Admissions/Change of Major Information

COVID-19 Update:

In light of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, CS has closed physical administrative offices effective Tuesday March 17, 2020 until further notice. 

Staff hours remain the same: Monday-Friday 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm PST. 

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 submit a change of major application once they complete the minimum requirements (specified below) for doing so. The change of major application must also be followed for those interested in applying to CS as a double-major. 

Note that the application 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. Applicants 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 to UCSB are NOT eligible.

 

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

Limited resources and our desire to provide the current Computer Science (CS) majors with an excellent education and learning experiences has made the CS change-of-major applications 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 submitting an application to Computer Science. We will NOT make exceptions for students on the basis that they are no longer on track for their current major. 

 

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 applying to change their major to Computer Science, meeting the minimum requirements offers only the possibility of being reviewed for acceptance into the department, and even high-achieving students should not expect admission into the major.

 

When and How to Apply

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 must submit their application materials by Week 4 of the Spring quarter. Please note, applicants do not have the option to wait to submit their application for a future quarter - the application must be submitted for review in the same quarter they are enrolled in & finishing the last of the minimum required courses. 

For Spring 2021, all applications are due by 5:00 pm PST on April 16 to ugradhelp@cs.ucsb.edu. Only applications received by this deadline will be considered for review this quarter.

The application should consist of the Undergraduate Petition for Change of Major and the completed study plan. If you are applying as a potential double major request, you also need to include the Proposal for Double Major form

Study plans should reflect that applicants do not receive future access to CS courses while their application status is pending. Students must plan to take other courses in the next immediate quarter while they await a decision. For example: student has submitted their application in Fall quarter, the study plan must show that for Winter quarter they do not plan to enroll in CS courses; if admitted, student would continue in CS courses for Spring quarter. 
 
Applicants can expect to hear back with a decision from the Department within 2-3 weeks after the grading deadline of the quarter they applied. This delay will mean applicants will not receive future access to CS courses for the next immediate quarter while their application status is pending. Note: Petitions which are denied are NOT eligible for appeal. You can find a GPA calculator tool here.

 

Policy on Transfer Courses: 

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 eligible to submit an application to Computer Science. Additionally, students must earn a B or above in any transferred course they wish to use for their change of major. 

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 directly 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 pre-requisite clearance to enroll (which may give you access to a waitlist, but due to limited space may not guarantee enrollment into a CS course at UCSB). 

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, CS 24, and CS 40/Math 8; and 3.0 between Math 3A&B and 4A&B) will be calculated only from the courses completed on a UC campus.

 

Change of Major FAQ's

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

Apart from other College of Engineering majors that require CS lower-division courses for their majors, there are not other majors on campus that receive a significant access advantage to CS courses due to the extremely high demand which far exceeds our course capacity limits. The demand for our courses is such that there is always a very long waitlist and the demand does not nearly meet the capacity we are able to offer any available seats to non-COE majors. We make sure COE students that need course access for their major requirements receive access first and during Pass 1 and 2 during the academic year, i.e., Fall Winter and Spring quarters. The only period in which CS lower-division courses do not have major limit registration restrictions is in Summer Sessions. 

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

Our classes are heavily impacted, and thus, enrollment is limited due to the extremely high demand which far exceeds our course capacity limits. You can choose to take course equivalents 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, 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 directly 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 pre-requisite clearance to enroll (which may give you access to a waitlist, but due to limited space may not guarantee enrollment into a CS course at UCSB).

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

3) What does "first attempt" mean?

If you get less than a C the first time you take the course in CS 16, 24, 40 or Math 8 (first time for either option), or Math 3A/B and Math 4A/4B, you are ineligible to submit a change of major application. You can repeat/re-take the course for your own GPA improvement purposes, but you will not be eligible to submit an application for CS change of major consideration. 

4) What are alternative pathways to pursue? 

The Data Science Initiative at UCSB continues to grow and has courses specifically for L&S majors to learn coding skills that students can apply skills from toward their future career goals. Students should also make an appointment with the STEM Career Counselor in Career Services as they are an excellent resource to help you find a non-COE major to achieve your goals and/or help frame your resume/experience for engineering jobs/internships as a non-engineering major.