The following guide will provide information that you can use to select appropriate courses, balance your schedule, and start satisfying your graduation requirements. It is important for you to consult with your major advisor in addition to this general information.
Here are a few important questions to answer before you begin selecting classes for Fall.
- Have you completed all preparatory coursework for your major?
- If you have not completed all the lower division courses required as preparatory subject matter in your major, then enrolling in these courses should be your main priority.
- Do you need to take a placement exam?
- If your major requires one of the courses listed below and you have not completed the equivalent course at your previous institution, then you will be required to take the appropriate placement exam prior to enrolling (or before instruction begins). If your major does not require one of the courses then you are not required to take the exam, but it is still recommended if you are exploring other majors or minors. If you're not sure, check with your major advisor.
Math Placement required for MAT 12, 16A, 17A, 21A, or 21M
Chemistry Placement required for CHE 2A or 2AH
Computer Science Placement required for ECS 36A
- Have you satisfied the Foreign Language requirement?
- All students who are pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in the College of Letters & Science must be proficient at the 15-unit level in a single language. This requirement can be met with a qualifying SAT exam score, AP or IB exam score, or an equivalent transfer course.
If you studied a language in high school or are already fluent in a language other than English, you may consider taking the Foreign Language Proficiency Exam. This is a proctored exam administered by the UC Davis Language Center and is used to demonstrate language proficiency or determine proper placement in a language series. If you demonstrate proficiency beyond the 15-unit equivalent based on this exam then you will satisfy the College’s foreign language requirement. *Note: The Language Center also offers a non-proctored placement exam—this exam cannot be used to satisfy the foreign language requirement.
If you have been fully certified as completing the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) by your previous community college, the foreign language requirement has been satisfied.
- Did you complete the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC)?
- If you attended a California community college you may have been following the IGETC pattern of courses to satisfy General Education requirements. If so, be sure that you receive an Official IGETC certification from your community college. Note: this is different than your official transcript and may require you to place a specific request with your community college.
If you did not complete an IGETC, then you may need to plan on taking additional General Education (GE) courses to satisfy the UC Davis GE requirements.
How to Pick Classes and Build a Balanced Schedule
First, it is very important to review the questions above with your Major and College advisors. Knowing what you have already completed will give you information needed to select appropriate courses in your first quarter.
While it may be tempting to focus only on satisfying your major requirements, you may still need to take additional General Education (GE), prerequisites, or elective courses.
With this in mind, we want to provide some suggestions as to the types of courses you should consider taking during your first quarter.
- Major Courses. Prioritize the courses recommended by your major advisor. You should take no more than two upper division major courses. These will be the core of your schedule
- Upper Division Composition. Register for University Writing Program (UWP) 101, 102, or 104 to satisfy the College's English Composition requirement. Note: these courses require completion of UWP 1, ENL 3, or an approved equivalent. Check your transfer articulation or ask your College advisor to see if you have met the prerequisite.
- General Education or Elective courses.
- If you did not complete an IGETC at community college, review the General Education (GE) requirements in the General Catalog. Remember to use Assist to see how your community college courses can apply to GE. If you did not transfer from a California community college, contact your College advisor for assistance.
- If you did complete an IGETC, consider taking some lower or upper division elective courses in a field that interests you. Note: be sure to check upper division courses for additional prerequisites.
- Take a First-Year Seminar. These are small, innovative classes that reflect an instructor’s intellectual interests. Limited to 19 students each, these once-in-a-lifetime courses promote intellectual exchange, critical thinking, and community. These 1- or 2-unit courses can be a great way to round out your schedule.
Creating a Balanced Schedule:
- In general we recommend taking 15 units in your first quarter. By completing an average of 15 units per quarter, you will be on track to graduate. Remember, you must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units to be considered a full-time student.
- Avoid taking too many math and science courses. Even if you're in a math or science major, you should consider taking no more than two courses to avoid overloading your schedule.
- Avoid taking too many writing intensive courses (denoted with WE). Courses with large reading lists and heavy writing assignments can become overwhelming if you're not careful. No more than two of your courses should be heavily focused on writing during your first quarter.
- Don't take more than 16 units your first quarter. Remember, instructors will expect you to spend two hours in out-of-class preparation for every hour that you spend in class. For example, a 16-unit course load implies 48 hours of work on your part every week (16 hours in class and 32 hours outside of class). You should consider this workload as you plan your first quarter.
Before You Register
- Be sure to review your transfer courses carefully if taking lower division UC Davis courses. You are not permitted to duplicate courses at UC Davis if you have complete the equivalent course at another institution.
- Identify several back-up courses. You may not get your first choice schedule, so be sure you have a list of courses you could take instead.
Prepare for Your First Year
Once you've successfully registered for your first quarter, you'll need to start planning for the rest of the academic year.
- Familiarize yourself with the additional College and University requirements that are required for graduation.
- Make an academic plan in OASIS. This helpful tool will allow you to plan out future quarters. Both you and your advisor can update and adjust it as you progress throughout your academic career.
- Get ready for Mandatory Advising. Contact your major advisor to learn more.