CNAS Undergraduate Academic Advising Center

CNAS Three Year Course Plan


Have you ever thought about trying to complete your bachelor’s degree in less than four years?  Are you wondering about the advantages and disadvantages of an accelerated degree completion schedule? 
This page is intended to act as a resource for students considering these options, and to highlight specific pathways that can result in accelerated degree completion for some of the most popular majors in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at UCR.

When is an accelerated degree plan appropriate?

Before examining the details of accelerated degree plans, it's important to consider the pros and cons of each plan. Three-year degree plans are not for everyone; they do involve sacrifices, especially with respect to extracurricular activity involvement, scope of study, and summer school enrollment.  At the same time, they may allow students to pursue postgraduate opportunities more quickly.  Consider the following table which outlines some of the advantages and disadvantages that come with pursuing a standard four year plan vs. an accelerated plan:.

Four Year Degree Plan
Three Year Degree Plan

Earn a 4-year degree on a standard timeline (12 regular quarters)

Earn a 4-year degree in 3 years (9 regular quarters + summer school enrollment)

Standard financial obligations

May reduce financial obligations, depending on AP/Community College credit before admission

Single or double major and minor options

Single major options only, unchanged from first year

Extensive curricular and co-curricular enrichment activities including undergraduate research participation

Strategically selected curricular and co-curricular enrichment activities

Requires minimal summer session coursework or AP/community college credit

Requires extensive summer session coursework or AP/community college credit

Sample Three and Four Year Pathways

Sample pathways for the three of the most popular CNAS majors may be found below. These pathways are intended only as examples to be used for comparative purposes; wherever possible they include generalities and not specific courses, and are meant only to show what is possible based on the amount of units needed to complete each program. The pathways also assume students enter into UCR as a freshman with no prior college-level credit.
Individual student pathways will vary significantly based on prior credit received, course availability, student schedules, and other factors.  Consult an academic advisor for further details and assistance in evaluating the various factors involved.


Plans Based on Entering Class 

Plans for the Class Starting in Fall 2015 (based on emphasis)  

Plans for the Class Starting in Fall 2016 (based on emphasis)  


Plans Based on Entering Class 


Plans Based on Entering Class 


 During the Spring term, the CNAS Academic Advisors will be holding a series of workshops to describe the plans and to help you weigh your options.  Please sign up for one of these workshops below:




More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Advising Center Information

CNAS Undergraduate Academic Advising
1223 Pierce Hall

Regular office hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 9:00am - 12:00pm & 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Wednesday: 10:00am- 12:00pm & 1:00pm - 4:00pm

Tel: (951) 827-7294 or (951) 827-3102
Fax: (951) 827-2243 or (951) 827-2798
E-mail: cnasstudent@ucr.edu