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Newly Admitted Physics Transfer Students Print E-mail

Transfer Students: Welcome to the Department of Physics

Dear Transfer Student,

Welcome to the Department of Physics. Thanks for your interest in our department. As an incoming transfer student, you might be thinking about declaring our majors in Physics or the Physical Sciences Field. In order to help you make that decision or as you prepare to file the paperwork, we have put together the following information for you.

 * Contact information for the Physics and Physical Sciences Field Undergraduate Major Adviser  

Claudia Trujillo
368 LeConte Hall
(510) 642-0481
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* Welcome Week events

A Welcome Reception/Information Session is held the week before instruction begins every fall semester. Check our “news and events” section on the Physics Department website in mid-August for updated information.

The Physics Major

The program is designed to give students a solid foundation in physics and to prepare them for work in the field or a physics graduate program.

* Prerequisite Courses for the Major in Physics

  • Math 1A, Math 1B, Math 53, Math 54, Physics 7A, Physics 7B and Physics 7C or their equivalents
  • For information on community college equivalent courses, please visit Assist.org.

The Physical Sciences Field Major

This program has been developed for students who wish to concentrate on the physical sciences on a broader basis than is possible in a departmental major.  Two plans are offered within the major. Plan A is based on Physics 8, which is required of life sciences students, and Mathematics 16, which is required in part by the life sciences departments. Plan B is based on Physics 7 and Mathematics 1, which are required by the physical science and engineering departments.

* Prerequisite Courses for the Major in Physical Sciences Field

  • Plan A: Math 16A, Math 16B & Math 55, Physics 8A, Physics 8B, Chemistry 1A, Chemistry 1B and Computer Science 3 or their equivalents
  • Plan B: Math 1A, Math 1B, Math 53, Math 54, Physics 7A, Physics 7B, Physics 7C, Chemistry 1A and Chemistry 1B or their equivalents
  • For information on community college equivalent courses, please visit Assist.org.

* Steps to Declaring the Major for Transfers Students

Although you indicated an interest in an L&S major upon your application, once your enter UC Berkeley, you will need to formally declare your major. The first step for declaring the major in Physics or Physical Sciences Field is to complete the prerequisite classes mentioned, however, as a transfer student we hope you will attend our welcome reception to meet some of the faculty in our department and learn more about our programs including options for internships, study abroad, and special research. Once you are sure that the major is right for you, you can turn in your application to become a major. We will need a copy of your transcript showing completion of prerequisites. If all of your requirements are met, our processing time is usually one week. Once approved, your Major Adviser will submit your petition to the L&S Office of Undergraduate Advising at 113 Campbell Hall. Once the College receives and approves your declaration, you will be officially declared as a physics or physical sciences field major in our department.

* Courses a new transfer student could take in Summer Sessions to get ahead

For the Physics Major

You may enroll in Physics 137A which is offered during UC Berkeley’s 8-week Summer Session. Please note: you must have completed all the prerequisites to the major before enrolling in any upper division courses.

You may also enroll in Math 121A – “Mathematical Tools for Students in Physical Sciences”. Although upper division math is not required, it is recommended. If possible during the summer, we recommend that you enroll in a math course, with approval of your Major Adviser, before you take upper division physics during your first semester at Cal. However, if you wish to attempt physics during the summer, Physics 137A is the only upper division course we offer in the summer.

For the Physical Sciences Field Major

It is not possible for students majoring in this program to complete all lower division prerequisites at a community college. We recommend completing missing prerequisites during the summer. Please consult with your Major Adviser for information on which courses to enroll in during the summer.

* Recommended major classes for the first semester transfer students

For Physics students we recommend the following:

* DO NOT overload your semester*

  • Physics 137A
  • Physics 110A or 112
  • Math 121A (recommended but not required)
    or American Cultures (AC) requirement (recommended)
  • Educ 198 - Strategies for Success at Cal for Transfer Students
    (special section for students in science & math recommended.
    Please visit the Transfer, Re-entry & Student Parent Center for more information.

More challenging workloads can be considered in future semesters.

For Physical Sciences Field students we recommend the following:

* DO NOT overload your semester*

Complete any remaining prerequisite courses if any are missing. Ask your Major Adviser which other courses to take concurrently with prerequisites. If you have completed all major prerequisites we recommend:

Plan A

  • Computer Science 3
  • Statistics 131A
  • AC requirement (recommended)
  • Educ 198 - Strategies for Success at Cal for Transfer Students
    (special section for students in science & math recommended.
    Please visit the Transfer, Re-entry & Student Parent Center for more information.

Plan B

  • One of the following courses:
    Astro 7A or 7B or EPS 50 or EPS 100A
  • One of the following courses:
    Chem 120A or Physics 137A or 110A
  • Educ 198 - Strategies for Success at Cal for Transfer Students
    (special section for students in science & math recommended.
    Please visit the Transfer, Re-entry & Student Parent Center for more information.

More challenging workloads can be considered in future semesters.

* Special advice for spring transfers

Students admitted for the Spring can take courses in the fall preceeding registration at Cal only as described in their "Conditions of Admission" (see your MyBerkeleyApp account). If applicable, Spring transfer students should finish all remaining prerequisites, any remaining breadth requirements, and possibly AC course matches. (See Assist.org.)

* Useful resources for students in the major

Transfer students might find the following resources particularly helpful: