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About Thurgood Marshall College

Thurgood Marshall College, formerly known as Third College, was founded in 1970 in a period of transformative social change in the United States and the world. From its beginning, the college has enriched the lives of undergraduates with a commitment to the development of young people as both professionals and engaged citizens. In 1993, the college was named in honor of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Justice Marshall is well known for his dedication to educational opportunity for all, civil rights, freedom of speech, women’s rights, and the right to privacy.

The faculty, staff, and students of Marshall College are committed to furthering the ideals of Justice Marshall.

Marshall College History

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College Profile


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Mission and Philosophy of the College

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What Distinguishes Marshall College?

  • College motto: "The student as scholar and citizen", [social responsibility and academic excellence are equally important]
  • The spirit of community, as captured in our logo of three joined hands
  • Founded on the principles of diversity and equity minded education
  • Exceptional support for our transfer and international students
  • Emphasis on local community involvement with the Public Service Minor, DOC, and Partnership Schools outreach program
  • Dedication to the arts through the Artist in Residence Program and public arts initiatives

Dimensions of Culture Writing Program

The distinctive core sequence, which serves as the centerpiece of the general education requirements, emphasizes a deep examination of American society. This three-quarter sequence, “Dimensions of Culture—Diversity, Justice, and Imagination (DOC),” challenges students to develop a historically grounded understanding of the diverse experiences that have shaped U.S. culture. DOC is designed to be an interdisciplinary curriculum that explores the promise of the nation’s founding ideals juxtaposed to collective struggles to realize those ideals for all communities. 

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General Education

General education requirements are broad and flexible enough to enable students to integrate additional activities into their academic program, such as public service, internships, study abroad, research, and special studies. This range allows students to achieve their academic goals while applying their knowledge to real-life situations, whether students wish to enter the workforce or continue their education in graduate or professional school. General education courses introduce students to the founding principles of the college, provide a broad humanities, social science, and science background, and provide students with the skills necessary to pursue any departmental or interdisciplinary major.

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Public Service Minor

Public Service Minor

Hosted by Thurgood Marshall College, the nationally acclaimed Public Service Minor encourages students to understand the history and practices of public service and to work toward the development of civic skills. Those skills and practices are essential cornerstones of participation in a democratic society regardless of one’s chosen profession. The minor is open to all UC San Diego students. For the three consecutive years, UC San Diego and the Public Service Minor were honored with the President’s Community Service Honor Roll with distinction for its efforts to solve community problems, place students on a lifelong path of civic engagement and achieve meaningful, measureable outcomes of community service.

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