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
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.
More Details Related to 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?
Can transfer students change their major to physics after being admitted to UC San Diego?
Yes, transfer admits can declare physics as their major after matriculating to UC San Diego but should independently make sure that they complete Transfer Major Preparation before matriculating to UC San Diego to ensure the most timely graduation. These students should consult with a physics advisor before formally changing their major to physics.
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.
Does the UC San Diego Physics Department offer any placement tests that can help expedite time-to-degree for transfers?
In fall 2023, the Physics Department is piloting a diagnostic exam for incoming transfers who have MATH 18, MATH 20A-B-C-D-E and PHYS 2A-B-C-D completed by the end of the summer before their first fall term at UCSD. The goal of this exam is to help incoming transfers to determine their preparedness for core upper-division physics topics typically only accessible after taking the entire PHYS 4 series. Students who complete the diagnostic may have the opportunity to immediately pursue some core upper-division physics topics, potentially shortening time-to-degree.
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.
I need help understanding options and limitations for transfers interested in Physics at UC San Diego. Is there someone I can speak to about my particular situation?
Absolutely! We invite you to contact the Physics Advising Team!