Transfer Students


The Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences (PBS) would like to welcome prospective transfer students. Please note: The PBS department is not responsible for decisions regarding admission to the University. Students interested in applying to UCSB should visit the UCSB Admissions website for Transfer Applicants. There, students will find information on admission requirements, application procedures, campus visits, and more.

“Pre-Major” vs. “Full Major” Status:

When applying to UCSB, students select their desired Pre-Major. The PBS department advisors encourage transfer students to choose from the following Pre-Major choices: Pre-Psychological & Brain Sciences and Pre-Biopsychology. Once accepted to UCSB, students will still need to earn “full major” status to pursue the upper level portion of the degree. Pre-Major classes are graded on a curve, and students will have to earn their spot in the major by meeting the pre-major GPA requirements. Exact major rules, requirements, and regulations are listed in detail on the PBS major sheets: Psychological & Brain Sciences B.S. and Biopsychology B.S.

Pre-Major Tips:

Below is a list of the pre-major courses and corresponding GPAs required to qualify for “full major” status. We do not have an admissions quota, however the qualifying UC GPA requirement is firm.

Both PBS BS and Biopsych BS students must complete the following courses with at least a 2.7 UC GPA:

  • Psychology 1: Introduction to Psychology
  • Math 34A/3A: Calculus for Social and Life Sciences
  • PSTAT 5A/5LS: Statistics – formerly PSY 5, accepted as substitute via
  • PSY 10A: Research Methods in Psychology – not formerly PSY 7, not accepted as substitute via
  • PSY 10B: Statistical Methods in Psychology – not formerly PSY 5, not accepted as substitute via

Additionally, PBS BS students must complete the following courses with at least a 2.0 UC GPA:

  • CHEM 1A: General Chemistry
  • CHEM 1B: General Chemistry
  • MCDB 1A (requires CHEM 1C for enrollment) or MCDB 6
  • EEMB 2 (requires MCDB 1A for enrollment) or EEMB 7

Transfer students are advised to take all possible pre-major courses prior to starting their first fall (with the exception of PSY 10A and 10B, which are only offered at UCSB). Please use to verify which Pre-Major courses are offered at each California Community College. Students are encouraged to complete any “series” courses at their community college if possible (summer courses are accepted).

Preparation for the Major Tips:

For Biopsychology BS:

Biopsychology “Preparation for the Major” includes the following courses. Again, transfer students wishing to join Biopsychology are strongly encouraged to complete these series courses prior to arriving at UCSB. Please use to verify what “Preparation for the Major” courses are offered at each California Community College:

  • Full General Biology Series: UCSB’s MCDB 1A-AL, MCDB 1B, EEMB 2, and either MCDB 1BL or EEMB 2L (if completed at the CC, credit for EEMB 3+3L will also be awarded)
  • Full General Chemistry Series: UCSB’s CHEM 1A-AL-B-BL-C-CL (or Chemistry 2 series)
  • Full Organic Chemistry Series: UCSB’s CHEM 6AL-BL, and 109A-B (if completed at the CC, credit for CHEM 109C will also be awarded)
  • Full Physics Series: UCSB’s PHYS 6A-AL-B-BL-C-CL
  • Calculus II: UCSB’s MATH 34B/3B

Note: UCSB splits a yearlong series over three quarters (identifying the parts by “A-B-C” plus “AL-BL-CL” for labs), while often community colleges split a yearlong series over two semesters, typically including the lab component. Transfer students with partial year credit (only one semester) will likely be required to take two quarters at UCSB to have the series be considered complete. Click here for a breakdown of series credit for semester versus quarter systems.


Transfer students wishing to join the PBS BS are also encouraged to complete their “Preparation for the Major” courses prior to arriving at UCSB, which includes four lower-division courses from the specified list under Area III on the PBS BS major sheet. These courses are not required for admission to full major and can be taken at UCSB.

Advisor tip: PBS BS students should plan ahead to use their lower-division Preparation for the Major courses to “unlock” upper-division courses from the PBS Interdisciplinary List, which may be applied to the upper-division PBS major. Consider double majoring by using Area III and PBS Interdisciplinary List courses to advance yourself in another discipline.

Start Planning!

Use the PBS BS Transfer Plans and the Biopsychology Transfer Plan PDFs on the right hand side as schedule planning tools. Once transfer students arrive at UCSB, they are encouraged to bring in a self-prepared and personalized plan to an Undergraduate Advisor for review. Contact with any questions. Here is a list of items that should be included in the email:

  • Name
  • Perm number
  • Name of transfer institution
  • List of completed pre-major courses (PSY 1, MATH 34A, PSTAT 5A)
  • List of completed pre-major/prep science series (Chem, Bio, O-Chem, Physics)
  • If applicable, identified double major/minor goals
  • Attached unofficial transcript