John Muir College is one of the six undergraduate colleges at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The college is named after John Muir, the environmentalist and founder of the Sierra Club. It boasts a humanitarian emphasis focused on the "spirit of self-sufficiency and individual choice". Its general education requirements are more loosely structured than those of the other colleges, with an emphasis on "sequences" and individual study. Each student must complete a year-long sequence in social sciences, a sequence in natural science or math, and must choose two year-long sequences in two different areas chosen from fine arts, a foreign language or humanities. In addition, each student must complete two quarters of the "Muir College Writing Program" (MCWP). The college opened in 1967, at the height of the American environmentalist movement triggered in part by Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring. John Muir College describes itself as the "Heart of UCSD" and boasts a strong and distinct character after forty years of existence. Due to JMC's flexible general education requirements, it is very popular among incoming students and receives the most applications each year. Consequently, it employs the most stringent admissions process among the six colleges. The flexibility of the college often encourages a large number of students to pursue multiple bachelor degrees. Muir College's writing program incorporates college level writing over a two-quarter period, with general critical writing during the first quarter and a themed rhetorical analysis program during the second. Also unique to Muir College is the Muir Special Project major, which allows qualified students to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree by pursuing an individually designed program of interdisciplinary study.
Several of the most notable landmarks on the UCSD campus are located at Muir College. Sun God, the colossal statue designed by late French artist Niki de Saint Phalle, stands herald over the grounds of the campus. The 8- and 11-story twin residence halls Tenaya and Tioga stand as testament to the nature-conserving policies of Muir as well as examples of the prevalent architectural style of the 1960s. Muir's connection to California's Yosemite Valley continues with the Half Dome Lounge and the dining hall Sierra Summit. Every Halloween, Muir students drop a giant pumpkin from the top of the tallest residence hall as part of the Halloween Carnival.