Advising Frequently Asked Questions

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Harold Frank Hall, Rm. 1006
Office hours: Monday-Friday 9:00-12:00 & 1:00-4:00
Email: coe-info@engineering.ucsb.edu 
Phone: (805) 893-2809
Fax: (805) 893-8124

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Admissions Incoming Students Academics Graduation & Commencement


Q: How do I apply for admission as a Freshman? 

A:  Please visit the Office of Admissions webpage for application procedures and requirements.

Q: What are the UC Eligibility requirements?

A:  Please see the University of California webpage for information about UC Eligibility requirements, including:
Subject Requirements
Examination Requirement
Admission by Exam
Admission by Exception
English Language Proficiency
California Residents
Out-of-State Students
Home-Schooled Applicants

Q: What exams are required for application to UCSB?

A:  All applicants must submit scores from the ACT Assessment plus Writing or the SAT Reasoning Test.  UC no longer requires SAT subject tests, but certain programs on some campuses recommend them and you can use subject tests to satisfy the "a-g" admissions requirements. The College of Engineering recommends that all applicants take the Math 2 subject test.

Q: Explain Minimum Eligibility vs. Selection in UCSB admissions processing.

A: While attaining minimum eligibility is an important first step in gaining admission to the University, minimum eligibility does not assure admission to your first choice campus. When UCSB cannot admit all eligible applicants, as has been the case among many UC campuses in recent years, we use standards to select students that are more competitive than the minimum requirements. These standards, which the university calls selection criteria, identify students who have demonstrated the capacity for high academic achievement and promise, and who have a variety of other qualities that can contribute to the strength and diversity of the campus community. Visit the Freshman Selection page on the Undergraduate Admissions website to find out more.

Q: What are the average GPAs and exam scores for admitted students?

A: The University of California assesses undergraduate applicants via a comprehensive review. Most campuses have more qualified applicants than they have room to accommodate, thus, they apply standards that are more demanding than the minimum requirements. Using a process called comprehensive review, evaluators look beyond test scores and grades to evaluate applicants' academic achievements in light of the opportunities available to them and the capacity each student demonstrates to contribute to the intellectual life of the campus. No single factor determines admission.

Please see the University of California Admissions website for more detailed information about the comprehensive review process or to download a pdf of the comprehensive review factsheet.

Q: How do I apply for transfer admission?

A: Please see the UCSB undergraduate admissions page for transfer students, including information about:

  • Transfer Eligibility and Selection
  • Selective Majors for Transfer
  • Transfer Admissions Guarantee (TAG) -- The College of Engineering at UCSB doesn't have a Transfer Guarantee.
  • Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) -- prospective applicants to engineering and computer science majors at UCSB should focus on completing preparation for the major courses and the UC eligibility course pattern for transfer applicants rather than focusing on completing IGETC. IGETC only completes the lower division GE requirements for the College of Engineering, students admitted with IGETC may still have to complete the College's GE Depth requirement after matriculation.
  • Transfer Admissions Planner (TAP)
  • Transfer students generally require 2 1/2 to 3 years to complete an engineering or computer science degree after matriculation due to missing some preparation for the major courses not available at every California Community College.
  • Pease also see assist.org for required and strongly recommended course preparation for engineering and computer science majors.   

Q: What are the requirements to apply to UCSB as an international student?

A: Please see the UCSB undergraduate admissions page for international students (freshman and transfer).

Q: When is the open house? 

A: UCSB’s annual open house is held in April. See the UCSB Open House page for current information.

Q: Do you give tours of UCSB? Do you give tours of Engineering labs?

A: The Office of Admissions conducts tours daily. You can register for a tour, take a virtual tour, and find other information at the UCSB Admissions campus tours page.  

Engineering lab tours are not available at this time.  

Q: Can I attend an information session?

A: All campus tours offered through the Office of Admissions offer a short information session prior to the tour.  

The College of Engineering hosts information sessions in the spring. You can find more information on our Admissions Events & Tours page.

Go to: Admissions  |  Incoming Students  |  Academics Graduation & Commencement

Incoming students

Q: I've been admitted and want to attend UCSB, what do I do?

A: Congratulations! Please submit your Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) through the Office of Admissions website.  After you submit your SIR you will be sent further instructions from the Office of Admissions regarding Summer Orientation and welcome activities.

Q: When is orientation?

A: Summer orientation for freshman and transfer students is during the summer. You can find up to date information on the UCSB Orientation Programs website.   

Q: Is orientation mandatory?

A: Orientation is not mandatory but it is highly recommended. At orientation you will meet your future fellow classmates, learn about UCSB College of Engineering major and general education requirements, and learn about campus resources. You can find additional information about orientation on the UCSB Orientation Programs website.

Q: What is the Freshman Summer Start Program (FSSP)?

A: The Freshman Summer Start Program (FSSP) is an academic and social program for newly admitted freshmen. FSSP students average 9 units, taken from a choice of over 90 courses offered during Summer Session B that fulfill general education and pre-major requirements. FSSP also offers special 1 and 2-unit FSSP courses: Freshman Seminars, Honors Sections, Introduction to Undergraduate Research Courses, and Enrichment Courses. There are numerous academic and social activities to help students transition academically into UCSB, make friends, meet faculty, learn about the campus and its many resources, and enjoy the Santa Barbara summer. Details on the FSSP website.

Q: What is the Summer Transitional Educational Program (STEP)?

A: The Summer Transitional Enrichment Program (STEP) is a one-week summer bridge program that provides incoming EOP students with an in-depth orientation to university life and campus resources that are here to assist you in your successful transition to UCSB. STEP students discover ways to enrich their college experience and cultivate a sense of belonging to the UCSB community. Details on the STEP website.

Q: What is Discover Engineering?

A: Discover Engineering is a resource and information fair for all new students in the College of Engineering held each fall before the start of the quarter.  Join us for lunch and meet advisors, engineering student organizations, and other campus resources. Check our academic events calendar in late summer/fall for information about the upcoming Discover Engineering event.

Q: Where should I live to attend UCSB?

A: Students live in on-campus housing and off-campus (non-university affiliated) housing in Goleta, Santa Barbara, and other local communities. Information about on-campus housing is available on the UCSB Housing & Residential Services website. Information about off-campus housing is available through the UCSB Community Housing page.

Go to: Admissions Incoming Students  |  Academics  |  Graduation & Commencement


Q: How do I switch into an Engineering major?

A: Please see our page on change of major into the College of Engineering.

Q: How do I change my major out of the College of Engineering?

A: It is recommended you speak with an academic advisor in the College's Undergraduate Studies Office (Harold Frank Hall 1006) when making the decision to change your major out of the College of Engineering.  Once you have switched out of engineering you will not be allowed to change back in at a later date. Further, you should meet with the major and/or college advisor you are interested in switching to. The advisor will review your coursework and eligibility for the major.

To officially change your major:

  1. Download the Change of Major petition (pdf) available via the UCSB Registrar.
  2. If you have identified which major you are changing to, take the petition to the new major department for a signature.
  3. Next, bring the petition to the college office you are changing to (Letters and Science: 1117 Cheadle Hall; College of Creative Studies: CCS Building 494) for a signature. 
  4. Finally, bring the petition to the College of Engineering Office for a signature.  

Q: How do i run a degree audit or progress check?

A: Degree Audits (showing progress on all degree requirements) and Progress Checks (showing progress only in GE requirements) may be run through GOLD.  Once logged into GOLD, click the Academic History tab, then click either Degree Audit or Progress Check.  You may select to run the audits with Work in Progress (WIP) or not.  If you feel something is wrong with your audit or progress check please contact the College of Engineering as soon as possible to resolve the issue.

Q: How do I make an advising appointment?

A: Advisors are available for drop-in advising: Monday-Friday, 9am-12 and 1-4pm in Harold Frank Hall 1006. You may also email us at coe-info@engineering.ucsb.edu.

Q: What are General Education (GE) courses?

A: In addition to major requirements, all students in the College of Engineering must complete General Education requirements in order to qualify for graduation. The aims of the GE Program are to provide a body of knowledge of general intellectual value that will give the student a broad cultural base and to meet the objectives of the engineering profession. An appreciating and understanding of the humanities and social sciences are important in making engineers aware of their social responsibilities and enabling them to consider related factors in the decision-making process. Transfer students who completed IGETC may substitute IGETC for the lower division GE and breadth requirements only. Students still need to complete the writing and depth requirements at UCSB. Details available on our Undergraduate Requirements page.

Q: How do I pick General Education (GE) courses?

A: The first step in choosing a GE courses is to run a Degree Audit via GOLD. Your Degree Audit will indicate which courses and transferrable coursework have already been applied to certain requirements. Once you have determined the areas in which you need to complete courses, consult the GEAR publication or the UCSB General Catalog to determine which courses apply to the areas you need to fulfill. Additionally, you may use the Advanced Search feature in GOLD to view courses that fulfill the GE Areas. College of Engineering academic advisors are available to help you select courses and help you make a plan to fulfill your GEs.

Q: What is the Depth Requirement?

A: The Depth Requirement is a General Education requirement for student on a catalog year 2017-2018 and earlier. Some students are eligible to change their catalog year and, therefore, not complete the Depth Requirement. Students should consult a College of Engineering adademic advisor if they are confused about this requirement or to inquire about changing catalog years.

There are three options for fulfilling the depth requirement:

  1. Take one lower division and one upper division course in two separate departments. All courses must also be in GE Areas D, E, F, G, or H, American History and Institutions, or Special Subject Area (Ethnicity, European Traditions, or Writing). Example:  Psychology 1 and Psychology 101 AND Music 15 and Music 114
  2. Completion of one of the following sequences: Chicano Studies 1A-B-C, Comparative Literature 30A-B-C, French 50AX-BX-CX, History 2A-B-C, History 2AH-BH-CH, History 4A-B-C, History 4AH-BH-CH, History 17A-B-C, History 17AH-BH-CH, Philosophy 20A-B-C, Religious Studies 80A-B-C, Theater 2A-B-C, or any three courses from Art History 6A-B-C-D-DS-DW-E-F-G-H-J-K.
  3. Complete an approved minor or double major, in a discipline encompassed by areas D, E, F, or G.  This can be done by petition online and petitions must be submitted at least three quarters in advance of the student's expected graduation date. Approved minors: American Indian and Indigenous Studies (Religious Studies), Anthropology, Art History, Asian American Studies, Black Studies, Chinese, Classics, Comparative Literature, English, Feminist Studies, French, German Studies, Global Peace and Security, History, Italian Studies, Japanese, Jewish Studies (Religious Studies), Labor Studies (History), Latin American and Iberian Studies, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies (Feminist Studies), Linguistics, Music, Philosophy, Portuguese, Russian, Sociocultural Linguistics, Spanish, Theatre, Theatre - Production and Design, OR Women, Culture, and Development (Global Studies).

Q: I want to take classes this summer, how do I pick community college classes?

A: Community colleges offer only lower division courses. To determine course equivalents between UCSB and California Community Colleges go to Assist.org. From this website select UCSB and the community college you want to attend. You can then narrow your search by major requirement, general education requirement, or department listings.  You should not repeat a course you first completed at UCSB at a community college.  Please speak with an academic advisor if you have questions about repeating courses.

The Special Subject Area Writing Requirement cannot be fulfilled at a community college.  Only UCSB courses will apply toward this requirement.

Q: I want to take classes this summer at a CSU, other UC, or out of state college how do I choose classes?

A: There are no direct equivalents for courses at other UCs, CSUs, and out of state colleges. You can contact the College's Undergraduate Studies Office for advising and information before enrolling but we often cannot tell you if the course will meet a particular requirement. In other words, you cannot have complete assurance about whether or not your outside coursework will transfer. The following guidelines can help you avoid disappointment:

  1. Your course must be completed at an accredited college or university and must be reported on an official transcript.
  2. Your course must cover the same depth and breadth of a subject as UC courses.
  3. Your course must be listed and described in a college's catalog for the regular year. Note that courses taken through non-University of California extension programs are not always transferable. Within the University of California, UC Extension courses are transferable only if numbered 1-199.
  4. Credit will not be allowed for any coursework that substantially duplicates a course you already have completed.
  5. Credit also will not be allowed for any math or foreign language course that is less advanced than those you already have completed.
  6. Keep in mind that courses within traditional academic disciplines (e.g., science, literature, and social sciences) generally are transferable. The following types of courses are not transferable:
    • Courses that are vocational, technical, or professional in nature (e.g., advertising, real estate, electronics)
    • Remedial courses
    • Personal enrichment (e.g., to how to use your personal computer)

Q: I took a class at an institution other than UCSB, how do I get credit for it?

A: After completing the course and once the grade has been finalized order an official transcript from the institution and have it sent the Office of the Admissions. The Office of Admissions determines transferability of coursework after you present an official transcript of the work. You can contact the College's Undergraduate Studies Office for advising and information before enrolling but we often cannot tell you if the course will meet a particular requirement, the final decision rests with the Office of Admissions after your transcript is received.

If the course will function as a prerequisite for another course at UCSB you must also work with the undergraduate advisor in the department offering the course (e.g., taking the equivalent of Writing 2 at a community college? Talk to the Writing Program advisor).

Q: How do I choose electives for my major?  (e.g., major electives, tech electives, science electives, etc.)

Talk to the undergraduate department advisor in your major department. 

Q: How do I drop a class?

A: Courses must be dropped via GOLD on or before the deadline each quarter. Students must maintain a course load of at least 12 units.  Students are responsible for dropping courses, and making other schedule modifcations, by the deadlines established by the Office of the Registrar.  Please review quarterly deadlines on the Office of the Registrar's website.

Q: How do I change my grading option?

A: All courses for your major must be taken for a letter grade. At least 2/3 of all units completed must be for a letter grade. General Education courses may be taken P/NP if allowed by the department offering the course. You may change your grade from P/NP to a letter grade (or vice versa) via GOLD on or before the deadline each quarter.  Students are responsible for changing the grading option, and making other schedule modifcations, by the deadlines established by the Office of the Registrar.  Please review quarterly deadlines on the Office of the Registrar's website.  

Q: How do I add a class?

A: Courses may be added via GOLD on or before the deadline each quarter. Students are responsible for adding courses, and making other schedule modifcations, by the deadlines established by the Office of the Registrar.  Please review quarterly deadlines on the Office of the Registrar's website.

Q: How do I take more than 21 units in a quarter (excess load)?

A: You may add up to 21 units via GOLD per quarter. If you would like to take more than 21 units you must submit a Petition for Excess Units to the College's Undergraduate Studies Office (HFH 1006) at least 5 days in advance of the add deadline each quarter.  Requests will be evaluated alongside students' progress in the major and overall GPA.

Q: Can I take a deficit load?

A: Students are required to take a minium of 12 units per quarter.  Students with extenuating circumstances (see below) may petition to take fewer than 12 units in a single quarter (dowload the petition, supporting documentation is required). 

Deficit requests are only considered in two situations:

  1. Documented medical or family challenges prevent the student from enrolling in a full-time status. The student must provide documentation supporting their request. The final decision rests with the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Engineering.
  2. Students who are in their final quarter before graduation. Students in their final quarter may request a deficit load and, if approved, also request a partial fee reduction from the Office of the Registrar. To be eligible for a fee reduction, you also need to complete the Request for Partial Fee Reduction form and submit it to the Office of the Registrar prior to the first day of instruction. Office of Registrar form download: Request for Partial Fee Reduction. Please note fee reductions may impact financial aid.  Please consult with the Financial Aid Office for additional information.

Q: How do I withdraw from a quarter?

A:  If a student determines that they cannot complete a quarter a complete withdrawal from the quarter may be requested. The petition is available from the Office of the Registrar and requires signatures from the major department and College of Engineering.  

A completed petition to request a complete withdrawal must be submitted by the deadline. The deadline is the last day of instruction for the quarter in which the request is being made. The date a completed petition is received by the Office of the Registrar is the official withdrawal date.  

Please see: https://registrar.sa.ucsb.edu/withdraw.aspx for more information about withdrawing from the university.

Q: What is the honors program? How do I apply to be in the Honors Program?

A: Please visit the Honors Program webpage for more information or email honors@engineering.ucsb.edu for an appointment to speak with an advisor.

Q: How do I study abroad?

A: Please visit the Study Abroad webpage for more information or email eap@engineering.ucsb.edu for an appointment to speak with an advisor.

Q: What is a BS/MS (five year) program? How do I apply?

A: There are six integrated BS/MS degree programs in the College of Engineering.  Please vist the Majors and Programs webpage for more information on the programs available.  Students should speak with the advisor in the department they wish to apply to at the beginning of their second year for information about requirements and when to apply.

Q: How do I order my official ucsb transcripts?

A: Please vist the Office of the Registrar's website for transcript ordering information.

Q: I have a disability, how do i get services?

A: Students with disabilities are responsible for ensuring that the Disabled Students Program (DSP) is aware of their disabilities and for providing DSP with appropriate documentation. DSP is located at 2120 Student Resource Building and serves as the campus liaison regarding issues and regulations related to students with disabilities. The DSP staff works in an advisory capacity with a variety of campus departments to ensure that equal access is provided to all disabled students. 

Q: How do I run a Degree Audit?

A: Your Degree Audit will indicate which courses and transferrable coursework have already been applied to certain requirements. Details and a tool to run a degree audit are available on the Registrar wesite, page on Degree Audits.

Go to: Admissions Incoming Students Academics  |  Graduation & Commencement

Graduation and Commencement

Q: how do i get a graduation cap and gown?

A: Please visit the Bookstore Graduation webpage for information.

Q: how do i Declaring candidacy for graduation?

A: You should declare your candidacy for graduation for the quarter in which all requirements will be complete.  This action is completed in GOLD.  Detailed information is available on the Office of the Registrar's webpage.

Q: How do i Sign up to walk at graduation (Participate in commencement ceremonies)?

A: Signing up to walk in the Commencement Ceremonies is a separate action from declaring candidacy to graduate.  Both actions are completed in GOLD.  Detailed information is available on the Office of the Registrar's webpage.

Q: Checking/verifying degree requirements completed

A: Your Degree Audit will indicate which courses and transferrable coursework have already been applied to certain requirements. Details and a tool to run a degree audit are available on the Registrar wesite, page on Degree Audits.