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Frequent Academic Advising Questions

Transfer Credit and Petitioning Courses

How do I know if a community college course will meet a general education requirement at ERC?
Go to to see if a course at a California Community College is equivalent to a UCSD course. If your course is listed as equivalent to a UCSD course that meets an ERC GE requirement on the site, you do not need to petition it through ERC Academic Advising. If you'd like to use a course for your major, please consult with your major department. Refer to the chart below for guidelines on which community college departments to look at to find courses that may fulfill ERC GE requirements:

ERC Requirement

Community College Departments

MMW (5 courses freshmen, 2 courses transfers)

Courses are to be taken only at UCSD.  There are no transferrable courses

Foreign Language (proficiency level)

Completion of 3 rd semester or 4 th quarter, intermediate level course (or equivalents)

Fine Arts Requirement (one course)

Music, Theatre, Drama, Art (or other Fine Art dept)

Quantitative/Formal Skills (two courses)

Mathematics, Computer Science, Logic and Statistics

Natural Science (2 courses)

Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Earth Science, Physics, Oceanography or Physical Anthropology


It is NOT guaranteed that all courses in these community college departments will satisfy any particular ERC GE; these are just suggestions to help you find potential courses.

In order to satisfy an ERC GE requirement, courses must transfer to UCSD as at least 4.0 quarter units each.

What if a course is not listed on
If a course is not listed there, you will need to fill out an Undergraduate Student Petition at the ERC Academic Advising Office (for general education purposes only). Remember that if you'd like to use a course for your major, you need to petition it through your major department. Make sure to petition the course before you take it, so that you know for certain whether it will meet a specific requirement. Also, make sure that the course is UC transferable and will transfer as at least 4.0 quarter units in order to fulfill a general education requirement.

I want to use a UC San Diego course for a GE requirement, but it is not listed as an approved course on the ERC website. May I petition it?
Yes, please fill out an Undergraduate Student Petition at the ERC Academic Advising Office. Make sure to petition the course before you take it, so that you know for certain whether it will meet a specific requirement. 

I’ve taken a course at another college or university. How do I apply my course(s) to my Academic History at UCSD?

Request to have your official transcript sent from the other institution to UCSD Admissions:

UCSD Admissions, #0021 
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0021

Reference after you request your transcripts to be sent to UCSD to verify that your transcript has been posted to your Academic History. This process can take up to 10-12 weeks. If you do not find your transfer credits in your Academic History, contact the  UCSD Admissions Office for assistance.

General Education Requirements

How does the language requirement work at ERC?
The language proficiency requirement may be met by: 1) completion of a fourth quarter language course (or third semester course elsewhere); 2) placement in a fifth quarter course through consultation with the department offering the language; 3) passing a standardized language proficiency exam in French, German, Italian, Russian, or Spanish (see TritonLink for date/time of exam); 4) passing an individually arranged language proficiency exam if language is not offered on campus (visit this page for more information); or 5) appropriate AP/IB scores (see the AP chart for information).

What exactly are electives? How many do I need?
Electives are courses you might 'elect' to take that do not meet any particular requirement. To graduate, you will need 180 units. These units will come from a combination of your major, general education, and university requirements as well as electives that you select. The number of requirements for your major will determine how much room you have for electives. If you are undeclared, you may decide to take some electives now to explore majors. Electives can also be used to complete a minor or extra language for study abroad. If you're looking for one more elective unit, try an Undergraduate Seminar, a 1-unit, P/NP course with no midterms. 

Grades and Course Withdrawal

How do I know if I may take a course Pass/No Pass?
For ERC general education requirements, you must take MMW and two of your three Regional Specialization courses for a letter grade. The remaining GE requirements (Fine Arts, Foreign Language, Quantitative/Formal Skills and Natural Science) can be taken for P/NP as long as the courses are not also required for your major. Most courses for your major and minor must be taken for a letter grade. Check with your major department for more information. 

How do I withdraw from one class? What does it mean to take a 'W'?
You can use WebReg on TritonLink to drop (withdraw from) all but one of your courses for the quarter. If you are planning to withdraw from ALL of your courses for a quarter you will need to fill out an Undergraduate Student Withdrawal form found online here.  Please call our office at 858-534-9864 for more detailed information about this process.
A “W” grade stands for Withdrawal and it is given for any course dropped between the beginning of 5th Week and Friday of 6th Week. If you feel that you will receive a D or F in a course, it is better to withdraw from the course rather than risk affecting your GPA and possible academic probation (a “W” does not impact your GPA). Once you get a D or F, it will always be on your transcript even if the class is repeated. Remember, the deadline for a 'W' grade is Friday of 6th week. We advise you to drop courses before the 4th week deadline if at all possible.  If however you find yourself considering dropping a class between the 5th and 6th weeks, please come see an ERC Academic Counselor to discuss the impact on your future options in retaking the course.

NOTE: Academic Senate regulations allow only ONE “W” per course. If you attempt to reenroll in a course for which you received a “W” in a previous quarter you will NOT be allowed to drop it after the 4th week drop deadline and either a letter grade or a P/NP grade (depending on the grading option) will be permanently assigned and noted on your transcript. 

What is an 'Incomplete' grade?
If it is past the 6th Week drop deadline, and for some very serious reason you are unable to complete a course in which your work is of passing quality, see your professor about arranging for a grade of Incomplete (you must have approval from the professor). You'll need to finish the work by the end of following quarter. 

When may I repeat a class?
If you get a grade of 'D' or 'F' in a sequence course, you must repeat the course before continuing in the sequence. Once you repeat the course, the new grade will replace the 'D' or 'F' in your cumulative GPA. You have the option of repeating up to 16 units (or four courses) of 'D' or 'F' grades to replace the first grade in your cumulative GPA. After 16 repeated units, the grades will be averaged and both will remain in your GPA. 

How do I withdraw from all my classes?
If you need to drop all your classes, you must complete the Undergraduate Request for Withdrawal form (found online here) before the Friday of 6th Week. You cannot drop all your courses using TritonLink; you must complete the withdrawal application by the deadline. Students with Financial Aid need to check in with the Financial Aid Office as well. 

University Requirements

What is minimum progress?
You are expected to make progress toward your degree by completing at least 36 units per year, an average of 12 units per quarter. AP units taken in high school do not count toward minimum progress. If you have not completed 36 units by the end of the academic year, you may use summer session units (at UC San Diego or a community college offering UC transferable units) to achieve the required minimum progress. Remember, AWP 1 and AWP 2A/2B will not give you units toward graduation, but they will count toward the minimum progress requirement. Minimum progress is monitored by Financial Aid and includes earning at least a 2.0 GPA in addition to the 36 unit requirement. Intercollegiate athletes must complete 12 units per quarter to maintain eligibility.  

May I apply for part-time status?
If you: 1) work 30 or more hours per week, 2) have family responsibilities, 3) have a documented medical condition, or 4) are a graduating senior in your final quarter, you may consider applying for part-time status which allows you to pay reduced UC San Diego fees. You need to apply by Friday of the 2nd week of the quarter. If this interests you, find the apply for part-time status.

How many quarters do I have to meet the Entry Level Writing requirement?
You must clear the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR) by the end of your third quarter at UC San Diego. If you have been designated to take (AWP 2A/2B), you will have three quarters to clear ELWR after you have passed AWP 2A/2B. 

How do I get my OAP/EAP Planning form signed?
First, take your form to Admissions (OAP only) and your major and minor departments. Once you have signatures from those offices, you can bring the form to ERC for an academic counselor's signature during Help Desk. Make sure to bring relevant course information and descriptions with you. 

I just got back from abroad. How do I start the petitioning process?
Here are the steps to follow: 

  • Make sure the UC San Diego Office of Admissions has all your transcripts.
  • AFTER all your transcripts are on-line (check that on TritonLink), petition all courses you would like to use for your major or minor through their respective departments. Check with the Programs Abroad Office about the typical time frame from your institution for study abroad transcript receipt.
  • Petition all courses that you would like to use toward your ERC General Education requirements (including Regional Specialization and ERC Special Minor) through ERC Academic Advising. Remember, you cannot use course(s) for Regional Specialization/Special Minor that you have already applied toward your major.
  • AFTER the petitioning process is complete, you may make an appointment with an Academic Counselor for an updated degree audit and future planning.

Majors and Minors

When do I have to declare a major?
You must declare a major by the time you successfully complete 90 units (junior standing).

Learn how to declare or change a major.  

I'm interested in a double major. What are the requirements?
The academic senate regulations for double majors are the following: 

  • A student must have at least 90.0 units and no more than 135.0 units (though we are flexible with this) and at least a 2.5 overall GPA.
  • A student must have completed a majority of the prerequisites for BOTH majors.
  • A student must complete all requirements for BOTH majors, which includes 10 upper division courses UNIQUE to each major. This is especially important for interdisciplinary or interdepartmental majors where there must be 10 courses from the interdisciplinary or interdepartmental major that do NOT come from the department of the first major. Beyond the unique 10 upper division courses, other upper division can overlap. Lower division can overlap with no limit.
  • Students must be able to complete the two majors in no more than 240.0 units and for students entering as freshmen, no more than 15 quarters (5 years) and as transfers, 9 quarters (3) years.
  • Students must submit a double major petition approved by each of the departments with a quarter- by-quarter plan and a statement of purpose. After the departments have approved the form, it is reviewed by the college to be sure all regulations are met.
  • Please give careful thought to whether a double major is right for you. Read our double major flyer. If you decide to pursue it, visit the ERC Academic Advising Office for an application and more information.

How do I declare my minor?
In general, minors are declared after you complete the necessary course work for the minor. However you should check directly with your individual minor department for their specific procedures. More information about declaring a minor can be found online here.


How do I apply to graduate?
To apply to graduate, submit your electronic Degree and Diploma Application (DDA) using the DDA Wizard ( Be sure to read the checklist for graduating seniors.

What is the difference between Commencement and Graduation?

Commencement is the ceremony in which students are recognized for their expected graduation from the University. Participation in the Commencement ceremony DOES NOT constitute official graduation from the University.

Graduation is the term used to describe the completion of all requirements and official posting of a student's degree to his/her academic record. Once the degree has been posted to the student’s official record, the diploma is then mailed to his/her permanent address listed in TritonLink.