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A unified theory is one which explains a phenomenon once and for all. A grand unified theory of the universe, for example, would explain its origin and its end, and everything in between. My reader should take an immediate cue from my title that I mean this Article only as a preliminary step towards a unified theory of the jurisdiction of the United States Courts of Appeals. My purpose then is to provide an introduction to the complexities and nuances within the subject matter jurisdiction of the United States Courts of Appeals. This Article is organized into seven parts. Part I provides a brief introduction, background, and overview. Part II canvasses the procedures related to the exercise of subject matter jurisdiction. The discussion of civil appeals is divided into two parts: Part III deals with appeals from final judgments and Part IV deals with interlocutory appeals. Extraordinary writs are covered in Part V. Criminal appeals are the subject of Part VI. Part VII summarizes appellate review of the decisions of federal administrative agencies.