FAQs for New Students

We have compiled a list of questions that are frequently asked by incoming students preparing for their first quarter at UC Davis. We strongly encourage that you read our FAQ prior to registering for classes. A lot of the questions that you have will be on this list.  If you still have questions after reviewing the list, please contact your major advisor.

  • Advanced Placement/ International Baccalaureate Credit
  • What if I have Advanced Placement credit?

    Students are allowed to use scores of 3, 4, or 5 on Advanced Placement (AP) exams for college credit. These courses may be comparable to lower division courses and therefore can be used to satisfy major requirements, university writing requirements, and the 180 minimum unit requirement to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. However, credit received from AP Exams cannot be used to satisfy UC Davis’ General Education requirements.

    To see the courses or number of units corresponding to each exam or score, please refer to the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Examination Credit table. Please be sure to speak with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Science Dean's Office if you have questions regarding General Education Requirements.

    What if I have International Baccalaureate credit? 
    Higher Level exams presented with scores of 5, 6, or 7 receive 8 units of college credit and sometimes may be comparable to lower division courses. Students who complete and submit the IB diploma with a score of 30 or above will receive a maximum of 30 quarter units. College credit will apply towards the minimum 180 unit requirement to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. To learn how many units can be received for an IB examination, please refer to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level Examination Credit table.

    While students generally will not earn university credit for college courses or Advanced Placement (AP) transfer credits that duplicate credit already earned through IB, there are a few exceptions. Additionally, courses for which IB credit has been granted cannot be used towards fulfilling the University’s General Education Requirements. Please be sure to speak with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Science Dean's Office if you have questions regarding General Education Requirements.


    What if my Advanced Placement credit does not appear in OASIS?
    If Advanced Placement credit does not appear in OASIS, students should check with both College Board and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Office to make sure their scores were both sent and received. The Dean’s Office can be contacted at 
    caesadvising@ucdavis.edu. Additionally, it is possible that the scores were sent and received, and they have yet to be processed and uploaded.

    What if my International Baccalaureate credit does not appear in OASIS?
    If Advanced Placement credit does not appear in OASIS, students should check with both College Board and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Office to make sure their scores were both sent and received. The Dean’s Office can be contacted at 
    caesadvising@ucdavis.edu. Additionally, it is possible that the scores were sent and received, and they have yet to be processed and uploaded.

  • Major-Related Questions
  • What do I do if I want to change my major?
    If you are planning on changing out of your current major, please contact the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Office for more guidance on how to plan for your first quarter of classes. In order to change your major once you have started in the Fall, you will need to wait until you have completed one quarter at UC Davis and are in good academic standing. Once you are eligible to change majors, you will complete the “Change of Major” form which you can find in your Forms and Petitions tab in your Oasis.

    What if CHE 2A is full?
    You may wait list for the section of CHE 2A that works best with your schedule during your Pass 2 Appointment. Be sure to arrive on time the first day of lecture and lab. Come prepared  with your PPE, lab notebook, and lab manual a few minutes early. If you cannot get into CHE 2A, you can always take it the next quarter it is offered. Please note CHE 2A is offered fall and winter quarters.

    What if WLD 41C is full?
    Students who are unable to get into WLD 41C, may wait list for the course during their Pass 2 appointment. If they are still unable to get into WLD 41C for Fall, ALEKS is a great option.  ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry is designed to test for individualized knowledge gaps and to fill the gaps through computerized adaptive learning software. Students take an initial assessment which the software uses to gauge your current content mastery level. Your mastery level may go up or down based on your subsequent interactions with the software. The goal of this preparatory course is to fill the "pie chart" to 100%, which is the mastery level.  

    ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry is open to all students. In this way, ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry may also be used to refresh skill sets in general chemistry or supplement one's learning of general chemistry to prepare them for the Chemistry Placement Exam.

  • Placement Tests
  • What if I did not pass the Chemistry Placement Test?
    Students who did not receive a passing score of 24 or above on the Chemistry Placement Exam are encouraged to either register for Workload Chemistry (WLD 41C) or take the ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry course in order to prepare to retake the exam. Please note that taking either of these will not satisfy the Chemistry Placement Requirement; scoring a 24 or above on the Chemistry Placement Exam is the only way to qualify for CHE 2A. Additionally, if students are unable to pass the exam on their second attempt, they will need to submit an online petition to the Department of Chemistry.

    What if I did not pass the Math Placement Test?
    The Math Placement Exam is offered every quarter over two separate testing sessions. Students may only take the exam once per session. There are multiple options for students who did not pass the Math Placement Exam to prepare for another attempt. These options include enrolling in Workload Course (WLD 55M), another college-level mathematics course (MAT B or MAT C), or utilizing the practice questions provided by the Math Department online. To determine the best course of action, students should consult with an advisor.

    What is the Entry Level Writing Requirement?
    The Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR) is a requirement for all students enrolled in a UC School. The ELWR serves to ensure that all first-year students have college-level proficiency in writing. Satisfaction of the ELWR is a prerequisite to the English Composition and Writing Experience Courses that are required for graduation. Students can have fulfilled the ELWR prior to coming to UC Davis if they completed the following:

    Standardized Testing Scores
    -30 or better on the ACT, English Language Arts, or
    -30 or better on the ACT, Combined English/Writing, or
    -680 or better on the SAT, Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing
    OR
    AP or IB Test Scores
    -3 or above on either AP Exam in English, or
    -5 or above on an IB Higher Level English A: Literature Exam, or
    -6 or above on an IB Standard Level English A: Literature Exam, or
    -5 or above on an IB Higher Level English A: Language and Literature Exam, or
    -6 or above on an IB Standard Level English A: Language and Literature Exam
    OR
    Passing the Analytical Writing Exam (see below)
    OR
    Transferable Courses
    -A grade of C or higher in an acceptable 3-semester unit of 4-quarter unit English Composition Course

    What if I do not pass the Analytical Writing Placement Exam?
    Students may also fulfill the ELWR by passing the Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE). The AWPE is offered to California high school students the May of their senior year. In early April, students are sent a letter directing them to the test center where they must take the exam in May. The May 2020 AWPE, coordinated by the UC Office of the President, has been cancelled due to COVID-19. If you are interested in fulfilling ELWR as an incoming student in the class of 2024, please check the Entry Level Writing webpage.

  • Registration
  • What if I don’t get into the classes I want?
    If you do not get into the classes that you want, we recommend you either wait list for those courses or we can help you update your academic plan. Make sure you are registered for a minimum of 12 units, wait listed units do not count as you are not enrolled.

    What is a wait list?
    If a class is full and closed, students can place themselves on a wait list using 
    Schedule Builder and wait lists are established on a first-come, first-serve basis. During the academic terms, wait lists begin during Pass 2 registration appointments and end after the last day to add classes, the 12th day of instruction

    The units of a wait listed course count towards the maximum units allowed during registration periods. However, the units of a wait listed course do not count when determining eligibility for financial aid. Students must be enrolled in 12 or more units for financial aid to disburse in full. By adding yourself to the wait list, you are letting the department know that you would like to take the class. Wait list policies are different for each department that the class is in.

    How do wait lists work?
    When you wait list for a course you are assigned a number on that wait list. As people drop the course, you will move up the wait list. Waitlists are removed on the Last Day to Add Courses, which is the 12th day of instruction.

    How many units should I register for?
    You should be registered for at least 12 units in order to be considered as a full time student. You also need 12 units to receive financial aid. Again, wait list units do not count.

    What if I am at 10-11 units? What can I register for?
    If you are at 10-11 units, then we recommend you register for additional courses such as a GE or non-major elective (for fun) or a first-year seminar in order to reach a minimum of 12 units for full time status.

    What is a Pass Time?
    A Pass Time is an assigned date and time when you can enroll for your courses.

    What if I miss my Pass Time?
    Your Pass Time is four hours long from your assigned time noted on your Schedule Builder. If you happen to miss that registration window you can register during Open Hours. Open Registration is a time after hours and on weekends that allow students to edit their schedules and enroll in additional courses (given the unit cap).
    You can find out when open registration is by viewing the Registration Calendar.

    Upper-Division vs. Lower-Division courses?
    Lower-division courses are numbered 0-99 and are appropriate for Freshman and Sophomore students (Juniors and Seniors may take them as well if desired). Upper-division courses are numbered 100-199 and are more rigorous than lower-division courses. Upper-division courses are more appropriate for Junior and Senior students and should not be taken during a student’s Freshman year. Any course numbered 200 or above is for graduate and professional students and should not be taken.

  • Transfer Student Questions
  • Will my courses be evaluated before I register?
    Yes, the Staff Advisors will be reviewing the transcripts that you have submitted to UC Davis prior to your meeting.

    What if I am waiting on my transcript from Spring or Summer?
    Please follow the directions you receive from the UC Davis Admissions Office but please have an unofficial copy to your transcript on hand for your remote advising appointment for your Staff Advisor to view.

    What if I did not pass a class in Spring or Summer?
    We recommend that you contact the UC Davis Office of Admissions as soon as possible as this can impact your status with UC Davis.

    What if I got a grade in a course at Community College that I would like to repeat at UC Davis?
    Any course that you received a C- or higher in cannot be repeated at UC Davis. While it is possible to repeat a course that you received a D-, D, or D+ in at UC Davis, there may be issues with illegal repeats (https://registrar.ucdavis.edu/records/grades/repeat-illegal). Please talk to your Staff Advisor about this to receive information  about next steps. If it is a course you received an F in, then you can retake that course here at UC Davis.

    What is an Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) certificate?
    An IGETC certificate fulfills your College General Education requirement and possibly the College English requirement as well. If you have questions concerning your IGETC or College requirements, please contact the College of Agricultural and Environmental Science Dean’s Office.

    How do I know if I have IGETC?
    In the Fall, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Science Dean’s Office will evaluate every transfer student’s record by the end of November. You will receive a notification through the Message Center on whether UC Davis has received your IGETC, if you have a partial IGETC, or if your IGETC has not been received. Further details will be provided in this message. 

    What if my Official IGETC has not been submitted?

    Please contact your Community College as soon as possible to have your IGETC submitted to UC Davis. 

    May I complete my IGETC requirements at UC Davis?
    If you have a partial IGETC, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Science Dean’s Office will reach out to you and let you know what requirements you have left to fulfill at UC Davis. If you did not fulfill an IGETC, please check in with the CAES Dean’s Office during Fall 2020 to discuss your General Education requirements.