Transfer Admissions

Transfer Admissions

In Fall 2009 the department established a Qualification Policy that limits access to the program to those students who have completed a subset of foundational coursework and met a specific grade point average (GPA) in that coursework.  Transfer students are held to similar criteria for accessing the major.


To declare a physics major, transfer students MUST pass the equivalents of following courses AND have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.70:

  • PHYS 5A Introduction to Physics I
  • PHYS 5B Introduction to Physics II 
  • PHYS 5C Introduction to Physics III

NOTE:  At least two of these three courses must be passed on the first attempt.

Students missing any of this coursework or not meeting the required GPA will not be permitted to declare the major. Advanced Placement (AP) credit is not accepted in lieu of coursework. 

Students planning to transfer from a California Community College should reference to determine which courses are equivalent to these required courses.

It is imperative that all transfer students complete the following UC-transferable coursework prior to transfer:

  • Single-variable Calculus (MATH 19AB or 20AB)
  • Multivariable Calculus (MATH 23)
  • Introductory Physics (PHYS 5ABC with labs)

Students who plan to take the above courses at a California Community College should reference to determine which courses are transferable to UCSC.

Entering with these preparatory courses complete allows you more time to take advantage of the excellence our programs offer: specialized upper-division coursework tailored to your interests, lab and field courses that teach research techniques that can help you both start a career or continue your education, and opportunities to participate in community internships and faculty-mentored independent research.

Students who do NOT complete these preparatory courses prior to transfer...

  • May not have enough time to complete their intended degree. 
    Many of our degrees have a large number of requirements. Transfer students are expected to complete their degree in two years or seven quarters and are not allowed to enroll beyond three years or nine quarters. Entering under-prepared will preclude your ability to complete one of our requirement-intensive majors.
  • May have difficulty enrolling in these introductory courses here at UCSC.
    The preparatory courses listed are prerequisite to our upper-division courses. You cannot enroll in any advanced coursework without having completed them. Here at UCSC, enrollment in these preparatory courses is targeted at freshmen and sophomores - seats are not reserved for transfer students. We do, however, reserve space in our upper-division courses for adequately-prepared transfer students.
  • Will take longer to complete a degree.
    Transfer students are expected to complete their degrees within two years or seven quarters. The introductory courses listed above require one academic year to complete. For most of our majors, entering without this coursework will require an additional year to complete a degree.
  • May pay significantly more for their education.
    An additional year to complete these preparatory courses will cost significantly more in tuition at UCSC. Students considering entering without their preparatory courses completed will have to pay an additional year of tuition. Students receiving financial support should check with the Financial Aid office to be sure their support can be extended beyond the standard seven quarters as aid packages are often reduced when students extend beyond normative time. We encourage students to compare the cost of completing coursework at a community college with the cost of attending UCSC.

We are eager to help you succeed and entering prepared for our programs is the best way to assure your success.