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
- Charles F. Kennel
- Krista Mays
- Alonso N. Noble
- 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 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 areas:
- Social Sciences
- Mathematics or Natural Sciences
In addition, two three-quarter sequences from two of the three following areas are required:
- Fine Arts
- Foreign Languages
Courses must be chosen from approved three-course sequences in each area of 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.
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.
In addition to the four yearlong sequences, Muir College has the following graduation 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
- 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.”)
- Fulfill the general-education requirements.
- Meet the Muir College requirement in writing proficiency. Ordinarily, this will be met by the successful completion of a two-quarter sequence in writing. (See Muir College course listings at “The Writing Program.”)
- Complete a minimum of 180 units, which must include a minimum of sixty upper-division units.
- Show some form of concentration and focus of study by completing a department or interdisciplinary major.
- 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.
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. 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. Students must declare a major upon accumulating ninety units. Students are strongly encouraged to consult regularly with both college academic advisers and departmental major advisers to review their academic progress.
The Muir Special Project (MSP) major is a bachelor of arts degree 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, and students must have a minimum 3.25 UC GPA to qualify for the MSP major. The major 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. 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.
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 may be used to satisfy requirements of both a major 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.
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 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.