Culture, Art & Technology

CAT Staff Picture 2015

Sixth College Academic Programs consist of the following:

The Culture, Art and Technology program (CAT) is a three-quarter course sequence required for all first-year students. CAT is both a freshman writing program and an interdisciplinary core sequence which explores how aspects of human culture shape and mediate our interactions with our environment and with each other. Entering students will sign up for CAT 1, 2, and 3 in the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters (respectively) of their first year.

The Practicum upper-division requirement is unique to Sixth College. Each student completes an individually chosen project which gives them a chance to apply their knowledge to real problems and connect with communities outside the classroom.

Culture, Art and Technology (CAT)

The Sixth College Core Sequence on Culture, Art and Technology gives students an opportunity to learn about the conventions of academic writing and to consider the implications of questions that are also important outside the university. Some of the questions addressed in first-year CAT courses are:

  • In the twenty-first century, how do we shape the world, and how does the world shape us?
  • What ethical questions are raised by designed objects, environments, and interactions?
  • How do cultures manage change?
  • Why does the historical context of a given technology or commodity matter? How far back in time should we look? Which factors should we weigh most heavily?
  • How do we understand media on a global scale?
  • How is sensory experience mediated?
  • What forms of production and consumption do we take for granted in contemporary life?
  • How do new solutions sometimes create new problems?

Each quarter we offer a selection of interdisciplinary courses, which take varying approaches to the same basic issues.

  • CAT 1 courses (fall) focus on critical reading and questions like “What is a text?” or “How can an artifact or source be analyzed?” or “Why is the same object of study approached differently in different fields?” (4 units)
  • CAT 2 courses (winter) emphasize arguments, both explicit and implicit.  Students learn more about how different kinds of arguments are constructed, how visual arguments persuade, and why some parts of an argument might not be visible or open to debate. Note: students must have passed the Entry Level Writing Requirement to take this class. (6 units)
  • CAT 3 courses (spring) look at the making of knowledge from multiple sources and many cultural perspectives.  intensive writing instruction continues, with an emphasis on producing an independent research project. (6 units)


The Sixth College Practicum is an upper-division, general education requirement that embodies the College’s commitment to active, hands-on learning. Students enroll in courses that have an experiential, service-learning, or community-based component to the curriculum.

Along with the Practicum, every student is required to complete Sixth College’s upper-division writing course, CAT 125. This course gives students approaching graduation the opportunity to reflect upon the relationship between their coursework, their communities, and their intellectual and professional goals.  Students focus on writing for public audiences and get feedback on how to improve oral presentation, writing in print formats, and digital content-creation.

CAT Partners


As the university's performing arts presenter, ArtPower! presents an eclectic mix of sounds and sight to thousands of audience members each year. From international dance, to interactive film events, to global pop, you can expect to see some of the most exciting local, national, and international artists, right here at UCSD.

Special Sixth College 2-for-1 Offer
ArtPower! is offering a special 2-for-1 discount to students who purchase tickets to one of their Fall Quarter event-picks including Flowers of Evil, Vertigo Dance Company, and Marco Benevento (see website for event details). If you purchase tickets to all three events, you receive a free ArtPower! Tshirt!

To order, visit and enter promo code APFALL11 . Click on the event you wish to purchase and proceed to check out. Event details can be found at


Check out Calit2's art gallery!

The Loft

The Loft at UC San Diego is our new performance lounge and social crossroads where emerging art and pop culture collide. Our performance venue is for anyone hungry for artistic connections. A place where modern design, appetizing bites, and intriguing performance commingle The Loft will revolutionize how you experience the arts.

Science Studies

Many of our Faculty and Teaching Assistants are part of UCSD's Science Studies Program. This program offers students an opportunity to integrate the perspectives developed within the communication of science, history of science, sociology of science, and philosophy of science, while receiving a thorough training at the professional level in one of those disciplines.

Academic Programs

Office Hours

8:30AM - 4:00PM

Front Desk: (858) 822-2275

Related Links

Practicum Proposal


Learning Outcomes (Writing & Practicum) (PDF)

Inventory of High Impact Practices (PDF)