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How To Do IGETC In 15 Steps

How to Do IGETC in 15 Steps

Post Series: By the Numbers

IGETC (pronounced I-GET-SEE) is an acronym for Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum. It exists only in the world of the California community college (CCC) transfer student, and if needed, is one of the biggest components to getting UC-acceptance, after major prep and GPA.

Simply put, IGETC is a series of coursework the UC has determined fulfills the lower-division general education requirements (freshman/sophomore) that you might be expected to take if you were at a UC.  In this case, you’re taking them at a CCC. Each CCC has worked closely with the UCs to determine the courses that match comparable UC courses. Once you fulfill IGETC, you have fulfilled the gen ed courses for any UC to which you apply.

~ Below are 15 tips to assure UC success ~


1. Should you do IGETC?

IGETC is not a UC admissions requirement and completion does not guarantee admission. However, to be competitive, depending on major, if you’re at a CCC you should try and complete IGETC. Usually the social sciences, arts, and humanities recommend IGETC. If you’re a STEM major, because of the huge list of required courses, those majors usually do not recommend IGETC.  Ask your CCC advisor which path is best.


2. Finding the course list

If you choose IGETC, you must finish it. Completing it by final spring term at your CCC makes you a more competitive applicant.

You can find the courses at your CCC that fulfill IGETC by looking at the course catalog (usually near the front) or by doing an online search.  Here is an example from College of San Mateo:

college of san mateo IGETC

click to enlarge


3. Full vs partial IGETC

must finish IGETC once startedAfter acceptance to a UC, you must file a request at your CCC for either Full or Partial IGETC certification. Partial means there are one-two courses missing.  The two required English courses (area 1) and the Math (area 2) cannot be missing if you do Partial IGETC.  These three courses are part of the UC minimum requirements. NOTE:  Berkeley does not accept Partial IGETC, so if you choose it it must be completed by spring before the fall UC enrollment or it may hamper your acceptance drastically.


4. The IGETC subject areas

The areas that must be completed are listed below. You can find more about IGETC on the UC site.

Subject Area 1: English  (2 courses)
    — 1a: English Composition
    — 1B: Critical Thinking/Composition
Subject Area 2: Quantitative Math  (1 course)
Subject Area 3: Arts and Humanities  (3 courses)
    — 3a: Arts
    — 3b: Humanities
one from each discipline, with the third course taken from either
Subject Area 4: Social and Behavioral Sciences  (3 courses)
Subject Area 5: Physical and Life Science  (2 courses, plus 1 lab)
one course in life science, one  course in physical science, with one lab in either one
Area 6:  Language Other than English (LOTE) 
equivalent of one year of college level language in the same language (or two years of high school language in the same language with a C- or better last term)


5. Completing IGETC fulfills the UC general ed requirements.

UC majorsThe good thing about IGETC is once you complete it, you are good to go at every UC. The University of California honors the certificate, meaning you will have fulfilled all the general education courses for every UC and every department/college.  If you choose the alternate GE path (breadth) because you are STEM or from a non-CCC, each UC has its own breadth rules, so you need to examine each one carefully to see what you need.


6. Each course used to fulfill IGETC must have an equivalent letter grade of C or higher.

IGETC grades must be C or better

You will get unit credit for a C- course but it will not fulfill the IGETC requirement.


7. Each IGETC course must be at least 3 semester or 4 quarter units (labs excluded).


8. Once you start IGETC you must finish it.

must finish IGETCYou can complete it either at the CCC or later at a UC. If you get admitted to a UC with Partial IGETC, it’s a good idea to complete it in the summer before you start the UC, so you aren’t bogged down with more classes.


9. Beware the English courses.

Unless your English Area 1b was taken at a CCC, you will most likely have to take another English course, even if you have two composition courses under your belt. That’s because the Critical Thinking/Composition course is a blended course developed specifically for the California community college  system. It doesn’t exist elsewhere (except, perhaps, a few CA State Universities).

The IGETC requirement is (1) one Composition course, and (2) one English Critical Thinking/Composition course. A comp course won’t fulfill 1b and a critical thinking course won’t fulfill 1b. It must be the blended course — and it must be taken after the 1a composition course.


10. A course can fulfill one subject area only.

a course fulfills one area of IGETCYou cannot use the same course to fulfill two IGETC subject areas, except for Language Other than English, which can also simultaneously fulfill Area 3b. IGETC courses can, however, also fulfill major requirements.


11. Courses from other institutions are allowed.

UC IGETCAssuming a course from another CCC — or even a non-CCC  — matches the content (or previous content) of an IGETC course, it can be included, as determined by the CCC certifying IGETC.


12. International students have limitations.

nternational applicants to Berkeley and UCLAInternationals cannot use any foreign coursework to fulfill IGETC except for Subject Area 6, Language Other Than English.  A transcript that shows at least two years of high school where the language of instruction was not English, will fulfill Subject Area 6 (LOTE).  Bring the international transcript to your CCC advisor.


13. Some UC departments don’t accept IGETC.

some UC majors don't accept IGETCBerkeley’s Haas School of Business, its College of Engineering, and Riverside’s Natural and Agricultural Sciences do not accept IGETC. Be sure and check.


14. AP scores can be used in IGETC.

  • Advanced Placement APYou can apply AP scores  of 3 or more in place of IGETC courses. However, no equivalent AP exam will fulfill Area 1b, Critical Thinking and Composition. That course must be taken at a CCC.
  • The same AP exam listed in more than one subject area may not be double-entered. It can be applied to one area only. (The exception to double-listing is Language Other than English (LOTE), which may also be applied to Subject Area 3b, Humanities.)
  • If you have AP in English Language and AP in English Lit, only one may be applied to English. The other will go to Humanities.

A full list noting how AP is applied to IGETC, can be found HERE.


16. You must get certification at your CCC.

Full IGETC certificationAfter you are accepted to a UC, you need to request not only your transcripts be sent, but also IGETC certification be mailed out. These are two separate requests.  Failure to provide the certification can result in your having to take all the general ed courses for your UC over again. The certification is the only record the UC will accept that shows you completed them.


Lindy KIngLindy King offers consulting services to prospective UC transfers and is author of the best-selling ebook, How to Transfer to a UC from a California Community College.

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Lindy King

CA College Transfer offers college admissions services to students hoping to transfer to a UC. Lindy King is the author of the best-selling UC transfer book, "How to Transfer to a UC from a California Community College," now in its 2nd edition. Available on Amazon and iTunes.

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