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Geology Transfer Students

The UC Davis Earth and Planetary Sciences department welcomes prospective transfer students from the California Community College system. We also recognize the difficulties some of you might encounter in completing our undergraduate degree program in two years. Many of our courses are only offered once a year, and careful planning is needed to complete the degree requirements. The following information is provided for your convenience, but is not meant to replace a consultation with one of our undergraduate advisors.


Prior to transferring into the Bachelor of Science degree program in geology at UC Davis, we strongly recommend that community college students complete:

  • one year of Calculus (MAT 21A-B-C),
  • Vector Calculus and Linear Algebra (MAT 21D-22A) - optional,
  • one year of Chemistry (CHE 2A-B-C),
  • one year of Physics (PHY 7A-B-C or 9A-B-C),
  • Physical Geology with Laboratory (GEL 50, 50L),
  • Historical Geology with Laboratory (GEL 3, 3L)

The geology courses are designed to build on the basic foundation of the Math, Chemistry and Physics classes. Those who transfer without completion of these classes will not only have difficulty scheduling all of their classes, but will also be disadvantaged by trying to simultaneously complete their lower division science requirements and their upper division geology requirements. Conversely, those who transfer with all or most of their basic science prerequisites already completed generally have the time to pursue an independent research project (i.e. GEL 194A and B) during their senior year (which would count as 6 units of upper division electives.)

Typical schedules for transfer students who have completed the classes listed above prior to transferring to UC Davis are shown below. The courses shown are only offered once a year in the quarter listed, and some classes are prerequisites for classes that follow, so there is limited flexibility in the schedule. Consequently, not taking a course in the following sequence may potentially require that you spend an extra year in school to complete the graduation requirements. We encourage students to take the summer field course as soon as they have completed all of the prerequisite classes, and we encourage our best students to get involved in research projects that will lead to a Senior thesis.


The information here is provided for your convenience; classes are subject to change. Please speak with a geology major advisor for the latest information on a geology major study plan. These are just major classes, so be sure to check MyDegree.ucdavis.edu for any additional degree requirements, including General Education and your College English Composition Requirement (UWP 104E is recommended).

Classes in italics must stay in the quarter they’re listed, although not always in the year listed.

The following classes are recommended for those who intend to pursue graduate degrees but are not necessarily required for the Bachelor of Science degree in Geology: MAT 21D, MAT 22A, MAT 22B, PHY 9D.

GEL Transfer Option 1 | Option2  (pdf)

GEL Transfer Option 1

Transfer Option 1 has the advantage of placing summer field in the Junior year, allowing more time in the Senior year to concentrate on upper division classes in the area of the students interest, as well as providing a good opportunity for completion of a senior thesis. The disadvantage of this schedule is that the core petrology courses are taken in the senior year after completion of summer field. It is therefore difficult to do a senior thesis if your interest is in hard rock petrology.

Junior Academic Year

Structure series

  • Fall Quarter Total: 7 units
    • Geology 60: Earth Materials (4)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
  • Winter Quarter Total: 9 units
    • Geology 101: Structural Geology (3)
    • Geology 101L: Structural Geology Lab (2)
    • Geology 109: Sediments and Strata (2)
    • Geology 109L: Sediments and Strata Lab (2)
  • Spring Quarter Total: 8 units
    • Geology 103: Field Geology (3)
    • Geology 107: Paleobiology (3)
    • Geology 107L: Paleobiology Lab (2)
  • Summer Total: 8 units
    • Geology 110: Summer Field Geology (8)

Senior Academic Year

Petrology series

  • Fall Quarter Total: 10 units
    • Geology 62: Optical Mineralogy (2)
    • Statistics 32 or 100 (4)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (4)
  • Winter Quarter Total: 10 units
    • Geology 105: Igneous Rocks (4)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
  • Spring Quarter Total: 10 units
    • Geology 106: Metamorphic Rocks (4)
    • Geology 108: Paleoclimates (3)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
  • Summer 
    • no courses

GEL Transfer Option 2

Transfer Option 2 may be preferable for students who wish to emphasize hard rock petrology as there is more flexibility in the senior year for pursuing upper division electives or a senior thesis in petrology. Students completing summer field in their Senior year are still able to attend the graduation ceremony at the end of spring quarter, even though their degree will be granted following completion of summer field.

Junior Academic Year

Petrology series

  • Fall Quarter Total: 10 units
    • Geology 60: Earth Materials (4)
    • Geology 62: Optical Mineralogy (2)
    • Statistics 32 or 100 (4)
  • Winter Quarter Total: 10 units
    • Geology 105: Igneous Rocks (4)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
  • Spring Quarter Total: 9 units
    • Geology 106: Metamorphic Rocks (4)
    • Geology 107: Paleobiology (3)
    • Geology 107L: Paleobiology Lab (2)
  • Summer
    • no courses

Senior Academic Year

Structure series

  • Fall Quarter Total: 7 units
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (4)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
  • Winter Quarter Total: 9 units
    • Geology 101: Structural Geology (3)
    • Geology 101L: Structural Geology Lab (2)
    • Geology 109: Sediments and Strata (2)
    • Geology 109L: Sediments and Strata Lab (2)  
  • Spring Quarter Total: 9 units
    • Geology 103: Field Geology (3)
    • Geology 108: Paleoclimates (3)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
  • Summer Total: 8 units
    • Geology 110: Summer Field Geology (8)