Porter College

Porter College Office, D-Building

Academic Programs

Academic Literacy Curriculum
College Scholars Program

Academic Emphasis

Porter College was founded in 1969 as the fifth of UC Santa Cruz’s residential colleges and was later renamed in honor of a generous grant from the Porter-Sesnon family. Its mission is to foster achievement in all areas of study. Porter is especially dedicated to achievement in the arts and humanities, believing that creative and humanistic inquiry are essential parts of a rigorous and broad-minded education, a flourishing society, and a happy life.

Porter College fellows hail from every academic division on campus and from many non-academic professions, but all of them share the philosophy of education that the college’s curriculum embodies: first, discover how to learn; then, learn by doing; and finally, let your learning make a difference in the world.

The Porter College curriculum encourages students to explore unusual topics and provocative ideas, to test and revise hypotheses about the meaning of their experiences, to learn from the failures that are an inevitable part of new learning and discovery, and to assume responsibility for the decisions they make in their studies. In addition to core courses for first-year students, which provide rigorous training in critical reading and writing and study skills, Porter offers a variety of smaller interdisciplinary seminars that combine historical and theoretical approaches to the arts, humanities, and sciences with practical experience conducting scholarly research and making creative work.


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 PRTR 1A, Porter 1A: Introduction to University Life and Learning. Transfer students will enroll in KRSG 1T, Kresge 1T: Introduction to Research Universities and the Liberal Arts. Porter 1A and Kresge 1T integrate introductions to academic skills with the online Slug Orientation process, and begin student preparation for their studies at Porter College and throughout UC Santa Cruz.

PRTR 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

Core Course

PRTR 1, Academic Literacy and Ethos: Arts of Reading, Offered fall quarter

PRTR 1 teaches foundational concepts for intellectual exploration and personal development within an academic community: analysis, critical thinking, metacognition, engagement with others across difference, and self-efficacy. Engages Porter's intellectual tradition of investigating the contribution the arts and humanities make to a good life, a just society, and a flourishing world.

Requirements: Enrollment is restricted to first-year college members.

Credits: 5

Quarter Offered: Fall

Instructor: Provost Keilen

College Advising

Phone: 831-459-2273
Porter D-Building, Room 104

Porter College advisers help students interpret academic policies and procedures and clarify educational goals. They provide support to students to ensure their academic success and progress toward their degree throughout their time at UC Santa Cruz. Advisers help students make informed decisions, develop resiliency, and develop the ability to take ownership of their academic choices. Advisers also connect students to resources that will enrich their academic experiences.

Other Academic Programs

Porter College offers fellowships and grants to students and faculty in support of scholarly and creative projects. Among the grants offered annually are the Porter College Undergraduate Fellowship (PCUF), the Porter College Research Assistantship (PCRA) and the Nathan Foley Mendelssohn Memorial Travel Scholarship (NFM).

College Scholars Program

Porter participates in the UC Santa Cruz College Scholars Program (CSP), a stimulating home for highly motivated students to have community with like-minded peers during their first and second years as they explore research at a research university. The program recruits and supports a diverse cohort of college scholars across all five academic divisions and all 10 colleges who show potential to cultivate academic and non-academic strengths in a learning community. Between 20 and 25 students are housed in close proximity in each college and together participate in an enriched program of study designed to prepare them to take advantage of opportunities for undergraduate research at the upper division. Across four quarters, students have access to supplementary activities, special courses, small seminars, and a faculty research colloquium to explore what questions drive researchers and what forms research can take. To facilitate participation in these program requirements, CSP students receive priority enrollment during their time in the program.