Three Year Pathways

Some of the most popular majors at UC Santa Cruz have developed pathways that allow a student to complete requirements in three years.  Although a three year pathway is not for everyone, some students find it’s a perfect fit for them.

Three year pathways are most appropriate if you:
  • plan a single major, and don’t change your major,
  • satisfy the Entry-Level Writing Requirement by the end of your first term, and
  • are committed to enrolling in Summer Session after your first and second years.

Students with transfer credit from AP exams or college classes taken while in high school are particularly well positioned to pursue an accelerated plan.

What should I expect from a three year pathway?

GraduationThe primary benefit of completing a degree in three years is financial – by paying tuition, fees, and housing costs for fewer quarters, the cost of earning your degree will be less.  And by graduating early and getting a head start on graduate school or your career, you can maximize your lifetime earnings. 

A challenge of an accelerated degree pathway is that you’ll have to make some important decisions earlier than your classmates.  To stay on track, you’ll need to choose and qualify for a major earlier, and you’ll need to commit to the three year pathway in your first year.  Since most students who pursue an accelerated pathway will have to enroll in Summer Session every year, it may mean there are fewer opportunities for summer work or internships.

It’s important to weigh the benefits and challenges involved in an accelerated plan.  Your academic advisers can help you decide whether a three year pathway is best for you.

Are there other accelerated programs at UC Santa Cruz?

For students interested in law, the 3+3 B.A./ J.D. Program provides students an opportunity to complete three years at UC Santa Cruz, and then three years at UC Hastings College of the Law.  At the conclusion of the program, students earn both a B.A. and J.D. degree.  See more information here

How can I explore what a three year pathway would look like for me?

Sample plans for many of our most popular majors are posted to the left – but your plan may look a bit different!  Contact your major/program adviser to devise a plan that takes into account your AP, IB, and transfer credit, interests, and career goals.