Frosh FAQ

What classes do I enroll in to start my chemistry major?

Using the following information, students should prioritize their enrollment in math and chemistry courses. Remember, all courses for your major must be taken for a letter grade and passed with a grade of C or better.

What math class should I enroll in?

Math Placement (MP) evaluates a student's math preparation and places them into the appropriate math course, and is required to enroll in a math course at UCSC. Math Placement can be determined in one of the following ways:

  • Complete an online assessment (ALEKS)
  • Use calculus test credit (AP or IB)
  • Transfer math course credit

More detailed information on Math Placement may be found at the link provided to the left.

Do I need to take the Math Placement even if I plan on enrolling into MATH 2?


Which calculus series should I take?

Math 11 series - standard calculus series that most biology and chemistry majors take.

Math 19 series - this series is required for physics and engineering majors; it is a rigorous challenging treatment of calculus.

Math 20 series - honors level calculus.

Any of these calculus series can be used to fulfill the calculus requirement.

Which general chemistry class should I enroll in?

Take the Chemistry Self-Assessment to help determine where to begin. Students that are interested in majoring in chemistry are strongly encouraged to begin the general chemistry series in their first or second quarter.

NOTE: You will need your UCSC CruzID Gold and password to log in.

The General Chemistry Courses are:  CHEM 1A, CHEM 1B, CHEM 1C

Please note that CHEM 1A and CHEM 1B do not have to be taken in order.  These are 2 separate courses that do not build upon each other. You may take 1B prior to 1A. You may take 1A, 1C and then 1B. CHEM 1B does not have any pre-requisites besides strong high school chemistry. CHEM 1A requires placement in Math 3 or equivalent. CHEM 1C requires a prerequisite of CHEM 1A. Please keep this in mind if you find your Gen Chem course is full. 

Your AP Chemistry test score may exempt you from taking one of the general chemistry courses, see our Advanced Placement Credit page for more information.

When do I take biology?

The BMB Major (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) and Chemistry BS with a Biochemistry concentration have a biology requirement. Plan on taking your first biology course in Spring Quarter of your first year. The biology series starts with BIOL 20A.

Your AP Biology test score may exempt you from taking some introductory biology courses.

How do I know if my official AP scores came in?

You can see this information by checking your MyUCSC student portal. Click HERE to be directed to a step by step tutorial. 

I took course(s) at a community college, sent in my official transcript to Admissions by the deadline, but still can't enroll, what do I do? 

If you took a course at a California Community College that you believe are an equivalent to a major requirement or prerequisite, please email our office and let us know. In your email include your name, student ID, copy of your unofficial transcript and what you are requesting. We will review. If we can confirm equivalency, we will issue you temporary credit so you can enroll.

Admissions will officially enter your credit by mid Fall quarter.

We cannot issue temporary credit for GE courses. 

Can I graduate in 4 years? 

It's possible! But it will require work on your part. You want to be sure you are enrolling into courses for the major as suggested by the department, and of course, passing your classes. 

I got a C- in a course that is required for the major, do I still need to retake it? 

Yes! Grades of C or better are considered passing. Anything below a C must be repeated. 

What does my college advisor do? What does my major advisor do? 

Each college has an academic advising team that can provide support in transitioning to the university, understanding university requirements and policies, exploring academic interests, and supporting your academic success.

Program (major, minor, or "department") advisers provide support for major and minor programs. They can help you understand major requirements, prerequisites, and how to plan courses for your major, and can advise you on the major's qualification requirements (if any).  

How do I make an appointment/contact with my major advisor? 

Visit our website to see when we have appointments and drop in hours (hours may vary from quarter to quarter). Instructions to make an appointment can be found on this page as well. 

Email inquiries may be sent to Be sure to email from your UCSC email account and include your name and student ID along with your inquiry.