John Muir College
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 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 also sponsors the film studies minor. It has established an individualized major called the Muir Special Project. And it has inaugurated an exchange program with Dartmouth College, one of the most distinguished undergraduate institutions in the United States. Each quarter UC San Diego students attend Dartmouth, while a similar number come from Dartmouth to Muir College. 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
- Charles F. Kennel
- Krista Mays
- Naomi Oreskes
- Kimberly Prather
- Kim Stanley Robinson
- Lisa Shaffer
The faculty of Muir College established its general-education program to guide students toward a broad and liberal education while allowing them substantial choice in the development of that education. This is accomplished by granting students the responsibility and flexibility to highly 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 areas:
- Social Science
- Mathematics (calculus) or Natural Sciences
In addition, two three-quarter sequences from two of the three following areas are required:
- Fine Arts
- Foreign Languages
The student’s freedom to choose carries with it the responsibility to plan carefully. Before making a final selection of courses, students should verify general-education requirements and approved sequences in each area from the college’s academic advising unit. As they plan, students should be aware that
- Only complete sequences may be applied to the general-education requirement. Ordinarily, an entire sequence from one department is taken in one academic year.
- Courses taken to satisfy only the general-education requirements and not for a major or minor may, in general, be taken Pass/Not Pass.
- Units obtained from advanced placement may be applied toward the 180 units needed for graduation; AP units may only be used toward general-education requirements as noted on the campus AP chart.
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 the sequences above waived. All other transfer students must speak with a Muir College adviser to see how their transfer units apply to the requirements above.
In addition to the four yearlong sequences, Muir College has the following general-education requirement:
- Composition Requirement: 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. They have the option of completing either an upper-division Muir College Writing course (Muir College Writing 125) or Muir College Writing 50
- The writing courses are offered for a letter grade only. 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.
To receive a degree of bachelor of arts or bachelor of science, a Muir College student must
- Declare graduation by completing the electronic Degree and Diploma Application. Please see the Muir academic advising office for further information. Students who plan to graduate at the end of a summer session must complete the above-mentioned process early in spring quarter. Degrees are not automatically granted: students must file their intention to graduate online at http://degree.ucsd.edu.
- Satisfy the UC requirements in Entry Level Writing and American History and Institutions (See “University-wide Graduation Requirements”).
- 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”).
- Meet the Muir College requirement in writing proficiency. This requirement asks that the student demonstrate an ability to write English according to standards appropriate for all college work. (See Muir College course listings at “The Writing Program.”)
- Fulfill the general-education requirements.
- To receive a BA or BS, students must complete a minimum of forty-five four-unit courses (180 units), which include a minimum of eighteen upper-division courses (seventy-two units).
- Show some form of concentration and focus of study. Ordinarily this is accomplished by completing a department or interdisciplinary major. Students in the college may attempt any major upon completion of the prerequisites. (Some departments require students to attain a minimum GPA in prerequisite courses and apply for admission to majors in the departments. Refer to the departments for current detailed information.) Students who do not choose to meet this requirement by means of a departmental or interdisciplinary major and who qualify may propose a special project major. (See “Majors” and “Muir Special Project.”)
- 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. Students planning to study abroad during the senior year should be aware that they must return to complete a minimum number of twenty-four units at UC San Diego. Such students should see their college academic adviser for clarification.
- Meet residency and major GPA requirements as specified for your major. Consult with your major department regarding minimum residency and major GPA requirements.
- Clear all I, IP, and NR grades. Students may not graduate with NRs or Incomplete entries on their transcript until those grades have been assigned a grade by the instructor or been allowed to lapse into F grades.
- Complete all requirements for the degree during the quarter in which students file to graduate. If the degree requirements are completed after the expiration of the deadline in a quarter, but before the beginning of the next quarter, students must retract their Degree and Diploma Application and reapply to graduate for the subsequent quarter.
- Retract the electronic Degree and Diploma Application if unable to satisfy all graduation requirements, including grade changes, by the end of the proposed graduating quarter. Students will graduate at the end of the quarter in which deficiencies are satisfied.
- It is the students’ responsibility to contact their department adviser to verify that they have satisfied departmental requirements for graduation.
Pass/Not Pass Grading Option
Muir College students are reminded that to take a course Pass/Not Pass, they must be in good academic standing (2.0 GPA). No more than one-fourth (25 percent) of an undergraduate student’s total UC San Diego course units counted in satisfaction of degree requirements may be in courses taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis. Most major-related courses; most minor courses; and MCWP 40, 50, and 125 must be taken for a letter grade. Students are advised to check with their major or minor department regarding restrictions or exceptions.
A Muir College student may pursue any of the approximately 136 undergraduate majors offered at UC San Diego. Most major programs at UC San Diego require a pattern of prerequisites at the lower-division level before students may enroll in upper-division major courses. Students must declare a major upon accumulating ninety units. Careful planning will assure the student access to a wide range of majors. Students are strongly encouraged to consult regularly with the college academic advisers as well as departmental major advisers concerning the selection of appropriate courses so as to graduate by the two hundred-unit maximum limitation.
In the respective UC San Diego colleges sections of the catalog, each academic department has a paragraph entitled “The Major Program.” Students are encouraged to read these sections carefully, for they indicate both the extent and the nature of courses required for the specific program. The following points are useful to keep in mind:
- A substantial command of at least one foreign language is required by some departments (e.g., the Departments of International Studies, Linguistics, and Literature).
- Specific science courses are required by many departments. For example, the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering require Physics 2A-B-C-D or Physics 4A-B-C-D-E; the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry requires Physics 1A-B-C, Physics 2A-B and C or D, or Physics 4A-B-C-D-E, etc.
- The physical and life sciences, applied sciences (the Jacobs School of Engineering majors) together with certain social sciences (including cognitive science and economics), require at least one year of calculus.
The Muir Special Project (MSP) major is a bachelor of arts degree only and is intended for students who have specific talents and interests that are not accommodated by one of the departmental majors. Each proposal and senior thesis or project must be approved by the Muir College provost. The MSP normally includes regular coursework 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. The latter results in a long paper representing a synthesis of knowledge and skill acquired. In either case, a tenured member of the UC San Diego faculty must serve as an adviser to a student doing the project. It should be understood that the demands of a special project major are great, and this option is not appropriate for a student who simply does not want the discipline of a normal major. 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. Please note: there is no MSP minor available. Further information may be obtained from the Muir College academic advising office.
While Muir College does not call for the completion of a minor to fulfill its requirements for the degree of bachelor of arts or bachelor of science, it does acknowledge the completion of an approved departmental minor on a student’s transcript. No upper-division courses may be used to satisfy both a major and a minor.
For a minor, students are required to complete a minimum of twenty-eight units of interrelated work, 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.
Upon satisfaction of the graduation requirements, Muir College will recommend that students be awarded the degree of bachelor of arts or bachelor of science.
Quarterly provost’s honors, departmental honors, Latin honors, membership in the Caledonian Society of John Muir College, and Phi Beta Kappa honors are awarded. Please note: graduating seniors must have letter grades for eighty units of work completed at the University of California 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. Information on EAP/OAP is detailed in the Education Abroad Program section of the UC San Diego General Catalog. Interested students should contact the Programs Abroad Office in the International Center and visit the website at http://pao.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.