Advising: From Course Selection to Careers

Academic Advising

Academic advising at UC Santa Cruz aims to partner with students to identify and pursue paths to graduation that support their educational goals and post graduation plans, and thereby make meaningful change for themselves, their families, and communities. The core of UCSC’s advising system is housed in the colleges and academic programs and is supplemented by advising and support services throughout the campus.

College academic advisors (some of whom are called “academic preceptors”) are generalist professional advisors who focus on orientation to the university, pre-major advising, academic success, and campuswide requirements such as general education and university requirements. Each college has an advising team that can provide you with individual and group advising and can refer you to resources and educational opportunities. You remain affiliated with your college advisors throughout your undergraduate career.

Professional advisors in UCSC’s academic programs (sometimes called “major advisors”) focus on areas related to a student’s major or minor. Major advisors can help you understand declaration and major requirements, and can assist you in planning a program of study. They can help you identify enrichment opportunities within the major and refer you to appropriate faculty advisors. Faculty advisors may serve as mentors in your field, recommending courses and helping you refine your educational goals. For transfer students and for students in many majors (such as those in the physical and biological sciences, engineering, and the arts), it is important to review information provided by major advisors prior to your first quarter on campus.

For help in assessing career interests and exploring and choosing career options, contact the Career Center. The staff also can assist you with choosing a major, résumé preparation, interviewing skills, applying for an internship, and job-search strategies.

If you plan to go on to graduate school, consult with faculty in your major. Faculty advisors are the best people to ask about the quality of graduate programs in your field of interest. In addition, the Career Center offers advising and workshops on applying to graduate school.

If you intend to pursue graduate study in a field not offered as a major at UCSC, you can often prepare for your intended program through one of the campus’s regular majors. You must plan your studies carefully, however, and advising will be especially important. The Career Center has information that will help prepare you for graduate and professional programs. The following are some fields in which UCSC alumni have pursued graduate study and successful careers:

  • Business
  • Conservation
  • Film
  • Finance
  • Guidance and counseling
  • Health fields
  • High-tech industry
  • Human resources
  • Industrial and labor relations
  • International relations
  • Law
  • Marketing
  • Museum administration
  • Public administration
  • Urban planning

The Career Center includes advisors with specialized expertise in preparing for careers in medicine or another health-related field (including dentistry, nursing, nutrition, occupational therapy, optometry, osteopathic medicine, pharmacology, physical therapy, public health, and veterinary medicine), and in preparing for careers in law.

A number of programs provide additional academic and comprehensive support services to students with specific needs. Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP), Services for Transfer and Re-Entry Students (STARS), and the Disability Resource Center are described below. Counseling on personal and family issues is available through Counseling and Psychological Services. If you need assistance that is not listed in this section, check with your college advisors.

Your first step in accessing advising at UCSC is to complete the online Slug Orientation courses.


All new UC Santa Cruz students who enter in a fall quarter are expected to participate in an online "Slug Orientation" course, for which they earn 1 credit upon passing. This orientation course begins the process of academic advising and provides a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of UCSC. After participating in online orientation, students may choose and enroll in classes for their first term.

Summer Orientation is held over the course of the summer and includes separate programs for first-year and transfer students. Orientation is mandatory for all students, and is a gateway to enrolling in the first quarter's classes.

Fall Welcome Week, scheduled approximately five days prior to the beginning of fall quarter, is the next step in the orientation and advising process for new students entering fall quarter. It provides students with an opportunity to settle into life at UCSC, take advantage of important services, and continue their academic advising. Questions about Summer Orientation and fall Welcome Week can be directed to the Office of Campus Orientation Programs at (831) 459-5468, or via email to Information is also available at Campus Orientation.

International Orientation is required for all international students regardless of residency status. The mandatory International Orientation program eases students’ transition to university life and introduces students to a research university’s academic expectations, UC level writing norms, campus resources, and the UCSC and Santa Cruz communities. International Orientation is scheduled prior to Welcome Week and the beginning of fall quarter. For more information, please visit the International Orientation website.

Career Success

UC Santa Cruz graduates find success in many different career fields. Their superior education is the foundation for this success. The staff at Career Success will help you link your educational experience to the world of work. The center provides a variety of employment and career-development services to help students obtain rewarding and successful careers.

Both undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to visit Career Success often throughout their time on campus. Undergraduates should check out the Career Planning Guide for additional career development activities suggested for students from first year through senior year. 

Career Success— located at the Hahn Student Services Building, Room 125—can be reached at (831) 459-4420 or at

Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP)

The Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) provide a variety of academic and personal support designed to improve the retention and academic success of first-generation low-income and educationally disadvantaged college students. EOP helps ensure that these students successfully complete their undergraduate education and acquire the skills to prepare for graduate and professional school, as well as for future leadership roles.

Building on the legacy of the Civil Rights movement, EOP’s equity-minded staff team (students and professionals) advocate for and partner with each student and the larger campus community, from the first year and beyond graduation, to dismantle systemic barriers to their success, uncover the hidden curriculum, and cultivate a space where they can learn and belong at UC Santa Cruz.

Bridge Program

The Bridge Program is a first-year experience program that supports and guides students in their transition from high school to university. Participants are first-generation college students who may come from low-income backgrounds and under-resourced California high schools. The program is designed to prepare students for the academic rigors of the university by providing them with the tools and resources necessary to achieve academic excellence in their first year and throughout their undergraduate career.

Support Services for AB540 Students

AB540 Student Services provides a broad range of support services designed to address the needs of AB540 students. These services address the gaps that AB540 students face within the university and enhance student achievement. Services provided to students include mentoring, community-building events and programs, personal advising, and student-based support.

Textbook Lending Program

This program is designed to assist students in obtaining required textbooks that they would not be able to purchase on their own due to cost. To receive textbook assistance, students must demonstrate financial hardship and must have exhausted all other forms of financial aid available to them. This includes all forms of loans (subsidized and unsubsidized).

Pre-Graduate Programs

EOP also sponsors two pre-graduate programs designed to increase the placement of EOP students in professional and doctoral programs and to encourage the pursuit of academic careers.

  • The Graduate Information Program (GIP) supports students seeking to pursue graduate and professional school education. Services include graduate and professional school advising; graduate school application and internship-related workshops; graduate school resource library and website; website to conferences and forums
  • Pathways to Research (P2R) exposes undergraduate students to research opportunities and research-based graduate programs. With the assistance of their graduate mentor, participating students determine their short-term goals for the quarter and long-term goals for the school year related to exploration of and involvement in research. Students engage in bi-weekly meetings with their mentor to report on progress and plan next steps to reach their goals. P2R is a two-quarter commitment (Winter and Spring). Mentees will receive a $300 stipend upon successful completion of the program.

For detailed information about EOP's comprehensive resources, visit, drop by their office at 121 Academic Resources Center, Monday through Friday, email, or call (831) 459-2296 .

STEM Diversity Research Programs

The Division of Physical and Biological Sciences sponsors several programs designed to promote diversity in the sciences by providing direct services that support students, bolstering their science identity through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) research training, professional development, and academic support. STEM Diversity Programs support students from underrepresented and underserved backgrounds in achieving their educational and career goals by providing them with hands-on research experience and fostering a sense of inclusion, acceptance, and community.

For information on opportunities and programs, visit the STEM Diversity Programs website

Academic Excellence Program (ACE)

ACE is a nationally recognized academic support program that is designed to increase the diversity of students who earn bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). ACE offers active-learning problem solving sessions for selected mathematics and science courses.

Applications are accepted quarterly for the upcoming term. Enrollment in ACE is limited and priority is given to RISE scholars and EOP students who are planning to pursue a STEM major. For more information, visit the ACE website.

Multicultural Engineering Program (MEP)

Also known as the MESA Engineering Program, MEP is the university-level component of Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA), a statewide program of the University of California Office of the President. At UC Santa Cruz, MEP is supported by the Baskin School of Engineering. Its goal is to promote the retention and graduation of a diverse population of students, especially those from groups that remain the most underrepresented in engineering studies.

For further information, visit UCSC's MEP website.

Services for Transfer and Re-entry Students (STARS)

Services for Transfer and Re-entry Students (STARS) offers a broad range of personal and academic support services for all transfer and re-entry students (undergraduates 25 years and older, graduate students 29 years and older), students who are parents regardless of age, and military veterans. These services include admissions information; orientations for new students; academic seminar courses; study skills workshops; tutorial services; informal academic advising; drop-in assistance; social, recreational, and cultural programs; scholarships; newsletters; and study centers with computer workstations. STARS also acts as a clearinghouse for information about campus and community resources for UCSC’s large transfer and re-entry student populations.

STARS is located at the Bay Tree Campus Store, 2nd Floor. For more information visit the STARS website.

Disability Resource Center (DRC)

The campus accommodates students with disabilities and welcomes their attendance at UCSC. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) provides services such as disability-related advising, authorization for testing accommodations, conversion of print materials into alternative formats (audio, electronic, Braille), adaptive equipment loans, notetakers, sign language interpreters, real-time captioning services and referrals to appropriate campus or community resources.

The Disability Resource Center is located on the third floor of the Bay Tree Building and can be reached by phone at (831) 459-2089, or via email at More information is available on the Disability Resource Center website.

Campus access for people with mobility impairments. Visit the campus Americans with Disabilities Act website for more information about accessibility maps, vehicles equipped with wheelchair lifts that can transport students throughout campus, and permits for accessible or medical parking spaces that are adjacent to all campus buildings. Most buildings on campus have wheelchair-accessible ramps, modified rest rooms, and other facilities. If necessary, classes are rescheduled to meet accessibility needs.

Questions and concerns can be directed as follows:

  • Education/program accessibility should be addressed to the director of the Disability Resource Center, at (831) 459-2089 (voice).
  • Facility or transportation access should be directed to Facilities Access Coordinator (831) 459-3759 (voice).
  • Computing access to the campus should be directed to IT Accessibility Coordinator (831) 459-2410.
  • Accommodating job applicants or current employees with disabilities should be directed to (Disability Management Coordinator, Benefits Office (831) 459-4602 or Assistant Director for EEO, Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (831) 459-3676.

ROTC and Military Affairs

UC Santa Cruz Air Force ROTC

Students interested in participating in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) have the option of attending AFROTC classes at San José State University while taking other academic classes at UC Santa Cruz.

San José State University supports a wing of AFROTC with cadets from San José State University, Santa Clara University, Stanford University, UC Santa Cruz, and many local community colleges. The Air Force ROTC program is designed to provide instruction in leadership, management, and national security studies along with military education and training. This prepares the cadet for assignment to positions of responsibility and importance in the modern Air Force. Instruction is conducted on and off campus. This program offers all eligible students the opportunity to obtain an officer's commission in the United States Air Force while earning their college degrees.

Program Overview

Our faculty brings a wealth of experience and diversity to the program. Instructors are Active Duty Air Force officers from various career areas and provide students with a first-rate academic education and military training experience. Each faculty member also acts as a student advisor to guide students through the program and help them reach the goal of an officer’s commission in the United States Air Force.

College students wishing to commission as an Air Force officer through ROTC may enroll in a three-, or four-year program. Students attend Air Force ROTC classes along with other college courses and receive elective academic credit. AFROTC courses are sequenced by subject area for specific and logical reasons. Please see for course information. After successfully completing all requirements, the cadets are commissioned as Air Force officers.

For information on the Air Force ROTC program, contact the Department of Aerospace Studies, AFROTC Det 045, One Washington Square, Industrial Studies Building, Room 214, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, 95192-0051. Phone: (408) 924-2960. Email or visit the website: Students may call or inquire about program prerequisites, scholarship availability, and class schedules at the Department of Aerospace Studies.

UC Santa Cruz Army ROTC

The Army ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) is one of the best leadership courses in the country and can be part of your college curriculum. UC Santa Cruz students have the opportunity to take ROTC courses with cadets from other local campuses including Santa Clara University, Stanford, and San Jose State University. Cadets from UC Santa Cruz have flexible options to meet ROTC class requirements such as local classes on campus, shuttles to Santa Clara University, or by virtual attendance of classes at Santa Clara University through the Army’s online meeting application. During classes, leadership labs, physical training, and field training exercises, Army ROTC students will learn firsthand what it takes to lead others, motivate groups and conduct missions as an officer in the Army. Upon graduation from Army ROTC, students will earn the bar of a second lieutenant and be commissioned into the Active Army, Army Reserve or Army National Guard.

Army ROTC at Santa Clara University is a program that fosters the development of cadets' academic, athletic, professional, and mental strengths. Students attend class and physical training for three hours each week, along with a Wednesday lab session that features hands-on instruction regarding Army operations and leadership situations. This program is ideally designed as a four-year process. Cadets spend their first two years familiarizing themselves with the Army, and in their third year they are expected to perform and improve as leaders in preparation for a summer leadership development camp at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. The fourth and final year of Army ROTC introduces cadets to the responsibilities of military staff, teaching them to plan, train, lead, and develop their junior cadets in preparation for their commission. A typical four-year education with Santa Clara University ROTC comes with a service obligation of four years in the Army.

Army ROTC also gives cadets the opportunity to gain further Army experience by earning appointments to Army training schools where they will parachute from airplanes or rappel from helicopters. In addition, cadets are allowed a single quarter of study abroad, as well as the opportunity to participate in Army-funded immersion trips to dozens of countries across the globe in the summer months.

Cadets who graduate from the program will compete for active duty and reserve positions across the Army. Active officers have a full-time position and serve for a minimum of four years. Reserve officers serve for eight years part-time in either the National Guard or Army Reserve.

For more information about ROTC opportunities and scholarships contact Mario Morales by email at or by phone at 408-554-6840, or visit the Army ROTC website at

For more information regarding Army ROTC please visit the Army ROTC website at