Degree Requirements

College of Letters & Science Degrees 

The College of Letters and Science offers four distinct bachelor’s degrees tailored to your interests and ambitions. Your choice of degree is dependent on your chosen major. Below are links to the requirements for each bachelor's degree:

  1. Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
  2. Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
  3. Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)
  4. Bachelor of Music (B.M.)

Degree Requirements

UC Santa Barbara's degree requirements fall into four main categories:

1. Unit Requirements

You must complete a total of either 180 or 184 units, including 60 upper-division units.

UCSB courses numbered 1-99 are considered lower-division, 100-199 are considered upper-division

2. University Requirements

3. ​​Letters & Science General Education Requirements

4. Major Requirements

For information about Major Requirements, please consult the General Catalog, or contact the Major department directly for advising.

***Students can run a "Progress Check" in GOLD to see which requirements have been fulfilled.

L&S General Education Requirements and Courses

The College of Letters and Sciences General Education Program includes the following General Subject Area Requirements and Special Subject Area RequirementsClick on each area for a list of learning outcomes.

Note: the course lists provided include courses that have been approved for general education requirements through the previous academic year and not approvals made during the current year. The Course Information in GOLD should include the most recent changes.

General Subject Area Requirements

Area A:  English Reading and Composition

Courses that Fulfill Area A Requirements:

  • A1: Writing 2, 2E, 2LK
  • A2: English 10, 10AC, 10EM, 10LC; Writing 50, 50E, 105AA-ZZ, 107AA-ZZ, 109AA-ZZ

Area B:  Foreign Language

​Area C:  Science, Mathematics, and Technology

Area D:  Social Sciences

​Area E:  Culture and Thought

​Area F:  Arts

​Area G:  Literature

Special Subject Area Requirements

Writing Requirement

European Traditions

World Cultures

Quantitative Relations


American History and Institutions

Note: AMH is a UC-wide requirement rather than specifically a UCSB general education requirement.  AHI courses may also count toward General Subject and Special Subject requirements.

General Education Policies & Tips

The One-Area Rule: Each GE course can satisfy one General Subject Area Requirement (Areas A-G) at a time. Some courses may be listed as fulfilling more than one Area A-G, however, only one area will be satisfied.

Courses can apply for both Area & Special Subject Requirements: A single GE course may fulfill multiple Special Subject Area Requirements in addition to one General Subject Area Requirement. For example, a course like Art History 6C may fulfill the General Subject Area E or Area F requirement and also fulfill the European Traditions (EUR) and a Writing (WRT) requirement. You may also search the course lists above to find courses in each area.

Petitioning Courses to Fulfill GE Writing Requirement: L&S students need to complete up to six designated UCSB courses to fulfill the requirement though the number may vary depending on a student’s pre-matriculated coursework.  Up to two UC (non-designated UCSB courses, courses from another UC, or UCEAP courses) may be petitioned for the requirement. See Special Subject Writing Requirement Instructions for petition details.

GE Courses can change yearly: The UCSB Senate can approve and remove courses from the GE list from year to year. Check the current year's list in the General Catalog. If a course a student took is removed later, it will still satisfy the requirement if approved while enrolled in the course.

Identify GE Requirements needed to complete degree: Students can use the “Progress” tab and then select “Running a Progress Check” on GOLD, to determine which General Subject Area and Special Subject Area Requirements are needed to complete their degree program.
Use the search tool to find courses that satisfy GE Requirements: Utilize the “Advanced Search” tool on GOLD to find courses applicable to specific areas. Filter by the relevant Area A-G or by Special Subject Area code:
  • Writing Requirement (WRT)
  • European Traditions (EUR)
  • World Cultures (NWC)
  • Quantitative Relationships (QNT)
  • Ethnicity Requirement Course List (ETH)

LASAR (Letters and Science Academic Requirements) 2024-2025

LASAR is the "brief user's guide" to a Letters and Science degree.  See the Archive below edition from previous academic years.  It covers the essential requirements and policies required for students to complete their degrees.  Students may also consult the General Catalog for more detailed information.


LASAR Archive

Another invaluable resource for understanding the structure of the Letters and Science degree is the annual LASAR (Letters and Science Academic Requirements) publication, distributed at Orientation to all students:

The complete requirements for graduation are explained in the General Catalog.

General Education FAQ

I have nearly finished the Breadth/GE requirements at another UC campus. Can I finish my remaining requirements at UCSB?

If you have not fully completed your previous UC’s Breadth/GE program requirements before you enroll at UCSB, you will need to complete UCSB’s General Education Program. You will receive UCSB general education credit where appropriate for individual courses taken at the other school, but you will most likely need additional courses to satisfy UCSB’s general education requirements.

I took a course that I feel should count for a GE requirement, but it does not appear on the list of approved courses. Can I petition for GE credit?

For general subject requirements, only courses that appear on the lists for areas A through G can satisfy those requirements. There is no possibility of appealing for GE credit for UCSB courses that do not appear on the lists.

Special area requirements (Ethnicity, World Cultures, European Traditions, and Quantitative Relations) are not possible to be satisfied by petitioning UCSB courses as well, with the sole exception of the Writing Requirement: up to two courses not listed as satisfying the Writing Requirement, by petition, may be applied to the six maximum writing requirement courses required.

I have taken a course that appears in the lists for two different general subject areas. Will I get credit for completing both areas?

Although some courses appear on more than one list, individual courses can only satisfy one of the general subject areas. However, some courses can satisfy both a general subject area and a special subject area.

Can a course count for my major and also satisfy general education?

A course can satisfy both a general education requirement and a requirement for your major or pre-major. However, keep in mind that it must be taken for a letter grade if it is to be counted towards your major.