Transfer Students

Transfer Students

Dear Transfer Student,

Welcome to the Physics at Berkeley, and thank you for your interest in our department! As an incoming transfer student, there are many things to consider, and we are here to help. You might be thinking about declaring your major in Physics. 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. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you have about the process. We look forward to meeting you!


Kathy Lee & Amanda Dillon


368 LeConte Hall/374 LeConte Hall

(510) 642-0481/(510) 664-7557


Golden Bear Orientation

Students entering into Berkeley in the Fall of 2017 will attend a week of activities and events, Aug 15-22.  Check for more 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

Steps to Declaring the Major for Transfers Students

Although you indicated an interest in an L&S major upon your application, once you enter UC Berkeley, you will need to formally declare your major. The first step for declaring the major in Physics 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 206 Evans 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.

Recommended Major Classes for the First Semester Transfer Students

For Physics students we recommend the following:

DO NOT overload your semester

  1. Physics 137A
  2. Physics 111 (BSC)
  3. Math 121A (recommended but not required) or American Cultures (AC) requirement (recommended)
  4. Physics 198 Transfer Course for Physics Majors (strongly recommended)
  5. Educ 198 - Strategies for Success at Cal for Transfer Students (special section for students in science & math recommended) or
  6. Physics 198BC - Berkeley Connect

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 Transfer Students

Students admitted for the Spring can take courses in the fall preceding 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