Academic Senate adds Quarter Limit and Removes Quarterly Credit Cap

UC San Diego’s Academic Senate submitted a change to the campus-wide graduation requirements in an effort to increase four-year graduation rates in the UC San Diego General Catalogue, which was included in the 2019-2020 edition and updated on Oct. 30, 2019. This decision was initially voted on in the Spring of 2017 by the Academic Senate. The updated requirements affect incoming students beginning in Fall 2019, removing the 22 credit cap per quarter and limiting freshman admits to a total of 12 quarters and transfer admits to a total of six quarters.

 However, students have the option of submitting a submission plan, reviewed by their college, if they would like additional quarters to study at the university. But the rules state that there needs to be a good reason, such as illness or near completion of a degree, to be offered an extension.

According to UCSD’s institutional research, the class of 2014 had a 63.3 percent four-year graduation rate. Although the four-year graduation has been increasing slightly with each class, this new policy aims to further this trend. This decision was passed by the Academic Senate and supported by multiple advisors from UCSD, who are promoting a streamlined process of graduation. 

“Several years of deliberation that involved the Academic Senate, the colleges and academic advisors went into creating this policy,” Chancellor Pradeep Khosla said. “This was partly in response to efforts to increase the number of students who complete their degrees in four years for first-time full-time students and in two years for transfer students. Also, the previous maximum unit limit was complicated and difficult to understand.”

Currently, the average time it takes for a UCSD student to obtain their bachelor’s degree is 4.3 years. Chancellor Khosla stated that with this new change, students will be better able to focus on what they want to study and to pursue it more efficiently.

“As more students finish their degrees more quickly, space is created for new students to pursue their education at UC San Diego — this is beneficial for the state and for the university as a whole, as it will increase accessibility,” Khosla said. “The increased advising should also improve the student experience.”

Students who are affected by this change are starting to plan their schedules ahead of time to meet this new time limit. Transfer student Benedict Tannady was admitted to UCSD as cognitive science, and was looking to switch to computer science. He stated that he wanted to take an extra year to have adequate time to switch his major and finish the classes needed to graduate. 

“I had originally planned to attempt the major change into computer science, but because of the newly enforced ‘six quarter limit’ policy, suddenly I feel this is less of a realistic possibility for me,” Tannady said. “This policy does affect me quite a bit, [and] I have also heard numerous concerns from many of my transfer peers who have similarly just entered UCSD in Fall 2019. Many of them, STEM majors especially, express high anxiety and confusion as to how they will manage to pull off completing their heavy course load with less flexibility and freedom on their side.”

Even though it is still possible to stay past the 12 quarter limit, Tannady states that it still creates stress to finish the classes needed for graduation on time. Although UCSD has communicated with faculty and students about the rule change, Tannady wishes that the topic could have been brought to light to students while applying in order for them to plan ahead. 

“However, despite this, I do still expect that UCSD will also still keep ‘the students’ educational experience’ in mind while they enforce new policies such as this one, [one] that produces a huge impact on a student’s course load,” Tannady said. “One extra quarter in a student’s arsenal can make all the difference.”

Chancellor Khosla stated that newly admitted students should meet with an academic advisor to plan their class selections and to make sure that they are on the right track for graduating on time. 

Editors Note: The first paragraph was updated to reflect that this decision was voted on by the Academic Senate in the Spring of 2017, and that the information was submitted to the UC San Diego General Catalogue.

6 thoughts on “Academic Senate adds Quarter Limit and Removes Quarterly Credit Cap

  1. The senate should try taking 5-6 engineering classes at one time first.

    I wouldn’t mind this change if UCSD’s overall GE’s were more lenient. I see no reason to not accept AP english or other college’s english courses and require students to take their specific college writing courses. And why not make all of the GE options available to all students and they can choose regardless of what college they are in? That would be one easy way to make 12 quarters more feasible for more students.

  2. I’m a current mechanical engineering transfer student here. There’s no way I would have been able to pull off this degree in two years. The transfer plan provided to us by MAE counselors literally gives us three years to complete the curriculum. I commute, run an org, and work part time. I work literally all day on assignments and have very little free time to myself. My grades already suffer from these things, but I do them because I have to. Wish the academic senate would pull their heads out of their asses and try taking our classes for once.

  3. The real problem the council needs to solve is avaialbility of class the students truly want to take, and the dependency graph which force them to sequentialize registrations..

    Has anyone even taken a look at the crazy dependencies for completing Math and CS majors?
    A child might be willing to kill himself over 22+ credits, but what is the point, if it is not going to get them their chosen major?

    It doesnt look like the council has taken a 360 degree view of the problem unfortunately

  4. How will this effect rigor of the courses, especially engineering? Having to take the classes I did in 4 years to get my degree would have been extremely difficult in for instance: I wanted to pursue a minor, take extra classes that held interest to myself, or hold a job part-time.

    This will make more students take out loans, worsen the student wellness and experience at UCSD, and in all likelihood reduce the academic rigor and prestige of the institution as a whole. If you’re having a problem with overcrowding maybe take in fewer freshmen, not try and shove students through and make them compete under-prepared.

  5. Are you serious, I don’t even write comments on news sites. This is the most transparent attempt to get more money by pumping through students faster that I’ve ever seen. I’m sure the administration salaries are high enough already. Hmm… I wonder why it takes that long.. could it possibly be because of the high classload and extremely high standards? People are already stressed enough as it is. Absolutely disgusting.

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