Berkeley Pre-Core Transfer Summer Program

Students standing along a ridge in the Berkeley Hills overlooking the Bay

Designed Specifically for Newly Admitted Transfer Students

The Berkeley Pre-Core Transfer Summer Program is designed specifically to help prospective and newly admitted transfer students strengthen their skills to transition successfully into physics, astrophysics, and earth and planetary science (EPS) majors at UC Berkeley. Although this program is not mandatory, we highly encourage students to consider it as an opportunity to become better prepared to take on the academic rigor of these majors by building technical skills and a community of support and resources. 

The program will be held during Sessions B and D of UC Berkeley Summer Sessions. Students will enroll in one fully online technical course (Physics 89: Introduction to Mathematical Physics OR Physics 77: Introduction to Computational Techniques in Physics) in Summer Session B (June 3-August 9, 2024), and all students are expected to enroll in Physics 198: Berkeley Pre-Core Summer Transfer Program in Summer Session D. Students must be on campus by the beginning of the Physics 198 course in Summer Session D (starts July 1st, 2024). Both courses will count towards the 120 units you need to graduate. Seats are limited and enrollment is on a first come, first served basis. 

Topics covered in the program include:

  • Math, coding, data analysis, and experimental preparation skills to prepare for physical science courses and labs
  • Academic planning tips and advising for the major requirements
  • Campus resources for academic support and student wellness
  • Grad school and industry jobs after Cal (includes guest speakers)
  • Information about finding research, clubs, and activities
  • Community building with fellow transfer students in physical sciences majors


Step 1

Newly admitted students who choose to enroll in the Berkeley Pre-Core Summer Transfer Program must first accept the UC Berkeley offer of admission. Once the offer is accepted, students must register for Transfer Edge. Please visit the Transfer Edge website for more information. (Note: If you are a prospective rather than newly admitted transfer student, then you can skip this step and enroll straight into your Summer Session courses as a Summer Sessions Domestic Visiting Student.)

Step  2

You will need to enroll in the following Summer Sessions courses:

Physics 89: Introduction to Mathematical Physics
4 units, fully online, Summer Session B (June 3-August 9)


Physics 77: Introduction to Computational Techniques in Physics
3 units, fully online, Summer Session B (June 3-August 9)

Note: These courses can be taken for a letter grade or P/NP. If you did not take a Math 54 equivalent course and need Physics 89 for your major requirement, then you would need to take Physics 89 for a letter grade.

Not sure whether to take Physics 89 or Physics 77? See these advising notes for further guidance.


Physics 198: Berkeley Pre-Core Summer Transfer Program
3 units, in-person, taken P/NP only, Summer Session D (July 1-August 9, 2024)

We will help you enroll in this course after you complete the GoogleForm below.

Note: You’ll need to move into local housing by July 1st in order to attend Physics 198 in-person. See below for housing notes.

The deadline for enrollment into the program is June 1st.

Step 3

You’ll need to complete this internal GoogleForm for the Pre-Core program.


If you are a newly admitted transfer student, registration through Transfer Edge allows you to be charged as a current UC Berkeley student instead of a visiting student. Cost is $419 per unit (& campus fees) for UC Berkeley students. If you are a prospective transfer student and enroll as a Domestic Visitor, the cost is $595 per unit plus registration and document management fees. For more details, please click here for 2024 Summer Sessions Fees.

Financial Aid

Note: Financial aid is only available to newly admitted transfer students (not prospective transfer students).

To apply for financial aid, you will need to complete both the 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) no later than June 1, 2024, and include UC Berkeley’s federal school code (001312) on the applications. Dream Act students should complete both the 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 California Dream Act Application no later than June 1, 2024 and include UC Berkeley’s federal school code (001312) on the applications.

This should be done as soon as possible if you plan to enroll in this program. We strongly encourage families to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to ensure the accuracy of your application information. Please visit Financial Aid for more information.

After you submit your FAFSA or Dream Act application, you must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 units of coursework before the office of Financial Aid and Scholarships can process and package their summer aid.

Summer Housing

Reminder: Fully online classes in Summer Session B (i.e., Physics 89 and Physics 77) begin on June 3rd, and you do not have to be on campus for your chosen online class. You are expected to be on campus for the in-person Physics 198 course in Summer Session D, though, which begins on July 1st.

Please review the Housing tab on the Transfer Edge website, under the Housing tab, for a robust description of summer housing options.

Please refer all questions regarding housing to Summer Sessions Housing.

Please review the general UC Berkeley Housing website to learn more about housing options on campus. You can also review the FAQs
about applying for Summer Housing as a Transfer student. Alternatively, undergraduate students can also seek off-campus housing through Cal Rentals.

4 students wearing blue Berkeley Physics tee shirts standing in the campanile esplanade

Pre-Core FAQs

Do I have to enroll in both physics courses?

Yes, in order to be a part of this program, you must enroll in Physics 198, and Physics 77 or Physics 89.

What is the exact schedule for the Pre-Core classes?

See specific course listings linked in the enrollment section for times and days.

What is the method and format of instruction?

Physics 77 and Physics 89 are fully online. Physics 198 is in-person.

What are the advantages of enrolling in the Pre-Core Program over the regular summer physics courses?

You will specifically be enrolling in classes that will help you transition into the physics major. Physics 198 is also only available to students in the PreCore Program, and this course is specifically designed to help transfer students transition successfully into Physical Science majors at Cal. The course also includes an introduction to campus resources, and community-building in a cohort experience so that you have support in your first semester.

Do I have to take the Pre-Core classes for a letter grade?

Physics 89 and Physics 77 can be taken for a letter grade or P/NP (your choice). Physics 198 is only offered P/NP. The only course that you would potentially need to take for a letter grade is Physics 89– and this would only be the case if you did not complete Math 54 equivalent courses at your community college and need to use Physics 89 to satisfy the Math 54/Physics 89 physics major requirement.

What is the cost for participating in the Pre-Core program?

The “Cost” section on this website includes information about the cost per unit. You would either be enrolled in six units or seven units, depending on which courses you select. Then you would need to factor in the cost of housing (see “Summer Housing” portion of website), and food. If you are a newly admitted transfer student, remember to register through Transfer Edge so that you are charged per unit as a UC Berkeley student rather than as a Domestic Visitor student.

Is there Financial Aid and will Physical Sciences departments provide additional funds to supplement the cost for the Pre-Core Program?

See instructions in the “Financial Aid” section for how to access it. Unfortunately, Physical Science departments cannot provide additional funds to offset the cost of the program at this time.

When is the deadline to enroll?

The deadline to enroll is June 1st.

Is it possible to do an internship or work while taking PreCore classes?

Yes it is, depending on the student’s ability to manage or organize their time. While we understand that students may have the need to work or participate in an internship during the summer along with taking the PreCore classes, it is important to be aware of the amount of workload this can potentially create. Students must understand that taking 6 units of coursework in the summer term is considered a heavy load and if combined with outside additional work, may pose some challenges with time management and issues of conflicting schedules. For these reasons, we ask students to think very carefully before committing to an internship or other job which may impact their academic performance in the Pre-Core classes.