New Student Advising

First Quarter Schedules

All students start their UChicago education focusing on the Core requirements, but which Core courses you should take may vary depending on your long-term academic plans. Your meeting with your Assigned Summer Adviser is a great time to ask questions about major requirements, but you can also consult the pages in this section and use the Registration Planner for guidance to help narrow down your course options. Remember that you need to have met with your Assigned Summer Adviser by 5 p.m. CDT on Thursday, August 1 to ensure that you are cleared to request courses when your pre-registration window opens. 

Not sure which category your likely major falls under? Check the Programs of Study page on the College website or review this graphicRemember: If there's a chance that you might pursue a science major or complete pre-health requirements, it's important that you review those pages!

Course Selection by Major

Humanities and Social Science Majors

In addition to providing students with strong foundations as writers, critical readers, and analytical thinkers, majors in the Humanities and Social Sciences also offer a great deal of curricular flexibility.  

All students fulfill the Humanities Core requirement in their first year by taking at least the Autumn and Winter quarter of an approved Humanities sequence. There are many sequences from which to choose, but all provide a common introduction to College-level reading, analysis, and writing. See here for descriptions of all Humanities sequence options. You’ll need to select from a minimum of three different sequences (e.g. 1. Readings in World Literature, 2. Poetry and the Human, and 3. Reading Cultures) when you’re requesting your classes.

For your second and third classes, you have some options. If you’re considering a Social Science major, you’ll most likely want to choose a Social Science sequence as your second course. As with Humanities sequences, these all cover a broad range of subjects and are a good way to expand your understanding, rather than preparing for a specific field. If you’re interested in a Humanities major, you may also opt to take a Social Science sequence. The combination of HUM and SOSC together is something that a number of first year students do – it can be a significant reading and writing load but if that’s what you love, SOSC is a great choice for your second class. As with Humanities, we ask that you request different sequences that you find interesting. See here for descriptions of all Social Science sequence options, and keep in mind that SOSC sequences continue through Winter and Spring.

For some of you, a Mathematics class is required during Autumn quarter. If you’re interested in certain Social Sciences – Economics, HIPS, Public Policy, or Psychology – credit for Calculus I and II is required to satisfy your Core Math requirement. Depending on your major, you might also need Calculus III or another quantitative course. If you're even potentially interested in these programs, a science major, or completing pre-health requirements, you should take Calculus. You will need to sign up for the course that corresponds with your placement results. If you're interested in academic programs that don't specify how you must to complete the Math requirement, you can still use the two quarters of Calculus, but you also have the option of taking some approved non-Calculus courses, instead. This includes some options in Statistics and Computer Science. If you fall into this latter category and plan to take something other than Calculus, you can hold off on taking a class for the Math Core this Autumn quarter and instead choose a different Core requirement or a language (see the Fourth Course section below). 

If you choose not to take Math and/or SOSC, other options include taking a Civilization Studies sequence or a language. This is a particularly good idea if you plan to start a new language or if your potential major requires language study. You can also take anything from the Fourth Course section below. 

If you’re looking for a fourth class or back-up course options, consider fulfilling one of your Core science requirements. There are many options available for non-science majors in both the Physical and Biological Sciences; however, if there’s a possibility that you might be pre-health, you would need to take Chemistry rather than one of the non-science major options. If you end up in a major that doesn't specify how you satisfy the Physical Sciences requirement, Chemistry will still work for that. Civilizations or language classes could also work for you, although we caution against taking Humanities, Social Science, and Civilization Studies sequences simultaneously since all three of those courses would be reading/writing-intensive. 

In terms of courses beyond the Core, there are a few that are particularly well-suited for first-years. You will be able to request some of those for Autumn, if you like. If you are interested in an Economics major, Econ 10000: Principles of Microeconomics is a course option to consider.

Possible English or Art History Major

  • HUMA 14000 Reading Cultures I
  • FREN 20100 French Language, History, and Culture I
  • MATH 11200 Studies in Mathematics I

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Possible Political Science or History Major

  • HUMA 16000 Media Aesthetics: Image
  • SOSC 15100 Classics of Social and Political Thought I
  • ARAB 10101 Elementary Arabic I
  • PHSC 10800 Earth as a Planet

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Science and Math Majors

Science and math majors often have very specific courses that they need to take during their first quarter. The following information is more general, so be sure to consult the College Catalog on your specific major to determine exactly which courses are right for you and speak with your Assigned Summer Adviser to review your options.

All students fulfill the Humanities Core requirement in their first year by taking at least the Autumn and Winter quarter of an approved Humanities sequence. There are many sequences from which to choose, but all provide a common introduction to College-level reading, analysis, and writing. See here for information on all Humanities sequence options. You’ll need to select from a minimum of three different sequences* (e.g. 1. Readings in World Literature, 2. Poetry and the Human, and 3. Reading Cultures) when you’re requesting your classes.

*If you’re considering a Biological Sciences major, do NOT select Language and the Human as one of your options. It has a time conflict in Winter Quarter with BIOS 20153, which is a required course for students who aren't completing the Advanced Biology sequence.

All majors in this area require Calculus for the Core Mathematics requirement. Which Calculus course you take depends on your placement results and the results of the Mathematics Placement Test. See here for information about the Mathematics Placement Test and its possible outcomes. You may only enroll in the course into which you place; if you request anything else, you won't be registered for it.

Students who place into MATH 15300 will be invited to take the Higher-Level Mathematics Exam during Orientation Week, which gives you the opportunity into Math beyond Calculus. If this applies to you, pre-register for MATH 15300 anyway. Your adviser can help you adjust your schedule during O-Week, if needed.

If you’re majoring in a science other than Mathematical Sciences, Computer Science, or Statistics, you’ll need to take a sequence of Physical Science courses throughout your first year. Check the College Catalog to see which sequence you should start with. In most cases, it will be the introductory sequence of the topic of your major, but that is not always the case. For example, potential Molecular Engineering majors will take either Chemistry or Physics, depending on which track they're interested in pursuing. Most prospective Biology majors start with General Chemistry in the Autumn quarter but don't start the introductory Biology courses until the Winter quarter.

Remember that AP/IB and placement tests determine whether you’re invited to start in honors sequences; some may also allow you to skip part of a sequence. It is crucial that you take the appropriate placement tests and get your AP credit to the College ASAP. See here for details on placement and AP/IB tests.

For Mathematical Science/Statistics/Computer Science students:

If you’re majoring in Mathematics or Computer Science, a Physical Science sequence (General Chemistry or Physics) is required, but it doesn’t have to be taken in your first year. However, it is an option, and many students will choose to add that sequence here. If you’re a potential Mathematics major and you're not interested in taking a Physical Science sequence this year (or have AP credit for the first quarter of Chemistry/Physics and plan to pick up your sequence in Winter), you can choose to take one of the courses mentioned below as your third course instead. Computer Science majors often - but not always - start their required Computer Science sequence in place of a Physical Science course. The Statistics major doesn't specify how you satisfy the Physical Science requirement, but you may want to take one of these sequences if you're potentially interested in a major that does.

If you choose to take a fourth course, you have a number of options:

  • Intro to Computer Science (CSMC 15100 or 16100), especially for prospective Computer Science majors
  • If you’re a potential Biology major who is interested in research and have an AP score of 4 or 5, you may be interested in the Advanced Biology sequence. This course is taken in addition to (not in place of) Chemistry.
  • Language is a popular choice, whether you are starting a new language or taking a language you already know. If you’re choosing a language you’re familiar with, you’ll need to take the language placement test to determine where you should start.
  • Starting a Social Science or Civilizations sequence for a Core requirement. Before you start one of these sequences, however, double check that you'll have space for it in future terms. Talk to a College Adviser to be sure.

Potential Biology majors and/or pre-health students: If you are not in the Advanced Biology sequence, you will likely have four required courses Winter Quarter so adding an additional class for Autumn that is part of a year-long sequence is not recommended.  Here is more information on BIOS sequences.

If you have any questions about this over the summer, please get in touch with College Advising.

Possible Physics Major

  • PHYS 14100 Honors Mechanics
  • MATH 15200 Calculus II
  • HUMA 12050 Greece & Rome: Texts, Traditions, and Transformations I

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Pre-Health Students

Many pre-health students choose to major in Biological Sciences, but medical schools (and other health-related graduate opportunities) do not require you to do so. You will need to take certain science classes in order to apply for further schooling, but you can major in any subject that you want. It’s recommended that you work closely with your Assigned Summer Adviser and the UChicago Careers in Health Professions office to plan out how the pre-health requirements and major requirements will fit together down the road. For now we’ll focus on your Autumn quarter courses.

All students fulfill the Humanities Core requirement in their first year by taking at least the Autumn and Winter quarter of an approved Humanities sequence. There are many sequences from which to choose, but all provide a common introduction to College-level reading, analysis, and writing. See here for information on all Humanities sequence options. You’ll need to select from a minimum of three different sequences* (e.g. 1. Readings in World Literature, 2. Poetry and the Human, and 3. Reading Cultures) when you’re requesting your classes.

*If you’re considering a Biological Sciences major, do NOT select Language and the Human as one of your options. It has a time conflict in Winter Quarter with BIOS 20153, which is a required course for those not completing the Advanced Biology sequence.

Biological Science majors and pre-health students enroll in General Chemistry in their first year. The Chemistry Placement Test and/or your AP score will indicate when level of Chemistry is right for you, so be sure you take care of those ASAP. If you received a 5 on the Chemistry AP exam, you are eligible to skip the first quarter of Chemistry but it may not be advisable to do so - be sure you pay attention to this caveat regarding AP credit. If your performance on the Chemistry Placement Test merits an invitation to CHEM 12100 Honors General Chemistry I or you earn a 5 on the AP Chemistry exam, the honors sequence is an option (though not a requirement) for you. We recommend talking to your Assigned Summer Adviser over the summer to discuss whether it would be a good fit for you.

Biological Science and many other majors require Calculus for the Core Mathematics requirement. Calculus I-II is also required of any pre-health student, no matter your major. Which Calculus course you take depends on your Mathematics Placement Test results. All students are required to take that test this summer. If you place into MATH 15300 Calculus III, you can earn credit for MATH 15100-15200 by taking MATH 15300. Whether or not you need credit for the third quarter of Calculus (MATH 15300) will depend on your major. Check the College Catalog to determine if a major you’re interested in requires it.

If you are a potential Biology major with a strong interest in research and have an AP score of 4 or 5, you may be interested in starting the Advanced Biology sequence in the Autumn with BIOS 20234 Molecular Biology of the Cell. This course is taken in addition to (not in place of) Chemistry. The majority of prospective Bio majors and pre-health students instead start their Biology coursework in Winter quarter. If that's the case for you, we don't recommend that you sign up for a 4th course in Autumn that's the start of a year-long sequence (like Social Sciences or beginner-level languages). A language class is an option if your placement level means you only need one class to complete your College language competency requirement. A Civilizations sequence that can be taken out of order might also be an option. Alternately, there are a number of single quarter courses that you may be able to take out of interest or potential major exploration. If you have any questions, please get in touch with your Assigned Summer Adviser.

  • CHEM 11100 General Chemistry I
  • MATH 15100 Calculus I
  • HUMA 12300 Human Being & Citizen I

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Undecided Students

The Core courses at UChicago are designed to help you explore different fields of study while making progress towards graduation. There’s no need to stress about being undecided – your general education courses will hopefully help you make up your mind! For now, you want to keep your options open, so if you're even entertaining the possibility of a science major or pre-health, we recommend that you read through the corresponding First Quarter Schedule information. It will help you make sure you're on the right track for those options.

All students fulfill the Humanities Core requirement in their first year by taking at least the Autumn and Winter quarter of an approved Humanities sequence. There are many sequences from which to choose, but all provide a common introduction to College-level reading, analysis, and writing. See here for information on all Humanities sequence options. You’ll need to select from a minimum of three different sequences* (e.g. Readings in World Literature, Poetry and the Human, and Reading Cultures) when you’re requesting your classes.

*If you’re considering a Biological Sciences major, do NOT select Language and the Human as one of your options. It has a time conflict in Winter Quarter with BIOS 20153, which is a required course for students who aren't completing the Advanced Biology sequence.

The best way to pick the remainder of your courses as an undecided student is to think of the majors you might be interested in. Do some research on potential programs of interest in the College Catalog and choose Core classes that would keep those options open or help you explore areas you might like to study further.

If you know you’d like to major in something in the Humanities or Social Sciences, you might start your Social Science sequence in the Autumn, as well. The combination of HUM and SOSC together is something that many first year students do – it can be a significant reading and writing load but if that’s what you love, SOSC is a great choice for your second class. Just like Humanities, we ask that you select different sequences (not just different sections) that you find interesting. See here for information on all Social Science sequence options. 

If there's a chance you might pursue something that requires Calculus (and this includes some Social Science majors), you should take the appropriate Calculus course. The first two quarters of Calculus will satisfy the Mathematics requirement of the Core even if you end up in a major that doesn't require Calculus, so you'll be set either way. If you know for sure that you won’t need Calculus, then you could think about taking an approved non-Calculus course for the Math requirement, like STAT 20000 Elementary Statistics or MATH 11200 Studies in Mathematics.

Another option for you to consider is a Biological or Physical Science Core course. There are a lot of options for non-science majors available. If there’s a possibility that you might want to pursue an academic program that requires Chemistry or Physics (including pre-health), then it’s best to go that route from the start, since it’s easier to stop the science track once you’ve begun than to start it later on. If you end up in a major that doesn't have specific expectations for the Physical Sciences requirement, you could still use your General Chemistry or General Physics courses to satisfy your Core requirement.

Also consider a language class for one of your courses, especially if you’re interested in any majors that require language study. If you have prior schooling in a language, you can either start a new language or take the course that you placed in to via the online placement test on Canvas. If you are confused by your test results and whether or not the course is available in the Autumn, contact the Advising office. They can also help you understand what your results mean for the completion of the language competency requirement.

If you elect to take a fourth course in your first quarter, any of the above courses are good options. Be aware, though, that students are advised against taking Humanities, Social Science, and Civilization Studies sequences simultaneously since all three of these courses will be reading- and writing-intensive.

Make sure you review all your potential majors so that you are aware of any general education requirements for each. Getting started on your Core in this manner will keep many options open to you while you make progress toward graduation and explore the collegiate divisions.   

In terms of courses beyond the Core, there are some that are particularly well-suited for first yearsYou will be able to request some of those for Autumn, if you like.

Example of a student who is interested in majors within the Social Sciences and/or Humanities:

  • HUMA 16000 Media Aesthetics: Image
  • SOSC 15100 Classics of Social and Political Thought I
  • ARAB 10101 Elementary Arabic I
  • PHSC 10800 Earth as a Planet

A table is shown with a weeklong schedule of courses

Example of a student who is leaning toward Physics or a related subject:

  • PHYS 14100 Honors Mechanics
  • MATH 15200 Calculus II
  • HUMA 12050 Greece & Rome: Texts, Traditions, and Transformations I

A table is shown with a weeklong schedule of courses