Getting started in Chemistry - Frosh


Students are admitted to UCSC with a "proposed major" in most cases, and later petition to officially declare the major. Admission to UCSC does not guarantee acceptance into a particular major. Students must be declared in a major by the end of the second year (or equivalent), so learning about and preparing for a major is a primary goal for first-year students.

Importance of an early start:

This is a course-intensive and/or sequential program, and students who intend to pursue this major must begin taking classes for the major in their first year at UCSC.

Qualification requirements and/or prerequisites for the major:

Review Major Qualification Requirements in the General Catalog:

Frosh who intend to pursue this major should do the following things prior to the beginning of fall term...

  • Ensure your official transcripts arrive to UC Santa Cruz by July 1; all official test scores, including AP scores, must arrive by July 15.
  • Complete parts 1 & 2 of the Slug Orientation Course process to receive your enrollment appointment date.
  • Students who have taken college-level transferable classes that may apply to the requirements of this major should submit an unofficial transcript to the advisor prior to July 1, in addition to the official transcript that is required by the UCSC Admissions Office. The advisor may be reached at
  • Complete the Math Placement process. It takes up to three business days for ALEKS PPL placement to post in your student record. Completing the assessment by July 16 will ensure your placement is posted before enrollment begins (although depending on your enrollment appointment, you may have more time!).
  • Decide which General Chemistry series to take:
    • CHEM 1 - General Chemistry
    • CHEM 4 - Advanced General Chemistry (restricted to CHEM & BMB majors in 2022-23 and requires special enrollment procedure; see below)

...and should take these courses their first term:

  • CHEM 1A or CHEM 1B - see special enrollment procedures below
  • The appropriate Mathematics course based on placement

Special enrollment procedures:

  • Enroll in classes during your online enrollment appointment time.
  • If you have decided to enroll in the CHEM 1 General Chemistry series…
    • You may directly enroll into a CHEM 1 course, so long as you have achieved the necessary mathematics prerequisite/placement - either CHEM 1A or CHEM 1B with CHEM 1M
    • If you enroll in CHEM 1B, make sure to enroll in CHEM 1M as well (if seats are available)
    • The CHEM 1 series can be taken out of sequence
  • If you have decided to enroll in the CHEM 4 Advanced General Chemistry series…
    • A CHEM 4 Canvas link will be sent to you via email by in early July. Use that link to enroll in the CHEM 4 Canvas module. That Canvas link will include a description of the CHEM 4 Preparatory ALEKS module required for CHEM 4 enrollment and instructions for how to gain access to it. Follow the instructions to gain access to the CHEM 4 Preparatory ALEKS module.
    • Complete the CHEM 4 Preparatory ALEKS module successfully. Students will have up to 6 weeks from the first day the ALEKS module is accessed to finish. 
    • Once the CHEM 4 Preparatory ALEKS module has been completed, submit the CHEM 4 Enrollment Interest Form to request a permission number to enroll in the fall CHEM 4A/4AL classes.
    • A department advisor will contact you with a permission number once your successful CHEM 4 Preparatory ALEKS module completion is confirmed.

Sample Academic Plan:

Review the Sample Plans in the General Catalog:

Skills important for success in this major:

Critical and logical thought, complex problem solving using scientific rules and methods, deductive and inductive reasoning

Other Information:

Links to Review:

Program Description (Catalog)
Department Website

Advisor Contact Information:

Marla Hesselink
Physical Sciences Building (PSB) 230C
Chemistry Advising Webpage