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John Muir College

John Muir College admitted its first students in the fall of 1967 and moved to its present quarters in 1970. The college was named for John Muir (1838–1914), a Scottish immigrant who became a famous California naturalist, conservationist, and author. Muir explored much of North America, including the Sierra Nevada and Alaska, and worked for many years for the cause of conservation and the establishment of national parks and forests. Please visit our website at

The Character of the College

Inspired by John Muir’s remarkable life, Muir College stresses the spirit of individual choice and responsibility within the framework of a strong and supportive community. It encourages awareness of environmental issues and involvement in environmental preservation and sustainability both on and off campus. The interdisciplinary minor in environmental studies was started and continues to flourish at Muir College. By these and other means, the college maintains the heritage of the remarkable man for whom it was named.

Honorary Fellows of Muir College

  • Hannes Alfven, Scientist and Nobel laureate
  • Georg von Bekesy, Psychologist and Nobel laureate
  • Oscar (Budd) Boetticher, Filmmaker
  • David Brower, Conservationist
  • Francis H. C. Crick, Scientist and Nobel laureate
  • Ernst Krenek, Composer
  • Ernest Mandeville, Philanthropist
  • William J. McGill, Educator
  • Jonas Salk, Scientist
  • Claude E. Shannon, Mathematician
  • John L. Stewart, Founding Provost
  • Earl Warren, Jurist and Statesman
  • Robert Penn Warren, Poet and Novelist
  • Mandell Weiss, Philanthropist

Environmental Fellows of Muir College

  • Richard Carson
  • Paul Dayton
  • Serge Dedina
  • Kristian Anders Gustavson
  • Jeremy Jackson
  • Ayana Elizabeth Johnson
  • Isabelle S. Kay
  • Charles F. Kennel
  • Krista Mays
  • Alonso N. Noble
  • Naomi Oreskes
  • Robert “Skip” Pomeroy
  • Kimberly Prather
  • Veerabhadran Ramanathan
  • Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Lisa Shaffer
  • Pasquale Verdicchio

Graduation Requirements

To receive a degree of bachelor of arts or bachelor of science, a Muir College student must

  1. Satisfy the UC Entry Level Writing requirement
  2. Satisfy the UC American History and Institutions requirement
  3. Satisfy the requirement in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  4. Complete the Muir College general-education requirements.
  5. Complete the Muir College writing requirement.
  6. Complete a department or interdisciplinary major.
  7. Complete a minimum of 180 units, which must include a minimum of sixty upper-division units.
  8. Satisfy the residency requirement, which stipulates that thirty-five of the last forty-five units passed be taken at UC San Diego as a registered Muir College student.
  9. Declare graduation by completing the electronic degree and diploma application online at

Muir General Education (forty-eight units)

General-education requirements at Muir College include the completion of one three-quarter sequence from each of the following categories:

  • Category I: Social Sciences
  • Category II: Mathematics or Natural Sciences

In addition, students must complete Category III, which consists of two three-quarter sequences chosen from two of the three following areas:

  • Fine Arts
  • Humanities
  • Foreign Languages

Courses must be chosen from approved three-course sequences in each area of general education. Approved sequences are listed on the Muir College website at

Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams and General Education

Units obtained from advanced placement or International Baccalaureate exams may be applied toward the 180 units needed for graduation, but may only be used toward general-education requirements as noted on the campus AP chart or IB Chart.

Using Major Requirements to Satisfy General-Education Requirements

Up to three courses from a student’s major may be used to satisfy general-education requirements.

Transfer Students and General Education
  • Transfer students who have completed IGETC before transfer may waive the general-education sequences above.
  • Transfer students who have completed general-education or breadth requirements at another UC campus before transfer may submit a letter of reciprocity from their original campus to have sequences waived.
  • All other transfer students must speak with a Muir College adviser to see how their transfer units apply to the general-education requirements.

Muir College Writing Requirement (eight units)

Muir College students must complete a two-course sequence in critical thinking, rhetorical analysis, and expository writing. Students fulfill this requirement with MCWP 40 and MCWP 50. Advanced placement or international baccalaureate credit does not satisfy either course.

IGETC-certified transfer students must complete one writing course (MCWP 125) or may request to use MCWP 50 instead.

The writing courses must be taken for a letter grade. Priority enrollment is given to students admitted as first-year students for their first six quarters only, and for transfer students, for their first three. After the priority period, all students will have to wait until their second pass to enroll in Muir College Writing Program courses. Delaying the Muir writing courses may make it harder to graduate on time.


  • All Muir students must complete a department or interdisciplinary major. A Muir College student may pursue any of the over 100 undergraduate majors offered at UC San Diego.
  • Students must declare a major upon accumulating ninety units. Students should consult regularly with both college academic advisers and departmental major advisers to review their academic progress.
  • Majors, courses, and curriculum are described in the UC San Diego General Catalog, and four-year sample plans for majors are available at


Minors are optional. They require a minimum of twenty-eight units of course work, of which at least twenty units must be upper division. Students may use a maximum of eight units of upper-division credit from their major to satisfy minor requirements. A formal request for the minor must be approved by the department or program and college by the quarter before graduation.

Double Majors

A student may declare a double major upon the approval of both departments and the Muir College academic advising office. Students must be in good academic standing and still graduate within the maximum time frame allowed for undergraduates.

Other Graduation Requirements

A student must have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) in UC letter-graded courses of 2.0 or higher to graduate. Students with a term or cumulative GPA below 2.0 will be subject to either academic probation or academic disqualification. (See Academic Regulations and Policies.)

Pass/Not Pass Grading Option

With the exception of units earned in independent study courses (numbered 199), no more than 25 percent of an undergraduate student’s total UC San Diego units may be taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis. MCWP 40, 50, and 125 must be taken for a letter grade. Students are advised to check with their major or minor department before taking a course on a Pass/Not Pass basis.

Enhancing Your Education

Muir Special Project (MSP) Major

The Muir Special Project (MSP) major is a bachelor of arts degree intended for students who have specific talents and interests that are not accommodated by one of the existing campus majors. Each proposal and senior thesis or project must be approved by the Muir College provost, and students must have a minimum 3.25 UC GPA to qualify for the MSP major. The major includes both regular course work and independent study representing up to fifteen upper-division four-unit courses as well as a project or thesis. The project may be one of two kinds: creative work of some sort (e.g., a book of poetry, a collection of musical compositions) or a detailed program of study and research in a particular area. A tenured member of the UC San Diego faculty must serve as an adviser to a student doing the project. For a course to be included as part of a Muir Special Project, the student must earn in it a grade of C– or better.

There is no MSP minor available.

Environmental Studies Minor

The environmental studies minor offers students from every major a basic grounding in the scientific, technical, social, and cultural issues presented by the interaction of human beings with their environment and the need to build a more environmentally sustainable future. For more information, visit


Quarterly provost’s honors, departmental honors, Latin honors, membership in the Caledonian Society of John Muir College, and Phi Beta Kappa honors are awarded. Graduating seniors must have letter grades for seventy-two units of letter-graded course work at the University of California to qualify for Latin honors.

Study Abroad

Students may enhance their undergraduate education by participating in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) and Opportunities Abroad Program (OAP) while still making regular progress toward graduation. Interested students should contact the Study Abroad Office and visit the website at Financial aid recipients may apply aid to the EAP program, and special study abroad scholarships are available. Many programs are now available for sophomores, as well as juniors and seniors. With careful planning, students should be able to fulfill some general-education, major, and/or minor requirements while studying abroad.