COVID-19: Fall 2020 New International BS/MS Student FAQs

Computer Science and Engineering

BS/MS Program

The information below pertains ONLY to new students in the *BS/MS* Program in the CSE Department.  (For the general MS program covid-19 information, please contact

Curriculum questions may be directed to

Why we’re excited to have you join us in the fall of 2020!

With so much in flux in the world right now, we hope this document can help you find answers to your questions about what your experience next fall will be like.  In addition, we’d like to mention that there are some advantages of starting your MS online this fall:

In the Spring, faculty had only one week to transition their classes online and although many of the courses still went quite well, we are encouraged by what faculty will do with their course offerings when they have the entire summer to prepare.  Moreover, we all learned a great deal about what works (and what doesn’t) online this Spring and can leverage that to provide high quality courses to you this fall. Lastly, online courses allow you to take courses that you might not have been able to take together due to in-person conflicts (e.g., two courses offered at the same day/time).

Going online offers a number of opportunities for interaction with faculty.  You will still have an opportunity to talk to faculty, make appointments, attend office hours, and generally interact with faculty about your academic and careers interests beyond class.  Being online may make it easier to attend Office Hours as your calendar has more flexibility and it doesn’t necessitate a special trip to campus.  Moreover, if some students choose to defer to a later quarter, that means more opportunities for you to interact and stand out.

We look forward to meeting you when you come to join us this fall!

ICE - SEVP Updates


Enrollment and Coursework

How will I be able to participate in coursework remotely and in a different time zone?

Remote courses provide opportunities not present during in-person instruction.  More materials are made available for review asynchronously, Office Hours are easier to attend, and, particularly for the fall offering, instructors are often including more frequent opportunities to get feedback.  

Campus requires content be available asynchronously and for us to provide a wide window for students to take exams (to account for time zone issues).  Each instructor will manage this individually.  Course content and delivery is at the discretion of the instructor, however, all content/lectures/assignments/etc. will be made available asynchronously for students not in the Pacific Time Zone.


How will I be able to participate in research remotely?

The vast majority of CSE research labs are currently running remotely as seminars, and group meetings and individual meetings are being held online.  In fact, attending campus remotely makes it easier to attend the many group seminars and to meet with instructors in your desired research area.  To get involved in research projects, the same recommendations that applied for in-person instruction still apply:  1) Take core graduate courses in the area of your research interest and both excel in those courses and get to know the instructor via Office Hours; 2) Attend research seminars for the area of your research interest (if applicable) and participate in those discussions; 3) After steps 1 and/or 2, reach out to faculty to express interest in joining an ongoing project.  Please be patient, as only some research projects are in phases where they are recruiting new students to help.

Student Life

How will CSE make sure that I stay connected to students and faculty if I enroll remotely?

We intend to approximate the in-person experience as much as possible and are working on creative ways to facilitate networking and socializing remotely

Career Services and Industry Networking

Are there plans in place for virtual career fairs and/or remote interaction with industry partners?

Yes! There are several resources for career services that will be available remotely in fall 2020. 

1) The UCSD Career Center will continue to offer virtual industry events and information sessions

2)The Jacobs School of Engineering Job & Internship Resources (JSOE Link

3)The MS Program has a Career Development Advisor for individual appointments and workshops 

Logistical FAQ for Joining Us in 2020/2021

Admissions and Deferrals

Can I defer my BS/MS offer of admission?

Can I defer my BS/MS offer of admission? Students in BS/MS programs are required by Graduate Division policy to begin graduate enrollment in the immediate quarter after the final undergraduate quarter is completed. If a BS/MS student is experiencing visa delays or other exceptional hardships due to Covid-19, the student will need to request that their application be changed to be an admission for the general MS program and either provide GRE scores or submit a petition for a waiver to not submit GRE scores.  If these changes are approved, the student would then fall under the general MS program and can defer their MS program offer of admission to any of the following terms: Winter 2021, Spring 2021, or Fall 2021.



How do I submit a deferral? Is there a deadline for deferral?

The CSE Department will have an internal form for students to complete beginning August 1st, which will be due by September 1st. International students waiting on their visa approval are advised to wait until closer to late August to complete the form. Failure to formally defer by this date may jeopardize your readmission process, if you decide to defer after the deadline.

How often can I change my mind?  For example, what if I defer to Winter 2021, and then I want to defer to Spring 2021 or Fall 2021?

If you are experiencing visa delays or other exceptional hardships due to Covid-19, we will work with you to accommodate your specific situation. HOWEVER, it is extremely important to be cognizant of the registration and enrollment deadlines and the schedule of refunds.  We are not responsible for any late fees that you are assessed as a result of not registering and enrolling prior to the deadlines listed here:

Also, please refer to this Schedule of Refunds, as we are not able to make any exceptions if you fail to withdraw from courses after changing your mind regarding a deferral:

Similarly, what happens if I enroll in classes for Fall 2020, and then I decide I want to defer to a later quarter?

Once you have registered and enrolled in courses in a given quarter, you will be subject to campus drop/withdrawal deadlines as well as any applicable fees. If a BS/MS student is  experiencing visa delays or other exceptional hardships due to Covid-19, the application file must be changed to the general MS program and a petition for the GRE waiver must be submitted. This is due to the Graduate Division policy requiring BS/MS programs to begin graduate enrollment in the immediate quarter after the final undergraduate quarter is completed. Once this step is completed, the student may defer their MS program offer of admission to any of the following terms: Winter 2021, Spring 2021, or Fall 2021. Please closely review the deadlines on the following calendars, and add to your calendar, as needed:

Enrollment and Registration Deadlines:

Schedule of Refunds:

Visa Questions 

Visa Questions - What about…?

For questions about your immigration status and/or your visa, please refer to the International Students and Programs Office: , We will not answer any questions about immigration, as the information is constantly evolving.  Your best source for information is here:

Enrollment and Coursework

Do I have to maintain full-time (12 units) of enrollment if I plan to take all of my classes remotely from outside the U.S. for Fall 2020?

Yes. All international students will be expected to maintain a minimum of 12 units throughout Fall 2020, regardless of whether they are taking classes remotely or not. Exceptions to full-time enrollment are outlined on our Reduced Course Load page, and you must apply for approval.

Work Authorization 

Am I still eligible for work authorization (F-1 CPT, F-1 OPT, or J-1 AT)  if I enroll remotely for Fall 2020?

Routinely view the following ISPO FAQs posted here: