Getting Started in Physics/Applied Physics/Astrophysics - Transfers

Students are admitted to UC Santa Cruz with a "proposed major" in most cases, and later petition to officially declare the major. Admission does not guarantee acceptance into a particular major, although transfer students' records are screened for preparation for many majors at the time of admission. Junior transfer students must be formally declared by the deadline in their second quarter of enrollment.


Qualification requirements and/or prerequisites for the major:

Transfer students must pass equivalents of the following courses with a GPA of 2.70 or better:

  • Physics 5A
  • Physics 5B
  • Physics 5C

Transfer students must also pass the equivalents of the associated lab courses and Math 19A, Math 19B and Math 23A.

Transfer students who intend to pursue this major should do the following prior to the beginning of their first 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 the Slug Orientation courses to avoid any delay in getting your enrollment appointment.
  • Students who have taken college-level transferable classes that may apply to the requirements of this major should submit an unofficial transcript to the Physics adviser prior to July 1, in addition to the official transcript that is required by the UCSC Admissions Office.
  • See Transfer Major Preparation.
  • Although these are not required, they will help a student graduate in two years:
    • Complete a course equivalent to Physics 5D
    • Fulfill IGETC or partial IGETC
    • (if possible) complete a course equivalent to Math 23B
    • (if possible) complete courses equivalent to Math 21 and Math 24 

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

  • PHYS 5D: Introduction to Physics IV or, if this has been completed, PHYS 102: Modern Physics
  • MATH 23B: Multivariable Calculus (if transfer credit for this course was not obtained)
  • PHYS 116A: Mathematical Methods in Physics

In order to find other suitable courses to take please consult with the Physics Adviser

If unable to enroll in the courses listed above:

Sign up for a wait list when available: (Email  if you have questions.)

Special enrollment procedures:

Enroll in classes during your online enrollment appointment time.

Skills important for success in this major:

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

Although not required for the major, students in this major might benefit from:

The suggested course load is two major classes for the first quarter; if students do not have additional general education requirements to satisfy, they can utilize the third course to pursue other interests. Students will take 2-3 major classes in each subsequent term, according to the major planner. Many courses in Physics are offered only once a year, so adhering to the planner is important.

Other Information:

Transfer students do not receive credit toward the major for PHYS 5D or MATH 23B if taken at a different school. Students must petition to the Math/Physics Adviser if they wish to receive credit.

Links to Review:

Program Description (Admissions): Physics
Program Description (Registrar): Physics
Department Website
Transfer Information

Adviser Contact Information:

Brandon Day
831-459-1347 or
211A Interdisciplinary Sciences Bldg.