Sixth College

Sixth College, the newest of UC San Diego’s six undergraduate colleges, draws on its theme—Culture, Art, and Technology—to meet the lifelong educational needs of students in the twenty-first century. New global challenges demand new approaches to visualization, problem-solving, information handling, and communication across cultural and disciplinary boundaries. Intellectual flexibility; creative, critical thinking; ethical judgment; fluency in assessing and adapting to technological change; and the ability to engage effectively in collaboration with others from a wide range of backgrounds will be critically important to our graduates. To help prepare our students for the future, Sixth College offers an integrated learning environment that emphasizes collaborative learning; creative imagination; interdisciplinary inquiry; and written, visual, kinetic and auditory investigation, argument, and expression. Students will learn to use digital as well as traditional communication and research tools. The college is committed to help students develop skills necessary for lifelong learning, including self-reflection with information technology and the crucial ability to learn from experts.

Sixth College offers students opportunities to explore its theme, Culture, Art, and Technology, both within its academic program and through non-classroom-based programs that provide our students with learning, work, and research experiences both on and off campus.

Sixth College challenges students to examine the multidimensional interactions between culture, art, and technology in order to imagine the future and create new forms of inquiry and communication. Teamwork, artistic expression, interdisciplinary ways of thinking and knowing, and multicultural awareness are core educational goals.

Sixth College students will be encouraged to engage with the outlying community through the practicum. More than an ethical obligation to service, such an engagement is integral to the process of learning to listen across cultures and to consider implications of diverse agencies of change. Sixth College is committed to pioneer meaningful application of evolving technologies inside and outside the classroom. For example, wireless communication technology is incorporated into the very design of this college’s physical infrastructure and curricular planning, allowing Sixth College to pioneer new teaching, communication, community, and lifelong learning paradigms. On campus and off, students will be linked in many ways—by digital media, by team-based course and extracurricular projects and learning exercises, by social and local community engagement (e.g., practicum project), and by diverse cultural and intellectual events that seamlessly connect many aspects of residential life and student affairs programming with the college curriculum. All these linkages help ensure that Sixth College students have the opportunity to develop, learn, and act as integral members of a local and larger community.

Culture, Art, and Technology

All students will take a three-quarter core sequence titled Culture, Art, and Technology (CAT). CAT is a highly interdisciplinary sequence that covers the past (CAT 1), present (CAT 2), and future (CAT 3). It introduces students to thinking across disciplines so they can recognize patterns through critical reading (CAT 1), identify interactions by analyzing and creating academic arguments (CAT 2), and pursue independent research inquiry in a collaborative environment (CAT 3). Exercises and instruction that develop literacy and fluency with information technology and media production software, as well as writing and communication skills, will be embedded in the core sequence.


The Sixth College Practicum is an upper-division, general-education requirement that embodies the college’s commitment to active, hands-on learning. It is a wonderful opportunity for students to integrate theory and practice by making connections between classroom learning and community experiences, both locally and abroad.

Sixth College students choose a four-unit course, internship, research opportunity, or study abroad program that develops both their academic and professional skills.

General Education

The Sixth College breadth requirements have three primary goals: (1) to produce comprehensive knowledge and connections, (2) to encourage creative imagination, and (3) to accomplish these activities from an ethically informed perspective. The aim is to allow students to discover the richness of UC San Diego’s academic life and to see relationships among the sciences, social sciences, engineering, arts, and the humanities. Because Sixth College emphasizes cross-disciplinary ways of thinking, it is critical for students to appreciate the different modes of inquiry within academic disciplines. For information about courses available to satisfy the general-education requirements, please visit the academic advising office in the Sixth Administration Building or check the website at

  1. Culture, Art, and Technology: Three courses. Core Sequence CAT 1, 2, and 3. Includes two (six-unit) quarters of intensive instruction in university-level writing.
  2. Information Technology Fluency: One course. This requirement may be satisfied with courses from a variety of departments.
  3. Modes of Inquiry: Seven courses. Two courses in social sciences, two courses in humanities, two courses in natural sciences, one course in math/logic. (Options are available for science and nonscience majors.)
  4. Exploring Data: One course in statistical methods. (Options are available for science and nonscience majors.)
  5. Art Making: Two courses in literature, music, theatre and dance, or visual arts.
  6. Practicum: Upper-division students must complete a practicum project that extends outside the classroom, for which they will receive four units of credit.
  7. Upper-Division Writing (CAT 125): Students must also take a four-unit upper-division writing course (CAT 125), in which they study public rhetoric and practical communication.

Transfer Students

Transfer students may meet all or most of Sixth College’s lower-division requirements before entering UC San Diego if they have followed transfer agreements or preparation programs. Specific details regarding appropriate general-education agreements are in the catalog section, “Undergraduate Admissions.” Additional resources of information for transfer students include UC San Diego Transfer Services, the Sixth College website, and the student’s community college.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate from Sixth College, all students must

  1. Satisfy the UC requirements in Entry Level Writing and American History and Institutions (See “Undergraduate Degree Requirements: UC Entry Level Writing Requirement” and “American History and Institutions”).
  2. Satisfy the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion requirement: A knowledge of diversity, equity, and inclusion is required of all candidates for a bachelor’s degree who begin their studies at UC San Diego in lower-division standing in fall 2011 or thereafter, or in upper-division standing in fall 2013 or thereafter. (See “University-wide Graduation Requirements.”)
  3. Satisfy the general-education requirements, including the practicum and the upper-division writing requirement (CAT 125).
  4. Successfully complete a major according to all regulations of that department.
  5. Complete at least sixty units at the upper-division level.
  6. Pass at least 180 units for the BA/BS. No more than three units in physical education (activity) courses may count toward graduation.
  7. Attain a C average (2.0) or better in all work attempted at UC. Departmental requirements may differ. Students are responsible for checking with the department of the major for all regulations.
  8. Meet the senior residence requirement. (See “University-wide Graduation Requirements: Senior Residence.”)

Pass/Not Pass Grading Option

Some general-education requirements may be fulfilled by courses taken on the Pass/Not Pass basis. Sixth College students are reminded that major requirements and prerequisites must be taken on a graded basis. 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.


Sixth College students may pursue any of the departmental or interdisciplinary majors offered at UC San Diego. The majority of the academic departments have established lower-division prerequisites. Generally, these prerequisites must be completed prior to entry into upper-division major courses. Many of these courses may count for general-education credit as well. Students are strongly encouraged to work closely with department faculty and college advisers. For details on the specific major departments, refer to the “Courses, Curricula, and Faculty” section of this catalog.

Sixth College Individual Studies Major

Sixth College offers an Individual Studies major (ISM) to meet the needs of students who have unusual and/or multiple academic interests for which a suitable major is not offered at UC San Diego. To apply for the major, students must have completed at least sixty units of work at UC San Diego, including CAT 1, 2, and 3, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25, and be in good academic standing. Transfer students must have at least one quarter of residence at UC San Diego. Students pursuing this major must be goal oriented and self-directed and must submit a written proposal explaining the merits of the program and why it cannot be accommodated within existing UC San Diego majors. The proposal must first be approved by two faculty advisers (a primary and secondary adviser) to ensure that students will have the opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor throughout their undergraduate career at UC San Diego.


Minors are optional. However, students are encouraged to keep as many options open as possible. A minor provides an excellent opportunity to complement the major field of study. Students are required to complete twenty-eight units of interrelated work, of which at least twenty units must be upper division.

College-Sponsored Programs

Science, Technology, and Society Minor

The science, technology, and society minor has been developed by the Science Studies Program and operates with the full support and collaboration of Sixth College. The minor is designed to provide students with an understanding of how scientific knowledge and technological development interact with social values, norms, and institutions. The classes bring together students from the natural sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities in an in-depth, critical exploration of urgent questions about our increasingly technoscientific society. Students primarily interested in the natural sciences and engineering will have an opportunity to explore the social, political, and ethical implications of their selected fields of specialization while students focused in the humanities and social sciences will have a chance to study the processes, products, and effects of science and technology from multiple disciplinary perspectives. The minor builds on UC San Diego’s world-famous graduate program in science studies, and the classes are taught by faculty drawn from the Departments of History, Sociology, Philosophy, and Communication. What unites these disparate disciplinary perspectives is a critical and analytical approach to questions of truth, power, expertise, agency, and legitimacy as they relate to science and society. For further information, please contact the minor program’s coordinator at the Science Studies Office (HSS 5045) at (858) 534-0491 or

Leadership and Community

Collaboration and connectedness are central values of Sixth College. These values are reflected in Sixth College’s commitment to providing meaningful opportunities for students to contribute to the direction and evolution of UC San Diego’s youngest college. Student leadership opportunities include serving on the Sixth College student council or in campuswide student governance roles. Additionally, students assume leadership through service as resident advisers, orientation leaders, and members of the Sixth College executive committee. These opportunities and others not only contribute to shaping what Sixth College is and will become, but also foster the development of life skills that prepare students to be effective citizens and leaders in a world of ever-increasing complexity and diversity.


In addition to the college Honors Program (see under Sixth College), there are many types of honors at UC San Diego.

Enhancing Your Education

Study Abroad UC San Diego

Through the Study Abroad UC San Diego office, students can take advantage of a variety of international opportunities, including study, work, volunteer, and internship programs. Each year, UC San Diego sends about one thousand students overseas. Students may choose from the University of California’s systemwide Education Abroad Program (EAP) that has educational opportunities in thirty-five countries, or from the Opportunities Abroad Program (OAP) that links students with worldwide opportunities sponsored by organizations and universities other than the University of California.

Research Opportunities for Undergraduates at UC San Diego

UC San Diego encourages all undergraduates to become involved in the research life of the university. Every academic department has opportunities for undergraduates to work with faculty on the cutting-edge research projects for which UC San Diego is world-renowned. Working closely with faculty, students will deepen their knowledge and skills in areas of special academic interest, while experiencing what it means to be part of an intellectual community engaged in research. Information can be found through Undergraduate Research at UC San Diego:, Academic Enrichment Program:, and Summer Research Opportunities.

Qualcomm Institute

The Qualcomm Institute ensures that California maintains its leadership in the rapidly changing telecommunications and information technology marketplace. The institute encourages undergraduate participation in its research activities and provides undergraduate summer research scholarships.

Pacific Rim Undergraduate Experiences (PRIME)

The Pacific Rim Experiences for Undergraduates (PRIME) provides opportunities to participate in an international research and cultural experience that will prepare students for the global workplace of the twenty-first century. Students will live and work at an international host site either in Japan, Taiwan, China, or Australia, and gain greater cultural understanding of a new region.

Community Work

PAL (Partners at Learning)

PAL is the service-learning division of Education Studies at UC San Diego. PAL classes give UC San Diego students meaningful opportunities to learn about and experience issues of equity and education in San Diego’s K–12 schools. Through PAL, UC San Diego students serve as tutors and mentors in K–12 classrooms throughout San Diego County. Each year, PAL students contribute about twenty thousand hours of service to underserved schools.

Teams in Engineering Service (TIES)

TIES is a new and innovative academic program putting UC San Diego undergraduates and their technical and creative skills to work for San Diego nonprofit organizations. Multidisciplinary teams of UC San Diego students design, build, and deploy projects that solve technology-based problems for community partners.

Cultural Enrichment

The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination

Sixth College is an official partner of the Clarke Center, which cosponsors college events to develop more effective ways of using imagination in education and learning. The center also supports research at the neural, behavioral, and social level into how imagination occurs. In supporting outreach to enhance appreciation of imagination in confronting humanity’s problems, the Clarke Center also supports the Sixth College academic plan.

Professional Preparation

Academic Internship Program (AIP)

The program offers qualified juniors and seniors the opportunity to acquire valuable work experience related to academic and career interests. Although most internships are in the San Diego area, the Academic Internship Program is national and international in scope, including the popular Washington, DC program and the London program. An extensive library lists more than two thousand available internships in varied settings including, but not limited to, TV and radio stations; law offices; medical research labs and clinics; government agencies; high-tech and biotech companies; engineering, advertising and public relations firms; and financial institutions. Students can arrange their own internship positions with the internship office.

Departmental Internships

Most departments offer internships for their majors; the courses are numbered 197 (See individual departments for additional information).