Prospective Geology Transfer Students

Van under rainbow

The UC Davis Earth and Planetary Sciences department welcomes prospective transfer students

UC Davis is a wonderful place to study Geology, with plenty of opportunities for transfer students and a thriving transfer community. Watch this presentation to California Community Colleges for more information about applying, joining the Geology major, and resources for success as a Geology major at UC Davis.

UC Davis: a Best Value College

In 2019, money.com ranked UC Davis 5th in the nation for Best Value Colleges; over half of our students graduated debt-free.


Prior to transferring into UC Davis, students must meet the Transfer Admission requirements. For the Bachelor of Science degree program in Geology at UC Davis, we strongly recommend that transfer students complete preparatory coursework equivalent to the following:

  • Calculus with Linear Algebra (MAT 16A-B-C-22A or 17A-B-C or 21A-B-22A or MAT 21A-B-C
  • Two quarters of Chemistry (CHE 2A-B)
  • Two quarters of Physics (PHY 7A-B or 9A-B)
  • Physical Geology with Laboratory (GEL 50, 50L)
  • Statistics (STA 13)

Once arriving at UC Davis, students will take a series of Geology classes. While it is preferred that students take these classes at UC Davis, the following substitutions (available at most community colleges) are also allowed:

  • Geobiology (GEL 53). Also allow History of Life (GEL 3). 
  • Geochemistry (GEL 55). Also allow General Chemistry (CHE 2C)
  • Geophysics (GEL 56). Also allow General Physics (PHY 7C) or Classical Physics (PHY 9C)

In order to complete two quarters of coursework, you may have to take a full year of that subject at community college. If you have not completed some or all of the preparatory coursework, you may need more than 2 years here. Many Geology major classes are taught in sequence and only once per year. It is not recommended to take preparatory coursework and prerequisites at the same time as upper division Geology major coursework. Contact the geology major advisor if you would like to discuss your specific preparation for transfer

2-year Transfer Students | GEL Sample Academic Plans

The following are sample study plans for 2-year Transfer Students. They assume you've completed the preparatory coursework. The following information is provided for your convenience, but is not meant to replace a consultation with one of our undergraduate advisors. Classes are subject to change. Be sure to check MyDegree.ucdavis.edu for your full list of 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 22B, PHY 9D.


There are 2 Options for Transfer Students
Option 1: Structure Coursework first | Option 2: Petrology Coursework first


GEL Transfer Option 1: Structure Coursework first

Transfer Option 1 focuses on the structure coursework first, like Structural Geology, Spring Field Geology, and Sediments and Strata. It allows students to take GEL 110A: Summer Field: Structure and Neotectonics their first summer. This option may be preferable to students who enjoy these topics, and want to participate in further coursework, research, or internships in structural geology their senior year.

Junior Academic Year | Structure coursework
  • Fall Quarter Total: 12-15 units
    • Geology 60: Earth Materials (4)
    • Geology 109: Sediments and Strata (3)
    • Geology 109L: Sediments and Strata Lab (2)
    • Geology 56: Geophysics (4)
  • Winter Quarter Total: 12+ units
    • Geology 53: Geobiology (3)
    • Geology 101: Structural Geology (3)
    • Geology 101L: Structural Geology Lab (2)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
  • Spring Quarter Total: 12+ units
    • Geology 103: Spring Field Geology (4)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
    • UWP 101 or 102 or 104 or UDCE
  • Summer Total: 0-8 units
    • Geology 110A: Summer Field Geology (4)*
    • Units for financial aid (2+)
Senior Academic Year | Petrology coursework
  • Fall Quarter Total: 12+ units
    • Geology 55: Geochemistry (3)
    • Geology 107: Paleobiology (3)
    • Geology 107L: Paleobiology Lab (2)
    • Upper Division units (4)
  • Winter Quarter Total: 12+ units
    • Geology 105: Igneous Rocks (4)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
    • Upper Division units (4)
  • Spring Quarter Total: 12+ units
    • Geology 108: Paleoclimates (3)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
    • Upper Division units (0-4)
  • Summer Total: 0-8 units
    • Geology 110B: Summer Field Geology (4)*
    • Units for financial aid (2+)

*Can be taken over multiple summers or during same summer


GEL Transfer Option 2: Petrology Coursework first

Transfer Option 2  focuses on the petrology coursework first, like Igneous Petrology. That class, along with Mineraology and Sediments and Strata allows students to take GEL 110B: Summer Field: Volcanology their first summer. This option may be preferable to students who enjoy hard rock petrology, and want to participate in further coursework, research, or internships in this area their senior year.

Junior Academic Year | Petrology coursework 
  • Fall Quarter Total: 12-15 units
    • Geology 60: Earth Materials (4)
    • Geology 109: Sediments and Strata (3)
    • Geology 109L: Sediments and Strata Lab (2)
    • Geology 55: Geochemistry (3)
  • Winter Quarter Total: 12+ units
    • Geology 53: Geobiology (3)
    • Geology 105: Igneous Rocks (4)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
  • Spring Quarter Total: 12+ units
    • Geology 108: Paleoclimates (3)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
    • UWP 101 or 102 or 104 or UDCE
  • Summer Total: 0-8 units
    • Geology 110B: Summer Field Geology (4)*
    • Units for financial aid (2+)
Senior Academic Year | Structure coursework
  • Fall Quarter Total: 12+ units
    • Geology 56: Geophysics (4)
    • Geology 107: Paleobiology (3)
    • Geology 107L: Paleobiology Lab (2)
    • Upper Division units (4)
  • Winter Quarter Total: 12+ units
    • Geology 101: Structural Geology (3)
    • Geology 101L: Structural Geology Lab (2)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
    • Upper Division units (4)
  • Spring Quarter Total: 12+ units
    • Geology 103: Field Geology (4)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
    • Upper Division Geology Elective (3)
    • Upper Division units (0-4)
  • Summer Total: 0-8 units
    • Geology 110A: Summer Field Geology (4)*
    • Units for financial aid (2+)

*Can be taken over multiple summers or during same summer

Geology B.S. Sample Academic Plan for Transfers (pdf) revised 5/2022
Geology A.B. Sample Academic Plan for Transfers  (pdf) revised 5/2022


Updated May 2022

GeMS Scholarships logo

Scholarships in Geology and Marine and Coastal Science (GeMS)

The UC Davis Earth and Planetary Sciences department has funds from the National Science Foundation (S-STEM Program) for undergraduate scholarships of up to $8,000, potentially renewable for multiple years.

Junior College and Community College students planning to apply for admission to UC Davis as Geology or Marine and Coastal Science majors (in the College of Letters & Science) are encouraged to apply.

All awards are capped at the student’s individual Financial Aid eligibility and may be limited by the availability of funding.