Planning Your First Quarter - Transfer Students

We want to provide some suggestions as to the types of courses you should consider taking your first quarter. It is important for you to consult with your major advisor in addition to this general information. Your decisions about courses should be based upon what you want to create for yourself in your college education.

You can review descriptions of courses in the UC Davis General Catalog and on Schedule Builder.  As you choose your courses, create a varied course schedule. Take a balanced course load 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. Consider the following categories of courses as you make your decisions:

Courses for your major
  • The General Catalog provides a list of the specific course requirements for your major that can used to help you choose which classes to take. It is important to read the full course description of any class that you intend to take to ensure that you have completed any prerequisites. Prerequisites could include requirements such as prior courses or placement exams. If you come from a two-year college, most likely you will not have completed any upper division coursework. 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 ASSIST Website ( -- if you attended a California community college -- or by 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.
  • 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.
Courses in other areas of interest
  • Choose courses that interest you. Choose courses representing topic areas that are of particular importance to you as a citizen of the world. You have the opportunity to take courses at a University level that you may have never considered before: courses in cultural diversity, world peace, environmental issues, art, drama, literature, music appreciation.

Foreign language courses
  • Foreign language coursework 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 community 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 13-15 units. Your instructors will generally expect you to spend two to three hours in out-of-class preparation for every hour that you spend in class. For example, a 15 unit course load implies 45-60 hours of work on your part every week (15 hours in class and 30-45 hours outside of class). You should strongly consider this workload as you plan your first quarter.