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 http://muir.ucsd.edu.
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. The college has established an individualized major called the Muir Special Project and has inaugurated an exchange program with Dartmouth College, one of the most distinguished undergraduate institutions in the United States. 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
To receive a degree of bachelor of arts or bachelor of science, a Muir College student must
- Satisfy the UC Entry Level Writing requirement
- Satisfy the UC American History and Institutions requirement
- Satisfy the requirement in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Complete the Muir College general-education requirements.
- Complete the Muir College writing requirement.
- Complete a department or interdisciplinary major.
- Complete a minimum of 180 units, which must include a minimum of sixty upper-division units.
- Satisfy the residency requirement, which stipulates that thirty-six of the last forty-five units passed be taken at UC San Diego as a registered Muir College student.
- Declare graduation by completing the electronic degree and diploma application. Degrees are not automatically granted: students must file their intention to graduate online at http://degree.ucsd.edu.
Muir General Education (forty-eight units)
All Muir College students must complete the general-education requirements of the college.
The faculty of Muir College established its general-education program to guide students toward a broad and liberal education while allowing substantial choice in the development of that education. Muir students have the responsibility and flexibility to customize their general-education courses within a broad framework of learning.
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
- 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 http://muir.ucsd.edu.
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 Muir College Writing 40 and Muir College Writing 50.
IGETC-certified transfer students only need to complete one writing course, either an upper-division Muir College writing course (Muir College Writing 125) or Muir College Writing 50.
The writing courses must be taken for a letter grade. Priority enrollment is given to students admitted as freshmen 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.
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 http://plans.ucsd.edu.
While Muir College does not require completion of a minor, it does acknowledge the completion of an approved departmental minor on a student’s transcript. No upper-division courses from your major may be used to satisfy requirements of and a minor.
Minors require a minimum of twenty-eight units of coursework, of which at least twenty units must be upper division. Departments or programs may establish more stringent criteria than the minimum. A formal request for the minor must be approved by the department or program and college by the quarter before graduation.
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 units 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
To take a course Pass/Not Pass, students must be in good academic standing. No more than one-fourth (25 percent) of an undergraduate student’s total UC San Diego course units may be in courses taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis. In most cases, courses required for a major or minor may not be taken Pass/Not Pass. 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.
Maximum Unit Limit
The college expects students to graduate in four years, or two years if admitted as a transfer student. To enforce this expectation, campus regulations state that a student must graduate by the time he or she earns 200 units, or 230 units if the student is declared in a bachelor of science in engineering.
- AP and IB units do not count toward this maximum.
- If you are a declared double major, your maximum increases to 240 units.
- Minors are optional, and do not increase your unit maximum.
A student who exceeds the unit maximum may be barred from further enrollment at UCSD.
Enhancing Your Education
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 http://muir.ucsd.edu/minors/index.html.
The College Academic Mentor Program
The College Academic Mentor Program introduces upper-division students to the aspects of college advising at a local high school. Students will work with a diverse student population, focusing on low-income, first-generation students that are historically underrepresented at schools of higher education. Students will engage in both a training workshop and a field placement program. Students with junior standing may sign up for Contemporary Issues (CONT) 150A or 150B to participate in the College Academic Mentor Program.
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 eighty units of letter-graded course work at the University of California to qualify for Latin honors.
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 http://studyabroad.ucsd.edu. 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.