Preparing for a Science Major

For high school students planning on pursuing a degree program in the Physical & Biological Sciences, we strongly recommend:

Continuing taking math throughout high school
When it comes to math, "use it or lose it" absolutely applies.  Students planning on studying science or math in college should not have a break in their math education.  If you are only going to take math for three of your four years of high school, make sure you take math your last three years to allow you to continue your math education without interruption when you start college.  Any break in your math learning may prove to be a significant setback.

Be prepared to start calculus
All of our majors and minors require calculus.  Students who enter prepared for calculus can begin taking courses for the major in their first quarter. 

Be ready for college-level chemistry
Many of our majors require general chemistry.  A solid background in high school chemistry will help you succeed in our general chemistry sequence, CHEM 1ABC, and will help in learning the basic concepts covered in introductory biology, specifically BIOL 20A Cell & Molecular Biology.

If you have already covered your math and general chemistry, you may also consider:

Taking statistics
Statistics are used heavily in the sciences as well as the social sciences.  Students who can familiarize themselves with statistics prior to starting college will be better prepared for the material they will be exposed to in their science courses.  Students who take AP Statistics and score high enough on their AP exam, may be able to satisfy their statistics requirement prior to attending UCSC. For more details, see the AP credit information under the Getting Started section of the program you intend to study.

Advanced Placement
Whether your test score earns you course credit or not, AP courses are exposure to learning at a level more comparable to college.  For information on earning college credit for your AP exam scores, see Undergraduate Admissions; for information on earning major credit, see the AP credit information under the Getting Started section of the program you intend to study.

Community College Courses
If you are considering taking community college courses in advance of attending UCSC as a freshman, getting a jump on math is a great idea.  Check the requirements for your major and then use assist.org to determine which community college courses are equivalent to your math requirement. 

Students wanting to get started on their general chemistry should only take a preparatory course, at a community college.  In most cases, you must complete an entire general chemistry series at a community college to receive any credit towards your UCSC major.  Do not enroll in any course without first checking assist.org for a course-to-course equivalency.  

Once you have completed a course at a community college, you will need to have the credit transferred to UCSC.