Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


What is Drop-In Advising?

Drop-In visits for students are designed to last 10-15 minutes to ask simple questions of your advisors. Students should expect to not be allotted additional time. If the Advisor determines your inquiry will take longer to address, you will be asked to schedule a returning appointment. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  •       Degree checks for students
  •       Review of courses for the current quarter
  •       Review and sign forms, including Petitions, Special Studies Courses forms, Programs Abroad documents, International Center forms, and Financial Aid Academic Plans
  •       Selection of courses for the upcoming quarter. Drop-In Hours are subject to change.

What is an Appointment?

Appointments to meet with a counselor are available for students during specified times in 30 minute increments. Students should contact the department 48 hours in advance to schedule an appointment. To make an appointment, students need to email with their preferred date, time, and PID. Typical topics discussed by appointments include:

  •       Developing long range curriculum plans
  •       Students facing academic difficulty or other challenges that may require a referral
  •       Students interested in pursuing the major/minor
  •       Students declared in the major/minor who need to develop a long term plan
  •       Not sure if you require an appointment? Contact us through the Virtual Advising Center for assistance.

What is the Virtual Advising Center (VAC)?

Current students can submit brief questions 24/7 through the Virtual Advising Center. An Advisor will respond within 24-72 hours (and often sooner). 

How do I Get to the Virtual Advising Center?

You can access the Virtual Advising Center directly by following this link ( Otherwise, you can access your VAC through your “MyTritonLink.” There, in the “Advising and Grades” dropdown menu, you will see “Virtual Advising Center.” When you have accessed your VAC, the first option on the left menu will be “Ask a Question,” which will bring you to a form to enter your question. In order to reach the Data Science Undergraduate Advising office directly, choose “Data Science” from the drop down menu under “Direct To.” TIP! Choose “Notify Via Text Message” to ensure you see the VAC response as soon the Advisor has responded. 

General Major Information

I Want To Take One Of My Major Requirement Courses For A P/NP Grade. Is That Allowed?

A P grade is not acceptable to fulfill DSC minor or major requirements unless the course is only offered P/NP. UC San Diego students are only allowed to complete one-fourth of their overall units as P/NP. Data Science majors may only take up to 12 units of upper division courses ONLY offered P/NP. Otherwise, students must earn a letter grade in all courses required for the minor and major (lower division, upper division, and electives). AP and IB credit are exempted, as they only transfer as P/NP.  

I Earned A D In One Of My Major/Minor Courses. What Should I Do?

While a grade of “D” is considered passing by University Policy, a D grade is not acceptable to fulfill Data Science major/minor requirements. Students must earn a C- grade or higher in all courses required for the major (lower division, upper division, sequences, and electives). Students who receive a letter grade of “D” technically meet pre-requisite requirements to move forward to additional courses, but still MUST retake the course to meet major/minor requirements. We strongly suggest that students retake such courses as soon as possible to ensure that they are prepared for subsequent courses. 

The General Catalog Does Not Match Up With My Degree Audit. Which Do I Follow To Ensure I Meet Major/Minor Requirements?

When in doubt, refer to the General Catalog copy from the year you entered UCSD. That is the official record of your major requirements. If a course is listed in the General Catalog as required, but is not listed on your degree audit, it is still required for your major (unless you substitute it for an equivalent course). If you joined the Data Science major during the 2017-2018 Academic Year, please refer to the “Major Requirements” page for further information regarding your course requirements.

I Joined The Major During The 2017-2018 Academic Year, And The Natural Science Sequence I Chose No Longer Appears In The Course Catalog. Do I Have To Change My Natural Science Sequence To One That Is Listed? 

Students who declared the major during the 2017-2018 Academic Year have rights to the course options as listed in the 2017-2018 Academic Catalog. Therefore, while we have updated the curriculum for freshmen who entered during the 2018-2019 Academic Year, majors who entered during 2017-2018 are allowed to follow the original curriculum. We will continue accepting the alternative Natural Science sequence options for major who entered in 2017-2018, and we will also allow such majors to pursue new electives listed within the new curriculum. More information regarding our transition policies between the two catalog years for current students can be found on the “Major Requirements” page of the website. 

What’s A Domain Of Interest? Does It Have To Be One Of The Natural Sciences We Have To Complete As Part Of Our Lower-Division Requirements?

As part of our lower-division curriculum, students are required to complete a three course sequence in Biological Sciences, Chemistry, or Physics. This is a Data Science program, and students are expected to acquire a base understanding of science and research. Students can pursue one of these areas as their domain of interest, but they are not restricted to only these three fields. “Domain of interest” refers to any field where a student is interested in applying their Data Science knowledge and skill set. Data Science is applicable to many fields, so it is important for students to critically consider how they want to pursue a career in Data Science. Examples of a domain of interest include but are not limited to: music, business, social sciences, political science, public health, urban planning, artificial intelligence, and so on. There are no specific requirements around how many classes students need to take within their domain of interest at this time. Regardless of how in depth you choose to study your domain, all students are encouraged to utilize their option to petition for 8 units of upper-division courses related to their domain to apply towards their major elective requirement. 

I Have AP Credits Towards My Natural Science Requirement, But They Don’t Amount To 12 Units. Do I Need To Take Additional Classes, Or Have I Met The Requirement? 

If you have AP credits towards three courses that meet your natural science requirement, we will honor that completion. To reiterate, if you have credit towards all three courses but that credit does not amount to a total of 12 units, that’s okay. You are not expected to take additional courses to meet 12 units. If you have credit towards one or two courses, you will be expected to take the additional courses at UCSD to complete your sequence. 

What Are The Special Studies Classes? 

Special studies courses are titled DSC 197, DSC 198, and DSC 199. DSC 197 is primarily focused on internships and DSC 198 and 199 are primarily intended for research. More information about pursuing a Special Studies course will be available soon. 

Changing Majors:

Data Science Is A Combination Of Cognitive Science, Computer Science And Engineering, And Mathematics. What’s The Difference Between All These Subjects And How Do I Know Which Program To Choose?

The Cognitive Science major is an interdisciplinary and diverse field that blends the understanding of the brain, human behavior, and computation. Students can choose to explore specializations that span a wide breadth of disciplines including: neural/biological sciences, computational sciences, machine learning, cognitive modeling, cognitive/machine perception, computational neuroscience, social sciences, and design. Graduates of this program often go on to graduate school or work in research, UX and product design, and data analysis. The Computer Science major allows students to initially explore computer science through algorithmic problem solving and programming in various languages, including Java and C. Students then progress to topics involving a deeper understanding of computer systems including advanced data structures and computer architecture. Additional elective courses provide depth into systems and networks, database analysis, security and cryptography topics, machine learning, computer vision, and graphics. Many graduates of this program go on to graduate school or choose careers that involve machine automation, UI/UX design, data analytics, application development, artificial intelligence, networking, and security. The Math-Computer Science major is a specialized branch of mathematics, providing a focus on computer science. While not covering the same scope as a pure Computer Science major, Math CS prepares students to potentially work in a computing setting. Students are given flexibility in their course subjects, allowing the opportunity to have a greater focus on mathematics or to take a more even distribution of courses in mathematics and computer science. Students study subjects including abstract algebra, statistics and probability, combinatorics, algorithm analysis, programming, and data structures Data Science blends Cognitive Science, Computer Science, and Math to aggregate massive amounts of diverse data sets and data types in order to better understand human behavior and numerous other natural and human ecosystems. The curriculum is designed to meet the emerging needs of data-driven industries, from manufacturing companies to government organizations. The core knowledge base of the data scientist lies at the intersection of computing and mathematics, coupled with the skills to abstract, build, and test predictive and descriptive models, often of human behavior. Students in the program can expect coursework in mathematics, computer science, and statistics, as well as foundational lower division coursework in natural and physical sciences. A helpful website for students interested in the fields of computational science is provided by the university: 

What Happens If I Declare The Data Science Major And Then Decide I Want To Go Back To My Original Declared Major Because I Can’t Get Into Classes And/Or Because It Will Extend My Timeline To Graduation?

Students are strongly advised to discuss their interest in Data Science with their current major department because taking any action in changing their major. Some major departments will not allow students to re-enter into the major after leaving it for Data Science. Students should meet with their current major department advisor, college advisor, and the Data Science Undergraduate Advisor before taking any action before applying to change their major to DS25. 

Data Science Major/ Minor: 

I Know That I Want To Pursue Data Science As My Major. What Now? 

Students interested in the major must complete the three screening courses required for our capped major application: DSC 10, Math 18, and Math 20C. All interested students should discuss their unit cap with their college and schedule an appointment with the Data Science Undergraduate Advisor. Once a student is sure they want to pursue the program and have taken the appropriate steps to ensure they will be able to graduate on time, students can submit their capped major application. More information about the Capped Major application is available on the Prospective Students: Capped Major Application page of the website ( 

What’s The Capped Major Application Process?

Please go to the tab “Prospective Students” and then to “Continuing Students: Capped Major Application” for the most up to date information about the Capped Major Application Process. 

Can I Pursue Data Science If I’m Also Declared In A Program That’s Part Of The Jacobs School Of Engineering? 

Please contact the Data Science Undergraduate Advisor for the most up to date information about this policy. 

Can I Pursue Data Science If I’m Also Declared As A Math-CS Major?

Given curriculum overlap, students are not allowed to double major or minor in Data Science and the Math-CS Program at this time and for the foreseeable future. 

Can I Pursue Data Science If I’m Also Declared As A Cognitive Science Major?

In regard to the Cognitive Science Department, students are strongly encouraged to discuss their interest in Data Science before taking any action in submitting an application for our capped major. Given curriculum overlap and the CogSci’s ability to offer specializations, students should speak with a CogSci Advisor to determine the right path to accomplish their goals. 

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. Students are strongly recommended to list Data Science as their “first” major for enrollment purposes. If you wish to add Data Science for a double major, you will need to apply through the Capped Major Application, in addition to submitting the Double Major Petition form. 

How Do I Declare A Minor? 

Students interested in pursuing the Data Science minor are strongly encouraged to discuss their interest with the Undergraduate Advisor before submitting their application. If it is determined that you are eligible to apply, follow these next steps:

  1. Discuss your interest with your college advisor and your current major advisor. It is critical that you are fully aware of your remaining requirements, cumulative and maximum unit cap and time to degree before deciding to add a minor to your educational experience.
  2. Complete the minor application using your major/minor tool. When completing your application, be sure to only list the courses you have left to complete. We will review your academic History upon receiving your submission.
  3. Schedule an appointment with the Undergraduate Advisor. We will not be able to review your application during a drop-in advising session as this involves a much more in depth conversation and the creation of a long term plan. We will notify all students through the VAC when we have received their submission. Students are advised at that time to schedule an appointment with the Undergraduate Advisor. If you have submitted your minor application but have yet to meet with the Undergraduate Advisor, please schedule your appointment as soon as possible or your application will remain pending. 

I Really Need A Four-Year Plan. What Should I Do? 

Students who wish to create an individualized four year plan must schedule an appointment with the Undergraduate Advisor. Students who are looking for a four year plan to use as a guide for planning courses can use their Planning Tool to access this guide ( 

Degree Audit

I Changed My Major To DSC And Now My New Degree Audit Doesn’t Match With Gen Ed/New Major Requirements. How Do I Fix This? 

Please contact us through the Virtual Advising Center if you see any discrepancies in your degree audit. The uAchieve degree audits are programmed by a central office on campus and may sometimes be prone to errors and glitches. The General Catalog copy from the year you entered UCSD is the official document that lists your requirements. 

I’ve Been Looking At The Program Requirements, And I’ve Already Taken A Class That Is Equivalent Through Another Department And I Can’t Get Duplicate Credit For Taking Both Courses. What Should I Do?

We understand that a few of the courses involved in our curriculum are deemed equivalent in the catalog to courses offered through additional departments. If you have previously completed one of these courses offered through additional departments and want confirmation that it will be applied towards meeting your Data Science program requirement, you must submit a Course Substitution petition for each individual course (see questions below). 

What’s The Difference Between Course Substitutions And Pre-Approval Petitions?

Before submitting your petition, you will need to determine the type of petition you are submitting. There are two types of petitions: a course substitution, or a pre-approval. A course substitution is designed for students who have already successfully completed the course and wish to use the course as a substitution for a requirement. A pre-approval is designed for students who have not yet taken the course, but wish for approval that it will apply towards their major requirements before doing so. Therefore, students who have already taken the course will select “Course Substitution” when submitting their petition, and students who have yet to take the course but plan on doing so in the future will need to select “Pre-Approval” when submitting their petition. Note: Students who submit the petition as a Pre-Approval are only able to receive a “preapproval” of the course. This means students must complete the course for 4 units with a C- or better in order for the course to be fully approved as meeting a program requirement. Upon completing the course, you will be required to notify our Department so that we can update your Degree Audit accordingly. 

How Do I Submit A Petition For A Course Substitution Or Pre-Approval

Be sure to complete all parts of the petition. Incomplete forms will delay the process. 

  1. Use the online petition tool ( 
  2. Select “DSC” Department. 
  3. Select Petition Type: Course Substitution or Pre-Approval (see question above). 
  4. Enter Petition Request 
  5. Fill in your Petition Reason. Indicate when the course was taken, grade received, and units. 
  6. Upload supporting documents (course syllabi, course assignments, or course websites) to demonstrate mastery of the skillset and knowledge attained through the course. 
  7. Submit petition. 
  8. Check the status of your petition through the online tool Petitions will be reviewed, and students will be notified of a decision via email and Virtual Advising Center. It can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks for your petition to go through the process. There are no guarantees of approval on any petition.

Can I Graduate With Problems In My Degree Audit? 

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


Can I Take A DSC Course Without The Prerequisites? 

Prerequisites are enforced through WebReg and are in place to make sure a student understands the material in a course. Students who believe they have met the prerequisite for a DSC course through other coursework will need to seek faculty approval through an online pre-authorization form (located on the Enrollment Authorization System- EASy). We encourage you to reach out to the Undergraduate Advisor through the Virtual Advising Center or schedule an appointment for further guidance on prerequisites. Please be advised that faculty approval does not necessarily guarantee approval for enrolling in the course. 

So I Received Faculty Approval, Now What?

Please be advised that Data Science majors and Data Science minors receive first priority to enroll in Data Science courses. Please review to the Course Information: Enrolling in Classes section of the website for the most up to date enrollment timeline. 

What If The Course Is Now Full?

Getting faculty approval and being cleared to enroll in the course will not guarantee you a spot. You’ll need to place yourself on the waitlist for the course. 

What About Courses That Are Offered Through Other Departments But Are Still Major Course Requirements For Data Science. Do I Have To Follow The Prerequisites For Those Courses?

Yes, students must complete all prerequisites for required courses as currently listed in the Academic Catalog, unless advised otherwise. Please contact the department offering the course for additional information regarding pre-requisite expectations and potential options, if applicable. 

Enrollment Process and Enrollment Priority

What Is The Enrollment Process?

The majority of DSC courses are listed as “Major Restricted” courses on WebReg. That said, Data Science minors and students outside of the program may request to enroll in the courses if space permits. To request to enroll, please submit a course pre-authorization request through the EASy system. Additionally, please note that such courses follow an enrollment priority system. We recommend that you review the enrollment timeline for courses on the “Course Information: Enrolling in Classes” page of the website. Some DSC courses like DSC 10 and DSC 170 require students to place themselves on the waitlist during their second pass. We do this in order to manage student enrollment in our courses and ensure we can offer priority to majors, and second priority to minors. If you are granted a seat in the course, you will receive the following notification: “You have been pre-authorized to enroll in DSC XX Section XXX. This approval does not imply enrollment action. It is your responsibility to add the course via WebReg. To do so, remove yourself from the waitlist and then enroll in the course. You are guaranteed a seat in the course as long as you enroll by the given deadline. The Deadline to enroll is—-. If you do not enroll by this time, your seat will be given to another student on the waitlist.” It is extremely important that you check your inbox and span every day during enrollment to see if you have received this notification informing you that you have been granted a seat in the class. More importantly, you must read the notification you receive and follow all instructions to ensure you keep the seat that has been granted to you. 

Does Declaring The Major Or Minor Improve My Chances Of Getting Into A Course?

For the Academic Year of 2018-2019, our enrollment priority system is as follows: students declared in the major receive first priority, students declared in the minor receive second priority, and all remaining students will be authorized into the course in waitlist or pre-authorization request order if seats are still available. Concurrent enrollment students will only be allowed to enroll in the course if seats are available at the end of Week One. Please note, students enrolled in the minor will be granted second priority for the 18-19 Academic Year, but are not guaranteed priority enrollment for all courses beyond the 18-19 Academic Year. For specific course enrollment advisement, please refer to the Course Information page of the website. 

DSC 10 Is At An Enrollment Limit Of 0 – Does That Mean The Course Is Already Full? 

The department is managing enrollment in DSC 10 by offering limited seats as the courses are released. Therefore, students should expect to see an enrollment limit of 0 for each DSC 10 section offered this year. This allows the department to manually authorize students into the course by course enrollment priority and manage the enrollment limit. If students are interested in taking a DSC course, they need to place themselves on the waitlist immediately. Open seats will be released to students outside of the major and minor in accordance with our enrollment timeline. Please go to the “Course Information: Enrolling in Courses” page for more information. 

If A Course Is A Data Science Major Requirement, But The Course Is Offered Through A Different Department, Do I Still Receive Priority For Enrolling In The Course?

Each department follows its own course enrollment priority. If you have questions or concerns regarding a course outside of the Data Science Department, you need to contact that specific department. The Data Science Department has no influence or control over students gaining access to courses offered outside of their department, even if it is a major/minor requirement. For some courses outside the DSC department, such as CSE 150A, CSE 151A, and CSE 158, Data Science majors will receive priority. 


What Is The Waitlist Policy?

Some DSC courses, including DSC 10 and DSC 170, require students to place themselves on the waitlist during their second pass if they wish to pursue the course. Please note you cannot waitlist a course during your 1st Pass. Students will be authorized into the class in course enrollment priority and waitlist order. For more information about the enrollment timeline and priority enrollment for waitlist-only courses, please visit the “Course Information: Enrolling in Classes” section of the website. The Department will do everything we can to accommodate students. Waitlist yourself into the class and, if seats become available, students will be authorized to enroll in our course enrollment priority and in waitlist order. We cannot guarantee that you will get into the course. If you need assistance with an alternate course, stop by during walk in advising hours or schedule an appointment with the Undergraduate Advisor. 

I’m Currently On The Waitlist; What Are My Chances Of Getting Into The Class? 

While we would like to be able to answer this question satisfactorily, we are not able to. First, some DSC courses are waitlist-only courses, meaning that all students have to place themselves on the waitlist regardless of seat availability, so that the department can provide DSC majors and minors with enrollment priority. If you have any questions about your position on the waitlist for a waitlist-only course, you may contact us through the Virtual Advising Center. For non waitlist-only courses, generally speaking, students can expect a 10% drop rate for courses. If it is a 30 seat discussion sections, students who are #1-3 on the waitlist have a good chance of being enrolled. However, it is not guaranteed that any student will be added into the course from a waitlist, as it will depend on another student officially dropping from that section. That is not something we can predict. 

Can I Ask My Professor Or Staff To Add Me To The Class And Bypass The Waitlist? 

Staff and faculty are not able to add students to classes. If you cannot add because the class is full, immediately get on a waitlist (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. 

I See That Enrollment Increased, How Come I’m Still On The Waitlist? 

If enrollment limits are increased, it takes the system overnight to process this command. Students will be added in the order they are on the waitlist. Please have patience.

I Received An Email Stating That I Missed My Deadline To Enroll. What Do I Do No 

If for whatever reason you miss your deadline to enroll in waitlist-only courses (DSC 10 and DSC 170), you need to remove yourself from the waitlist and re-add yourself to the waitlist as soon as possible. If we see that you are still in the same position from when we originally authorized you to enroll, we will have to bypass you and move onto the next student on the waitlist. No exceptions will be made. We understand that sometimes there are misunderstandings and mistakes that are made, but this has consistently been our enrollment procedure. Students within the major should be fully aware of how to enroll in our courses to ensure their success in our program. If you miss your deadline, reach out to the Undergraduate Advisor to schedule an appointment for course advisement as soon as possible. 

I Just Saw That I Was Dropped From The Waitlist. What Is Going On? 

You may have been dropped from the waitlist because there was a change in the course (i.e., switched times, switched days). ALWAYS check your email for enrollment updates. During the enrollment period, it is critical that you check your UCSD email for any updates. This may have an impact on your schedule. The DSC Undergraduate Advising Office will not be able to help you if you missed deadlines indicated in emails sent out. 

I Really Need This Class. Is There Any Way The Undergraduate Advising Ofce Can Move Me Up? 

Unfortunately, there is nothing the Undergraduate Advising Office can do. Students need to prioritize which classes they want to enroll in and put themselves on the waitlist as soon as they are able to do so. The Department will do its best to accommodate as many students as possible. Please wait patiently as it may take up to Week 2 to finalize enrollment sizes. 

Summer Courses

What Summer Courses Will Be Available?

Summer schedules will be posted in Spring quarter. Class offerings will depend on who will be teaching and it will vary every year. Our intention is to provide the opportunity for students to take our new courses who were unable to gain access during the regular academic school year. If you are considering taking a summer course, please discuss your intention with the Undergraduate Advisor before making your decision. 

Where Can I See Which Summer Courses Will Be Offered? 

You can check out UCSD Summer Session for a preview of courses until they are officially published. 

Transfer Credit 

I’m A Transfer Student- Can I Still Pursue The Major?

For more information about applying to the Data Science major as a transfer student, please view the “Prospective Students: Transfer Students” page of our website. Transfer students currently attending UC San Diego who are considering applying through the Capped Major Application process for the major are strongly encouraged to discuss this with their College Advisor and the Data Science Undergraduate Advisor, as this will extend your time to degree completion. 

Will I Be Able To Transfer Classes In From My Local Community College?

Currently, we do not have an articulation agreement in place for DSC courses and local California Community Colleges through Please see our guidelines for transfer students, located on the “Prospective Students: Transfer Students” section of the website. If you are interested in fulfilling a course outside of the DSC department, such as a Mathematics or Natural Science requirement, you can learn more about courses that have been approved to transfer through 

I’m Planning To Take Similarly Titled Course Over The Summer, Can I Petition For Course Credit? 

Students are allowed to submit petitions for course credit; however, students should not expect to receive course credit simply because they took a course/courses with similar titles. Our curriculum has been developed to specifically offer content focused on Data Science. If students wish to take courses over the summer with the intention of petitioning for DSC course credit, students should first submit a pre-approval petition for review. Please visit the “Forms” page of the website for more information about submitting a petition.