Fall 2020 New International MS Student FAQs

Computer Science and Engineering

Master of Science Program

The information below pertains ONLY to new international MS students in the CSE Department.  For questions on admissions/deferrals, please contact csegradinfo-ms@eng.ucsd.edu. Curriculum questions may be directed to cse-ms-advisors@eng.ucsd.edu

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 & 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 https://career.ucsd.edu/about/index.html

2)The Jacobs School of Engineering Job & Internship Resources (JSOE Link http://jacobsschool.ucsd.edu/external/external_cap/jobs.shtml)

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 offer of admission?

If you are experiencing visa delays or other exceptional hardships due to Covid-19, you may defer your offer of admission to any of the following terms: Winter 2021, Spring 2021, or Fall 2021.

Can I defer my offer of admission past Fall 2021?

Exceptions will be extremely rare and made on a case-by-case basis.

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: https://blink.ucsd.edu/instructors/courses/enrollment/calendars/2020.html. 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: https://students.ucsd.edu/finances/fees/registration/schedule-of-refunds.html

Similarly, what happens if I register (pay tuition/fees) and enroll in classes for Fall 2020, and then I decide I want to defer to a later quarter?

Once you have *registered (submitted payment)*and enrolled in courses in a given quarter, you will be subject to campus drop/withdrawal deadlines as well as any applicable fees. Please closely review the deadlines on the following calendars, and add to your calendar, as needed:

Enrollment and Registration Deadlines: https://blink.ucsd.edu/instructors/courses/enrollment/calendars/2020.html

Schedule of Refunds: https://students.ucsd.edu/finances/fees/registration/schedule-of-refunds.html

Visa Questions

Do I still need to apply for my I-20/DS-2019 if I plan to do remote-start instruction for Fall 2020?

Yes. Even if you plan to take all of your classes remotely for Summer and/or Fall of 2020 from outside the United States, you should still obtain an I-20/DS-2019 document from ISPO with a fall start date and attempt to book a visa appointment in your home country as soon as they become available.

Note that due to the fluid nature of COVID-19 and its impacts, guidance regarding I-20/DS-2019 document issuance from the Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) may change. ISPO will provide further guidance and next steps to all students immediately if this occurs.  Information changes daily, so please refer to ISPO’s website for any questions you may have: https://ispo.ucsd.edu/news/coronavirusinfo.html

What about…? (Other Visa Questions)

For all other questions about your immigration status and/or your visa, please refer to the International Students and Programs Office: https://ispo.ucsd.edu/news/coronavirusinfo.html

We will not answer any questions about immigration, as the information is constantly evolving.  Your best source for information is here: https://ispo.ucsd.edu/news/coronavirusinfo.html

F1 Students & Full Time Status

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.

How do I register and enroll in courses for Fall 2020 if I do not have a visa?

The registration process is independent of whether or not you have a visa, so please follow the standard instructions as if you were planning to be physically present at UC San Diego.  Please refer to descriptions about registration, orientation, required training, and enrollment on the websites by International Students and Programs Office (ISPO) and Graduate Enrollment.

Work Authorization + CPT Summer 2021

Am I still eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) if I defer to Winter 2021 or Spring 2021?  In other words, may I still pursue an industry internship in Summer 2021, even if I am not enrolled full-time for a full academic year prior to Summer 2021?

Yes.  UC San Diego graduate students have the opportunity to participate in the Summer Cooperative Education Program. This is an agreement between the student, the faculty advisor, and the employer outlining specific goals that the student will work towards that would otherwise meet the requirements of a course for credit.

Graduate students do not need to be present in the U.S. for a full academic year prior to Summer 2021 to be eligible for this program.  As long as you are enrolled full-time in Spring 2021 (or earlier) and are enrolled full-time in Fall 2021, you are eligible for off-campus employment authorization through Curricular Practical Training (CPT)  and thus may work full-time, off (or on)-campus during the summer term. For more information about the cooperative agreement process, please refer to the International Students & Programs Office website on Graduate Student CPT.


Additional Updates on Internships

The CSE Dept. is working on a proposal for a Cooperative program (Co-Ops) between UCSD and industry. The CSE Department anticipates to have more updates closer to fall quarter if the proposal is approved by campus. The Co-op will allow students to gain industry relevant experience while also earning course credit (12 unit supervised course while working full time). Note, international students may complete this option after completion of three quarters of enrollment (full time, 12 units quarterly)

I’ve heard that another University is creating a mandatory internship component of their curriculum so that students are eligible for CPT or OPT.  Is CSE at UC San Diego planning to pursue something like this?

We are exploring all possibilities, but changing a graduate program curriculum is a serious undertaking that will take time.