boasts one of the most active student communities on campus. With more student organizations and leadership opportunities than any other college, students experience a sense of belonging and connectedness at Muir.

Thurgood Marshall College

The dedicated focus of Thurgood Marshall College is the active development of the student as scholar and citizen. The college, a small liberal arts and sciences community, is characterized by an open, warm environment in which students pursue any major in the natural and physical sciences, social sciences, engineering, humanities, and fine arts offered at UC San Diego.

The college’s educational philosophy is guided by the belief that, regardless of a student’s major, a broad liberal arts education must include an awareness and understanding of the diversity of cultures that comprise contemporary American society, and the richness that a cultural and intellectual tapestry brings to the lives of American people.

Integral to the Marshall College experience is the unique, three-quarter core sequence, Dimensions of Culture. This interdisciplinary, issues-oriented curricular experience explores both the complexity of American experiences across race, religion, class, and gender, and also the shared resources all Americans draw on when their different identities and interests conflict. Students also choose courses in mathematics or logic, natural and physical sciences, writing, humanities, and fine arts to fulfill general-education requirements.

In addition to a strong academic program, Marshall College is proud of its emphasis on the student as citizen. Students are encouraged to integrate educational alternatives and public service opportunities, such as Partners at Learning (PAL), for which they earn academic credit, into their curriculum. There are also minors in Public Service and Film Studies that reinforce the college commitment to the “cocurriculum.” Other exciting options—such as study abroad, internships, off-campus research, and leadership activities—allow students to develop skills learned in the classroom and apply them to real-world experiences. Toward that end, the Student Leadership Program is especially designed to encourage active participation in the governance of the college and in public service.

Thurgood Marshall College’s hallmark is community, where students are inspired to be active participants in their university education and to take advantage of the abundance of opportunities to learn and develop as exemplary scholars and citizens in a multicultural twenty-first century.

Earl Warren College

Earl Warren College was founded in 1974 and named in honor of the former governor of California and chief justice of the United States. Consistent with Earl Warren’s principles, Warren College at UC San Diego is committed to preparing students for intellectual, social, and professional life as responsible citizen-scholars. The guiding philosophy, “Toward a life in balance,” helps students define their individual educational and career paths. Students gain experience at Warren College that underscores the harmony necessary between academic and cocurricular endeavors.

All students enroll in the two-quarter Warren College Writing Program, which stresses written argumentation based on primary and secondary sources. Earl Warren’s focus on the individual’s relationship with society is reflected in the required Ethics and Society courses. These classes examine ethical principles and their social and political applications to contemporary issues. Warren College’s general-education requirements and academic philosophy guarantee that students will acquire both the breadth and depth necessary to successfully compete in graduate school, professional school, or the workplace. The requirements include a major and two additional programs of study that encompass academic areas outside of a student’s major. Additional courses in formal skills and cultural diversity provide an essential educational complement. Warren College offers students flexibility in fulfilling their general-education requirements and provides a vibrant and welcoming home for the pursuit of rigorous academic study and personal growth.

The college sponsors two interdisciplinary minors, open to all UC San Diego undergraduates. Law and Society emphasizes the interrelationship of legal, social, and ethical issues in their historical context. Health Care–Social Issues analyzes complex social and ethical implications of health-care policies and delivery systems.

Additionally, Warren College is home to the Academic Internship Program, which offers qualified UC San Diego third- and fourth-year students the chance to acquire valuable credit-bearing work experience related to academic and career interests. Warren students are encouraged to pursue academic internships as well as study abroad; both opportunities create well-rounded students with heightened cultural and intellectual curiosity.

Eleanor Roosevelt College

Eleanor Roosevelt College prepares students to thrive as global citizens through scholarship, leadership, and service. The college is named after Eleanor Roosevelt, a woman of passion, intelligence, and independence who dedicated her life to public service at home and abroad. Roosevelt believed that the challenges of the modern world must be met with comprehensive knowledge and understanding. Students must “learn to be at home” in the world: “they must understand its history, its peoples, their customs and ideas and problems and aspirations.” This is true for future scientists and engineers as well as aspiring doctors, lawyers, and politicians. Professionals in every field and discipline need to have a global perspective if they are to succeed in the twenty-first century.

The core of general-education curriculum is The Making of the Modern World (MMW), an interdisciplinary sequence designed and taught by faculty from the Departments of Anthropology, History, Literature, Political Science, and Sociology. MMW teaches students to think historically and comparatively about Western and non-Western societies, and the many ways humans have organized their experiences in different places and times. MMW also provides intensive instruction in university-level research and writing.

At Roosevelt College, each student selects a geographic region for in-depth study. Additional course work in natural science, quantitative methods, foreign languages, and fine arts ensures that all students gain the knowledge and skills needed to compete in graduate school, professional school, or the workplace.

A friendly and supportive campus community, Roosevelt College seeks to help each individual reach his or her full potential as a scholar, leader, and citizen. Cocurricular opportunities range from the Global Marketplace and intercultural workshops to Sunday Suppers at I-House and alternative spring breaks held across the hemisphere.

Roosevelt College sponsors the International House at UC San Diego, as well as undergraduate minors in Human Rights and Migration Studies and South Asian Studies.

Sixth College

Sixth College is characterized by a spirit of creativity and collaboration. The theme, Culture, Art, and Technology, embraces the rich opportunities available in new interdisciplinary approaches to learning and practice. In doing so, it bridges the divisions traditionally separating social and natural science, humanities, technology, and the arts. By piloting educational initiatives and building partnerships with such groups as Calit2’s Qualcomm Institute, the Jacobs School of Engineering, and the University Events Office, we are developing opportunities for students to participate in meaningful creative learning experiences across the campus, as well as the larger community. A supportive yet challenging integrated learning environment, both in and out of the classroom, helps our students to develop the cultural competence and understanding necessary to become fully engaged, effective global citizens in the twenty-first century.

Sixth College’s theme is woven into an educational philosophy and curriculum intended to prepare students for a future that demands ethical integrity, creativity, self-understanding, critical reasoning, appreciation of the powers and implications of science and technology, and flexibility. At Sixth College, students learn interactive skills and approaches needed for success in an increasingly global society: teamwork, cross-cultural understanding, strong writing and multimedia communication skills, and information technology fluency.

All students must complete the three-quarter core sequence in Culture, Art, and Technology (CAT). The sequence, with its embedded writing program, develops students’ abilities to achieve a reflexive understanding of themselves and their society by approaching issues and problems from interdisciplinary perspectives. It examines the foundations, historical interactions, and future possibilities of culture, art, and technology in relation to the problems and potentials afforded by human nature and the larger environment on which we depend. The Sixth College breadth requirements build on the core approach by including courses in art making and information technology fluency, as well as social science, humanities, natural science, mathematics and logic, and statistical methods. The curriculum culminates with the practicum experience. The practicum is an opportunity to put education into action, and an academic learning experience in which students address a real-world problem by undertaking a project. Under faculty mentorship, the students plan, execute, and reflect upon the project and its effectiveness. The practicum reflects a commitment to form bridges with UC San Diego campus units and with San Diego’s communities, to engage students in communal issues, and to foster students’ ethical obligation to service.

Seventh College

At Seventh College, students acquire the skills needed to confront the challenges posed by our changing planet. Seventh College’s flexible general-education curriculum encourages students to approach large-scale, global issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. The college also offers numerous opportunities for students to gain critical academic and job market skills through project-based learning and research. Seventh College is distinguished by its ability to foster a positive and collaborative atmosphere while addressing complex global issues.

Eighth College

UC San Diego students, and those in Eighth College particularly, are in a unique position to critically reflect on and put into action their connections to those at UC San Diego, the region, and more broadly the world. The reflection process requires courage, humility, and self-awareness. Our program cultivates conditions for reciprocity, ethical relations, and strong interpersonal communication skills (including advocacy for self and others).

Eighth College’s general-education program prioritizes awareness of how historical factors interplay with current conditions in order to work collectively toward community-centered solutions to today’s most challenging problems. This includes preparation for responding to future challenges and imagining possible futures.

Students in Eighth College will be prepared to respond to known challenges such as the following: structural racism; widening disparities in economic wealth; compromised health and well-being; climate disruption; ecological degradation; the globalization of chronic and infectious disease types and vectors; and the declining resilience in the capacity of human settlements and working lands to adaptively respond to increasingly frequent and devastating worldwide shocks. Featuring civically engaged pedagogy and experiential learning, the college seeks to inspire and equip students as collaborative future leaders and community partners.

Students will approach these global issues through a general-education curriculum that is both flexible and focused. Students choose from courses that provide breadth and an interdisciplinary perspective. The college-based critical community engagement (CCE) curriculum examines the role of structural racism in communities and provides the necessary background for students to engage in community-based capstone projects. Students will also be supported to navigate breadth requirements and shape their selected focus through CCE course work, cocurricular programs, and academic advising programs. By approaching community and engagement from an interdisciplinary perspective, Eighth College students will nurture critical academic and analytic skills through community-based learning and research.

Eighth College creates an engaged community of students, faculty, and staff, with equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice as core values.

College Administration

The provost is a faculty member who acts as the college’s chief academic and administrative officer. In addition to the provost, each college has a dean of academic advising, a dean of student life, and a dean of residence life.

The academic departments and the college academic advising offices are designated campus units responsible for providing academic guidance and direction to undergraduate students. The college academic advising staff has primary responsibility for providing academic advice and services that assist all students in developing educational plans and course schedules that are compatible with their interests, academic preparation, and career goals.

In collaboration with the student affairs unit, the college academic advising offices conduct orientation programs for all new students. They also provide enrollment programs for new students and advise continuing students about college general-education and graduation requirements. The advising staff of each college provides general academic and curricular information, clarifies academic rules and regulations, reviews all aspects of academic probation, monitors academic progress, assists students with decision-making strategies, and gives information about prerequisites and screening criteria for majors. In conjunction with the academic departments and the Office of the Registrar, the advising offices certify students for graduation and facilitate their academic adjustment to the university.

Moreover, college academic advisers are available to counsel students about educational alternatives, selection of courses and majors, program changes, new academic opportunities, and special programs such as exchange programs, honors programs, and outreach programs.

With a central concern for student development beyond the traditional classroom, the staff of the dean of student affairs provide a variety of nonacademic services such as coordinating leadership and social programs, overseeing residential programs, assisting students with decisions and procedures regarding withdrawal from school, coordinating disciplinary procedures, and making referrals to other student services on campus. (See also “Related Websites.”)

Whatever the question or concern, the provost and staff stand ready at all times to assist undergraduates.