How to Successfully Transfer to a UC: Frequently Asked Questions

Are you considering transferring to a University of California (UC) school to pursue your academic goals? If so, you’re in the right place! Transferring to a UC can be a challenging yet rewarding journey, and it’s essential to have all the information you need to make the process smoother.

In this comprehensive FAQ, we’ll address the most common questions and provide valuable insights to help you navigate the transfer process successfully.

What are the minimum requirements for transferring to a UC?

Transferring to a UC requires careful planning and meeting specific academic criteria. To be eligible for transfer, you typically need to complete 60 semester units or 90 quarter units at a community college or another accredited institution.

Additionally, you must fulfill the UC’s seven-course pattern, including specific general education requirements. For some UCs, such as Berkeley and UCLA, completing your major coursework before your Spring term is preferred. However, keep in mind that the English and Math requirements are often expected to be completed by your Fall term.

Can I transfer to a UC from another 4-year university?

While it is possible to transfer to a UC from a 4-year institution, statistics show that approximately 95% of successful transfers come from California community colleges. UCs have established strong partnerships with community colleges, making the transfer process more streamlined.

Community colleges provide various resources and transfer agreements that facilitate a smoother transition to a UC. If you’re currently attending a 4-year university and considering a transfer, it’s essential to carefully evaluate your options and consult with academic advisors.

Where can I find transfer statistics for my major?

The University of California maintains a valuable resource called the UC Information Center, which provides transfer statistics for various majors at each UC campus. This information will help you assess the competitiveness of your desired major and make informed decisions about your transfer options. Knowing the acceptance rates and average GPA of accepted students in your major can give you a clearer picture of your chances for successful transfer.

UC Info Center

Is IGETC worth completing?

The Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) is a series of courses designed to fulfill lower-division general education requirements across UCs and California State Universities (CSUs).

While completing IGETC can be beneficial for some students, it might not be the best option for STEM majors or those intending to transfer to UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering, as they may not accept IGETC coursework. However, if you’ve already earned credits through other means, such as Advanced Placement (AP) exams, and only have a few courses left to complete IGETC, it might be worth considering.

How do AP credits work for UC transfers?

AP credits can be a valuable asset for transfer students, but their acceptance varies among UC campuses. For example, some UCs may require a higher score on an AP exam to grant credit, while others accept lower scores.

If you’re unsure about your AP credits’ applicability to your desired major, reach out to the admission representative of the UC campus you plan to attend for clarification. Additionally, if your UC requires a specific score on the AP English Language or Literature exam, be sure to meet this requirement, as English coursework is critical for transfer students.

How can I determine what classes to take at my community college?

To ensure a smooth transition, utilize, a powerful online tool that shows how courses from California community colleges articulate to UC campuses. By using, you can determine which community college courses are equivalent to your intended UC major’s requirements.

Keep in mind that not all courses may be articulated for your major, but you can work with academic advisors to find appropriate substitutes.

Are extracurricular activities important for transferring?

Unlike the freshman admissions process, which often places significant emphasis on extracurricular activities (ECs), transfer admissions prioritize your college GPA and academic performance. However, engaging in meaningful extracurricular activities related to your major or community service can still enhance your application.

If you’re applying to a highly competitive specialty college, such as Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, your ECs might carry more weight. Strike a balance between academics and extracurricular involvement to present a well-rounded application.

Are there any ways I could boost my chance to transfer to a UC?

Indeed, there are several strategies to improve your transfer prospects to a UC. One valuable option is the Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) program, available at all UC campuses except Berkeley, UCLA, and UC San Diego.

TAG essentially guarantees your admission to a UC if you meet specific requirements. While you can usually TAG to only one school, some UCs might not offer TAG for highly competitive majors.

Moreover, UC Berkeley and UCLA have special programs called Transfer Alliance Program (TAP) and University Link, respectively. TAP and University Link significantly increase your chances of admission to these top-tier universities, with some participants experiencing acceptance rates as high as 80-90%. TAP typically requires completion of an Honors Program or being a first-generation student with a low-income background.

While TAP may not guarantee admission to capped majors, it provides priority consideration for selective programs within their Colleges of Letters and Science.

Also see: How to Transfer Colleges Successfully: 6 Expert-Recommended Best Practices

How to Successfully Transfer to a UC Frequently Asked Questions


Congratulations! You’ve now gained valuable insights into the UC transfer process. Remember, transferring to a UC requires dedication, thorough preparation, and a clear understanding of the requirements.

By following this FAQ and seeking guidance from your community college advisors, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the journey and take a step closer to achieving your academic aspirations at a University of California campus. Best of luck with your transfer endeavors!

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