Getting Started:  Freshmen Enrollment Guide

For new students, the primary concern is getting enrolled.  Here is a quick overview of how to assess where you are at and which courses you should enroll in....

What classes do I enroll in to start my Earth Sciences major?
What math class should I enroll in?
What calculus series should I take?
When should I take math?
What general chemistry class should I enroll in?
When should I take chemistry?

What classes do I enroll in to start my Earth Sciences major?

Students begin with general chemistry and mathematics, and an introductory course in physical geology.  Using the following information, students should prioritize their enrollment in math and chemistry courses.

What math class should I enroll in?

Take the Mathematics Placement.  Your score will determine which math course you can enroll in.  

Which calculus series should I take?

UCSC offers several calculus sequences.  MATH 11AB or MATH 19AB are recommended options for Earth and Planetary Science majors.

MATH 11 series, Calculus with Applications.

MATH 19 series, Calculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Your AP Calculus test score may exempt you from taking one or more of the calculus courses, see our Advanced Placement Credit page for more information.

When should I take math?

You should take math in your first year.  Reference these sample academic plans, your math placement score, and which concentration you are interested in, to determine which sample plan is appropriate for you:

Earth Sciences BS Freshmen Academic Plans
Environmental Geology BS Freshmen Academic Plans
Ocean Sciences BS Freshmen Academic Plans
Planetary Sciences BS Freshmen Academic Plans
Science Education BS Freshmen Academic Plans
Earth Sciences/Anthropology BA Freshmen Academic Plans

Which general chemistry class should I enroll in?

If you are prepared to enter college-level chemistry, you may begin general chemistry with either CHEM 1A or 1B.

Take the Chemistry Self-Assessment to help determine where to begin.  

CHEM 1A or CHEM 1B, General Chemistry: The first two courses in our three-part general chemistry series, students can begin the series with either CHEM 1A or CHEM 1B. If you begin in CHEM 1B you still must complete CHEM 1A to satisfy your major requirements.

Your AP Chemistry test score may exempt you from taking one of the general chemistry courses, see our Advanced Placement Credit page for more information.

When should I take chemistry?

Your math placement is a good indicator of when you should start chemistry.  If you placed into...

MATH 2:  Do NOT take CHEM 1A or 1B until you have successfully completed MATH 2.

MATH 3:  If you did well in high school chemistry, you may take CHEM 1A and MATH 3 concurrently.  If you did not do well or did not take chemistry in high school, enroll in general chemistry after you complete MATH 3.  

MATH 11A or 19A:  You may begin the general chemistry sequence with CHEM 1A or 1B.