Admissions/Change of Major Information

COVID-19 Update for Spring 2020:

CS Student Advising will suspend in-person advising effective Tuesday March 17 until further notice. 

Current CS students may contact us via email: undergrads at ugradhelp@cs.ucsb.edu or graduate students at gradhelp@cs.ucsb.edu. Please allow up to 3 business days for a response. We will offer advising appointments via Zoom video. We will not have staff in our physical office, please be sure to reach out to us via email only for an appointment starting on March 23.

General hours remain the same for our staff: Monday-Friday 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm PST. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to serve our students during this time.

** Enrollment update** As of March 17, 2020, waitlisted students should expect to be added to a course only if seats become available. The shift to remote course instruction for Spring quarter will not change our enrollment limits. We are still bound by instructional teaching loads and instructional support (TA/tutor availability). The capacity in each course is determined by multiple variables (not solely the classroom size), including but not limited to: 

Classroom size availability 
Instructor availability 
Instructor teaching load
Instructional support availability (TA/tutor support) 
Scalability of the course

Admission to the University

For information on how to apply to the University, please see the UC Santa Barbara Admissions Page or apply directly online through the UC Admissions Page. For TRANSFER STUDENT information, please see this Transfer Admissions Page for requirements.

 

Admission to the Major

Interested students should prioritize the CS Bachelor's of Science major when they apply to UCSB. UCSB students who are NOT currently CS majors can apply for a change of major once they complete the minimum requirements (specified below) for doing so. The change of major process must also be followed for those interested in applying to CS as a double-major. 

Note that the application process for changing into the Computer Science major from another department is extremely competitive. Each quarter we receive many more applications from high-achieving, qualified students than we have the resources to accept. Meeting the minimum requirements only offers a possibility of being considered for the Computer Science major, not a guarantee. Specifically, applicants for the Spring 2020 cycle will be subject to a strict admission cap, and even high-achieving students should not necessarily expect admission into the major.

Transfer students admitted under another major are NOT eligible.

 

Changing Your Major or Double-Majoring With Computer Science (UCSB students only)

Limited resources and our desire to provide the Computer Science (CS) majors with an excellent education and learning experiences has made the CS change-of-major process extremely competitive. 

While we will be accepting applications every quarter (including summer term), capacity limits within the Computer Science department require that we enforce a strict cap on the number of students we can admit each term. Despite being a small-to-midsized department, the CS department has the second highest number of applicants across all of UCSB, second only to the Biology department. The result of this is that we simply cannot admit every qualified student into the CS major. This being said, we STRONGLY advise that students continue taking courses to be on track for their current major while pursuing a change to Computer Science. We will NOT make exceptions for students on the basis that they are no longer on track for their current major. It is your responsibility to stay in contact with the CS advising staff, especially if you are confused about your eligibility or specific requirements. They can be found in 2104 Harold Frank Hall, at 805-893-4321 or via email: ugradhelp@cs.ucsb.edu.

*If you are a transfer student, see additional information regarding the change of major process or double majoring on our Special Programs page.

 

Minimum Requirements for Consideration

The following are the minimum requirements for consideration. NO EXCEPTIONS ARE MADE FOR THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS.

1. Complete these courses with a letter grade and on the first attempt:

CMPSC 16*, CMPSC 24** and CMPSC 40 (or Math 8)**

  • Minimum of cumulative 3.2 GPA

Math 3A (or 2A), Math 3B (or 2B), Math 4A and Math 4B

  • Minimum of cumulative 3.0 GPA

2. Never have been on academic probation at UCSB

3. Have less than 105 UCSB units completed by the end of the quarter in which you applied

  • AP and transferable non-UC units do NOT count toward this limit

4. Complete a study plan that demonstrates you can finish the CS degree without exceeding 200 units or 5 total years of college

5. Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0

*CMPSC 8 is a prerequisite for CMPSC 16, but can be waived with an AP Computer Science A score of 4 or 5

**Can take CMPSC 24 and CMPSC 40 concurrently

6. Turn in your Change of Major application by the end of Week 4 of the quarter in which you complete the last of these requirements

Due to the overwhelming number of UCSB students looking to change their major to Computer Science, please understand that meeting the minimum requirements offers only the possibility of being accepted into the department, and even high-achieving students should not necessarily expect admission into the major.

 

When and How to Apply - **UPDATED SPRING 2020**

Students interested in changing their major to Computer Science should submit their application to the Department of Computer Science by the end of Week 4 of the quarter in which they finish the last of their minimum courses required for a change of major. Example: A student has already taken CS 16, CS 24, MATH 3A, MATH 3B. and MATH 4A. They are now in Spring quarter taking the last of their minimum required courses to petition to enter the major: MATH 4B and CS 40 (or MATH 8). They should submit their application materials by Week 4 of this Spring term.

This means that for Spring 2020, all applications are due by 5pm PST on April 24. Only applications received by this deadline will be considered for the Spring 2020 admissions cycle.

The application should consist of the Undergraduate Petition for Change of Major, and the completed study plan. If petitioning to double major, you also need to include the Proposal for Double Major form. These forms may be downloaded at these links, or picked up from the CS Department Office in 2104 Harold Frank Hall.

As long as campus is operating remotely, we will accept applications via email to ugradhelp@cs.ucsb.edu.

Applicants can expect to hear back with a decision from the Department within 2 weeks of grades being posted for the term of application. Note: Petitions which are denied are NOT eligible for appeal. For additional questions, contact the CS Undergraduate Advisor at 805-893-4321, or ugradhelp@cs.ucsb.edu.

You can also find a print friendly version of the change-of-major information here, and a handy GPA calculator tool here.

 

Policy on Transfer Courses: **Changed as of Fall 2019**

You are allowed to transfer department-approved equivalents of any of the above courses from another UC or from another accredited institution except CMPSC 24. CMPSC 24 must be taken at the UCSB campus for a student to be considered for a change of major to Computer Science. Additionally, students must earn a B or above in any transferred course they wish to use for their change of major. Every change of major petition turned in Winter 2020 and following must adhere to this policy.

For 2-year CA community college classes, you can check Assist.org. If you see the equivalent approved there, you may take the class. Once the course is finished, have your official transcripts sent to the UCSB Admissions office. The Registrar's office can take up to a quarter to process transfer work. If the transfer class is a pre-requisite for another CS course at UCSB, you will need to email the CS undergrad advisor for clearance to enroll.

NOTE: Transfer work (anything completed outside of a UC campus) will just result in completed credits. The grade does not transfer to your UCSB GPA nor will be taken into account when your petition GPA is calculated. The cumulative GPA requirements (3.2 between CS 16, 24 and 40 and 3.0 between Math 3A&B and 4A&B) will be calculated from the courses completed on a UC campus.

 

Change of Major FAQ's

Please see our Change of Major presentation here for a summary of the process and answers to some common questions.

1) Does being in a certain major or college make it “easier” to switch in?

Below are the majors who have priority enrollment in the CS classes needed to petition. Priority enrollment means these students have access to the classes in their 1st and 2nd pass times, in addition to the 3rd pass when the classes open up to the rest of the campus for enrollment. Any majors not on these lists MUST wait until their 3rd pass time to add these classes or the class waitlist if already full. There are no exceptions to our major restrictions.

CS 8: Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering. IN WINTER AND SPRING ONLY: Geography, Geography GIS, Pre-Math, Pre-Math Sciences, CCS Math, Pre-Financial Math, Statistics, Statistical Sciences, and Actuarial Sciences

CS 16: Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering. IN WINTER AND SPRING ONLY: Statistics, Statistical Sciences, Actuarial Sciences and Statistics and Data Science

CS 24: Computer Science and Computer Engineering 

CS 40: Computer Science and Computer Engineering

2) Can I take these classes somewhere else and transfer the credit?

Our classes are heavily impacted, and thus, enrolling in them is usually the biggest hurdle faced in the change-of-major process. You can choose to take their equivalents during summer at another 4-year institution (UC/CSU or out of state) or at a community college. To get a 4-year school’s equivalent approved, email the undergraduate advisor with the course information (website, syllabus, etc) BEFORE you enroll in it. They will inform you as to whether or not the class is considered UCSB-equivalent. For 2-year CA community college classes, you can check on Assist.org. If you see the equivalent approved there, you may take the class. Once the course is finished, have your official transcripts sent to the UCSB Admissions office. The Registrar's office can take up to a quarter to process transfer work. If the transfer class is a pre-requisite for another CS course at UCSB, you will need to email the CS undergrad advisor for clearance to enroll.

See our Policy on Transfer courses section above for important information regarding transfered courses.

3) What does "first attempt" mean?

If you get less than a C in CS 16, 24, 40 or Math 8 or Math 3A/B and Math 4A/4B, you will not pass and are ineligible to change the major. You can re-take the course for your own GPA improvement purposes, but you will not be elligible for admission into the CS major.