Entry into the Data Science Major

Entry into the Data Science Major

For those admitted to UC San Diego in Fall 2018, the Data Science major is capped. For current UC San Diego students interested in switching into Data Science, please contact the program coordinator for details on capped status.

Students can select one of the following routes for admission to the data science major.

Direct Admission

Students can apply for admission to UC San Diego as freshmen admits starting Fall 2018 or as transfer students starting Fall 2019 and choose data science as their preferred major.

Continuing students

UC San Diego undergraduate students who would like to change from another major into the Data Science Undergraduate Program may apply to the major via the Capped Major Application. Applicants will have two chances to apply for entry into the major (students will only have one opportunity in 2018/2019, which is projected to be in Spring 2019). Applications will be accepted twice per year and must be submitted on or before the deadline.

Eligibility requirements

  1. Successful completion of 24 units (for letter grade) at UC San Diego (to ensure that students are making progress towards their degree).
  2. Successful completion of the screening courses (for a letter grade): Math 20C, Math 18/20F, and DSC 10.
  3. Students must apply by the end of their sixth academic quarter at UC San Diego.

Selection process

  1. Students will be ranked based on their GPA in the screening courses, Math 20C, Math 18F/20F, and DSC 10. Grades from transfer credit will be used in calculating the GPA for the screening courses. Students with only P/NP grades in these courses will not be allowed to apply for the major.
  2. Students with the same GPA in the screening courses will be ordered by their overall GPA.
  3. Students will be admitted according to the ranking based on the number of available seats.
  4. If there are more students at a given rank than the available seats, random selection will be made from among the students at that rank to fill in the remaining seats.


The details regarding the deadlines and other information regarding the application will be posted by July 1, 2018.

Entry into the Data Science Major: Applicable only for 2017-18 Academic Year

Data Science is currently an open (uncapped) major and will remain so during the 2017-18 academic year. Students can declare themselves as Data Science majors starting September 28, 2017. However, we ask students to consider the following important factors before they decide to declare themselves as Data Science majors:

  • We recommend that students make an informed choice about the major by taking DSC 10, Math 18 and Math 20C  and by talking to the Data Science faculty and staff advisor. As data science is a new synthesis of core disciplines such as machine learning, statistics, data management and high-performance computation as well as application disciplines, it requires strong skills in computer science and mathematics and expertise in application domains.  Students will be in a better position to decide whether data science is the right major for them after taking the suggested courses and talking to the advisors.
  • Data science courses will be rolled out gradually starting Fall 2017. During the 2017-18 academic year, only lower-division courses will be offered followed by more advanced courses in subsequent years. It is not expected for upper-division courses to be released until Fall 2019. Furthermore, we expect most of the Data Science courses will be offered on a regular basis starting with the 2019-2020 academic year. As a consequence of the gradual roll-out, it will take at least 4 years to graduate with a Data Science major beginning in Fall 2017 regardless of your standing (freshmen, sophomore, junior or senior). For this reason, we do not advise students with a 2nd year or higher-level standing to declare themselves as a Data Science major.
  • If you are already in one of the capped majors (for example, CSE, Math-Computer Science, ECE), we do not recommend switching to the Data Science major for the following reasons:
    • You may already have an opportunity to gain expertise in data science since you can access several Data Science courses as part of your current major.
    • Once you leave a capped major, you may not be able to get back into that major if determined it is more aligned with your interests and goals.
  • For the next couple of years, we anticipate that the demand for Data Science classes will  exceed the class size. We expect the priority order  to change as  the number of students in Data Science major and minor evolve. For the Academic Year of 2017-2018, students will be required to place themselves on the waitlist for Data Science courses and will be manually authorized into the course bye the following course enrollment priority order:  
    1. The small number of students who declared themselves as Data Science majors in Spring 2017.
    2. Freshman and Sophomore level students (students who entered the university as New First Year Students will determined by entry year; AP credits will not put students at any disadvantage; Transfer students year level will be determined by unit level)
    3. Upper-level students; these students will be authorized to enroll at the end of Week One in waitlist order if there are still seats available in the course.
    We plan to offer DSC 10 each quarter during the 2017-18 academic year to try to accommodate students who intend to major or minor in data science. If you do not get into DSC 10 in the Fall quarter, please consider enrolling in Winter or Spring quarter.