Getting Started

Getting Started:  Freshmen Enrollment Guide

For new students, the primary concern is getting enrolled.  Here is a quick overview of how to assess where you are at and which courses you should enroll in.  For a more detailed explanation, please refer to our Orientation Guide for first year students.

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.

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.

 Which calculus series should I take?

Math 11 series - standard calculus series that most biology 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.

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 two of the concentrations within the Chemistry Major 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.