Official degree and major requirements are listed in this catalog. Undergraduate and graduate students are subject to requirements based on a particular catalog, referred to as the student’s “catalog year.” The catalog year is determined for new students as the catalog in effect at the time of their initial enrollment in courses at UC Merced, provided there is no break of more than 3 consecutive terms (e.g., 2 semesters and 1 summer) in enrollment. It is campus policy to introduce changes in graduation requirements such that students who began their careers with UC Merced before the change will not be hindered substantially in the orderly pursuit of their degrees. Changes in requirements that increase the number or distribution of courses required normally will not be applied to students with earlier catalog years, provided there is no break in enrollment exceeding 3 terms. The student’s catalog year determines both the major and general education requirements for degree completion. Students may elect to adhere to a different catalog year if they wish to follow the general education and major requirements listed in a catalog published subsequently to that which was in place at the time of their initial enrollment; the student must note this in a petition to his or her School.
Students transferring from other institutions may elect either (1) those major requirements in effect at the time of transfer to UC Merced; or (2) those in effect up to two years prior to matriculation, provided that their transcripts from earlier schools indicate commitment to the major within that period and that they have adequate preparation for upper-division coursework.
Undergraduate and graduate students who have made significant progress toward a degree in a specific major can assume that a degree will be granted if they meet all catalog degree requirements and maintain continuous enrollment and progress. Should UC Merced find it necessary to discontinue a specific major, every effort will be made to allow currently enrolled majors to complete their degrees within a reasonable period of time. This may include (1) movement to a similar or related degree track; (2) substitution of requirements; (3) development of an individual major proposal; or (4) completion of courses at another University of California campus through the Intercampus Visitor Program. Students with questions concerning this policy should contact their major and school advising offices. In all cases, any financial obligations are the responsibility of the individual student involved.
Register to Vote
The 1998 reauthorization of the federal Higher Education Act includes a requirement that higher education institutions make a “good faith effort” to make mail voter registration forms available to all enrolled students. This federal legislation supports the campus’ longstanding goals of engendering leadership and citizenship among the student body.
UC Merced provides students with several options for registering to vote. Voter registration forms are available at the Students First Center and a link to information is available using the student portal.
Policy on Animal Subjects
Graduate: As part of their right to academic freedom, graduate course instructors at UC Merced reserve the right to grade students on the basis of hands-on work with living organisms and biological materials, in accordance with all applicable ethical standards and laws. Students must be informed of course requirements and grading policies at the beginning of each graduate course, but graduate course instructors are not required to provide alternate assignments if students object to assignments that require hands-on work with living organisms and biological materials.
Undergraduate: As part of their right to academic freedom, undergraduate course instructors at UC Merced reserve the right to grade students on the basis of hands-on work with living organisms and biological materials, in accordance with all applicable ethical standards and laws. Students must be informed of course requirements and grading policies at the beginning of each undergraduate course. Where possible within the context of existing course objectives, instructors may offer alternatives to animal use; this may not be possible, and they are not required to provide alternate assignments if students object to hands-on work with living organisms and biological materials.
Release of Student Information (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
In accordance with the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and campus procedures implementing the University of California Policies Applying to the Disclosure of Information from Student Records, students at the UC Merced campus of the University have the following rights:
- The right to inspect and review their own student records within 45 days of the date the University receives a written request for access. Students should submit their requests in writing to the University registrar, dean, or other appropriate campus official for the office having custody of the requested records. The request must identify the record(s) they wish to inspect and review. The campus official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the official receiving the request, that official shall advise the student of the correct official and redirect the request.
- The right to request the amendment of their own student records if a student believes the records are inaccurate or misleading. Students should submit a written request to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading to the campus official responsible for the record, clearly identifying the portion of the record they want changed, and specifying why it is believed to be inaccurate or misleading. If the University determines that the record should not be amended as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise him/her of the right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in their student records, except to the extent that law and policy authorize disclosure without consent.
One exception permitting disclosure without consent is disclosure to campus officials having a legitimate educational interest in the records. A campus official is any individual designated by the campus to perform an assigned function on behalf of the campus. Legitimate educational interest means a demonstrated need to know by officials who act in a student’s educational interest. A campus official has a “legitimate educational interest” in a record if the official is performing a task:
(a) specified in his or her job description;
(b) specifically related to the official’s participation in the student’s education;
(c) specifically related to the discipline of a student; or
(d) specifically related to providing a service or benefit associated with a student or student’s family, such as health care, counseling, job placement or financial aid.
Another exception permitting disclosure without consent is Directory (or public) Information, defined as information contained in a student record that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed, unless the student has notified the Office of the Registrar that such information is to be treated as confidential with respect to him/herself. UC Merced has designated as public the following categories of information regarding students, which may be released to those requesting it: the student’s name and telephone number(s); UC Merced e-mail address; major field of study; class (year in school); dates of attendance; enrollment status (full-time, part-time); degrees and awards received; participation in officially recognized activities; and photographs. Parental/guardian information is confidential. It is used by the University only for notification of events, ceremonies, awards and development or in case of an emergency involving the student.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by UC Merced to comply with the requirements of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act, addressed to the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, D.C. 20202-4605.
Questions about these rights should be referred to the University Registrar at UC Merced. Students who desire to withhold all information (including phone number and UC Merced e-mail address) from the category of public information must file a form in the Office of the Registrar. If a student does not choose this option, this information may be released and the student’s phone number and UC Merced e-mail address may be included in the campus student directory.
Students availing themselves of this right should understand what the consequences of such action might be. For example, if all information is designated nonpublic information, the campus cannot make public any Honors received by the student and cannot include the student’s name and degree earned in the campus Commencement program without the student’s written consent. Similarly, if all information is designated non-public information, the student’s status as a student or any degrees earned cannot be verified for potential employers without the student’s written consent.
A student’s Social Security number is used to verify personal identity in the UC Merced student records system. Disclosure of Social Security number is mandatory. In compliance with state law, Social Security numbers are confidential and are not used as student identifiers.