Culture, Art & Technology

CAT Staff Picture 2015

Sixth College Academic Programs encompases the lower-division core sequence of freshman writing classes, the college's experiential learning requirement, and an upper-division writing course.  These five essentials are all required for graduation from Sixth College. 

The Culture, Art and Technology program is part of Academic Programs. CAT is a three-quarter, three 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 eachother. Entering students will enroll in CAT 1, 2, and 3 in the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters (respectively) of their first year.

The Practicum is unique to Sixth College. The Sixth College Practicum is an upper-division general education requirement that edicts students complete a couse that has an experiental, sevice-learning, or community-based component to its curriculum.  The Practicum program (part of Academic Programs) assists students in identifying, selecting, or deveoping their individually chosen project. While projects themselves vary, each presents students an opportunity for "hands-on" experience, applying their knowledge to real-world problems and to connect with communities outside the classroom. 

Students must satisfy the upper-division writing requirement by completing CAT 125, or CAT 125R, (online).  This class in public rhetoric and practical communication prepares students for success beyond UCSD by developing their proficiency in public presentation. They will create their own expertise-related materials, and explore how individuals have created media-specific identities.  Students will direct written, spoken, or digital compositions to multiple audiences in various generes, as they learn how to effectively and efficiently demonstrate their authority through digital media.

Throughout the entire curriculum, CAT students examine their own authority as writers and understand how different genres and citation conventions are appropriate for establishing credibility in different contexts.

Culture, Art and Technology (CAT)

The Sixth College Core Sequence in Culture, Art and Technology provides students opportunities to learn about a wide range of topics while gaining knowledge and a solid understanding of the conventions of academic writing.  While develolping their skills writing in an academic setting, students  will consider the implications of questions that are important beyond the university community. Specific topics of CAT courses vary each quarter.  Students select their CAT class from a variety offered each quarter, according to their interests and availability. In each interdisciplinary CAT class, students are encouraged to explore the intersects of culture, art, and technology as they relate to their coursework.

Some questions that have been addressed in first year CAT classes include: 

  • 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?  By environments?  And interactions?
  • How do cultures manage change?  What does that mean?
  • 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?  Does this change over time?
  • What forms of production and consumption do we take for granted in contemporary life?
  • How do new solutions sometimes create new problems?
  • Does technology drive culture, or does culture determine technology?
  • I'm not an artist - so why does art matter?

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.

In addition to the Practicum, every student is required to complete Sixth College’s upper-division writing course, CAT 125, or its online equivalent, CAT 125R.  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.


Learning Outcomes (Writing & Practicum) 

Inventory of High Impact Practices