UCI's academic year is divided into three quarters, each composed of ten weeks of instruction and one week of final examinations. The university requires a minimum of 12 units a quarter (about 3 classes) to be considered a full-time student, with the maximum being 20 units. The maximum amount of units can be exceeded by petition or by enrollment in the Campuswide Honors Program. The average UCI undergraduate takes four courses, or 16 units. Courses offered are usually worth between 1 to 5 quarter units. Summer courses are offered in either the quarter format of 11 weeks or two summer sessions of roughly half the time for a standard quarter.
UCI employs the traditional A-F grading scale and GPA system, modified for use with the quarter system. Students may elect to take a course for Pass/Not Pass credit, in which a passing grade offers units towards graduation without positively or adversely affecting a student's GPA. This option is often associated with courses that count for fewer than four units (for example, internship credit) or with courses a student wishes to take without the pressure of achieving a desired letter grade. Pass/Not Pass may be used for one course each quarter, with only 12 units counting towards graduation requirements.
In total, at least 180 quarter units are required to graduate. Most of the units come from the graduation requirements of an undergraduate's major, but a substantial amount also come from the general education requirement known as the "breadth requirement". The breadth requirement consists of seven subject categories:
- Natural Sciences
- Social and Behavioral Sciences
- Humanistic Inquiry
- Mathematics and Symbolic Systems
- Language Other Than English
- Multicultural Studies and International/Global Issues
The first category, Writing, is separated between lower division writing (three courses) and upper division writing (requiring the completion of a research project). The sixth category, Language Other Than English, can be fulfilled through four quarters of instruction (or more, depending on a student's major requirements). It may alternatively be satisfied by taking three years of a foreign language in high school, passing an AP test on a language other than English with a 4 or 5, or scoring a 620 or better on an SAT II exam on a language other than English. The seventh category, Multicultural Studies and International/Global Issues, contains two subcategories, Multicultural Studies and International/Global Issues. Category VII and the other categories not listed in detail here each require the completion of three courses from a series or subject area. Additionally, students may partially fulfill selected breadth requirements through petition or participation in extracurricular activities.
Of its 76 undergraduate majors, UCI's most popular ones are Biological Sciences (621 degrees awarded in the 2004-2005 academic year), Economics (417), Information & Computer Science (478) and Psychology and Social Behavior (324). UCI also hosts a diverse array of minors and certification programs. In 2005 the university awarded a total of 5,242 bachelors degrees, 943 masters degrees, and 276 doctorates.
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... Each academic year consists of two semesters and a summer term ... The education system is organised around a credit system, which ensures continuous evaluation of a student's performance and provides flexibility to choose courses to suit the student's ability or convenience ...
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