Bachelor of Science

The Department of Computer Science offers students in the College of Engineering a Bachelor of Science degree.

This program introduces students to core concepts and cutting-edge topics in computer science. The program provides students with hands-on experience and a depth of understanding of computer theory, systems, and applications that prepares them for successful careers in computer science and to participate in the next-generation of technological advances. 

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Courses required for the major MUST be taken for letter grades. Pre-requisites are strictly enforced for all CS courses.

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General Education

You can obtain a detailed list of GEs from the College of Engineering Undergraduate Office via email at Please refer all GE-related questions to the College advisors.

For information about requirements for College of Engineering majors, including Computer Science, and other program information, see the GEAR (General Engineering Academic Requirements) catalog associated with a student's year of entrance to UCSB.

All students must achieve a grade of C or above in CMPSC 16, 24, 32, and 40 to take any course for which any of these courses are a prerequisite. 

Course Units Title
Math 3A, 3B 8 Calculus with Applications, Courses 1-2
Math 4A, 4B 8 Linear Algebra with Applications; Differential Equations
Math 6A 4 Vector Calculus
CMPSC 16 4 Problem Solving with Computers I
CMPSC 24 4 Problem Solving with Computers II
CMPSC 32 4 Object Oriented Design and Implementation
CMPSC 40 5 Foundations of Computer Science
CMPSC 64 4 Computer Organization and Logic Design
PSTAT 120A 4

Probability and Statistics


Note: Students with no previous programming background should take CMPSC 8 before taking CMPSC 16. The AP Computer Science A Exam with a score of 4 or 5 will qualify students to start with CMPSC 16.

Course Units Title
PHYS 1, 2, 3 and 3L 12 Basic Physics (with 3L lab)


Note: AP Physics does not test you out of this series.

8 units required; The science electives must be selected from the following set of approved courses and taken for a LETTER GRADE.

Course Title


Intro Biological Anthropology

AP Biology

Advanced Placement Biology Exam (score of 3 or higher will credit you with 8 science elective units)


Basic Astronomy
ASTRO 2 History of the Universe
CHEM 1A + CHEM 1AL General Chemistry and Laboratory
CHEM 1B + CHEM 1BL General Chemistry and Laboratory
CHEM 1C + CHEM 1CL General Chemistry and Laboratory
EARTH 2 Principles of Physical Geology 
EARTH 4 or EARTH 4 W  Introduction to Oceanography
EARTH 6 Mountains, Boots, and Backpacks
EARTH 7 Dinosaurs
EARTH 8 Africa: Climate & Human Evolution
EARTH 9 Giant Earthquakes
EARTH 10 Antarctica: The Last Place on Earth
EARTH 20 or Earth W 20  Geological Catastrophes
EARTH 30 The History of Life
EARTH 111 Principles of Paleontology
EARTH 123 The Solar System
EARTH 130 Global Warming - Science and Society
ECON 1 Principles of Economics-Micro
ECON 2 Principles of Economics-Macro
EEMB 21 General Botany
EEMB 22 Concepts & Controversies in Bio Sciences
EEMB 40 Ecology of Infectious Disease
EEMB 50 Biology of Non-Infectious Disease
ENV S 2 Intro to Environmental Science
GEOG 3 Oceans & Atmosphere
GEOG 4 Land, Water & Life
GEOG 8 Intro to Global Warming
GEOG 12 or GEOG W 12 Maps & Spatial Reasoning
GEOG 115A Remote Sensing of the Environment 1
GEOG 115B  Remote Sensing of the Environment 2
MCDB 1A + 1AL Introductory Biology I and Laboratory
MCDB 1B and EEMB 2, plus either MCDB 1BL or EEMB 2L Introductory Biology II and Laboratory
MCDB 20 Concepts of Biology
MCDB 21 The Immune System and Aids
MCDB 23 Biology of Cancer
MCDB 26 Contemporary Nutrition
MCDB 29 Fundamentals of Biomedical Research
PHYS 4 + PHYS 4L Basic Physics and Laboratory
PHYS 5 + PHYS 5L Basic Physics and Laboratory
PSY 108 Intro to Cognitive Psychology
Course Units Title
CMPSC 111 or 140 4 Intro to Computational Science or Parallel Scientific Computing
CMPSC 130A and 130B 8 Data Structures and Algorithms I and II
CMPSC 138 4 Automata and Formal Languages
CMPSC 148 or 156 or 172 4 Computer Science Project or Advanced Applications Programming or Software Engineering
CMPSC 154 4 Computer Architecture
CMPSC 160 or 162 4 Translation of Programming Languages or Programming Languages
CMPSC 170 4 Operating Systems
PSTAT 120B 4 Probability and Statistics
Course Units Title
ENGR 101 3 Ethics in Engineering

NOTE: Effective Winter 2022, students must attend a department faculty advising event in order to complete the "prior approval of major electives by faculty" requirement. We no longer require students to submit a"major elective approval" form.

As a graduation requirement, all Computer Science majors must receive faculty advising by attending a department faculty advising event. The best time for students to receive faculty advising regarding a range of topics such as research, internships, and elective courses is in their Sophomore year (typically your second year). Students that participate in and attend a department faculty advising event will have their "Major Elective Approval" requirement marked as complete by a Computer Science staff advisor. Effective Winter 2022, students should not complete or submit an approval form, instead students must attend a department faculty advising event. 

The department usually hosts a faculty advising event every quarter: in Fall and Winter quarters students can meet one-on-one with faculty at the Speed Advising event, and in Spring quarter students can learn from faculty about the CS courses that are elective options for the major at the Major Electives Info Session event (view the Major Elective slide show here and see the recording of the Spring 2023 Major Elective information session here [use your UCSB NetID to login and view the video]).  

Depending on the GEAR major year, CS students must take either 28 units (GEAR years 2018-19, 2019-20) or 32 units (GEAR years 2020-21 and 2021-22) of upper-division major field electives. At least 8 units of these electives must be Computer Science courses. The required courses in the upper-division major do not count towards these electives. All upper-division elective courses must be taken for a letter grade.

Academic Support

Undergraduate Learning Assistant Program

About the CS ULA Program

The Computer Science Undergraduate Learning Assistant Program (ULA) was launched in Fall 2017 with the following goals in mind:

  • enhance the learning experience of students
  • meet the challenges of increased enrollments
  • build a sense of community among our undergraduate students
  • create a more supportive learning environment for those from underrepresented groups.

Student Tutoring

Faculty Co-ordinators

Dr. Mirza and Dr. Conrad are faculty co-coordinators for the tutor program. They serve as a point of contact for students interested in being tutors and faculty who would like to offer tutors in their courses, and organize the tutoring training. Dr. Richert Wang and Dr. Kate Kharitonova have also been involved with the implementation of the program and have been among the early adopters of the program, and have assisted in developing and delivering the training program.

In the current instantiation of the program, all ULA (including first time ULAs) are hired for the same number of hours and at the same pay rate under the "Remedial Tutor" title (Red Binder IV-9). The process of recruiting, selecting, training, organizing and evaluating ULAs is described below. All first time ULAs are required to attend paid training sessions during the first 5 weeks of the quarter; this training is included in paid hours.

At least a month prior to the start of the quarter, ULA applicants are advertised to all undergrad CS majors, and students enrolled in CMPSC 24 and 32 (regardless of major). We also do targeted outreach to data science courses and computing courses for non-majors. In each case, we require a minimum GPA of 3.0 (cumulative as well as Lower-Division and Upper-Division coursework). Students from all majors are invited to apply. We take major into account and prefer to offer positions to CS, CE, and Computing majors, but major is only one of several factors.Preference is given to students that demonstrate a sincere interest in helping other students succeed, in addition to developing their own skills. All first time LAs are required to submit a short 5-minute teaching video where they spend a few minutes speaking about their motivation for being a ULA. The application form also collects information about students' availability to attend scheduled lab sections and lectures for the courses that they will be tutoring for, as well as students' course preferences. All these factors are taken into account when selecting ULAs for specific courses.

The instructors of courses that involve ULAs collaborate on selecting ULAs into their courses. Each instructor provides a rank-ordered list of ULAs to the coordinator of the program. The coordinator and instructors work together to resolve conflicts in the case multiple instructors select the same ULA. Selection is based on students’ teaching videos, availability and course preference. In some cases, the instructors may conduct in-person interviews to evaluate communication skills. The coordinator sends a shortlist of ULAs selected for paid positions in each course to the CS staff who carry out the hiring. 

Training: All first-time ULAs are required to attend required training sessions in the same quarter that they ULA, typically held on Fridays, weeks 1-5. All time spent on training and any preparation for the training will be paid. Training includes instruction in evidence-baed Computer Science education methods, practical tutoring advice, as well as role-playing of direct instruction. 

All ULAs work for between 8-10 hours per week, not exceeding 110 hours per quarter. They typically spend four hours per week in lab sections where they assist students with their programming assignments. During these sessions, the ULAs practice how to help students without giving away solutions and instead giving them the skills needed to debug their code on their own. They teach students how to reason about their code by tracing through it and communicating their logic. The ULAs learn how to ask students appropriate questions that would lead them in the right direction.

The ULAs attend weekly meetings, approximately 1 to 1.5 hours per week with the rest of the course staff (graduate TAs and Readers). The course instructor typically provides guidance for the upcoming week during these meetings. The TAs and ULAs provide the instructor feedback about their experiences in labs and raise any instructional or organizational issues that need to be addressed.

The ULAs spend the rest of their time providing written feedback to students about their assignments. They also offer open lab hours where students could get help outside of prescribed lab hours, which is a new feature in our classes. They create collaborative study guides and conduct study sessions to help students prepare for exams.

First time ULAs spend part of their paid time towards training as described above.

All hours spent on tutoring-related activities will be paid, and you will be provided adequate support to help students with this course. The total commitment is 8 to 10 hours per week with the approximate breakdown of the duties as follows:

(4-5h) Assist students in scheduled lab sections and drop-in lab hours to discover solutions to problems and modeling study strategies,

(1 h) Work through labs and homework exercises in preparation for labs

(1-2 h) Assist students with course concepts by attending weekly lectures

(1 h) Weekly meeting with the instructor

(1 h) Training during weeks 1-5 (FIRST TIME ULAs only)


All first-time ULAs are evaluated as part of the training. In addition to evaluating written work and oral presentations, the instructors and program leads make direct observations of each ULA’s performance in assisting students in labs. Students in the course also evaluate the ULAs and the ULA program by filling out anonymous surveys at the end of the quarter.

Applying to be a ULA:

For first time applicants, we ask that you prepare a short video with a demonstration lesson. Instructions for preparing that video appear here: To complete this application you should have the link to your uploaded teaching video.

Apply for a Paid ULA Position


ULAs who are interested in leadership positions within the ULA program may apply to be program-leads or course-leads. In general students should have been in the role of course-lead for at least one quarter to be considered for the role of program-lead. Students in these positions will act as points of contact for students and instructors, assist with specific organizational tasks and training activities related to the ULA program. They will also be stakeholders in shaping the future of the program.

Description of program-lead position

Program-lead is a position for students who want to collaborate with faculty on high-level organization of the ULA program. Program-leads will coordinate closely with the director of the program and assist with the training of new ULAs. Each quarter two students will be selected into these roles among current and past course-leads.

Description of course-lead position

Course-lead is a position for ULAs who want to try a more administrative role inside the ULA program. Every course that involves ULAs will have one course-lead selected among the paid ULAs. The lead ULA for each course will be the instructor's main point of contact, and a general lead for your team of ULAs. Duties of students selected into this role include:

(1) meeting with the instructor and establishing how all the ULAs will coordinate from week to week. Your instructor may want weekly meetings with the entire staff, or may want you to be in charge of meeting the ULAs weekly and then relaying any pertinent information back to the instructor, or may come up with another solution.

(2) being the main point of contact for ULAs within a course. If ULAs have questions about how to approach a particular student or problem, they will approach the course lead.The course-lead can always contact their instructor or program-leads for assistance.

Academic Advising

Academic Advising

Undergraduate Advising

The staff advisors are here to help and support our CS majors through their studies and answer questions related to the CS major.  We are available for appointments in-person, and encourage our students to book an appointment to guarantee that we are available and prepared to answer your questions related to your degree progress and requirements. 

Staff hours are Monday through Friday 9am-12pm and 1-4pm and we are available by email at, or by appointment at or clicking the button below: 

Schedule an Advising Appointment

Faculty Undergraduate Advisors

CS majors may contact their faculty class advisor for questions regarding their own faculty experiences, undergraduate research, graduate school, jobs in industry. Faculty members are not expected to answer questions about department petitions or degree requirements. Please see below for the contact links of the current faculty class advisors: 

Ziad Matni            Faculty contact for class of 2026

Subhash Suri         Faculty contact for class of 2025

Jianwen Su            Faculty contact for class of 2024

Kate Kharitonova  Faculty contact for class of 2023

Phillip Conrad       Faculty contact for Transfer Students