Prospective Students

Computer science is one of the fastest growing, recession-proof professions in the country. Computer science is embedded in almost every aspect of daily life. Computer science is also about using technology to solve society's problems in fields such as the environment, medicine, robotics, and social services.

The CSE department at UC San Diego engages in a range of activities that reflect the profound societal changes being brought about by innovations in computing. The CSE Department’s research and teaching are centered on exciting areas of algorithms, bioinformatics, computer architecture, computer vision & graphics, cryptography & security, databases, embedded systems, machine learning, mobile & ubiquitous computing, systems & networking, and software engineering.  In addition, the CSE Department boasts top-quality, award-winning undergraduate instructors who employ innovative curriculum and pedagogy to give you an outstanding undergraduate course experience. The CSE undergraduate program offers three majors and a wide range of electives, allowing students the flexibility to explore their academic and career interests and passions.

These are some of the many reasons to join the Computer Science and Engineering department at UC San Diego (UCSD), here are just a few:

Accomplished Faculty

The CSE Department currently consists of 50+ distinguished faculty members and supports excellent research facilities. Classes are taught by a large, diverse faculty who are leading researchers in the course areas they teach. Faculty commitment to excellence in teaching has been recognized and honored with numerous engineering and university teaching awards. A large faculty enables the department to offer a wide range of classes in both traditional and cutting-edge topics in computer science. In addition to classes, students also have the opportunity to interact with faculty as course teaching assistants, tutors and readers, as graduate and undergraduate research assistants, and through faculty mentoring.

Interested in learning more about CSE Faculty and the exciting opportunities available in the CSE Department? Explore the following resources to discover what CSE has to offer!

Transferable Skills

While taking courses and participating in experiential learning opportunities, students who major in CSE will gain not only technical knowledge but also many transferable soft skills that employers look for in various industries. Students in CSE majors develop analytical skills, which include thinking critically about a situation, problem-solving skills to find errors and solutions in as little time possible, communication skills, and the ability to collaborate with others on large projects.

Through academic and co-curricular activities, the CSE Department provides students with ample opportunities to cultivate their skills and prepare for their future careers. To learn more about the CSE Department’s commitment to student success and discover how undergraduate CSE students at UC San Diego make the most of their college experience, explore the CSE Department’s  “Student Success and Opportunities” website.

CSE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We all benefit when we embrace different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences, which is why diversity, equity, and inclusion are staples of the UC San Diego Computer Science and Engineering community. The Computer Science and Engineering Department at UC San Diego is home to a diverse community of over 2000 undergraduate students, and the CSE Department is committed to fostering equitable and inclusive practices in our community.

The CSE Department’s innovative nature inspires us to continuously look for ways to improve our department, and this growth starts with creating an inclusive environment. Ongoing support of student organization activities, as well as faculty-led and staff-led initiatives, promote the growth and values of our community. Our dedication to diversity and inclusion enables us to reach a broad set of students, to work in diverse teams, and to better train students to be the leaders of tomorrow.

The CSE Department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website captures the department’s ongoing efforts to promote a diverse, inclusive, and equitable computing community at UC San Diego. We encourage all prospective CSE students to explore the CSE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website to discover the department activities, committees, events, and initiatives that help foster diversity, equity, and inclusion at UC San Diego.

Exciting First-Year Opportunities

The CSE Department at UC San Diego offers a variety of exciting first-year opportunities for students to jump-start their academic career and prepare for the challenges of college. Some of these opportunities include the Students Who Engage Lead and Learn (SWELL) co-curricular program, the Summer Engineering Institute (SEI) program, the Summer Program for Incoming Students (SPIS), and the Peer-Led Academic Cohort (PACE) Program. These programs provide students with access to co-curricular activities, college-level coursework, career mentoring, and project-based learning to ease their transition into college. Through these opportunities, students gain skills and knowledge necessary for success in college and beyond, form connections with peers and faculty, and learn about resources and opportunities available at UC San Diego.

The CSE Department is committed to helping students succeed and ease the transition to college through programs that provide a built-in support system and a variety of developmental opportunities. Through these first-year opportunities, students have a chance to build meaningful friendships with their peers and to form connections with faculty and staff. By engaging with the CSE Department's first-year opportunities, students will gain a better understanding of the resources and opportunities available to them at UC San Diego, allowing them to make the most of their college experience.

Students Who Engage, Learn and Lead (SWELL)

The CSE SWELL program provides first-year CSE students the opportunity to engage with UC San Diego's resources, build meaningful connections with their peers, and gain a better understanding of the university's offerings. SWELL connects students to a wide range of co-curricular activities, such as seminars, workshops, hackathons, networking events, and community service. By participating in the SWELL program, students can explore valuable on-campus experiences, develop lasting relationships, and grow both personally and professionally. 

For more information about the SWELL Program, please visit the Students Who Engage, Learn, and Lead website.

Summer Engineering Institute (SEI)

The Summer Engineering Institute (SEI) is a free six-week program for incoming students interested in exploring engineering at UC San Diego. SEI offers a blend of lectures, labs, and workshops to teach students about engineering topics and help them develop skills in the field. Participants have opportunities to work on hands-on projects and collaborate with peers, as well as interact with experienced instructors and engineers. SEI aims to create a supportive and engaging learning environment for students from diverse backgrounds to foster their interest in computer science and engineering. For more information about the Summer Engineering Institute (SEI) program, please visit the Freshman Summer Engineering Institute website.

Summer Program for Incoming Students (SPIS)

SPIS is a 5-week summer program that offers college-level exposure to computer science for incoming CSE majors and other admitted UC San Diego students who are interested in exploring computer science as a career option. Through SPIS, first-year students gain access to individual meetings with faculty, tutoring, collaboration, and advising to smoothly transition to UC San Diego, build relationships, and get the most out of their college experience. SPIS provides a supportive environment for incoming students to explore their interests and prepare for success in college.

For more information and instructions to apply for SPIS, please visit the UCSD SPIS website.

CSE Peer-Led Academic Cohort Program (PACE)

The CSE PACE program offers a support system and a platform for first-year computing students to explore computer science. Led by a peer mentor, cohorts of 8-10 students meet throughout the academic year to discuss computing topics, participate in campus activities, and gain insider tips on classes and campus. Through the CSE PACE program, first-year students gain access to a supportive environment that helps them explore their interests, build meaningful relationships, and succeed in their first year of college.

For more information about the CSE PACE Program, please visit the CSE PACE website.

Research Opportunities

CSE undergraduate students are encouraged to collaborate on projects and research with faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students.  Participating in undergraduate research allows students to gain hands-on experience, make connections with faculty, explore a specific area of interest, develop academic and career goals, and prepare for education beyond an undergraduate degree. 

Participating in undergraduate research as a computer science student can provide valuable hands-on experience in working on real-world problems. It can also help students build important skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication. Additionally, undergraduate research can be a great way to develop relationships with faculty members and potentially open doors to future academic or career opportunities.

Students interested in computer science research should consider applying for the Early Research Scholars Program (ERSP) during their first year at UC San Diego. The Early Research Scholars Program (ERSP) at UCSD is a program that offers selected undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in faculty-mentored research during their first two years of college. The program aims to provide a supportive and stimulating environment for students to engage in research and explore their interests in a particular field. By participating in the ERSP, students have the opportunity to work closely with experienced researchers, develop their research skills, and gain practical experience in their chosen field. In addition to the academic benefits, ERSP students are also part of a community of like-minded individuals who are passionate about research and innovation. ERSP provides an excellent opportunity for students to gain valuable research experience and contribute to the advancement of their field. For more information about ERSP, please visit the ERSP website:

Internship and Career Opportunities

Internships are an invaluable experience. The majority of CSE students participate in at least one internship experience, often in the summer, and as soon as the end of their freshman year.  There are many resources available to help students prepare for and connect with job and internship opportunities, including: the Career Center, the Jacobs School of Engineering Corporate Affiliates Program and Team Internship Program, and CSE department workshops and info sessions.

Internships are crucial for computer science students because they provide real-world experience and help them develop practical skills that can be difficult to gain through classroom experience alone. By working in a professional environment, students can learn how to apply their academic knowledge to solve problems, collaborate with team members, communicate with clients, and manage projects. Internships also allow students to explore different career paths and industries, and gain exposure to emerging technologies and trends. Beyond technical skills, internships help students build professional skills such as time management, problem-solving, and communication. Through internships, students can enhance their resumes, establish professional connections, and increase their chances of securing employment after graduation.

Students who are interested in learning more about CSE Internship and Job Opportunities should check out our “Internship and Job Opportunities” undergraduate information page on the CSE Department website.

UC San Diego Opportunities & Resources 

UC San Diego is a top-tier university for computer science that provides students with exceptional educational opportunities, research experiences, and hands-on learning. As a UC San Diego student, you will have access to top-notch resources, including state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge technology, and a diverse range of extracurricular opportunities that can help you develop both personally and professionally. Additionally, UC San Diego has a strong focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, which means that as a computer science student, you will have the opportunity to work with students and faculty from other fields, such as biology, engineering, and the humanities.

UC San Diego is also located in one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the United States, providing a wealth of cultural experiences for students. At UC San Diego, you can find a number of cultural centers, including the Black Resource Center, the Raza Resource Centro, and the LGBT Resource Center, that provide support and resources for students from underrepresented communities. Additionally, UC San Diego offers a wide range of study abroad opportunities, giving students the chance to broaden their perspectives and gain valuable international experience. The university is also home to over 600 student organizations, including a number of computer science-related groups, providing students with ample opportunities to network, develop leadership skills, and explore their interests outside of the classroom.

UC San Diego provides students with a diverse and inclusive community that enriches their college experience. UC San Diego is committed to fostering a culture of innovation, creativity, and social responsibility, which prepares students to make a positive impact on the world. By attending UC San Diego, students can benefit from a dynamic and supportive learning environment that equips them with the skills, knowledge, and experiences required to succeed in the rapidly evolving field of computer science.

Admissions to CSE - Capped Major

In recent years, there has been a high demand from students who want to major in the CSE department. Since a quality education and timely progress to graduation are thwarted by a disproportionately large student body, CSE has made the difficult decision to implement Capped Major status. Capped Major status means there is a cap on the number of students admitted to the major.  Students who were admitted to UC San Diego, but not directly into a CSE major will need to apply competitively after enrolling at UC San Diego and completing eligibility criteria courses. Starting in Fall 2022, the incoming CSE class is growing and it will be hard (if not impossible) for students to switch into CSE majors if they are not admitted directly. If you are admitted to UC San Diego in a major outside of the CSE Department, please carefully read the CSE Capped Major Application webpage for more information on our Capped Major process.

If you're interested in computational and data sciences but don't get admitted to the CSE department at UC San Diego, there are several excellent alternate choices available. The university offers a range of computational sciences that you can explore through its Computing Paths website, where you can learn more about different majors and find the one that best suits your interests and goals. The website provides comprehensive information on the computing community at UC San Diego. We also recommend that students visit the Career Services Center and their College Advisors to discuss their academic and career goals and to identify majors that may be a good fit for them. 

Admissions to UC San Diego

Students who are interested in pursuing a major within the Department of Computer Science and Engineering must first be admitted to the University of California, San Diego. Prospective students who are interested in applying to UC San Diego should visit the UC San Diego Admissions website to review eligibility and admission requirements. The Computer Science and Engineering Department is not involved in the UC San Diego admissions process. All questions related to university admission should be directed to UC San Diego Admissions.

UC San Diego annually hosts Triton Days, with both virtual and in-person campus experiences for admitted students and families. You can visit the Computer Science and Engineering Triton Days page and The IDEA Center to explore past videos for admitted student events and learn more about programs, events and resources for admitted undergraduate students.

Are you considering attending UC San Diego but want to get a better sense of what campus life is really like? Then be sure to mark your calendar for Triton Days, UCSD's annual open house event for admitted and prospective students. This multi-day event offers a wide range of activities and opportunities to help you connect with the campus community, explore academic programs, and learn about the many resources available to Triton students. Here are five reasons why you won't want to miss Triton Days:

  • Learn about the various academic departments, resources, and services offered by UC San Diego.
  • Take a campus tour led by a student tour guide and explore the state-of-the-art facilities.
  • Attend information sessions on admissions, financial aid, and scholarships.
  • Meet with faculty, staff, and current students to learn about their experiences and ask questions.
  • Engage with student organizations and experience campus life through activities and performances. 
UC San Diego College System

UC San Diego undergraduate students are admitted into one of seven unique colleges. To graduate, students must fulfill requirements for the major as well as general education requirements. The requirements for the CSE majors (or any other major) are always the same, but the general education requirements will vary by college. There are CSE majors in each of the colleges, and the choice of college should be based on the student's academic interests outside of the major.

The UC San Diego College System is designed to provide students with a unique and personalized academic experience. Under this system, the university is divided into seven undergraduate colleges, each with its own general education requirements, culture, and community. The colleges give students the chance to develop a strong sense of belonging and identity within a larger university setting, and provide a wide range of academic and co-curricular opportunities. The college system encourages interdisciplinary collaboration and critical thinking, as students take courses in a variety of disciplines within and outside their major.

Additionally, each college has its own academic advising team, which helps students navigate their academic journey, develop a plan for their major, and find opportunities for research, internships, study abroad, and other co-curricular experiences. Overall, the UC San Diego College System aims to foster a vibrant and dynamic learning environment that prepares students for a successful and fulfilling future.

Take a Tour of UCSD

We recommend you visit UC San Diego, and sign up to attend a Campus Tour

Visiting UC San Diego for a campus tour is an excellent way for prospective students to get a first-hand experience of the university's culture, academic programs, and campus facilities. During the tour, students can explore the university's diverse academic offerings, learn about student life and extracurricular activities, and connect with current students and faculty members. By visiting UC San Diego, students can gain valuable insights into the university's community, culture, and values, which can help them make an informed decision about whether the university is the right fit for their academic and personal goals.

Take a virtual tour of campus.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am a prospective or recently admitted student - can I make an appointment with a CSE Undergraduate Advisor?

Recently admitted CSE majors should note that they must wait for a designated time near the start of the academic year to make an appointment with their undergraduate CSE major advisor. Further details about who is eligible to schedule an appointment and when appointments for recently admitted students can be scheduled will become available on the CSE Student affairs website over the summer at

I am a prospective student majoring in a department outside of CSE - can I enroll in CSE courses even though I’m not a CSE major?

Yes, students majoring in departments outside of the CSE department are welcome to enroll in CSE courses! Due to the high demand for CSE courses, the CSE Department reserves seats for CSE majors in many of its lower-division and core upper-division courses, and many upper-division CSE courses are “major-restricted.” As a result, it can be more difficult for non-CSE majors to enroll in CSE courses. The CSE department generally recommends that students majoring outside of CSE use their first-pass enrollment time to enroll in any CSE courses that have seats reserved for CSE majors.

Since many CSE upper-division courses are "major-restricted," this means that non-CSE majors must request pre-authorization to enroll in these courses through the Enrollment Authorization System (EASy). EASy requests from non-CSE major students to be cleared to enroll in CSE major-restricted courses will be placed on "Department Hold" until after CSE Majors have had the opportunity to enroll, generally after the second pass of enrollment has started. While it may be more difficult to secure a seat in upper-division CSE courses as a non-CSE major, many students outside of the CSE department are able to enroll in upper-division CSE courses each quarter.

If you're a non-CSE major interested in enrolling in CSE courses, the "Enrolling in CSE Courses" webpage contains helpful information about how the department manages the waitlists for CSE courses and how non-CSE majors can request to enroll in CSE major-restricted courses. We encourage all prospective students to carefully review this page to learn more about the enrollment processes in CSE and at UC San Diego. 

It's also important to note that the CSE department enforces all prerequisites, so if you're interested in taking a CSE course, you should plan to complete its prerequisites prior to requesting enrollment in the course. 

If you have questions about CSE enrollment, don't hesitate to reach out to the CSE Department - we would be happy to answer your questions.

I’m planning to take a tour of UC San Diego, and I want to take a tour of the CSE Department - how do I tour the CSE Building?

Our CSE Student Affairs team does not have the capacity to offer in-person guided tours of the CSE Department or CSE building specifically, but we do offer a self-guided tour online. Please visit for more information.

If you would prefer a hard copy of the tour booklet, you can pick one up from the Student Affairs office anytime during our business hours, which are listed beneath the “Advising Hours” calendar on the CSE Student Affairs Office Hours website. The office is located in the Computer Science and Engineering Building (EBU3B) in Room 1200.

I took Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB)  Computer Science courses - do these courses articulate to any CSE courses at UC San Diego?

Students can apply their AP or IB Computer Science courses to earn credit for CSE courses by meeting the required score on their AP or IB exam, as outlined on the annual AP and IB Credit Charts.

More information and a comprehensive chart of IB credits accepted by UCSD can be found at

More information and a comprehensive chart of AP credits accepted by UCSD can be found at

I am a prospective transfer student - how will I know which courses I have received CSE credit for at my transfer institution?

As a transfer student, it is important to consult with a counselor at your current college to determine which courses to take before transferring. To see which courses from a community college may count for CSE course credit at UCSD, students can consult both Please note that only compares lower-division courses at California community/junior colleges with those at UCSD. Please be sure to select the academic year that you took the course when using to review articulation agreements between your community college and UC San Diego. 

Transfer students who are coming from another University of California school may view our list of UC Articulated CSE Courses to determine which of their CS-focused courses have already been pre-approved for UCSD CSE credit. However, for out-of-state or 4-year transfer students, it is necessary to check with UCSD Admissions Office for information about transferability courses.

I am a prospective transfer student - can I petition to receive CSE course credit for courses that I took at my community college or another four-year institution that aren’t articulated on

Yes! If students’ transfer courses are not pre-approved via or the UC articulated page, they may still be able to request CSE course equivalency by submitting a CSE Petition. Our CSE Petitions website provides detailed information about the petition process, and students are encouraged to review it carefully before submitting a petition to ensure that their petition is submitted appropriately. By following the steps outlined on our website, students can request to have their CS transfer courses recognized and applied towards their degree requirements at UCSD.

What extracurricular or co-curricular opportunities are available in the CSE Department at UC San Diego?

The CSE Department at UC San Diego offers a wide variety of extracurricular and co-curricular opportunities to help students enrich their academic experience. These opportunities include participation in student organizations, such as the Women in Computing (WIC), Triton Software Engineering (TSE), Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Video Game Design Club (VGDC). Each of these student organizations hosts events and activities throughout the year to provide students with networking opportunities, skill-building workshops, and a chance to connect with like-minded individuals who share similar interests.

In addition to these computing student organizations, the CSE Department also offers SWELL, or Students Who Engage, Learn & Lead, a co-curricular student engagement program designed for first-year CSE students at UC San Diego. The program's main components include event attendance, leadership and well-being workshops, and networking opportunities. SWELL participants attend a total of six pre-approved UC San Diego co-curricular involvement opportunities, workshops, or events throughout their time in the program, which is a great way to explore extracurricular and co-curricular opportunities.

Students are also encouraged to get involved with the CSE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, which works to foster a welcoming, inclusive environment for all students by providing resources and support to address issues related to diversity and inclusion. The CSE DEI Committee hosts a variety of events and workshops throughout the year to promote awareness and understanding of diversity issues and help create a more inclusive community.

For even more information on all of the extracurricular and co-curricular opportunities available through the CSE Department and UC San Diego, students can visit the Student Success and Opportunities page. Here, students can find an overview of all the programs, events, and resources available to support their academic and personal growth, as well as information on how to get involved in these programs. 

Overall, the CSE Department at UC San Diego provides students with a wealth of opportunities to enhance their learning, develop practical skills, and prepare for their careers in the field of computer science. In addition to CSE-specific opportunities, UC San Diego offers a wide range of co-curricular and extracurricular activities to suit a variety of interests, such as opportunities for involvement in student organizations, intramural and club sports through the UCSD Recreation department, concerts, theater performances at the La Jolla Playhouse, workshops at the Craft Center, and other cultural activities hosted by various student groups and departments on campus.

I want to declare a minor in Computer Science - what information should I know about the CS Minor and minors at UC San Diego?

If you're interested in declaring a minor in Computer Science at UC San Diego, there are a few important things to know. The minor in Computer Science is designed to provide students with a foundational knowledge of computer science concepts, programming languages, and computational problem-solving techniques. The minor requires completion of 16 lower-division units and 16 upper-division units.

In general, minors at UC San Diego are designed to complement a student's major area of study and provide them with additional knowledge and skills. To declare a minor, students should review the specific requirements for the minor and submit an online application through the Major/Minor Tool. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisors to discuss their academic goals and plan their course schedules.

You can find more details about the Computer Science Minor on the CS Minor website:

When you're ready to declare a minor, be sure to review the steps and policies outlined on the UC San Diego students “How to Declare a Minor” website.

I was admitted into UC San Diego - can I take CSE courses over the summer before my first quarter at UC San Diego in the fall?

Yes, absolutely! According to the UC San Diego Summer Session website, enrollment for UC San Diego Summer Session courses is open to all, including newly admitted Fall first-year students and transfers. This means that you can take CSE courses over the summer before your first quarter at UC San Diego. Enrollment for Summer Session courses typically begins every year in April. 

For more information on enrollment and registration, please visit the Summer Session Enrollment & Registration website:

What CSE courses are offered throughout the year? Where can I find more info about CSE course offerings and enrollment?

The CSE Department at UC San Diego shares its tentative course offerings for the upcoming academic year on its website. These courses and instructors may be subject to change, but this page provides an idea of the classes that may be available. Please visit for the current CSE Tentative Course Offerings.

For general information about CSE courses and enrollment procedures, students should explore the CSE Department's Undergraduate Course Information Homepage:

Students can also find detailed descriptions of individual CSE courses on the CSE Course Catalog website:

I was recently admitted into the CSE Department - what resources can I review now to start planning for my CSE major?

Congratulations on your admission to the CSE Department at UC San Diego! To start planning for your CSE major, we recommend that you review several resources on the department's website, including information on undergraduate course offerings, the major checklist and sample plans for your CSE degree programs, an overview of academic advising, an introduction to programming course placement advice, and frequently asked questions about the CSE undergraduate program.

Starting college is a significant transition, and it's understandable if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the changes ahead. While it's essential to prepare for your college-level academic coursework, we also encourage you to take some time to relax and enjoy your summer before starting college in the fall. Consider using this time over the summer to set up a consistent routine, prioritize good sleeping habits, and establish a healthy diet. By setting up these habits now, you will be better equipped to maintain them when the quarter starts. We want you to have a healthy and happy start to your college career, so take some time for yourself and enjoy the summer.

If you do want to start working on academics, we suggest reviewing Java if you are planning to take CSE 8B or CSE 11. You can start by reviewing your notes and projects from your high school Computer Science courses or exploring free Java-focused tutorials available online. Some resources you could check out include the tutorials for Processing (a library built on Java), an introduction to Java with step-by-step installation instructions, or video lectures available on YouTube.

Remember that reviewing these resources is only a suggestion, and how you spend your summer is ultimately up to you. There will be plenty of opportunities to learn more about the CSE major and the resources available during CSE Orientation before the fall quarter begins. We want to remind you to take this time to relax, recharge, and spend time with loved ones before embarking on your new journey as a CSE major. 

We are excited to welcome you to the UC San Diego CSE community and look forward to supporting your academic and personal growth over the years to come!

Are you a prospective or admitted student with questions about computer science at UC San Diego?


**Please note that the Computer Science and Engineering Department is not involved in the UC San Diego admissions process. All questions related to university admission should be directed to UC San Diego Admissions. The CSE Student email ( is for general inquiries about the CSE Department and its degree programs only - all questions about the admissions process and questions outside the scope of general inquiries will be redirected to the appropriate resources. Academic advising is not offered via email at UC San Diego, and newly admitted students will be able to connect with their academic advisors when advising resources become available to new students over the summer.