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 MCD Biology 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?
When do I take biology?

What classes do I enroll in to start my Biology major?

Students begin with math and chemistry.  Using the following information, students should prioritize their enrollment in math and chemistry courses.  Remember, all courses for your major must be taken for a letter grade, see our Letter Grade Policy.

What math class should I enroll in?

If you have a math ap score, refer to the Advanced Placement Credit page for guidance on which math you may enroll in.

College level math transfer credit can also be used to determine which math course you will begin with.

If you do not have math ap credit, 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 is recommended for Biology majors.

MATH 11 series, Calculus with Applications: applying the standard development of calculus to problems in particular scientific fields. The most common series for majors in the biological sciences.

Students who successfully complete MATH 19AB or 20AB satisfy the calculus requirement for the major; but these sequences, while accepted, are generally not recommended unless a physics or engineering major is being considered.  Students who are seeking a more rigorous treatment of calculus can also choose these more challenging calculus series.

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 quarter.  Reference these sample academic plans and your math placement score to determine which sample plan is appropriate for you:

Molecular, Cell, & Developmental Biology BS Freshmen Academic Plans
Neuroscience BS Freshmen Academic Plans
Human Biology BS Freshmen Academic Plans

Which general chemistry class should I enroll in?

CHEM 1A or CHEM 1B, General Chemistry: The first two courses in the 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.  Only students who place into calculus should begin general chemistry in fall.

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.

NOTE: General chemistry is included in the MCD Qualification Policy, for more information see Qualifying for the Major.

When should I take chemistry?

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

MATH 2:  Begin chemistry in spring with Chem 1A. 

MATH 3:  Begin chemisty in winter with Chem 1A.  

MATH 11A or 19A:  Begin chemistry in fall or winter with CHEM 1A or 1B.

When do I take biology?

You will begin introductory biology in spring of first year, fall of second year, or winter or second year.

The introductory biology sequence is comprised of three courses:  BIOL 20A, BIOE 20B, and BIOE 20C.  You may begin the series with either BIOL 20A, Cell & Molecular Biology, or BIOE 20C, Ecology & Evolution.  BIOL 20A has CHEM 1A as a prerequisite; BIOE 20C has no prerequisites.

Your AP Biology test score may exempt you from taking some introductory biology courses, see our Advanced Placement Credit page for more information.

NOTE: Introductory biology is included in the MCD Qualification Policy, for more information see Qualifying for the Major.