Undergraduate Program Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective Students

Undeclared Students

Incoming Freshmen/Transfer Students

Sophomores/Juniors (Continuing Students)

Graduating Seniors

Graduate School




Prospective Students

How can I get more information about applying to the CSE program at UC San Diego?

Contact the Admissions Office or see the UC San Diego Admissions website for more information.  The CSE Department does not administer the Admissions process.

Which of my classes will transfer to UC San Diego?

As a transfer student, you will need to talk to your counselor at your current college about which classes they suggest taking. You can check Assist.org to see which classes from community college may count at UCSD. Note that Assist.org only compares a university's lower division courses with courses from California community/junior colleges.

Out-of-State or 4 Year Transfer students will need to check with UCSD Admissions Office for transferability courses.  You will need to petition your CS courses by following our petition process.

Undeclared Students

What does Impacted/Capped Major status mean?

Effective Fall 2015, all four CSE majors are capped/impacted.  Impacted/Capped Major means there is a cap on the number of students admitted to the major.  Incoming freshmen, transfers, and continuing students who were not admitted directly into an impacted major will need to apply to change into that major.  Please see our Capped Major webpage for more details.  

Incoming Freshmen/Transfer Students

School starts this upcoming fall. What should I do during the summer?

Get a book on linux and start reading it. This will become helpful to you when you start programming.

What computer should I buy?

This depends on whether you plan to work from home on your assignments. If you plan on working remotely, then it is a good idea to get a Windows computer, which more closely resembles the lab environment on campus. If you are planning to travel home a lot, then a laptop would be good for portability. Your computer does not need to be too powerful or expensive, but a netbook might not be sufficient. 

Where are my classes going to be? Are they held on the Jacobs School of Engineering campus?

You will find that you will have courses scheduled across the UCSD campus, including some here on the JSOE campus.

Can you enroll me for a class I am not able to add?

Staff and faculty are not able to add students to classes.  If you cannot add because the class is full, immediately get on a wait list (continuing students may wait list beginning Second Pass).  If you cannot add because you have not fulfilled the prerequisites, then plan on taking the prerequisite.

Do I need to follow my degree audit exactly?

You must complete the major requirements listed on your degree audit in order to graduate. There is no set path to completing your degree audit, but the four-year plan provided on the CSE website is what we recommend you should follow. The CSE website is also a good place to find detailed descriptions of the CSE courses you are planning to take.

What CSE classes should I take as an incoming freshman?

Please see CSE Course Placement Advice and the long term plan listed on our degree program webpages.

What is the CSE Lower Division Elective?

Effective Fall 2014, all B.S./B.A. Computer Science and B.S. Computer Engineering incoming freshmen and transfer students must complete at least 2 units of CSE lower division elective.  Students can complete this requirement by taking: CSE 3, CSE 4GS, CSE 5A, CSE 6GS, CSE 7, CSE 8A, MAE 9, COGS 10, COGS 18, ECE 15, NANO 15, CENG 15, CSE 80, CSE 86, CSE 90, CSE 95, CSE 99, or any CSE upper division course not used to fulfill other major requirements. 

What can you tell me about the new Data Science Degree Program at UCSD?

We are very excited to announce the upcoming Data Science Degree program at UCSD. Presently, it is under development to provide an optimal education, and will be a multiple-disciplinary degree among the Computational Sciences at UCSD. Currently, our goal is to offer this new degree by Spring 2017. 


Sophomores/Juniors (Continuing Students)

When should I start looking for internships?

It is never too early to start looking for internships. Freshman often think they do not have enough programming experience to get an internship, but many internships are looking for basic coding skills.

What if I am having trouble finding an internship?

Go to all of the job talks, tech talks, and job fairs! Even if you do not find something right away, you will begin collecting information about what companies are looking for. Even if it seems like you are just talking to recruiters casually, they are often giving you an informal interview. Coming to these will help you spot the trends going on in the industry.

What are the requirements for the combined Bachelors/Masters program?

You will need to have taken at least 7 upper division courses and need at least a 3.4 major GPA and general GPA. You will also need letters of recommendation. Check the Bachelor's/Master's Program page for additional details, or come in to see your adviser.

What should I do during the summer?

The summer is a great time to get a few classes out of the way and to have more time to dedicate to them than may be possible during the school year. You can even study abroad while you take them! An internship or research with a professor are also great experiences that will look great on your resume.

Graduating Seniors

Can I graduate with problems in my degree audit?

No, your degree audit must be cleared before you can graduate. Come see your adviser at least two quarters prior to graduation to make sure your degree audit is correct. 

Can I graduate with an "F" in my transcript?

You can graduate with a "F" on your transcript, but you will not graduate if you have a "F" grade in a required course for the major or GE/University requirement.

Graduate School

When is the application DEADLINE for the 5-Year Bachelors Masters program?

Check the Bachelor's/Master's Program page about application deadlines. The date varies depending on when you complete your undergraduate degree.

How do I get letters of recommendation?

Get to know your professors. One of the best ways to do that is to go to their office hours. Look up their faculty profile on the website and learn about their research. If you are interested in what they are doing, you can ask to take CSE 199 with them. You may want to bring your resume, in case they would like to learn more about you.


What are the Special Studies classes?

They are CSE 197, 198, 199. CSE 197 is primarily for internships and 198 and 199 are for research. More in depth information is available on the linked Course Description page.

I don't have the prerequisites, but can I take the class anyway?

The CSE Department enforces all course prerequisites.  Students should meet with their major advisor for long term planning.

How do I add a graduate class?

You cannot add a graduate class through WebReg. You will need an add/drop card, which will require you to get the signature of the instructor teaching the course and the CSE department stamp from your advisors (you get the stamp AFTER the professor has signed the card). You will then take that card to the registrar's office.

I want to double major. Can I overlap classes between these two majors?

Yes, in general you can overlap your classes. Lower division courses may be overlapped without exception. You may also overlap upper division courses, but must first make sure that there are 10 upper division courses UNIQUE to each major before you can overlap the rest. See your major advisers to ask about which classes you may/would like to overlap.

I want to have a minor. Can I overlap classes between my major and the minor?

Lower division courses may be overlapped. For upper division courses, a maximum of 8 units (2 courses) may overlap. 

I am an engineering major. Can I have double major in another engineering major?

No, only one major can be within the school of engineering.

I am currently an engineering major. Can I minor in another kind of engineering field?

No, only one of them may be from the school of engineering.

What counts in my major GPA?

Only your upper division classes listed under the Upper Division area on your Degree Audit are considered in your major GPA.

What classes can be taken P/NP?

All major requirements must be taken for letter grade.  The only exceptions are CSE 197, CSE 198, and CSE 199.

How do I declare a double major?

Please read carefully the "How to Declare a Double Major" website for more information. If you are eligible to declare a second major, then first go to your college advisors and ask them if you have met the conditions to petition for a second major. It is best if you have already completed a second major petition application before you go in to meet with your college advisor.  Even though the major departments/programs approve the Double Major form, the college has final and ultimate approval.

I do not have room for a CSE class in my schedule. Are there any classes I can take with more flexible hours?

CSE 198 and 199 all do not have set times. You can work out when to meet with your faculty adviser and most of the work can be done remotely.

Can I get a D or F grade and still apply it toward my major?

You can use your D grade, however your major GPA and cumulative GPA must be at least 2.0. You may repeat up to 16 units of D or F grades and your academic history will have an R (for Repeat) marked next to the grade to show that it has been made up but the actual D or F grade will not be erased from your permanent record. After that, both grades will count in your GPA. You may NOT GRADUATE if you have not made up a course with an F grade.  Some CSE courses you will need a C- or better.  Check the CSE Course Prerequisite webpage for information.

Will every CSE elective be offered every quarter?

Unfortunately, no. Generally, only core classes and prerequisites to core classes are available every quarter of the school year (ie: CSE 12, 30, 100, etc). There are also classes that may be only offered once a year, such as electives (ie: CSE 125, 167, etc), so keep that in mind when registering for classes. The list of classes offered during the current school year is listed under "Tentative Course Offerings".


How important is doing research?

Research is extremely valuable, especially if you are planning on going to graduate school. Research is a great way to work on projects over a long period and to see the exciting work of faculty and graduate students.

How do I find an instructor to do research with?

If you are interested in a particular subject, look at the faculty profiles on the CSE website to see which professors are doing work in your area of interest. Office hours are a great time to talk to a professor about their research. Bring your resume with you just in case. You could take a CSE 198 or CSE 199 to get a better understanding of their work, which lead to future additional research opportunities.  More information can be found on our research opportunities webpage.  

Do I need research to get into graduate school?

The requirements for graduate school will depend on the place you are applying and the program. It is highly recommended that you try to do research not only to make your application stand out, but also to give you a sense for whether you like research, which is something you will be devoting yourself to in graduate school.


Can I become a tutor for a class I've just taken?

The application is online and the listed conditions (a few being: a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and 90 units completed) as well as the consent/signature of the professor you wish to tutor for. Unfortunately, there might not be enough tutor positions for all those who apply.

When do I sign up for CSE 90, Undergraduate Seminar (tutor training)?

You may register for CSE 90 on webreg as soon as you received notice that you have been hired to tutor for the course you applied for.

What is undeclared status?