Jul 16, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Undergraduate Education

Division of Undergraduate Education

Phone: 209-228-7951
Web: ue.ucmerced.edu



Hallmarks of Baccalaureate Degrees at UC Merced

The Hallmarks of Baccalaureate Degrees at UC Merced were developed by UC Merced faculty and staff in an effort to answer the question, “What is the meaning of a baccalaureate degree at UC Merced?” What should UC Merced graduates know, understand, and be able to do as a result of their UC Merced experiences?

The meaning of UC Merced baccalaureate degrees is strongly connected to distinctive features of UC Merced:

  • UC Merced is a Small Research University

An ethos of discovery, creativity, and rigorous questioning of extant knowledge permeates all aspects of UC Merced. The skills, knowledge and attitudes of a researcher are synonymous with attributes essential for post-graduate success.

  • Located in Merced, California

Merced is at a crossroads – culturally, socioeconomically, environmentally, geographically, historically – for addressing problems of local, regional, and global significance. 

  • With An Undergraduate Student Body Unique in the UC System

UC Merced undergraduates are predominantly first generation students from groups under-represented in higher education (e.g., race, ethnicity, family income).

Given this unique institutional context, the Hallmarks of Baccalaureate Degrees at UC Merced are:

1. Depth and breadth in academic and intellectual preparation, consistent with the values of UC Merced as a small research university, such that UC Merced graduates

  • Demonstrate a strong disciplinary foundation.
  • Engage in interdisciplinary thinking which could include appreciating different approaches to problem solving, informed by an understanding of humanities, arts, STEM, social sciences.
  • Bring a critical, evaluative lens to problems, questions, situations.
  • Employ effective problem-solving skills in multiple settings.
  • Evaluate facts, knowledge and information, applying the varied aspects of information literacy.
  • Know what they know, as well as how they know it, and monitor and guide their own learning.
  • Describe the origins of knowledge, informed by cultural and disciplinary epistemological and ontological assumptions.
  • Take an inquiry-oriented approach to the world; possess curiosity, employ inquiry, and take appropriate and creative action in response to ambiguity.

2. Cultural awareness, sensitivity, and responsiveness, such that UC Merced graduates             

  • Respect and value diversity.
  • Seek and recognize new cultures; join a new community anticipating and engaging in potential cultural differences or intersections.

3. Community engagement and citizenship – local and global–, such that UC Merced graduates

  • Understand what it means to be a member of a community, including an academic community.
  • Contribute to the communities of which they members.
  • Possess a sense of place, and the ability to determine own place within local community and global context, and affect own community through giving back.
  • Act ethically, including in the realm of environmental stewardship and sustainability.
  • Are responsive to the needs of society – through application of knowledge and research to address problems, challenges, and opportunities.

4. Self-awareness and intrapersonal skills, such that UC Merced graduates

  • Demonstrate initiative, including an entrepreneurial, innovative, pioneering spirit.
  • Respond with resiliency to obstacles and challenges, and learn from failure.
  • Assume responsibility for their own education and develop the skills and attitudes of lifelong learners.

5. Interpersonal skills necessary to the outcomes identified above, as well as to lead productive lives after graduation, such that UC Merced graduates

  • Are proficient in collaboration and teamwork.
  • Possess strong communication skills, oral, written, and visual, academic and professional.
  • Are leaders in their professional and civic lives.
  • Are ethically aware and proficient in ethical reasoning.

General Education

UC Merced’s General Education  program will engage you with the values, practices and contributions of a research university which provides a framework for integrative learning. We do this within in the context of the culturally and economically diverse Central Valley. In tandem with the major and the co-curriculum, General Education supports your development of the Hallmarks of the Baccalaureate degree. It nurtures the spirit of critical inquiry, building your knowledge of various fields, cultures, and perspectives. General education fosters collaboration, communication, and ethical action. It empowers you to share your learning and skills to address the local and global challenges of an interconnected, changing world.

General Education Program Learning Outcomes

1. Life at the Research University: Asking Questions

UC Merced graduates take an inquiry-oriented approach to the world that reflects engagement with the mission and values of our research university.

For example:

  • They can articulate the benefits of attending a research university for their development as scholars, citizens, life-long learners;
  • They generate questions, identify problems, and formulate answers by applying appropriate theoretical, evidentiary, analytical and ethical frameworks from multiple intellectual perspectives;
  • They demonstrate intellectual curiosity and an understanding of the nature of knowledge and of themselves as learners;
  • They identify and act on their own values and talents through self-reflection;
  • They are at ease with the ambiguity that is inherent in the process of discovery.

2. Reasoning: Thinking Critically

UC Merced graduates are equipped with multiple tools of analysis to support accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion.

For example:

  • They use analytical tools from scientific, social scientific, and humanistic disciplines;
  • They are able to identify and evaluate sources of information;
  • They identify, interpret and evaluate multiple kinds of data, including texts, media, observations, and experimental results.

3. Communication: Explaining and Persuading

UC Merced graduates communicate in a variety of ways to diverse audiences.

For example:

  • They use written, visual, oral and numerical modes of communication to explore and convey ideas;
  • They can adjust their communications depending on occasion, purpose and audience;
  • They can work independently and collaboratively.

4. Cultural and Global awareness: Engaging with differences

UC Merced graduates see themselves in relation to local and global cultures and systems of power, past and present.

For example:

  • They engage with multiple belief systems, social structures, and ways of thinking through attention to societies, languages and cultures of the past and the present;
  • They can identify the ways in which cultural, political, economic, technological, and environmental dimensions of society interact;
  • They can place their own experiences in relevant analytical frameworks through attention to the relationships of diverse cultures to each other;
  • They gain emotional maturity and resilience by understanding themselves in the world.

5. Citizenship: Contributing to the Public Good

UC Merced graduates are engaged with their communities for the benefit of society.

For example:

  • They are engaged citizens, having contributed to the building of academic and co-curricular communities at UC Merced;
  • They understand and work in diverse communities;
  • They engage with the ethical dimensions of their various roles;
  • They can articulate and act on their responsibilities to the multiple communities in which they participate.

University Honors Program

UC Merced’s campus-wide University Honors Program  is designed for the most motivated and high-achieving students. By defining student success as more than just classes, its mission is to enrich a diverse community of outstanding individuals by fostering critical thinking and creativity, developing leadership abilities, and supporting a culture of contribution. Honors students build their own path to success, forging a unique learning experience and personal transformation as scholars that will make a difference in a rapidly changing globalized world. Students not only show a high level of achievement, but also demonstrate a commitment to community engagement, equity, social justice, and service leadership. 

University Honors Program Learning Outcomes

  1. As a result of participation in the program students will be able to produce research and/or creative products using methods appropriate to their chosen field of study. To achieve that level of original work, Graduates will be able identify problems/topics, generate questions, design appropriate methods, execute a plan, and synthesize results.
  2. Students will demonstrate advanced critical thinking skills by combining knowledge and analytical tools from more than one discipline to evaluate and synthesize information.
  3. Students will demonstrate exceptional communication skills that explore and convey complex ideas. This includes use of written, visual, oral or other modes of communication intended for various audiences and forums.
  4. Students will exhibit perspective taking and self-awareness that includes the capacity to deal with ambiguity, to respectfully exchange ideas, and to understand and appreciate diverse outlooks, cultures, histories, and worldviews.
  5. Students will successfully collaborate within and across diverse communities and leverage their academic expertise to benefit society. This skill set will include the capacity to create inclusive teams and experiences, engage with ethical dimensions of leadership, and embrace opportunities to be change agents for positive social impact.

Division of Undergraduate Education Programs