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,
  • have satisfied the Entry-Level Writing Requirement before your first quarter, and
  • are committed to enrolling in Summer Session after your first and second years.

Students with transfer credit from AP/IBH exams or college classes taken while in high school may be especially well positioned to pursue a three year pathway, though the sample plans do not require any prior college credit.

What should I expect from a three year pathway?

GraduationOne 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. Further, by graduating early and getting a head start on graduate school or your career, you can maximize your lifetime earnings.

A challenge of pursuing a three year pathway is that you’ll have to make some important decisions early in your college career. You’ll choose and qualify for a major earlier than most of your fellow classmates. Most students who pursue a three year pathway will have to enroll in summer classes every year, meaning there are fewer opportunities for summer work or internships.

It’s important to weigh the benefits and challenges associated with a three year pathway. Your academic advisors can help you decide whether it is a good fit for you.

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

Sample plans are provided to the left– but your plan may look a bit different! Contact your major advisor to customize a plan that takes into account your AP, IBH, transfer credit, interests, and career goals.