Kresge College

Kresge College Administration Building

Academic Programs

Academic Literacy Curriculum
College Scholars Program

Academic Emphasis

Kresge was the sixth college to be built on the UC Santa Cruz campus. The college was founded on principles of participatory democracy and experiential education, with a vision of profound social and individual empowerment within an active living and learning community. Its motto is Power and Representation.

Kresge College strives to blend the promise of a traditional liberal arts college with its distinctive and prominent legacy of experimental and interdisciplinary education. Its curriculum is designed to create opportunities for community-building, community-strengthening, and personal growth, to foster creative and critical thinking about the world we live in, to cultivate good citizenship, and to facilitate stewardship of a just and sustainable society. Kresge College aims to help students of the widest possible range of backgrounds and biographies, to succeed in a path to higher learning at a research institution.

Kresge’s academic life is centered on the integration of living and learning in a community that values self-determination, consensus-building, intellectual freedom, sustainability, and justice. These principles take shape in a curriculum that emphasizes participatory learning, hands-on experience, and conscientious academic inquiry that transcends the walls of traditional classrooms. The wide-ranging topics of its curriculum include (but are not limited to) media studies, photography, writers' workshops, cooperative leadership, agro-ecology, natural history, journalism and service learning. Kresge’s courses offer varied ways for Kresge students to fulfill general education requirements while broadening their educational experience in the company of dedicated and imaginative faculty.

The core curriculum (see Core Course, below) consists of one required course and a range of elective extensions. All entering first-year students enroll in KRSG 1, Academic Literacy and Ethos: Power and Representation, a fall-quarter seminar and plenary-series course that prepares students to develop and engage discourse and knowledge exchange in a university environment, and provides a foundation of questions and aspirations for the intellectual community that will shape Kresge students’ whole engagement with their UC Santa Cruz education. Following that course, Kresge students have the option to extend their core learning in courses that deepen those questions into specific domains. KRSG 2, Power and Representation and Media, extends the questions of social justice and media representation in a more advanced seminar in media literacy. KRSG 3, Natural History Practicum, offers students weekly opportunities to practice critical and empirical reflection on the shared multi-species environment of the UC Santa Cruz campus. KRSG 25, Successful Transition to Research University (for the transfer community), and KRSG 100, Learning with Intention and Purpose, are intended for the Kresge junior or senior year: they instill students with renewed passion for fundamental principles of liberal arts education, and the relationship of higher learning to the world beyond our campus.

Kresge also boasts a richly varied enrichment curriculum, with three distinct emphases:

Service Learning courses (KRSG 12A, KRSG 12C) support student-initiatives in community service and community action, cultivate grant-writing and fund-raising skills, and raise the profile of the college in visible and positive community impacts.

Kresge Labs include KRSG 3, Natural History Practicum; KRSG 45, Achieving Consensus in Diverse Communities; and the KRSG 60 and KRSG 65 series on writing and creative work. These are courses in which traditional academic disciplines (ranging from writing, to photography, to natural history, music, and more) are approached in 2- and 3-credit courses for “lay inquiry”, fostering learning in which students are the primary critical and collaborative audience for one another’s academic work.

The Common Ground Center hosts courses on transformative justice (KRSG 67, KRSG 68, and KRSG 69) and leadership and sustainability (KRSG 72, KRSG 73, and KRSG 74). These are courses that support student cooperatives, foster initiatives for sustainability and justice, communication, and contemplative-studies, and support our function as the North American host of the Right Livelihood College. 

Students can collaborate with the provost to encourage developments to this curriculum, including proposing student-driven or student-led courses, or recommending invited lecturers to participate in our core plenary, Media and Society, or Common Ground Center speaker series.


All new frosh and transfer students who start fall quarter are required to enroll in one of two online orientation courses. Frosh will enroll in KRSG 1A, Kresge 1A: Introduction to University Life and Learning. Transfer students will enroll in KRSG 1T, Kresge 1T: Introduction to Research Universities and the Liberal Arts. KRSG 1A and KRSG 1T integrate introductions to academic skills with the online Slug Orientation process, and begin student preparation for their studies at Kresge College and throughout UC Santa Cruz.

KRSG 1A  Introduction to University Life and Learning (1 credit)

Offered online in summer quarter

KRSG 1T  Introduction to Research Universities and the Liberal Arts (1 credit)

Offered online in summer quarter

Students who are admitted to winter quarter will take an orientation course during their first term.

Core Course

KRSG 1  Academic Literacy and Ethos: Power and Representation

Offered in fall quarter

Offered to entering frosh, Kresge’s core course, KRSG 1, Academic Literacy and Ethos: Power and Representation, prepares students for engagement with university discourse. Students read a selected range of contemporary nonfiction and creative work in varied media, developing a practice of interpretation and dialogue that serves as a model for their future academic endeavors. Power and Representation emphasizes texts that reflect on the struggles of individuals and communities to represent and constitute themselves in the United States. In contemplating those struggles, students are encouraged to think beyond easy answers, to express themselves clearly, to reflect on their own thinking and learning styles, and to think critically about their place in a larger world of knowledge and experience. In addition to their seminar meetings, all students in KRSG 1 meet periodically with academic mentors—fellow Kresge students who model successful learning styles. The entire core cohort also meets five times during the quarter for the required evening Plenary Series, guest lectures that deepen engagement on specific topics of the course. 

Visit Kresge Core Course for additional information about Kresge College academics, including core course requirements and other academic programs.

College Advising
Phone: 831-459-2071

Kresge has a team of three academic advisors who work collaboratively with students to support them as they explore majors, navigate university policy, clarify academic goals, and develop strategies for success. Kresge’s advisors serve as advocates for students who are experiencing institutional barriers to their success, while also upholding university policy when necessary. 

Kresge’s advising staff regularly participate in professional development opportunities both on- and off-campus in order to stay abreast of new research and best practices in the wider academic advising community. They celebrate and reflect the diversity of the Kresge student body and seek to model the goal of being lifelong learners.

College advisors work with students from Summer Orientation and Welcome Week through graduation, although much of the interaction is concentrated in the student’s first year or two on campus before they’ve declared a major. Students come to the College Office with all of their questions, and college advisors and front desk staff frequently facilitate connections with other campus resources as appropriate. 

In addition to one-on-one in-person and email advising, Kresge’s advisors collaborate with the provost, Residence Life office, and campus-wide academic and student support services to offer holistic programming. Past workshops have covered topics such as options for summer enrollment, how to choose a major, and finding family away from home.

Other Academic Programs

Kresge is a rich and multidimensional academic community, uniquely oriented toward media studies, and known by many as “the writers’ college,” participatory and consensus-based decision making, service-learning, and cooperative and non-profit leadership.

Kresge is home to the Media and Society series, a lecture series co-organized and co-promoted with Kresge's media-oriented student groups: City on a Hill Press, the Third World And Native American Students Collective Press (TWANAS), and the SCTV Collaborative Curriculum, as well as the Kresge Writing Center (a west-campus home of the UC Santa Cruz Writer’s Society, Matchbox Press, Red Wheelbarrow, and the Creative Writing Archives).

The Common Ground Center at Kresge College promotes social and environmental change through undergraduate-focused action-education, research, advocacy, and civic engagement. Our Service Learning courses prepare students to become innovators and activists, through community service projects and grant-writing workshops that connect students’ academic lives to the world outside the university. Kresge College also hosts courses related to our student cooperatives: the Kresge Garden Co-op, Photo Co-op, Music Co-op, and Food Co-op.