What Is an Activity Unit?

Here’s what you need to know about activity units.

Which classes are activity units?

Check in ExploreCourses to see which courses are activity units—you’ll see a 3-letter code under the blue Schedule link. If the code is ACT, it's an activity class. All Student-Initiated courses (with SI after the course number, eg Anthro 13SI) are ACT units. Athletic and physical exercise courses are generally activity units. Activity units are always only graded Satisfactory/No Credit.
Not all small-unit courses are activity units. It depends on the component code. SEM (seminar), PRC (practicum), WKS (workshop), and so forth are NOT activity units. Wellness and Outdoor courses are usually activity units, but not always. Most lecture-series courses are usually not activity units (one exception being MS&E472). Most music and dance practice courses are not activity units (one exception being Dance 46: Social Dance, which is an activity unit).

When do activity units matter?

Only 8 completed activity units may count toward the 180 total units needed for graduation. As of 2014, the detailed version of your Unofficial Transcript has an addendum at the bottom showing how many activity units you’ve attempted and earned, so you can check your total there.
However, that doesn't mean you can only ever take 8 activity units. Each quarter, completed activity units count toward the 12 units required to be a full-time student. Even if you've taken more than 8 activity units total, you might still take them during the quarter to qualify as a full-time student, knowing that the 9th and 10th activity unit will not count toward your graduation total.