Frequently Asked Questions in Chemistry Undergraduate Courses/Degree
- CHEMISTRY CLASSES: What is the difference between the 20/30 series and the 14 series?
- Can I change from the 20 series to the 14 series?
- Can I pass out of 20A with my AP credit?
- Can I take a graduate level course?
- What exactly is Chemistry 17?
- If I think I may have taken a course at another school that I didn't get credit for here, what should I do so I don't have to take it again?
- Can I take Chemistry classes at another college to complete UCLA requirements?
- Do I have to take a Chemistry placement test to enroll in Chemistry courses?
- What is an impacted class?
- Who do I talk to if I need to figure out what classes I should take next quarter?
- DECLARING THE MAJOR: How can I declare/change to be a Biochemistry or Chemistry major?
- Does the department have a pre-major?
- How is the General Chemistry major different from the Biochemistry/Chemistry majors?
- Does this department have a minor?
- ENROLLMENT / DROPS: The computer is not letting me enroll in a class that I've met the prerequisites for, what do I do?
- Can I enroll in a class that I have not met the pre-requisites for?
- What is my chance of getting into the class if I am waitlisted? What if I can't even get on the waiting list?
- Why are there some Chemistry classes where you can only enroll on the waitlist?
- How can I drop a class? (Reg, Late, Impacted)
- What do I do if I had an emergency and need to drop all of my classes for the quarter?
- GRADUATE SCHOOLS / CAREER INFORMATION: I'm a pre-med student. Where should I go to receive counseling?
- I'm a pre-med student. Will this major meet the pre-med requirements?
- I'm planning on going to graduate school in Chemistry/Biochemistry/Materials Science. Who should I speak to?
- What is the Departmental Scholars Program?
- What career options are there for a Chemistry/Biochemistry/Materials Science major?
- MISCELLANEOUS: How can I get tutoring in a Chemistry class?
- How can I do research with a professor while I'm still in school?
- How can I find out about applying for awards and scholarships?
- Who do I see about possible room and/or time changes for my classes?
- How do I get/remove an 'Incomplete Grade'?
- Can I reschedule a final exam if I have a conflict?
- What is the policy on Academic Dishonesty at UCLA?
- Who should I speak to if I have compliments/complaints about an instructor?
- Q: CHEMISTRY CLASSES: What is the difference between the 20/30 series and the 14 series?
A: The 14 series is designed for life science majors. It covers general and organic chemistry, but in fewer (NOT easier) courses. The classes show how chemistry relates to biology and how it can be applied specifically for life science majors. The 20/30 series is geared for physical science and engineering majors, but it is the series that is equivalent to general and organic chemistry at most other schools. While physical science and engineering requires the 20 series, life science majors will accept either series for credit. Both series also count for credit toward professional health schools, but if the 14 series is used it must be taken as a whole at UCLA.
- Q: Can I change from the 20 series to the 14 series?
A: No, once you have completed 20A with a C or better, you must continue within the 20/30 series. If you complete the 20A equivalent at another school and it transfers to UCLA as 20A credit, you must continue to take the 20/30 series. If you decide to drop 20A before you complete the class, you can then start over at 14A if you would like to do so. If you take 20A and receive a C- or lower (where you would have the option of repeating the class), you can petition our office to start over in 14A, but it will not count as a repeat so the low 20A grade will stay as part of your GPA. Other than these 2 things, a student CANNOT switch from the 20 series to the 14 series. If students need to switch from the 14 series to the 20 series because their major requires it, they can do so at certain points in the series, but must speak to a chemistry counselor before doing so.
- Q: Can I pass out of 20A with my AP credit?
A: If a student receives a 4 or a 5 on their AP Chemistry test, they can choose to pass out of Chemistry 20A and go directly to 20B. If a student wants to do this, the student can come to our office (4009 Young) and fill out an enrollment sheet that will override the prerequisite restriction. Even with a high score, the computer will not automatically give exemption. Students are offered the option of electing to pass out of this class because medical schools do not recognize AP credit as part of their requirements; therefore pre-med students SHOULD take Chemistry 20A at UCLA. Students do not have the option of passing out of 14A and must continue in the 20 series if they elect to pass out of 20A.
- Q: Can I take a graduate level course?
A: Undergraduates can enroll in most graduate-level classes with permission from the instructor. If the computer lets the student enroll through URSA, there is no restriction, but the student should contact the instructor to let them know he/she has enrolled in their course. If students cannot enroll through URSA, they should contact the instructor and if permission is given, students should bring proof (written note or printed e-mail) to 4009 Young Hall to Denise Mantonya who will enroll the student in the class.
- Q: What exactly is Chemistry 17?
A: Chemistry 17 is a preparation course that allows students to receive a basic background in Chemistry before they start either the 14 or the 20 series. It is designed for students who have either never taken Chemistry before or have not taken it for many years. It is taken P/NP and will not give students units toward GE, major, or graduation. It will, however, count toward units for full-time status. If a student does not pass this course, it will not restrict them from moving forward to the 14 or 20 series.
- Q: If I think I may have taken a course at another school that I didn't get credit for here, what should I do so I don't have to take it again?
A: If you transfer in coursework that does not translate directly as a UCLA class, you may have to petition in order to get credit for it. For GE coursework and college requirements, you can petition at the UCLA Counseling Office (A-316 Murphy Hall). For Chemistry classes, please bring a syllabus of the course(s) you took at the other school(s) to the Undergraduate Office (4009 Young) and we will have its course content evaluated for credit by our professors. Whatever credit the professor determines you should receive will be reported to you in writing. All necessary changes to your DPR must go through your major department. To petition credit in other subjects, students must go to those specific departments.
- Q: Can I take Chemistry classes at another college to complete UCLA requirements?
A: You can take classes at other institutions but you must make sure that the courses are equivalent to the classes at UCLA by speaking to a Chemistry undergraduate counselor in 4009 Young. Additionally, you should be aware that there are rules about taking classes elsewhere:Concurrent Enrollment
Students will not receive credit for coursework completed at another institution while simultaneously enrolled at UCLA as a regular session student (excludes summer school). This policy includes Extension classes.Summer School
Students may receive course credit for courses taken at other UC campuses, other four-year institutions and community colleges provided that the courses are deemed equivalent.Unit Limits
Students who have completed 105 units or more will not receive unit credit for classes taken at a community college, but the classes will still satisfy specific requirements (major, GE, etc) if they have been deemed equivalent.Grade Point Averages
Only UC courses or UCLA Extension classes marked XLC will apply to your grade point average at UCLA.Residency Requirement
Keep in mind that of the last 80 units you complete towards your degree, 68 of these units must be in residence at UCLA and only 16 of these 68 units may be from UCLA Summer Sessions.
- Q: Do I have to take a Chemistry placement test to enroll in Chemistry courses?
A: We are not requiring students to take the Chemistry Diagnostic Exam for the current school year, so students may enroll in Chemistry 17, 20A, or 14A at their discretions. Please feel free to speak to the professors or to the Chemistry Undergraduate Counselors if you're not sure which course is right for you.
- Q: What is an impacted class?
A: Historically, these are classes where many students drop in the last few weeks of the course, which can be very difficult for professors and other students in the class. Many of the chemistry and biochemistry courses have recently been designated as impacted. Impacted courses may NOT be dropped after the second week of class (except under an extraordinary circumstance, and even then it must be approved by petition). The following courses in the department ARE impacted:
Chem 14BL, 14CL, 20L, 30A, 30AL, 30B, 30BL, 30C, 30CL, 110A, 114(H), 136, 144, 153A, 153B(H), 153C, 153L, 154, 174, 184, 185.
- Q: Who do I talk to if I need to figure out what classes I should take next quarter?
A: The best place to start is your Degree Progress Report, found on URSA Online, which lets you see what requirements you still need to fulfill. If you would like academic advising about Chemistry and Biochemistry courses or major classes, you should see the departmental counselors in 4009 Young Hall. They are free to see students on a drop-in basis, weekdays from 9-5. For L&S requirements, including GEs, students should visit their college counselor in UCLA College Counseling, Honors, AAP, or Athletics. If you want to find information on specific courses or course content, feel free to speak to the Faculty Advisor assigned to your major or look up information in the online publications of the General Catalog or Schedule of Classes.
- Q: DECLARING THE MAJOR: How can I declare/change to be a Biochemistry or Chemistry major?
A: If you would like to declare/change to be a Biochemistry, Chemistry, General Chemistry, or Chemistry-Materials Science major, you need to visit 4009 Young Hall. You can speak to a counselor about your decision to change and fill out a petition to change majors. From there, your transcript will be evaluated for GPA (must be over 2.0), to see the grades in the major classes you have taken, and to make sure you can complete the major within your unit maximum at UCLA (typically 216 + AP units). They also check for holds and probation status on your records. If admitted, you will be notified by mail.
- Q: Does the department have a pre-major?
A: The Chemistry and Biochemistry Department does not have a pre-major. If you switch to our department, you are fully a part of that major as soon as you are admitted.
- Q: How is the General Chemistry major different from the Biochemistry/Chemistry majors?
A: The Biochemistry/Chemistry major is designed for students who plan on attending graduate school in Chemistry (or a related field) or a professional school in the health sciences. The General Chemistry major is designed for students who need a chemistry background for their career, but do not necessarily want to go into a career in industry, research, or medicine. It gives students a strong background in chemistry knowledge, but allows them to choose 6 upper division electives from any department that correlate to their career of choice. It is a good major for students who would like to be patent lawyers, science teachers, or another field that would require a science background. To apply for this major, students must meet with a Chemistry counselor in 4009 Young Hall and plan their electives. Students can then fill out a petition to change majors and write a proposal about why they want to be in this major and how their specific electives will help them toward their career of choice. These are submitted to the General Chemistry Faculty Advisor who will decide if the petition is approved.
- Q: Does this department have a minor?
A: There is no minor in Chemistry, Biochemistry, or Materials Science. However, we do offer a computing specialization for students that are majoring in Chemistry or Biochemistry. For details on the requirements for this specialization, please see page 14.
- Q: ENROLLMENT / DROPS: The computer is not letting me enroll in a class that I've met the prerequisites for, what do I do?
A: If you have taken the prerequisites for the class at a different school, this will happen because URSA (the enrollment system) has a difficult time recognizing courses that are not specifically UCLA coursework. If this happens or you are not allowed to enroll for another reason, you can either come into our office (4009 Young) and fill out an enrollment form or e-mail our enrollment coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, student ID number, the course name, and the 9-digit course ID number. Either way, you will be enrolled within 24 hours (on business days) of submitting an enrollment request if there are no problems.
- Q: Can I enroll in a class that I have not met the pre-requisites for?
A: URSA will not allow you to enroll in a class where you have not first met the pre-requisites. You will only be able to enroll through our office (4009 Young) if you have written permission from the instructor that he/she knows you have not completed the pre-requisites and is still allowing you admission into the class. We do not recommend that students try to do this as it is difficult to do well in courses where one is not fully prepared. Additionally, professors rarely will waive pre-requisites simply because a student needs the class to graduate.
- Q: What is my chance of getting into the class if I am waitlisted? What if I can't even get on the waiting list?
A: Our waitlists are fairly realistic, so most people who are waitlisted have a good chance of getting into the class. There is no guarantee, but if students want to know their chances, the only option would be to contact the professor of the course after the quarter has begun. In addition, students should check the status of the class regularly until classes start and be sure to attend class on the first day, even if they are not on the waiting list. Most of the time, it simply depends on how much physical room (chairs and workspace) there is in the class.
- Q: Why are there some Chemistry classes where you can only enroll on the waitlist?
A: These classes are upper division lab classes (144, 154, 174, etc.) where enrollment priority is given to graduating seniors. You should sign up on the waiting list and then show up to class on the first day. The professor will give enrollment spots to graduating seniors first and then fill up the remaining spots with others on the waitlist. Even if your name is on the waitlist, however, you must show up on the first day of classes or your spot will be given to someone else.
- Q: How can I drop a class? (Reg, Late, Impacted)
A: If you need to drop a class anytime up until Friday of the second week of school, you can do so over URSA with no restrictions, notations, or fees. After the first 2 weeks, students must petition with their college counseling unit (College of Letters and Science, AAP, Honors, Athletics) to drop impacted classes. Those are rarely approved except when students are facing extraordinary circumstances and have physical proof. Students have until Friday of the 4th week of classes to drop other classes with no notation, but after 2nd week, there is a fee charged. After 4th week, students need to get a petition from their counseling unit in order to drop any classes. If approved, students will pay a fee and a notation of the week the class was dropped will appear on the transcript. All fees are charged to students' BAR accounts.
- Q: What do I do if I had an emergency and need to drop all of my classes for the quarter?
A: This is called a "withdrawal". If students have an emergency situation (hospitalization, death in family, etc.) where they know they will not be able to finish up their classes or will not be able to catch up in their coursework, students have the option of dropping all of their classes for the quarter if they are in good academic standing. A student may withdraw at any time during the quarter PRIOR TO TAKING THE FINAL EXAMS. Withdrawals require all the student's professors to sign a petition, which then must be approved by the College of Letters and Science (A-316 Murphy). The withdrawal is noted on the student's transcript, although there is no indication of the courses in which he/she was enrolled. Withdrawing from a quarter can affect financial aid, athletics, and on-campus housing status, so students should check with these departments before dropping classes.
- Q: GRADUATE SCHOOLS / CAREER INFORMATION: I'm a pre-med student. Where should I go to receive counseling?
A: Our department has recently completed a pre-health advising packet for students wanting to go to professional school in a health-related field. You can feel free to pick one of these up in our office, 4009 Young Hall. In general, it's very helpful for students to start out taking a workshop at the Career Center or through Academics in the Commons. From there, if students have basic questions they can speak to Pre-Med Peer Counselors, who are available M-F in Covel Commons, to get them started in the right direction. For more information on MCAT tests, information specific to medical schools, professional school workshops and a library of books and catalogs about professional schools, students should visit the Career Center in the Strathmore Building. For academic advice on what classes will work for medical school, students should visit the departmental counselors.
- Q: I'm a pre-med student. Will this major meet the pre-med requirements?
A: All professional schools are different, so students should check the requirements for each school individually to make sure they are taking the correct classes to qualify for admissions. However, there are some standard science requirements that students usually need (1 year of general chem., 1 year of organic chem., 1 year of biology, 1 year of physics, 1 year of math, 1 course in biochemistry). The requirements for the Biochemistry major do cover most science requirements for medical school (NOT statistics), but students should always double-check individually with each school they are applying to.
- Q: I'm planning on going to graduate school in Chemistry/Biochemistry/Materials Science. Who should I speak to?
A: General information about graduate study in chemistry, biochemistry and related fields is available in the Undergraduate Office. The Career Center also has a huge library of books about graduate schools and specific programs. For specific questions about graduate studies at UCLA, you can speak to a counselor in the Graduate Office (4006 Young). You can also pick up applications and GRE booklets at this office.
- Q: What is the Departmental Scholars Program?
A: The Departmental Scholars Program is designed for exceptionally promising undergraduate students. The program allows undergraduate students to earn their Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in chemistry or biochemistry simultaneously. For more information, consult Robin Green in the Chemistry/Biochemistry Graduate Office located at 4006 Young Hall well in advance of application dates for graduate admissions (Jan 15).
- Q: What career options are there for a Chemistry/Biochemistry/Materials Science major?
A: For advice about careers in Chemistry/Biochemistry/Materials Science, you should check out our Undergraduate Handbook for suggestions. For counseling on this subject, contact your Faculty Advisor for your major. If you are unsure who the faculty advisor is, you can call the Undergraduate Office at 310-825-1859.
- Q: MISCELLANEOUS: How can I get tutoring in a Chemistry class?
A: If you would like to receive tutoring there are several options our office recommends. The first is free weekly tutoring offered in Covel Commons (203 Covel) with UCLA student tutors who have excellent academic records. Covel tutoring meets weekly for help in 14A, 14B, 20A, 20B, 30A, and 153A. The second is weekly tutoring through AAP by AAP students (1209 Campbell). These tutoring groups fill up quickly, so students should sign up at the very beginning of the quarter at Covel. They also both offer drop-in counseling several nights a week. For students who desire one-on-one counseling, the undergraduate office compiles a list of graduate students who are willing to tutor college students. The list includes their contact information and the specific subjects they would be willing to teach. However, these tutoring services are not free and the tutor will set his/her own rates. To obtain this list, click here.
- Q: How can I do research with a professor while I am still in school?
A: If you would like to get research experience at UCLA you have a few different options. If you would like to do a Student Research Program (SRP), which gives you lower division elective units and honors credit. Students receive 1 unit/50 hours a quarter. To apply for an SRP, students should go to the Undergraduate Research Center in 2121 Life Sciences. The Chemistry department also offers a research program for students interested in working with a chemistry professor, Chem 199s. For this, students take the course for 4 units P/NP the first two quarters of research. To apply for a Chemistry 199 or to receive further information, students should visit 4009 Young Hall where the guidelines are outlined clearly.
- Q: How can I find out about applying for awards and scholarships?
A: When our office is notified about scholarships and awards, we will post notices on the bulletin board outside our office and on our web site. We also send out notices on the Listserv, so students should make sure they are signed up for it to get the most current announcements from the department. In addition to the scholarship information available in the Undergraduate Office, the Scholarship Resource Center distributes materials on scholarships and other forms of merit-based financial aid. The Center is located in 233 Covel Commons. Call 206-2875 for more information.
- Q: Who do I see about possible room and/or time changes for my classes?
A: For information about possible room or time changes for Chemistry courses, check with Denise Mantonya in the Undergraduate Office (4009 Young) or the Mail and Information Center (Young 3034).
- Q: How do I get/remove an 'Incomplete Grade'?
A: Incomplete (I) grades are given to a student who is doing satisfactory work in the course, and due to unforeseen circumstances (e.g. accident, illness, etc.), is unable to complete the course. Only the instructor of the course can grant approval for an "I" and determine the terms for completion. The decision to grant an "I" is entirely at the discretion of the instructor, regardless of the circumstances. Additionally, the coursework must be completed prior to the end of the next academic quarter in which the student is registered, or the incomplete grade will lapse into an F or NP. The student does not enroll in the course again. Students should inform instructors if they will be sitting in on a class to remove their previous Incomplete. The professor will submit a grade change form to remove the Incomplete when the coursework is completed.
- Q: Can I reschedule a final exam if I have a conflict?
A: According to policy, students are responsible for being aware of the final exam schedule when they register for classes. It is only a rumor that if you have two or three final exams on the same day, you may have them changed. Should the situation arise that a final exam conflicts with a student's religious observances, an alternate exam schedule will be set up between the student and instructor.
- Q: What is the policy on Academic Dishonesty at UCLA?
A: Cheating will result in disciplinary action taken against you by the Dean of Students Office. Cheating includes, but is not limited to: copying (or permitting copying) from notes or from another student's exam; plagiarizing on laboratory reports or from scientific papers; altering an exam or lab report before resubmitting for a grade. Presenting false medical excuses for missing exams is also grounds for disciplinary action. The consequences of cheating include dismissal from the University.
- Q: Who should I speak to if I have compliments/complaints about an instructor?
A: At the end of each course, you will be given the opportunity to evaluate professors and teaching assistants. Those being evaluated take the comments seriously, so please provide honest evaluations that will help enhance their teaching and the course. If you need to make an immediate complaint and have already spoken with the instructor personally, you should speak to the Department Chair in 3010 Young Hall.