Admission to the University of California, San Diego
Students who are interested in pursuing a major within the Department of Physics must first be admitted to the University of California, San Diego. Prospective students who are interested in applying to the University of California, San Diego should read the information below and should also visit the UC San Diego Admissions website to review eligibility and admission requirements. All questions related to university admission should be directed to UC San Diego Admissions.
Admission to UC San Diego within a Physics Major
Because of the number of students interested in the undergraduate physics programs and the limited resources available to accommodate this demand, the university has declared all majors and specializations in the Department of Physics as capped. All prospective students must indicate on the UC application if they wish to major in physics. Admissions decisions are made by the UC San Diego Office of Admissions and not by the Physics Department.
Admission directly into a physics major is limited for transfers. All potential transfers must indicate on the UC application if they wish to major in physics. Transfer Major Preparation coursework, or the equivalent of the courses listed, will be required for transfer admits and is being implemented in an attempt to ensure academic preparedness, success, and timely graduation. Transfer Major Preparation will impact any transfer student who is hoping to declare a physics major at/after the time of admission to UC San Diego.
Transfer Major Preparation
Transfer Major Preparation is being implemented in an attempt to ensure academic preparedness, success, and timely graduation. Transfer Major Preparation will impact any transfer student who is interested in pursuing a Physics major at UC San Diego.
Transfer students must complete required Transfer Major Preparation coursework, or the equivalent of the courses listed, to be considered for admission into any of the physics majors offered at UC San Diego.
Transfer Major Preparation coursework may differ from the lower-division requirements for each major. All required Transfer Major Preparation coursework must be complete for consideration of admission into a Physics major offered by UC San Diego, whether the coursework is required for the major or not. Whenever possible, prospective transfer students should also complete the recommended Transfer Major Preparation coursework for their preferred physics major prior to matriculation to UC San Diego in order to assist with time to degree. If admitted to a physics major, students are responsible for completing all lower-division major requirements for their individual physics major.
- PHYS 2A, 2B, and 2C
- MATH 18, 20A, 20B, 20C, and 20D
- Complete all required Transfer Major Preparation coursework listed above with a letter grade of "C" or higher
- Minimum GPA of 3.2 in minimum screening courses (Fall 2023-forward, only).
- PHYS 2CL, PHYS 2D, PHYS 2DL, and one programming course
- Also CHEM 6A-B-C, 7L, 40A, and BILD 1-2 (Biophysics only)
- Also SIO 50 (Earth Sciences only)
- Also CHEM 6A-B (Materials only)
The UC San Diego Office of Admissions and Relations with Schools conducts an initial review of Transfer Major Preparation courses for the purpose of admission into a Physics major. All course equivalencies will be determined and evaluated (if needed) by the respective UC San Diego departments after a student has accepted an offer of admission. If after evaluation, course equivalent credit is not granted, the student will be required to complete the deficient coursework to satisfy any Transfer Major Preparation courses that are also major requirements.
Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or A-Level credit may count toward fulfillment of Transfer Major Preparation coursework but will not be factored into the Transfer Major Preparation GPA.
For further information regarding transfer admission to UC San Diego, please see Transfer Admission.
Transfer Major Preparation Frequently Asked Questions
|How do I know if the California community college courses I have completed or will complete are equivalent to the appropriate Transfer Major Preparation coursework?|
|California community college students should utilize ASSIST to identify how their coursework will transfer to UC San Diego. Please note the following: 1) when reviewing ASSIST, make sure to access the agreement for the academic year in which the course(s) were completed, 2) although courses may be UC transferable this does NOT guarantee they are equivalent to the courses required for Transfer Major Preparation and 3) many of the ASSIST agreements are series equivalencies, not course-for-course equivalencies. Completing only part of a series at the community college could yield no course equivalency at UC San Diego.|
|How do I know if coursework taken at multiple California community colleges, coursework from another 4-year institution, or an out-of-state school will satisfy the Transfer Major Preparation requirements?|
|At the time of application, the UC San Diego Office of Admissions and Relations with Schools will make a preliminary determination whether Transfer Major Preparation courses are complete for the purposes of admission into one of the physics majors offered by UC San Diego.|
|Do required Transfer Major Preparation courses need to be completed by the time I apply to UC San Diego, or will they be considered if they are work-in-progress?|
|The UC San Diego Office of Admissions and Relations with Schools will evaluate completed and work in progress coursework through the Spring quarter/semester prior to admission to determine if transfer major preparation requirements can be met. Summer coursework planned just prior to admission will not be considered.|
|Can Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) exams/credit for Physics and/or Math coursework satisfy any Transfer Major Preparation requirements?|
|Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) may count toward fulfillment of Transfer Major Preparation coursework but will not be factored into the Transfer Major Preparation GPA.|
|Can transfer students apply to a physics major at some point after being admitted to UC San Diego?|
Transfer students who are admitted to UC San Diego in a major outside of the physics department may apply to a physics major at the conclusion of their first year at UC San Diego if:
|I am unable to major in physics but have taken several physics courses. What can I do?|
|Students who are unable to major in physics, may consider declaring a Minor in Physics.|
|What are the major requirements for transfer physics majors?|
Admitted transfer physics majors complete the same lower-division and upper-division major requirements as admitted freshman physics majors:
Current B.S. Physics Majors and Specializations
Current B.A. General Physics Majors and Specializations
Shortly after accepting the offer of admission to UC San Diego, admitted transfer physics majors will work with the department to develop personalized plans based on their incoming coursework and time-to-degree goals. Sample plans for completing major requirements can be found here. In accordance with campus policy, exceptions to the physics major requirements are approved by petition, only.
|What does the Transfer Major Preparation coursework prepare transfer physics majors for?|
|The Transfer Major Preparation coursework prepares transfer physics majors for Physics Majors, the Physics 4 series. The Physics 4 series teaches students to "Think Like a Physicist" by developing critical thinking, model building skills and applies advanced multivariable calculus, vector calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra to core physics topics ranging from mechanics through quantum mechanics. Because admitted transfer physics majors matriculate to UCSD after taking PHYS 2ABC, transfer physics majors are able to complete the Physics 4 series on an accelerated timeline (3 terms as compared to the standard 5, as taken by freshmen).|
|If I was admitted to UC San Diego as a physics major but subsequently changed to a major outside of the Physics Department, can I declare a physics major again at a later point?|
|Readmission into a physics major is not guaranteed. For more information, see the Physics Capped Status webpage.|
|Can I change my specialization within the physics major?|
|Once you have enrolled for your first fall term at UCSD, you can use the Major/Minor Tool to add/change your specialization within physics.|