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.