Planning Your First Quarter - Transfer Students

We want to provide some suggestions about the types of courses you should plan on taking this quarter. Before completing your enrollment worksheet and enrolling in courses through the SISWEB Registration system, you should review course descriptions, major requirements and College requirements in the UC Davis General Catalog (available in counselors' offices and college libraries or online at The Registration Guide (also available online at tells you which courses are being offered each quarter along with their time and location.

As you choose your courses, create a varied course schedule. Take a mixture of lower division (numbers 1-99) and upper division (numbers 100-199) courses. Choose courses in your major and in other areas of interest to you. Take advantage of the richness of offerings at the University. Consider the following categories of courses as you make your decisions:

  1. Courses for your major

    If you know which major you want to pursue, you can use the description of the major requirements in the General Catalog as a guide to courses you might choose. Major descriptions will list preparatory subject matter and prerequisites at the lower division level as well as upper division requirements. If you come from a two-year college, you will not have completed any upper division work. You should create a checklist of the lower division course requirements, indicating those you believe you have completed. By using the course articulation information at the Project ASSIST Website ( or comparing course descriptions, you should be able to determine fairly accurately whether or not the courses are the same. If you think you've had a course, you probably have.If you have not completed lower division courses required as preparatory subject matter in your major, then enrolling in these courses should be a high priority. Also consider taking one upper division course in your major for which you have the stated prerequisites (courses you must have completed before enrolling).A common mistake that many transfer students make is to be overly ambitious in enrolling in major courses during their first quarter. We suggest that you take no more than two courses in the major your first quarter with the remainder of your schedule consisting of courses drawn from the areas outlined below.
  2. Courses in other areas of interest

    Choose courses representing topic areas that are of particular importance to you as a citizen of the world... courses in cultural diversity, in world peace, in environmental issues. Select from areas that are important to you educationally in the creative and performing arts... courses in art, in drama and literature, in music appreciation. Choose courses that will contribute to your scientific literacy or courses that will offer valuable preparation for career choices.
  3. Upper division English Composition

    Students who have completed 70 or more quarter units are encouraged to take the Upper Division Composition examination during their first quarter of residence. Information on this exam, including dates, time, and location can be obtained from the University Writing Program office or on-line at If you do not pass the exam you can also satisfy the upper division portion of the requirement by passing (with a grade of C- [or Pass] or better) University Writing Program (UWP) 101, 102 series, or 104 series once you have completed 84 quarter units.
  4. Courses in foreign language

    Foreign language course work is required for all students who plan to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree. These students must complete the 15 unit level in a single language, the equivalent of course 3 in most languages. If you are continuing in a language you are studying, use the number of units you have completed as a guideline to your appropriate entry level into UC Davis courses. (If you have been certified as completing IGETC by your previous college, the foreign language requirement has been satisfied.)

How many courses should you take your first quarter?

We typically recommend that your first quarter schedule consist of courses totaling 13 - 15 units. To make expected progress toward obtaining your baccalaureate degree you must average 15 units per quarter, so it is important that you plan on completing at least 45 units by the end of the year, and an additional 45 units at the end of each subsequent year.

The faculty will expect you to spend two hours in out-of-class preparation for every hour that you spend in class. For example, a 15 unit course load implies 45 hours of work on your part every week (15 hours in class and 30 hours outside of class). You should consider this workload as you plan your first quarter.
Registration is done in a series of "passes", each allowing you to enroll in progressively more courses. You should enroll in as many of your desired courses as possible each pass until you reach the number of units you want to take. Don't wait; the courses you want most may be full later! You can also adjust your schedule during the first 10 days of the quarter.

Academic Advising

Advising at UC Davis takes place on two levels, in your major department and at the College Deans' Office. If you have already selected a major, you should plan to meet with an advisor in your major department very early in the quarter. By reviewing your transfer work, the departmental advisor will be able to tell you where you stand with respect to major requirements and to advise you about your plans in the major. Just prior to the beginning of enrollment for your second quarter, you should drop by your major department to pick up the transfer evaluation provided by the Deans' Office. This evaluation will inform you how your transfer work will apply to your University and College requirements at UC Davis.

L&S Outreach Advising sites are located in on-campus residence hall areas and are staffed by a team of L&S Residence Hall Advising Team (RHAT) Peer advisors. Through individual advising, group sessions, and programs, this team will work with you during your first year helping with course planning and exploring your options before selecting a major. Peer advisors, as well as Academic Counselors, are available in the L&S Undergraduate Education and Advising Office, 200 Social Sciences and Humanities Building, for students not living in a university residence hall complex.

The Dean's Assembly for new students who did not attend the Orientation Program during the summer will be held at the beginning of the quarter. Please visit the following website: for the exact date, time and location. We look forward to meeting you at the Assembly.