Pre-Chemistry Major

All of the majors in chemistry and biochemistry build upon a common foundation of preparatory course work, typically completed during the freshman and sophomore years. Students interested in graduating with a major in any area of chemical sciences enter UCSB as a pre-chemistry major and take a subset of this key preparatory coursework in introductory chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Once the pre-major requirements have been completed students may petition to declare one of the full majors. Note: Grades earned must meet the grade prerequisites for the full major.

For full instructions for declaring a major, click here. Please click here to view a summary of the key differences between each degree.

Course Sequences

You will need to receive a cumulative 2.0 GPA per sequence. There are a total of 6 sequences. Click here to calculate your GPA. We advise that you calculate your GPA per sequence.

1. General Chemistry: Chem 3A-3B-3C or 1A-1B-1C

2. General Chemistry labs: Chem 1AL-1BL-1CL

3. Organic Chemistry: Chem 109A-109B-109C or 130A-130B-130C

4. Organic Chemistry labs: Chem 6AL-6BL or 6AL-6BH

5. Math: Math 2A-2B-4A-6A or 3A-3B-4A-6A

6. Physics: Physics 7A-7B-7C-7L or 6A-AL-B-BL-C-CL*

Note: Underlined courses are not pre-major courses but need to be completed prior to beginning the Year 3 curriculum. 

* For Fall 2022 admits: if you are currenlty completing the PHYS 1-4 series, you will be required to complete the following Physics courses: PHYS 1-4, 3L-4L


Course Prerequisites

All Chemistry courses, with the exception of GE courses, build upon prerequisite or preparatory course work, and these prerequisites are strictly enforced by the departments. Students who have not successfully completed the prerequisites for a course will not be allowed to register. In addition, certain upper-division courses also have a grade requirement for their prerequisites, as discussed below. Specific course prerequisite information can be found on GOLD, in the UCSB Catalog, and on the annual departmental Proposed Course Lists.

Grade Requirements for Prerequisite Courses

Most CHEM courses require a "C-" or better in their prerequisite courses. Students who pass a prerequisite course but with a grade lower than C- must repeat the course and earn at least a C- in order to advance to the next course.


View major sheet here: Pre-Chemistry Major