Enrollment Policies

Campus-wide, when a student enrolls in a UCSD course, they acknowledge and accept the posted days and times of all scheduled course components, including the final exam. A student who gets and remains enrolled after the course syllabus has been issued acknowledges and accepts the policies and protocols detailed in the course syllabus, no matter the date and time when they enrolled in the class. A student who is unable to commit to the entire course for any reason is expected to drop the course within the allowable timeframe outlined in the posted campus information. Please be aware that although WebReg will allow a student to enroll in courses that conflict in any way, the campus considers it the student's responsibility to avoid doing so, as it may compromise academic success. A student may contact instructors to request accommodations to account for the conflict, but instructors are not required to grant them. If you are not able to enroll in a course but are interested in the course content, you may consider requesting permission to audit the course. 

Please select a topic below to learn more about our enrollment policies. 

Late Adds

We DO NOT permit late adds for undergraduate students. Undergraduate student requests needing department review and/or processing AFTER the close of business (4pm) on the last day of the standard enrollment period (i.e. Friday of week 2 for FWS; Friday of week 1 for summer session 1 & session 2) are considered late adds and will be denied.

 

Auditing

Auditing at the sole discretion of the instructor, and must be requested and approved in writing (email request and email approval is fine). If the instructor approves your request to audit their course and the instructor wants to allow you to see their Canvas information, the instructor must log onto Canvas and follow these instructions to add you as an observer (the Department cannot grant you access). Auditors, please keep in mind that auditing does not make you eligible for enrollment; auditing does not make you enrolled or waitlisted for the course and you WILL NOT receive credit for the course, even if you choose to audit for the entire term and/or to complete work for the course. Auditors, please also keep in mind that you are NOT permitted to take exams in the course, nor be present in the classroom during any exams (this would be a violation of Academic Integrity).

 

Prerequisites (Prereqs)

Prereqs are preparatory courses that help determine your eligibility to enroll. Only courses with college-level credit can apply as prereqs. Prereqs must be taken in advance via regular enrollment or Credit by Examination, and this is enforced across the board for every student enrolling in our courses; a grade of D or above (or a “P”) is accepted (Incomplete grades are NOT accepted).* Prereqs cannot be taken concurrently (e.g. PHYS 2A and 2B cannot be taken concurrently, since PHYS 2A is a prereq for 2B).

Yes, campuswide, prereqs can and do change over time and the UCSD catalog includes the following above each department's course listings: "All courses, faculty listings, and curricular and degree requirements described herein are subject to change or deletion without notice."

The UCSD catalog does not publish in sync with the quarterly schedule, and so most prereq changes will appear in WebReg before they appear in the UCSD catalog.

Upcoming changes to PHYS course prereqs will be noted on this webpage so that students can plan ahead, so students are strongly encouraged to check this webpage regularly to have as much advance notice as possible for planning upcoming courses. 

Either P/NP or letter-graded courses can be used towards prerequisites, no matter your major/minor/college. But in cases in which the course is double counting as a prereq AND a major requirement, your major dept. gets to decide whether you can take the course on a P/NP basis (our dept. only gets to decide this if you are a physics major). In cases in which the course is double counting as a prereq AND a minor requirement, your minor dept. gets to decide whether you can take the course on a P/NP basis (our dept. only gets to decide this if you are a physics minor). In cases in which the course is double counting as a prereq AND a GE requirement, your college gets to decide whether you can take the course on a P/NP basis. In cases in which you are a non-major, you want to take the course for P/NP grading, and the course is a prereq for a core UD physics course you want to take, see the “Special Prereq Policies for Courses Restricted to Physics Majors.”

Here at UCSD, prereqs belong to the courses themselves and not to any major / minor / GE / professional school / grad-prep program, etc., so there may be situations in which you will need to take courses that are not part of your major/minor/GE/med/grad-prep program if they are listed as prereqs for courses that are part of your major/minor/GE/med/grad-prep program. This particular policy applies to all UCSD courses, not just to physics courses.

If you failed/missed one/more prereqs (including NP grades) you cannot proceed with your proposed enrollment(s). Instead, you must take the failed/missed prereq. UCSD Students: If you fail (or drop) a prereq and do not drop yourself from the course(s) in the subsequent term that require(s) it, the Registrar’s Office will drop you when they run the “Missing Pre-Req Check” during the term in which the prereq is being used (the Check typically runs and drops students prior to the end of week 3). Note: Incomplete grades are considered missing prereqs and will be treated accordingly by the Registrar’s Office.

Planned / Waitlisted courses at UCSD do not count towards prereqs, not even via an EASy request.

Enrolled courses that are in progress at UCSD (but not UCSD Extension) automatically count as prereqs in WebReg when you enroll in a physics course for a subsequent term – no EASy request is required. For example, enrolled summer session 1 courses automatically count as prereqs when enrolling in summer session 2 through WebReg – no EASy request is required.

A non-UCSD course/exam can only be used as a prereq for a UCSD physics course if it has already been approved for equivalency at UCSD and you already have a transcript showing you have already successfully completed the course/exam. Students will not be approved "prereserve" a seat in a UCSD physics courses while prereqs are in-progress outside of UCSD. No exceptions are granted. 

If the non-UCSD course/exam does not yet appear on your UCSD record, you must follow the steps below in order to use the non-UCSD course. The steps require you to do the following in the order listed:

1. Confirm/Obtain equivalency for your non-UCSD course/exam.

2. Complete the course/exam and obtain a transcript/score report with the grade/score.

3. Submit an EASy request for preauthorization to enroll with your approved course equivalency documentation and transcript attached. 

Check to see if your prereq course/exam already has an approved equivalency with UCSD: 

  • For MATH and PHYSICS courses from CA community colleges, check here
  • For MATH courses from other UCs and other popular schools, check here
  • For PHYSICS courses from other UCs, check here
  • For MATH and PHYSICS equivalencies from AP Scores, check here.
  • For MATH and PHYSICS equivalencies from IB Scores, check here.

If your prereq course/exam does not already have an approved equivalency, get one before you begin step 2: 

MATH COURSE/EXAM

UCSD students with non-UCSD MATH courses: Click here and submit a Math Transfer Equivalency Petition. If Math gives you an official equivalency, save their message, you’ll need it later.

Non-UCSD students with non-UCSD MATH  courses: Please submit your transcript and math course descriptions via email to frdesk@math.ucsd.edu so they can determine the equivalency of your math coursework. If Math gives you an official equivalency, save their message, you’ll need it later.

PHYSICS COURSE/EXAM

Both UCSD and non-UCSD students click here and submit a Physics Course Equivalency Request. If Physics gives you an official equivalency, save our message, you’ll need it later.

Obtain a personal copy of your transcript/score report from the college/university where the prereq was taken – you will need to provide this to us in STEP 3 since any material you sent to UCSD Admissions is not accessible to us. For verification purposes, the transcript must include your printed first and last name, the printed name of the college/university, the course/exam details (i.e. subject code and course number, course title, units, term enrolled, academic year enrolled, term and cumulative gpa by term, and a qualifying grade/score in the prereq (remember, incomplete grades are not accepted towards prereqs)). If your college/university does not provide these verification markers on unofficial documents, you will need to obtain official documents.

Click here to request preauthorization to enroll in our course. You must attach your transcript/score report and any/all required official equivalency messages from STEP 1 so we can verify you’ve completed all the course prereqs. Your request will be processed within 5 business days, excluding campus holidays. Incomplete/Ineligible requests will not be approved.

    The core upper-division physics program, which is made up of courses in the Physics 100, 105, 110, 120, 130, and 140 series, is restricted in the course registration system to students currently majoring in physics. Non-majors who are interested in taking a core UD physics course must complete the prereqs as listed and then use EASy to request preauthorization to enroll.

    In rare cases, substitute prereqs may be used when requesting preauthorization to enroll in a core UD physics course:

    • ECE 107 (B+ grade or higher) may be used in place of PHYS 100A and/or 100B (e.g., for PHYS 130A/B requests, assuming PHYS 4A-B-C-D-E, MATH 18, and MATH 20A-B-C-D-E have already been completed)
    • Combo of ECE 35, 45, 65 (B+ grades or higher) may be used in place of PHYS 120 (e.g., for PHYS 122, 124 requests)
    • Combo of MAE 105, 107 (B+ grades or higher) may be used in place of PHYS 105A (e.g., for PHYS 105B requests, assuming PHYS 4A-B-C-D-E, MATH 18, and MATH 20A-B-C-D-E have already been completed)

    General Information: Graduate-level physics courses are designed for graduate-level students who are pursuing a PhD in physics. Most graduate-level physics courses assume prior completion of the entire undergraduate physics curriculum and this is why most of graduate-level physics courses do not have any prereqs listed. The Department requires physics graduate courses to be taught at a level and pace consistent with the graduate program curriculum. The content and pace of physics graduate courses will not be changed/altered to accommodate undergraduates. If you are seeking to enroll in a graduate-level physics course, your academic record should display that you have the appropriate academic background and preparation for the course. There are unique requirements to enroll in particular The requirements to be approved to enroll in specific graduate-level physics courses are as follows:

    1st-Year Graduate Courses (PHYS 200A, 201, 210A, 212A): Students who have achieved grades of A-, A, or A+ in the UD courses on these topics can undertake the graduate diagnostic exam offered shortly before the fall term begins (if you qualify, please contact PHYSICS through VAC after spring grades have posted in order to get exam schedule information for the upcoming fall. Successful completion of this exam will enable students to enroll in the corresponding graduate-level course provided they meet the subject-specific requirements equivalent to those expected of graduate students.

    All Other Graduate Courses: Students must wait until all grades for the current term have been finalized and then submit a preauthorization request through EASy. The instructor and Department will review the student's past coursework and grades and then determine whether or not to endorse the request. 

    Effective Fall 2024, the PHYS 4C-D-E prereqs will be formally updated as follows:

    PHYS 4C: PHYS 4A-B or PHYS 2A-B-C, MATH 20A, 20B, 20C or 31BH, and 18 or 20F or 31AH.

    PHYS 4D: PHYS 4A-B-C or the combination of PHYS 4C and PHYS 2A-B-C; MATH 20A, 20B, 20C or 31BH, 20E or 31CH, and 18 or 20F or 31AH.

    PHYS 4E: PHYS 4A-B-C-D or the combination of PHYS 4A and 4C and 4D and PHYS 2A-B-C; MATH 20A, 20B, 20C or 31BH, 20D, 20E or 31CH, and 18 or 20F or 31AH.

    Effective Fall 2024, the PHYS 160, 161, and 162 prereqs will be PHYS 4A-B-C-D-E. 

     

    EASy Requests

    Before submitting an EASy request, you must read and follow the policies and protocols on prerequisites in the section above. Keep in mind, your EASy request will be denied if one/more prereqs:

    • are in progress outside of UCSD
    • would be taken concurrently w/ the requested course
    • does not already have an approved equivalency with UCSD 
    • is merely "planned" or "waitlisted" at UCSD
    • is missing (i.e. it was never taken, was failed, or has an incomplete)

    If your EASy request is denied, you will be referred back to this webpage to read through the prerequisite policies.

    Requests for UD courses restricted to physics majors MAY have additional requirements, such as specific grade/GPA requirements, unique processing times, etc. Requirements may change from time to time (contact the dept. for the most up-to-date information).

     We will not approve your request if you are already enrolled in the course.

    You must select the "Unit Limit Exception" request type. We cannot approve a unit limit request for sections w/ 5 or fewer seats available. Content

    Rush processing is NOT available. NO EXCEPTIONS. Requests will typically be processed within 5 business days after the date of submission, excluding weekends, breaks, and closures (see campus calendars here). 

    You must check EASy and/or your UCSD email account to see the status of your request and see if any follow-up is needed:

    • Pending Instructor Review/Submission: If your request has been pending at this level for more than FIVE (5) business days (excluding campus holidays), contact your instructor and ask them when the request is expected to be reviewed and processed.
    • Pending Department/Program Approval: If your request has been pending at this level for more than FIVE (5) business days (excluding campus holidays), contact your department/program through VAC and ask them when the request is expected to be reviewed and processed.
    • Pending Scheduling of the Section: If your request has been pending at this level for more than FIVE (5) business days (excluding campus holidays), contact the Registrar's Office and ask them when the request is expected to be reviewed and processed.
    • Pending Registrar's Approval: If your request has been pending at this level for more than FIVE (5) business days (excluding campus holidays), contact the Registrar's Office and ask them when the request is expected to be reviewed and processed.

       

      Credit by Examination 

       in Physics, a student is only eligible for Credit by Exam for a physics course if:

      • They have taken and passed an approved equivalent of our course outside of UCSD and it is deemed by UCSD to be a university-level course but not one that is UC-transferable (eg. courses taken at universities outside of the U.S. that the UC-System does not recognize)

      Please note the following regarding Credit by Examination in Physics:

      • Approval for Credit by Examination in Physics is at the discretion of the Department after proof of eligibility has been determined. To prove eligibility for Credit by Exam in Physics, you must submit a physics course equivalency request with a complete syllabus from the university level course(s) you took outside of UCSD that Admissions was unwilling to post to your UCSD record. Please Note: High school courses do not qualify for university credit and therefore cannot qualify you for Credit by Exam in Physics. To earn university credit based on high school coursework (eg. AP courses), you must take and pass AP, IB, or A-Level exams and earn qualifying scores. Coursework that has been successfully transferred to UCSD with course equivalency/exemptions cannot qualify for other equivalencies/exemptions via Credit by Exam. No exceptions.
      • Exams take place during finals week, only.
      • You can only attempt to test out of physics lecture courses.
      • You can only attempt to test out of a physics course if you have already satisfied all of the prereqs for the course (you cannot test out of a course if you are currently taking the one/more of the listed prereqs or if you haven't yet successfully completed all listed prereqs).
      • You cannot have already received a grade or a W in the course you want to test out of.
      • You cannot currently be enrolled in the course you want to test out of.
      • You must be in good academic standing to attempt a course via Credit by Exam.

      You must request and attend a physics advising appointment no later than week 8 of the regular academic term (or week 3 of the summer session) to go over exam details and to process the required Credit by Exam form (if approved for Credit by Exam, we will draft and process the form and we will route the form to your college). DO NOT attempt to sign-up for Credit by Exam for a physics course or fill out the Credit by Exam form with a physics instructo

       

      Concurrent Enrollment via Extended Studies

      Students seeking to enroll in a UCSD Physics course via Concurrent Enrollment must adhere to the prereq policies and protocols above. Requests may be held until after the end of the standard enrollment period for UCSD students, as priority enrollment must be given to continuing UCSD students for UCSD courses.

       

      Concurrent Enrollment via Extended Studies

      Students seeking to enroll in a UCSD Physics course via Concurrent Enrollment must adhere to the prereq policies and protocols above. Requests may be held until after the end of the standard enrollment period for UCSD students, as priority enrollment must be given to continuing UCSD students for UCSD courses.

       

      Special Enrollment Policies (COVID-related)