Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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Drop-In visits are 10-15 minutes and are designed for students to ask simple questions of the advisors. Students should expect to not be allotted additional time as we often have several students waiting. If the Advisor determines an inquiry will take longer to address, students will be asked to schedule a returning appointment. Drop-in advising topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Degree checks for students
  • Review of courses for the current quarter
  • Review and sign already completed forms: including Petitions, Study Abroad documents, and Financial Aid Academic Plans
  • Selection of courses for the upcoming quarter

Appointments to meet with an advisor 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, PID, and reason for an appointment. 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 Financial Aid or Study Abroad plans 
  • Not sure if an appointment is required? Contact us through the Virtual Advising Center for assistance

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

Students can access the Virtual Advising Center through TritonLink or by directly by clicking the “VAC Button” on the Undergraduate Advising homepage here.  To reach the Data Science Undergraduate Advising office directly, choose “Data Science” from the drop-down menu under “Direct To.” Choose “Notify Via Text Message” to ensure you see the VAC response as soon the Advisor has responded.

Major/Minor Requirements

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.  

NOTE: This policy does not apply to the Spring 2020 quarter. 

While earning a “D” is considered passing by University Policy, a “D” grade is not acceptable to fulfill Data Science Major/Minor requirements. Students must earn a grade of a “C-” or better in all courses required for the Major (lower division, upper division, sequences, and electives). Students who receive a letter grade of a “D” technically meet prerequisite 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. 

When in doubt, refer to the General Catalog copy from the year the student entered UCSD. That is the official record of all Major requirements. If a course is listed in the General Catalog as required but is not listed on the students’ degree audit, it is still required for their Major (unless you substitute it for an equivalent course). If they joined the Data Science major before the 2020-2021 Academic Year, please refer to the “Major Requirements” page for further information regarding their course requirements.

Special Studies courses help students learn about subjects not taught in regular classes when they engage in field, lab, and library research. These courses are titled DSC 197, 198, and 199 and require department approval for enrollment. Students who wish to pursue a Special Studies Course will need to submit a Special Studies request through the EASy system. If students have any questions about what Special Studies courses they are eligible to take, please contact us through the VAC. 

Domain of Interest and Subject Domain Tracks

Students can pursue one of these listed “Subject Domain Tracks” (Science, Social Science, Business Analytics and Econometrics, or Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence) which are on the “Major Requirements page” as their “Domain of Interest”, but they are not restricted to only these fields. These tracks broadly cover the breadth of usage of Data Science in research and industry. They will guide students to a particular flavor of Data Science while making the content of the major more easily understandable by industry managers hiring our graduates. A “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. At the Upper Division level, students may petition for up to 8 units of Upper Division courses that are related to their “Domain of Interest” to fulfill their Data Science electives. To reiterate- these Upper Division courses do not need to be related to the Lower Division Subject Domain Tracks.  

If a student has AP credits towards two courses that meet their requirement, we will honor that completion. To reiterate, if they have AP credit towards courses but that credit does not amount to a total of 8 units, that is okay. They are not expected to take additional courses to meet 8 units. 

Changing or Adding Majors/Minors

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

Students interested in the Major must complete the three screening courses required for our Capped Major Application: DSC 10, Math 18, and Math 20C. We recommend that all interested students discuss their major change with their current major advisor, college advisor, and schedule an appointment with the Data Science Academic Advisor. Once they want to pursue the program, students can submit their application during the Capped Major Application Cycle. More information about the Capped Major Application is available on the “Capped Major Application page” of the website. 

Students majoring in the Computer Science and Engineering department are not able to pursue a Data Science double major or minor. Students within another department in the Jacobs School of Engineering are now eligible to pursue Data Science as a double major or minor.

Students within the Math-Computer Science major are now eligible to pursue Data Science as a double major or minor.

Please carefully read and review the “Double Major Petition Instructions” on the “Petition Instructions” page of the Data Science website. This currently includes information for both students who are inside and outside of the Data Science major. Also, please refer to the “How to Declare a Double Major” page of your TritonLink for more information on this process and to access the necessary documents. To reiterate, students must receive approval from both departments before submitting their materials (Double Major Petition, Academic Planning Worksheet, and Statement of Purpose) to their college for final approval. 

Please read and review the “Minor Requirements” page of the Data Science website. Under, “How to Add the Minor”, are step-by-step instructions for students to read and follow. Eligibility requirements, tips for success, and FAQ’s are also included on this webpage. If you are a Data Science Major interested in declaring a
minor, please refer to the “How to Declare a Minor” page of TritonLink. 

Students who wish to create an individualized long-term course plan must schedule an appointment with the Undergraduate Advisor. Please email us through using the following format to request an appointment with an advisor; this information can also be found on the “Advising” page of our website: 

Degree Audit Information

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

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). 

Before submitting a petition, students need to determine the type of petition they 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.

Note: Students who submit the petition as a pre-approval are only able to receive a pre-approval of the course. This means students must complete the course for 4 units with a “C-” or better 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. 

Students need 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 the 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 skills 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.

No, a students’ degree audit must be cleared before they can graduate. Please see an advisor at least two quarters before graduation to make sure the degree audit is correct. 


Prerequisites are enforced through WebReg and are in place to make sure a student understands the material in a course. Students who believe they may have met the prerequisite for a DSC course through other coursework will need to seek faculty approval through the online pre-authorization form located through the Enrollment Authorization System (EASy). The student must be able to provide documentation of the course/experience where they attained the required skill set to be successful in the course. This documentation can include a resume, course syllabus, completed coursework, or recommendation from an internship/research experience where the student demonstrated the required skill set. We encourage the student 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 Data Science Majors receive first priority to enroll in Major restricted Data Science courses.

Note: Please be advised that faculty approval does not necessarily guarantee approval for enrolling in the course. For more information on DSC course enrollment policy and timeline, please refer to the “Enrolling in Classes” tab of our website.


Getting faculty approval and being cleared to enroll in the course will not guarantee a student a spot. They will need to place themselves on the waitlist for the course. 

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 prerequisite expectations and potential options, if applicable. 

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 students review the specific enrollment process and the timeline for courses on the “Course Information: Enrolling in Classes” page of the website. 

Fall 2020: 

For the Fall 2020 quarter, Data Science Majors will receive first priority to enroll in all DSC courses. After second pass has ended, Data Science Minors will then be authorized to enroll in classes. Beginning Week 1, all other students will be authorized to enroll in the order their EASy request was received, provided that there are seats available. (For DSC 10: Please see the “Enrolling in Classes” page for course-specific information). 

Winter 2021: 

Beginning with Winter 2021, Data Science Majors will continue to receive first priority to enroll in all DSC courses (with the exception of DSC 10). After second pass has ended, all remaining students (including DSC Minors) 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. For specific course enrollment advice, please refer to the “Enrolling in Classes” page of the website. 

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. 


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 DSC Department will do everything we can to accommodate students. Waitlist into the class and then, if seats become available, students will be authorized to enroll in our course enrollment priority and in waitlist order. We cannot guarantee that students will get into the course. 

While we would like to be able to answer this question with certainty, 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 with enrollment priority. If students have any questions about their position on the waitlist for a waitlist-only course, they may contact us through the Virtual Advising Center. For non-waitlist-only courses, generally speaking, students can expect a 10% drop rate for courses. For example, if a course is a 30 seat discussion section, 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. 

All faculty members are not able to add students to classes themselves. If students cannot add themselves because a class is full, they should immediately get on the waitlist for that course (continuing students may waitlist beginning Second Pass). 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. If a student cannot add themselves because they have not fulfilled the listed prerequisites, then they should plan on taking the listed prerequisite or submit an EASy request if they have taken a course with similar content. The DSC Department does its best to accommodate as many students as possible. Please wait patiently as it may take up to Week 2 to finalize enrollment sizes. 

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

A student may have been dropped from the waitlist because there was a change in the course (i.e., switched times, switched days). During the enrollment period, it is critical students check their UCSD email for any updates. This may have an impact on their schedule. The DSC Undergraduate Advising Office will not be able to help a student if they missed these emails.

Summer Courses

Summer course schedules will be posted during the Spring quarter on the “Schedule of Classes” page on the “UCSD Summer Session website”. Class offerings will depend on who will be teaching and it will vary every year. Please review all other information on this website as Summer varies the most compared to all other academic quarters. 

Transfer Students

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 are strongly encouraged to discuss this with their College Advisor and the Data Science Academic Advisor. 

Incoming transfer students from California Community College should refer to to determine if courses they have completed or plan to take are equivalent to courses at UC San Diego. In some cases, students may petition for a course they completed at a California Community College to transfer as a DSC course, as we are still reviewing courses at California Community Colleges for articulation. 

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 “Petition Instructions” page of the website for more information about submitting a petition.