Our primary goal for our department majors is to provide guidance to transfer students as to how to most successfully transfer and complete a degree in their field of interest in 4 years. If in the process of following these guidelines, a student also wishes to receive an Associate's Degree, then the declared major ensures that the student has developed a foundation on which to build in the workforce or future studies. 

General Advice: To successfully transfer to an Earth Science program at a 4-year college, you will need to complete certain prerequisites, especially if you plan to graduate 2 years after entry to the 4-year college. TO BE ABSOLUTELY SURE THAT YOU ARE TAKING THE CORRECT CLASSES, you should research the programs you plan to transfer to and see what their freshmen and junior majors are required to take. Be sure to look at all the math, physics, chemistry, and biology requirements. These are the classes that you most want to take at City College. Unfortunately, most of your "fun" Earth Science classes should wait until you transfer. Additional advice:

  • If in doubt about what's required before transferring, reach out to the chair of the department. They will know best what courses are best to take at your transfer institution and which best to take at CCSF. They might have other suggestions as well.
  • Even if you see application deadlines on the transfer college website, and it seems you missed them, reach out to the department chair. They might be able to help move your application through quickly.

B.S. vs B.A.
Some programs offer Bachelors of Sciences (B.S.) -- others Bachelors of Arts (B.A.). To find out exactly what each requires, you should check with the school to which you are transferring. Generally speaking, the B.A. requires less math and physics than the B.S.

General Advice: A Masters Degree gives you a shorter exposure to the academic world than a Ph.D. does, but still lets you learn about your future career options while building your resume at the same time.

To get accepted to a graduate program, you usually have to have a strong background in math & science (less math for biological programs). I recommend that you contact the department of interest (do some on-line research ahead of time – so you don’t waste their time) or, even better, directly contact a faculty member whose research you find interesting. Request more information on their department, application requirements, opportunities to view the department, etc.

  1. Opportunities exist: The physical sciences programs at many 4-year colleges are under-enrolled. Minorities, women, and other traditionally under-served populations are also under-represented. Everyone is encouraged to apply.
  2. Take foundation-level classes now: Transfer students are at an advantage if they have already completed foundation-level classes because they avoid having to enroll in these large classes at the 4-year college. Student-to-faculty ratios at City College are much lower than at the 4-year colleges and hence give you better access to resources and support during these critical foundation-level courses.
  3. Build relationships now: Many opportunities exist that will help you meet and build relationships with faculty and students at the college of your choice. Building relationships with faculty is vital for getting into graduate programs and can help you refine your choice of program for your undergraduate program as well as give you some “talking points” for when you write your statement (see below).
    1. Check out the department website at the college of your choice and look into what type of research faculty are conducting. Contact faculty, you are interested in meeting and perhaps arrange to meet with them or sit in one of their classes.
    2. Some schools, such as U.C. Berkeley, allow students to enroll concurrently while they are still enrolled at City College. 
    3. Attend seminars offered by the department. Check out their department website for more information. Attending seminars is a great way to meet students and faculty. Example: U.C. Berkeley Seminar Series
    4. Contact the undergraduate Earth Science clubs at the school you're interested in to find out about their activities. They may offer events open to you. Example: Geological Association at Berkeley (GAB).
    5. Attend open houses on campus where you can meet students and faculty and get information on what the program has to offer. Example: for U.C. Berkeley, go to Cal Day on the 3rd Saturday of April during which Departments have open houses.
    6. Make connections with partner organizations such as the California Academy of Science, the U.C. Space Science program and Lawrence Berkeley Labs.
  4. Don’t sell yourself short: If you already have a bachelor’s degree and are thinking of a graduate degree, you can apply to the M.S./M.A programs or apply to Ph.D. programs. 
  5. Write a good statement: Many colleges focus a lot of attention on the statements their applicants write. More specifically, you need to answer the question “Why this specific college and department?" If you have already built a relationship with the program through the suggestions above, you’ll be in a good position to answer that question concretely and convincingly.
  6. Gather experience: Work as a lab aide in the Earth Science classes or a tutor. Volunteer or become an intern over the summer or weekends at local labs or museums. The more experience you get, the stronger your understanding of Earth Science, the greater your confidence, and the better your interview, application, and future experience once you actually arrive at graduate school.

The Earth Sciences department at CCSF is here to support you in making the transition to a 4-year college of your choice. If you have any questions or want more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us!