CSU & UC Ready

At Downey Unified, we have always made “college and career readiness” a priority. Over the last few years, we’ve taken our commitment to our students to the next level by improving our graduation requirements to match the Cal State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) systems. 

Setting Our Students Up for Success

All graduating students will now be CSU and UC-ready by completing 220 credits and earning Cs or better in college prep courses that meet CSU and UC “A-G” course requirements. The A-G course requirements ensure students have attained core subject knowledge that fully and effectively prepares them for college.

We have carefully and slowly rolled out these new requirements over the last six years, and we are excited as we enter our final phase of implementation.


A-G requirements

What is A-G?

A-G courses are a series of high school classes that students must complete to be eligible for admission to the CSU and UC systems. The A-G sequence consists of year-long courses in seven subject areas: history/social studies (a), English Language Arts (b), mathematics (c), laboratory sciences (d), world languages (e), visual and performing arts (f), and college-preparatory elective (g). To meet minimum UC/CSU admission requirements, students must complete the 15 courses with a letter grade of C or better (at least 11 of them prior to their last year of high school).

(A) History - 2 years

Two years of history are required, including:

    • one year of world history, cultures or historical geography (may be a single yearlong course or two one-semester courses), and
    • one year of U.S. history or one-half year of U.S. history and one-half year of civics or American government

(B) English - 4 years

Four (4) years of college-preparatory English that include frequent writing, from brainstorming to final paper, as well as reading of classic and modern literature are required. No more than one year of ESL-type courses can be used to meet this requirement.

(C) Mathematics - 3 years (4 years recommended)

Three (3) years of college-preparatory mathematics are required, however four (4) are recommended.

Mathematics courses should include the topics covered in elementary and advanced algebra and two- and three-dimensional geometry. A geometry course or an integrated math course with a sufficient amount of geometry content must be completed. Approved integrated math courses may be used to fulfill part or all of this requirement, as may math courses taken in the seventh and eighth grades if the high school accepts them as equivalent to its own courses; also acceptable are courses that address the previously mentioned content areas and include or integrate probability, statistics or trigonometry. Courses intended for 11th and/or 12th grade levels may satisfy the required third-year or recommended fourth-year of the subject requirement if approved as an advanced math course.

(D) Science - 2 years (3 years recommended)

Two (2) years of college-preparatory science are required, including or integrating topics that provide fundamental knowledge in two of these three subjects: biology, chemistry, or physics. One year of approved interdisciplinary or earth and space sciences coursework can meet one year of the requirement. Computer Science, Engineering, and Applied Science courses can be used in area D as an additional science (i.e., third year and beyond).

(E) Language other than English - 2 years (3 years recommended)

Two (2)years, or equivalent to the 2nd level of high school instruction, of the same language other than English are required. Three (3) years, or equivalent to the 3rd level of high school instruction, are recommended. 

Courses should emphasize speaking and understanding, and include instruction in grammar, vocabulary, reading, composition and culture. 

(F) Visual and Performing Arts - 1 year

One yearlong course of visual and performing arts chosen from the following disciplines: dance, music, theater, visual arts or interdisciplinary arts — or two one-semester courses from the same discipline is also acceptable. 

(G) College-preparatory Elective - 1 year

One year (two semesters) chosen from courses specific to the elective (G) subject area or courses beyond those used to satisfy the requirements of the A-F subjects.

A total of 15 year-long courses

The Plan in Action

To ensure student success, we have prepared for our new graduation requirements over a six-year period with a detailed timeline of slow adjustments to reach our goal. Starting in 2018, we’ve been implementing graduation requirement changes in phases. 

Beginning with the graduating Class of 2022 as incoming 8th graders, we increased the math graduation requirement from two to three years. The Class of 2024 then had that requirement adjusted to three years of UC-approved math. In that time, graduation prerequisites also changed from requiring one year of Visual and Performing Arts OR one year of a Foreign Language to taking one year of Visual and Performing Arts AND two years of a Foreign Language.

As we welcome our next set of incoming 8th graders (Class of 2027), we are well-prepared to assist and guide them through the final phase. Moving forward, students will need to pass all 15 of the A-G courses with a C or better. This will ensure that all students graduate eligible to attend a CSU or UC school. 

A-G roll-out plan

We know this change is an adjustment. Our students will have many opportunities for support to help them succeed in their courses and graduate proud of the options they have before them. These requirements are not a barrier to graduation, but instead an assurance that all students graduate eligible to apply for college.

Whether our students are headed to college or straight into a career, we believe it is key that they graduate having completed the requirements to apply to CSU or UC schools. This opens up more doors and expands access to college for all of our students.

Downey Unified School District logo

11627 Brookshire Avenue
Downey, CA 90241

(562) 469-6500