CC to UC transition question

So I’m posing this question to those of you guys who went from a California CC to a UC. How many units (or if you feel inclined to share, what specific classes) did you take your first quarter? How was the transition? How many units was it recommended that you take as a new transfer?

The reason I ask is I plan to transfer to a UC next fall and as it stands now, my schedule for the first year is as follows:

Fall '08

15 units

Ochem 1 + lab

Physics 1 + lab

Calculus 2

Winter '08

15 units

Ochem 2 + lab

Physics 2 + lab

Intro to Genetics

Spring '08

11 or 15 units

Ochem 3 + lab? (pre-med handout states only ochem 1 & 2 need to have lab for applying to med school, although I question this since you need a full year of ochem and I don’t see how 2 quarters equates to a full year)

Physics 3 + lab

Intro to Physiology

I’m aware that 3 science classes is pretty doable, especially if one of them doesn’t have lab, so I’m mainly curious as to whether it’s advisable to take the normal course load (15 units) the first quarter. I’m contemplating maybe taking Calc 2 during the summer, but then that leaves 11 units, so I’d probably just have to add on yet another 4-unit class to fill in, so either way it’ll probably be 15. Thoughts?

Also pondering for a third class taking german instead too, since I’d like to learn a foreign language, but if I did do all science my first year, I’d only have to take 11 units per quarter my second year which would free me up for doing TA, research, or other stuff on the side as I want to.

Hi Tim,

I can’t speak for the California transfer system from a CC to a University, but I will make a small suggestion here. There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that I’d take Calc II in the summer term. It is an absolutely BRUTAL course and most people opt to take Statistics rather than take Calc II. Here in FL, they allow us for a Biomedical Sciences BS to either take Calc II or Intro to Statistics (STA2023). I would opt for that a million times over Calc II. See if your major allows such a change. I’ll tell you, stats will be much, much more forgiving than Calc II. When I was going for engineering, Calc II was a requirement and it was the bane of every engineering student. The material is very tough. If you’re super strong in mathematics, then Calc II may not be so tough for you, but if you’re the least bit rocky on the fundamental calculus concepts (limits, derivatives & integrals) and trig (unit circle, law of sines/cosines, inverse trig functions, graphing trig functions), Calc II is going to be a monster of a course.

Not trying to over exaggerate here, but I speak from experience here and many smart people I know quite well, much smarter than myself, struggled immensely in Calc II. I would seek out alternatives if they are allowed.

Stacking your science courses up is not advisable unless you’re really good in the sciences. People tend to bite off a little more than they can chew with science courses, but I understand what it’s like to want to get it knocked out & over with.

Hope that helps in some small way.


It does Justin, thanks.

Actually, I’m not taking the full engineering-grade calculus, I’m taking the watered down life science calc. Although I will admit I’m kinda rocky on it…I’m not great at math, but I can hold my own. That being said, it sounds like calc 2 during the summer would be…a lot less desirable than taking it with ochem and physics during the Fall quarter. I’ve already taken stats though.

Now science is a different story…I’m a natural at science, but based off how much I hate gen chem 2 so far, I have a feeling my hatred for chem is only going to grow, so taking it on top of physics and calc 2 is probably going to suck.

I could take calc 2 next spring as an alternative along with botany and zoology, but that would mean not finishing IGETC. I printed out the school catalog and I’ll be reviewing it tomorrow to see how many GE courses I’d have to take to fulfill UCSB’s GE reqs instead of IGETC, although since their pre-med handout flat out says to take as many non-science classes as possible if majoring in science, maybe that’d be a better choice; plus padding GE classes with science sounds more forgiving, although it’d probably end up sucking more since I’d have to take more classes in the long run.


Yes, padding GE courses with your sciences is smart if you can do that. Any of the gen chem’s pretty much suck in terms of the course load requirements. I’m taking gen chem 1 right now and I’m not a natural at science like you are, and it’s a nutcracker for me. Unfortunately, since I already have my AA degree, all my GE courses are gone, so there’s nothing I can pad my course load with, like say, humanities.

Also, I wouldn’t necessarily call Life Sciences calc “watered down.” I’ve taken engineering calculus and have also taken general calculus and each has its own qualities. Engineering calc has so many abstract applications of fundamental calculus and that’s where it gets its bad rap from. General calc is the nuts/bolts. That’s what I’d recommend to anyone. The course load isn’t too bad, the concepts are straight forward. Yes, it’s still challenging, but like someone on here said “hey, this ain’t elementary school.” I’ve heard that Life Sciences calc is pretty good, but I’ve never taken that one.

You’re a better man that me if you were going to take Physics 2, O Chem & Calc II. You definitely have you work cut out for yourself if that’s the plan. Plan on not seeing the light of day for 16 weeks if that’s the plan, even if you are a natural at science.

Just to give you an idea, most of the grades in calc II were somewhere in the 30s & 40s on the exam and the professors had to curve way up to pass everyone.

Right, yeah the life science calc class seems a little easier than general calculus, although I have a friend who’s taking general calculus at another college right now and we’re learning the exact same thing at about the same pace, so I’m not sure if it’s “easier” or not. I’m actually getting pretty good at taking derivatives, just need to get used to the chain rule and general power rule since we just learned that last lecture period.

The only problem I see with padding the science classes with GE is that as it is, I’m going to be completely busy with ochem, physics, calc 2 for the first quarter and for the second and third, ochem, physics and intro to physio & intro to genetics…so second year I’m going to only need to do 11 units each quarter to finish the reqs for my major, which would free up some space for doing TA, research, etc. if I wanted to.

If I don’t finish IGETC before I transfer, I have a feeling that it’s going to overload the hell out of me because of the extra units, so I guess an alternative is to double major and take an extra year to finish, which would allow me to take ochem my first year and physics my second year to split them up, although of course it would take a year longer.

Couple of comments -

The ochem lab thing - you might not need to stress that. Check with a pre-med advisor and make sure that the two labs are indeed considered the complete sequence and go from there. At Ohio State (another quarter system school), the full ochem sequence consists of three quarters of lecture and two quarters of lab. I believe all are 3 quarter hours each.

Summer calculus - if you are taking it during the full length summer quarter, which is the same length as the regular quarter, no big deal. I probably wouldn’t do it in one of the condensed summer quarter sessions, though.

Depending on the person, the 15 hours of sciences is certainly not undoable. However, make sure you have enough time to work problems and the like for all your courses. Problem solving is crucial. Ochem lab tends to be excessively time consuming. You know yourself best - if you think you have enough time to devote to all of them, then go for it.

Good luck.

I transfered from CC to UC Berkeley in Physics - it was very tough for me. My friend and fellow transfer student said it was like being a wolf pup that was taken from his warm den and thrown out into the forest and told to hunt for his food.

The pace was so much faster than at CC and the material was much more indepth. However, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I feel so much more capable now.