Newly Admitted Transfer Student FAQs

Common Questions

Additional Questions?

If you have any additional questions about the MCB major or transferring courses, contact the Undergraduate Affairs Office at or 510.643.8895.

Can I get advising over the phone or email?

It depends. We prefer to limit phone and email advising to quick questions. For things such as creation of full academic plans, we strongly prefer and recommend in-person advising. If you are out of state and absolutely cannot come see us in person, please contact our office about a phone or Skype appointment. Be aware that due to privacy concerns, there are some things we cannot discuss over phone or email and it will have to wait until you are able to come in person.

How do I register for classes and get my GBA hold released on CalCentral?

You will work though an online module through bcourses opening in the middle of June. This will give you information about how to register for classes in CalCentral. You will need to complete the MCB Advising Quiz to have your hold released. If this is completed by the deadline, your hold is guaranteed to be released before your registration opens. This quiz will be reviewed by a MCB advisor. We will give feedback and approve your proposed schedule before lifting your hold.

Will classes fill up before I am able to register?

It depends on the class. There will still be seats available in most upper-division MCB classes in mid-July. However, classes such as Physics 8A will fill up very quickly. The MCB advisors are here to help you come up with an alternative plan if you are not able to register for your first-choice classes.

Can I make a 2-year academic plan with an MCB advisor?

Yes!  Such plans can be made in person; please stop by the office during our open hours. In the meantime, review the plans on the emphasis pages, but keep in mind these plans are suggestions only and are not intended to replace planning with an advisor.

I am not transferring from a California community college. How will my science courses transfer?

We must see the syllabi for all courses you intend to count toward your major requirements.  We are unable to verify if your coursework is acceptable without a syllabus that includes a course outline, textbook information, exam styles, lab information if application, etc. If you are transferring from a 4-year institution or out of state, please follow these steps:

1. Email your syllabi to the offices below for course evaluation:

Biology: contact us at

2. Wait for each office to evaluate your coursework and respond. Be patient, as they receive many requests.

3. If your coursework is approved by each office, forward their written approval to us at If your coursework is not approved, notify the staff advisors at to discuss next steps.

Please note that this process is not required for coursework that has been approved on 

How can I get credit for some upper-division science courses I took?

A MCB faculty advisor will review the syllabi for any upper-division classes once the fall semester starts.  Upper-division course reviews will not be made before then. If you are debating on whether or not to take a course in the fall because you might get transfer credit for it, you will not have a definite answer until classes start. To start the evaluation process please see a staff advisor in 3060 VLSB.

I am transferring from a quarter-system school, and I only took 2 quarters of (organic chemistry, physics, calculus, etc.).  Do I have to take the class at Berkeley?

Three quarters of coursework are equivalent to two semesters of coursework at Berkeley. Therefore, if you took the first 2 quarters of, for example, organic chemistry at your transfer institution, you will have to take the second semester of organic chemistry at Berkeley. We do not offer abbreviated versions of courses for students who are transferring from quarter-system schools.

Should I do research my first semester as a transfer student?

We recommend transfer students wait to do research until they are more familiar with classes and the amount of work they have to do to be successful. Many transfer students start looking for research in the fall semester, but don't actually start in the lab until the spring. At a minimum, we suggest waiting until you get the grades back for your first midterms before committing to a lab position. See the Finding Research page for more information.