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Organic Chemistry Course Updates (Students Admitted Prior to FA17)

Effective Fall 2017, the organic chemistry sequence was renumbered as follows:

  • CHEM 140A (Organic Chemistry I) = CHEM 40A (Organic Chemistry I)
  • CHEM 140B (Organic Chemistry II) = CHEM 40B (Organic Chemistry II)
  • CHEM 140C (Organic Chemistry III) = CHEM 40C (Organic Chemistry III)
  • CHEM 143A (Organic Chemistry Laboratory) = CHEM 43A (Organic Chemistry Laboratory)

The UC San Diego Academic Senate's Educational Policy Committee determined that students who were admitted to UC San Diego in Fall 2016 and earlier will be granted an exception to utilize CHEM 40A, 40B, 40C, 43A, or 43AM (or their Honors equivalencies) as upper division for all degree requirements, so long as the lower division version of the organic chemistry course(s) are completed at UC San Diego by Spring 2021

Please note that:

  • Students are not allowed to opt out of this exception. Petitions to use these courses as lower division will not be considered.
  • Degree audits should be updated to apply the lower division organic chemistry courses taken at UC San Diego by SP21 to upper division requirements, as applicable, by the beginning of Fall 2018.

Please see below for the frequently asked questions regarding this change. If you still have questions after reading through the answers below, please contact a Chemistry and Biochemistry Academic Advisor.

I was admitted to UCSD before Fall 2017, when the organic chemistry courses were still upper-division. Will these courses fulfill an upper-division requirement?

Yes.  Students who were admitted to UCSD prior to Fall 2017 will be granted an exception to use CHEM 40A, 40B, 40C, 43A, or 43AM (or their honors equivalencies) as upper-division for all degree requirements, as applicable toward major, minor, general education, and university requirements-- so long as the lower division version of the organic chemistry course or courses are completed at UCSD by Spring 2021.

I was admitted to UCSD before Fall 2017. I want to use a lower-division organic chemistry course to fulfill a lower-division, instead of an upper-division, requirement. Is this allowed?

No.  Students are not allowed to opt out of this exception. Petitions to use these courses as lower-division will not be considered.

I was admitted to UCSD before Fall 2017 and therefore my organic chemistry course(s) should be counting as upper-division in my degree audit; however, they are instead showing up in the lower-division section. Why is this?

By now, all degree audits should be updated to reflect this exception. If you see an error in your degree audit, please contact the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department via the VAC. 

I was admitted to UCSD Fall 2017. Can I use a lower-division organic chemistry course to fulfill an upper-division requirement?

No.  Only students who were admitted to UCSD prior to Fall 2017 will be able to use a lower-division organic chemistry course to fulfill an upper-division requirement.

I was admitted to UCSD before Fall 2017 and I have an approved minor with classes I no longer need to take (e.g. CHEM 152, 154). Do I need to resubmit my minor proposal?

No.  You do not need to resubmit your minor proposal. If you want to use any lower-division organic chemistry courses toward your minor, please send us a VAC message indicating all of the courses you want to use toward your minor. We will review your course selection and will send you a VAC message if it is approved.

I took a lower-division organic chemistry course at another UC. Will I receive upper-division credit at UCSD?

No. You will receive lower-division credit for the course.* The course level from the transfer institution must be maintained.

*You will only receive UCSD chemistry credit if the course you took or wish to take is listed on our pre-approved list of UC equivalent courses or if you have an approved petition

Enrolling in Courses

I'm on a waitlist. Should I stay on the waitlist or drop it and find another course?

If you are one of the first few on the waitlist, you may want to remain on the waitlist; often we are able to accommodate more students by adding new sections or expanding the class size.  When that is possible, we first notify students who are on the waitlist. If you are waitlisted for a full section and there is an open section with another instructor, it is highly recommended to switch to the open section.

Note that with some courses, there can be quite a bit of "movement," i.e. students drop the class or are dropped due to non-payment of fees or missing prerequisites.  It is difficult to predict whether you will be added via waitlist. Please feel free to contact an Academic Advisor to inquire about your particular situation.

I haven't completed the prerequisites for a class. Can I still enroll in it? Can I take the prerequisite class at the same time?

All prerequisites must generally be completed before you will be allowed to take a class. That said, you may be allowed to waive a prerequisite for a course, under certain circumstances.

If you are requesting to be allowed to take a course without having completed the prerequisite, you may submit a Prerequisite Waiver via the EASy system. Prerequisite Waivers require the approval of the instructor.  

Note: You may have an equivalent course that the system does not recognize, especially if you are a transfer student.  If you have an equivalent course that does not automatically transfer, you may have to submit an online petition for a Course Substitution so that the course can be reviewed for equivalency. 

If you are still unsure of whether you need to petition, you may contact a Chemistry department Academic Advisor  through the VAC or visit the Student Affairs office during walk-in hours in YORK 4010.

I cannot attend the first lab meeting. Will I be dropped?

Yes. Those who do not attend the first lab meeting will be dropped. 

A lot of people dropped my CHEM class after the first midterm, so can I add the class now?

If it is before the university's Add Deadline (Friday of Week 2) and there are seats available on WebReg, then you may enroll via WebReg.  If it is past Friday of 2nd week, you may request a Late-Add as soon as possible.  However, please note that the Chemistry department adheres to the University deadlines.  Exceptions to the University's add deadline may be considered only for students with extenuating circumstances.  Contact the Chemistry Advising office for further assistance.

Why did I receive a W for a lab I dropped?

Likely, you did not drop the class quickly enough. Lab courses must be dropped before the end of the second lab meeting; otherwise, you will receive a "W". Chemistry labs tend to be heavily impacted and we must make space available to those who will stay and complete the course.

I am not doing well in one of my Chemistry classes. Should I drop it?

If your current grade is around a D or an F grade, then you should consider dropping the course.  One or a few W grades will not harm you, whereas a D or an F will significantly lower your GPA. Furthermore, continuing to advanced courses after receiving a D or an F in lower courses almost guarantees more failure. All science is very cumulative.

You have until the Friday of 6th week to drop a lecture class with a W. You will receive a letter grade in the course after this time. 

Keep in mind, if you have already received a W for the course, you may not drop it again for a W grade. Per UCSD policy, students who drop a course after the drop with a W deadline (Friday of Week 4), for a course in which they have previously earned a W grade, will instead receive an F grade.

Do not wait until the last minute to drop, to allow for technical issues. Make sure you are in an area with a reliable Internet connection. No exceptions will be made for students who claim their Internet was down.

What happens when I repeat a course?

When you retake a course, the new grade will replace the old grade in the calculation of your GPA.  Both the old grade and the new grade remain on your record, but only the new grade will be factored into your GPA. You earn units only for a course that counts toward the GPA. (The rules are different for Graduate Students. They keep both old and new grades in the GPA calculation.)  Please note that grade replacements are only good up to 16 units.  If you have more than 16 units of course repeats, the new grade and old grade will be averaged.


I got a D or an F in one of my classes. Do I have to retake it?

A D grade is considered passing, so you will receive credit for the course.  That means you can use the D grade to move on in a sequence. However, moving on when you are not prepared guarantees further low grades. For example, if you receive a D grade in CHEM 6B, you are allowed to move onto 6C; however, you almost surely should not, unless your goal is to switch majors but use the courses for General Education requirements.

Upper-division courses have a special rule if you are a major within the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department: you are allowed to graduate with one D in your upper-division coursework for your major.. If you receive multiple D grades, then you must repeat enough to remove all but one D grade.

For F grades, you must repeat the course, if it is a required course for your major.  F grades for courses that are not required do not necessarily have to be retaken, but it would be a good idea to repeat them to boost your overall GPA.

I have questions about the grade that was assigned in my course, what can I do?

Begin by contacting your professor. Only the professor can change a grade.

I got an F in a class, but it is a prerequisite for a class I am taking next quarter. Will I be dropped?

Yes.  Prior to the beginning of the quarter the enrollment system will scan for prerequisites and if you do not have the prerequisite completed, the system will automatically drop you.

Summer Courses

Can I take courses toward my major at a community college over the summer?

Some major requirements can be taken at the community college such as lower division courses and organic chemistry.  Equivalent courses can be found on

If you wish to use any other course not listed by toward a major requirement, you must submit a Pre-Approval petition. 

How do I find a course to take at the community college?

Use to find equivalent courses. 

How do I find an equivalent course to take at a UC?

See list and instructions here: UC Equivalent Courses

How do I find an equivalent course to take at a CSU or other four-year institution?

Look in the course catalog for the institution. Look for courses that their chemistry major requires.  Remember that before you can get transfer credit, you must submit a Pre-Approval petition to the UCSD Chemistry and Biochemistry department to ensure that the course is equivalent to a Chemistry course at UCSD. If approved, credit can be granted after successfully completing the course.

Major Requirements

Can I take major classes for Pass/No Pass?

No.  All classes taken to meet major requirements must be taken for a letter grade. This applies to both upper and lower division requirements.

The only exception to this rule is CHEM 195, 197, and 199 which are only offered with the pass/no pass grading option.

Can I get a D in a course and use it for my major?

Yes.  You are allowed one D in your upper-division coursework required for your major. Note that it is always recommended to retake a course in which you receive a D, especially if that course is part of a sequence.

How do I declare a CHEM major?

Department approval is not required to declare any of the five majors that we offer. If you want to declare or change your major, see Triton Link.

If I still have requirements that I'll be taking in summer, can I participate in commencement?

The department cannot determine this. Please speak with your college academic advisor to inquire.

How can I use Study Abroad toward major requirements?

We are very supportive of students who wish to study abroad. It is important to speak with an advisor in York 4010 as soon as you begin to think seriously about EAP or other related programs. For more information, please visit:

Minor Requirements

How do I declare a minor in Chemistry?

If you want to declare a minor, see Triton Link .

Can I overlap classes to fulfill both my major and minor requirements?

You may apply only two upper-division courses toward both your major and minor. For example, a biology major may count CHEM 114A and 114B toward both the major in biology and the minor in chemistry.

Lower-division courses can be applied to both your major and minor. 

Can I take CHEM classes Pass/No Pass for my minor?

No.  All courses for the minor must be taken for letter grade. Note that AP courses may not be used for a minor, and all upper division courses must be taken at UCSD.


When do I need to submit a petition to the Chemistry and Biochemistry department?

Any deviation from the department/university requirements as listed in the general catalog for the year you entered UCSD, or any substitution of courses, whether from UCSD or another institution, must be approved by petition. 

Please fill our your petition carefully, and be very clear and concise about what you are requesting and why. Supporting documentation is required for some petition types. 

Submit department petitions as soon as possible, as petition review may take 2-4 weeks. University petitions may take longer. For more information on petitions click here.

Department Honors

General Academic Information

If I already have a B.A. or B.S. can I earn a second bachelor's degree at UC San Diego?

UC San Diego does not currently accept students for second baccalaureates.

Can I take classes after receiving my undergraduate degree?

No. Once you have received your degree, your undergraduate record is officially closed. You can take UC San Diego Summer Sessions courses, but these appear on a separate record and are not included with your undergraduate work. You can also take UC San Diego Extension courses because they maintain their own student records.

How do I schedule an appointment to see an advisor?

Please call us at 858-534-4856 to schedule an appointment. Appointments are usually for course planning, going over the major or major options, or longer questions that require discussion.

If you have quick, general questions, you can send them to the Virtual Advising Center or drop by the office at York Hall 4010 for walk-in advising during our normal business hours.

I filed my DDA to graduate this quarter. When will I get my diploma?

UC San Diego degree processing takes up to 90 days (3 months). The college completes the review of applications/degree audits for graduation as follows: Fall DDAs - early March, Winter DDAs - late May, Spring DDAs - mid August, and Summer DDAs - late October. The Office of the Registrar begins posting degrees to official transcripts after the college completes the review of applications/degree audits. Diplomas are mailed shortly thereafter. 

The Urgent Degree Posting process expedites the posting of the degree to the student's transcript (an official proof of degree) after the department confirms completion of the major and the college confirms completion of university and general education requirements. A request for urgent posting of degree is an exception.  Please contact your specific college for instructions and requirements.