MATHEMATICS UNDERGRADUATE
STUDENT HANDBOOK
Administration

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Click on a header link below to find answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

Course Enrollment

Q: What is the Math Placement Exam? Do I need to take it?
Q: I’ve taken a precalculus course at another school. Can I enroll directly in a math course?
Q: I haven’t fulfilled the prerequisite for a course. Can I still enroll?
Q: I’m planning to take a prerequisite for a math course over the summer at another school. Can I use that course to enroll for Fall Quarter?
Q: I’ve taken my math course prerequisite and earned a P grade, but WebReg isn’t letting me enroll. How do I fix this?
Q: I want to enroll in a Freshman Seminar but I have sophomore standing. How can I get cleared?
Q: I need to retake a course for the third time. Do I need to petition the Math Department?
Q: I earned a low grade in my math course. Can I repeat it to improve my GPA?
Q: I’m an incoming student and haven’t been able to enroll yet, but many of the classes are already wait-listed. Will I be able to enroll?
Q: I’m currently on a wait list for a math course. What are my chances of getting in to the class?
Q: My math course has a lab (LA) on the Schedule of Classes. How is the lab portion of the class structured?
Q: I’m an undergrad but I’d like to enroll in a graduate-level math course. Can I do that?

 

Transfer Credit

Q: I’ve taken the AP Calculus exam. What math credit can I earn?
Q: I’ve taken the AP Statistics exam. What math credit can I earn?
Q: I’ve taken IB Higher Level Mathematics. What math credit can I earn?
Q: I’ve taken IB Standard Level Mathematics. What math credit can I earn?
Q: I’ve taken GCE Advanced Level Mathematics. What math credit can I earn?
Q: I’ve taken courses at a California Community College, CSU, or UC campus. What math credit can I earn?
Q: I’ve taken a vector calculus course at another school that isn’t listed as equivalent to Math 20E. How can I get Math 20E equivalent credit for it?
Q: Does UCSD offer online Math courses? Can I take an online course at another school and transfer it for credit?
Q: Can I take an upper division course at another UC or 4-year university and transfer it for credit?
Q: I took a course that is not UC transferable. Can the Math Department give me credit for it?

 

Courses and Major Requirements

Q: My degree audit doesn’t match up with the General Catalog requirements. How do I fix this?
Q: What is the difference between the Math 20 series and the Honors Calculus series (31AH-BH-CH)?
Q: What is the difference between Math 100A-B and Math 103A-B?
Q: What is the difference between Math 140A-B and Math 142A-B?
Q: I want to take one of my major requirement courses for a P grade. Is that allowed?
Q: I earned a D grade in one of my courses. Can I use it for my major?
Q: A course is listed as a major requirement in the General Catalog but is not listed on my degree audit. Do I still need to take it?
Q: I’m interested in doing undergraduate research or a math internship. Is that available through the department?
Q: I want to use a different course for a major requirement than what is listed in the General Catalog. Is that allowed?

 

Changing Majors

Q: I started in the Math 10 series, but now want to switch to the Math 20 series. Which courses can I skip?
Q: I started in the Math 20 series, but now want to switch to the Math 10 series. Is that allowed?
Q: I’m interested in Pre-Med and/or Pre-Pharm. What math courses should I take?
Q: What is the difference between the Math-Computer Science degree and a Computer Science and Engineering degree?
Q: I applied to UCSD with a CS major but was accepted as undeclared. Is Math-CS a good second choice major for me?
Q: How do I declare a Math Minor?
Q: How do I declare a Math Major?
Q: When will my request to declare a Math Major be reviewed?
Q: I’ve requested to declare a Math Major but my application was denied before the review period. Why did this happen? Should I re-apply?
Q: If I request to declare a Math Major, what are my chances of being approved?

 

Tutoring and Employment

Q: Is there math tutoring available?
Q: Are there any jobs in the Math Department I can apply for?

 

 

Course Enrollment
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Q: What is the Math Placement Exam? Do I need to take it?

A: The best resource for information on the Math Placement Exam is the Math Testing & Placement website: http://mathtesting.ucsd.edu/testing/index.html

Not all students need to take the Math Placement Exam; some students will be exempt based on other criteria. Please see the following webpage for information on placement in your first math course: http://mathtesting.ucsd.edu/placement/index.html

 

Q: I’ve taken a precalculus course at another school. Can I enroll directly in a math course?

A: A precalculus, statistics, college algebra, or trigonometry course does not qualify you to enroll in a math course at UCSD. You will need to take the Math Placement Exam or fulfill one of the other criteria linked to above before enrolling in your initial math course.

 

Q: I haven’t fulfilled the prerequisite for a course. Can I still enroll?

A: Prerequisites for Math courses are enforced by the online registration system (WebReg). Prerequisites are in place to ensure students are fully prepared for their math courses and are in a position to earn a passing grade. They are not meant as a roadblock to your 4-year plan or your graduation timeline.

Students who believe they have fulfilled the prerequisite for a math course through some means of non-transferable coursework or self-study should look into the possibility of earning Credit by Examination. Please contact us through the Virtual Advising Center if you would like further information about Credit by Examination.

 

Q: I’m planning to take a prerequisite for a math course over the summer at another school. Can I use that course to enroll for Fall Quarter?

A: Students may use in-progress summer courses as prerequisites for Fall Quarter enrollment in math courses. If you have enrolled in a prerequisite for a math course over the summer, please submit a request through the university’s Course Preauthorization System. You will need to upload your class schedule and payment page confirming enrollment with your request before it will be reviewed by the Math Department.

Once you have completed your Summer course and requested that your official transcript be sent to the UCSD Admissions Office, you are also required to email the Math Department verification of your final grade (an unofficial transcript is fine) so your preauthorization will remain in place. Unofficial transcripts should be emailed to mathadvising@math.ucsd.edu after your grade has been finalized.

Please note: Math courses used as prerequisites for other departments’ courses (such as Economics, Physics, or Engineering) are not cleared by the Math Department. You will need to contact the department offering the course you want to enroll in to see what their prerequisite clearance procedures are.

 

Q: I’ve taken my math course prerequisite and earned a P grade, but WebReg isn’t letting me enroll. How do I fix this?

A: Please contact the Math Department advisors through the Virtual Advising Center and request a manual clearance for your course. Due to the way a P grade is coded in the registration system, it is not automatically recognized as a prerequisite for courses that require a C- grade or higher in the prerequisite course.

 

Q: I want to enroll in a Freshman Seminar but I have sophomore standing. How can I get cleared?

A: Please contact the Math Department advisors through the Virtual Advising Center and request a manual clearance. Freshmen and Freshmen with Sophomore Standing have first priority enrollment in Freshman Seminars in Mathematics. Sophomores and upperclassmen will need to wait until 2nd pass enrollment has begun for all students before they may request clearance into a Freshman Seminar.

 

Q: I need to retake a course for the third time. Do I need to petition the Math Department?

A: The Math Department is not involved in this petition process. You should contact your College Advising Office directly.

 

Q: I earned a low grade in my math course. Can I repeat it to improve my GPA?

A: If you have earned a C- or higher grade in any course at UCSD, you may not repeat it for credit. Repeating a course you have already earned a C- or higher grade for will not improve your GPA.

For grades of D and F, please see the following university webpage: https://students.ucsd.edu/academics/enroll/special-enrollment/how-to-repeat-a-class.html

 

Q: I’m an incoming student and haven’t been able to enroll yet, but many of the classes are already wait-listed. Will I be able to enroll?

A: The Math Department saves seats in Fall Quarter entry-level math courses for incoming freshmen and transfers. These seats will be released the day before new student enrollment begins.

Courses that show as “FULL – Waitlist (#)” on the Schedule of Classes, but have an enrollment limit set below 28 students, will likely have seats released for incoming students.

 

Q: I’m currently on a wait list for a math course. What are my chances of getting in to the class?

A: While we would like to be able to answer this question satisfactorily, we are not able to. 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 wait list have a good chance of being enrolled. However, it is not guaranteed that any student will be added into the course from a wait list, as it will depend on another student officially dropping from that section. That is not something we can predict.

Certain wait lists are managed by the department and more students will be enrolled than the current enrollment limit. If you have any questions about your position on the wait list, you may contact us through the Virtual Advising Center.

 

Q: My math course has a lab (LA) on the Schedule of Classes. How is the lab portion of the class structured?

A: Information on the MATLAB portion of Math 20D can be found here: http://www.math.ucsd.edu/~math20d/

Information on the MATLAB portion of Math 18 (formerly Math 20F) can be found here: http://www.math.ucsd.edu/~math18/

 

Q: I’m an undergrad but I’d like to enroll in a graduate-level math course. Can I do that?

A: Undergraduate students may enroll in graduate-level courses with the consent of instructor and department on an add-card. You should discuss your prerequisite preparation with the instructor, who will best be able to tell you your chances for doing well in the course.

Add-cards are available at the Office of the Registrar, at the Math Department front desk, or from most college or department offices. They must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar with instructor and department approval before the add deadline.

 

Transfer Credit
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Q: I’ve taken the AP Calculus exam. What math credit can I earn?

A: Information on AP Calculus credit can be found on the Math Testing and Placement website: http://mathtesting.ucsd.edu/placement/ap.html

 

Q: I’ve taken the AP Statistics exam. What math credit can I earn?

A: The AP Statistics exam does not convey any UCSD Math course credit and is not equivalent to our lower division statistics course.

 

Q: I’ve taken IB Higher Level Mathematics. What math credit can I earn?

A: Students who earn a score of 5, 6, or 7 will receive 8 units of credit equivalent to Math 20A. If a student has completed Topic 9: Calculus as part of their curriculum, they may request to receive Math 20A and Math 20B equivalency. Students must provide verification of Topic 9: Calculus with an official transcript or a confirmation from a school official. Verification can be sent to mathadvising@math.ucsd.edu.

 

Q: I’ve taken IB Standard Level Mathematics. What math credit can I earn?

A: IB Standard Level Mathematics does not convey any UCSD Math course credit and is not equivalent to our lower division math courses.

 

Q: I’ve taken GCE Advanced Level Mathematics. What math credit can I earn?

A: In order for us to assess your A Level transfer credit equivalencies, we need to know your syllabus number and qualification (9709, 9740, 9231, 9371, H2, etc.). Please submit a physical or electronic copy of your Certifying Statement of Results with your syllabus number included to the Math Department, either in person or by email:

APM 7409
mathadvising@math.ucsd.edu

 

Q: I’ve taken courses at a California Community College, CSU, or UC campus. What math credit can I earn?

A: A full list of equivalent transferable California Community College, CSU, and UC lower division math courses can be found here: http://www.math.ucsd.edu/programs/undergraduate-program/transfer-equivalencies/

Courses not listed may be reviewed for equivalency by petition. Information on petitioning transfer courses can be found here: http://www.math.ucsd.edu/programs/undergraduate/advising_resources/PetitionInformation.pdf

Petitions can be submitted to the Math Department in person (APM 7409), by email (mathadvising@math.ucsd.edu), or by fax (858-534-1176).

  

Q: I’ve taken a vector calculus course at another school that isn’t listed as equivalent to Math 20E. How can I get Math 20E equivalent credit for it? 

A: Due to the variations in quality and quantity of coverage of vector calculus in Calculus III courses at community colleges, we require that students go through a specific petitioning process to receive equivalent transfer credit for Math 20E. As part of that process students must take a 45 minute quiz that covers some of the fundamental material and theorems. This quiz is given once a quarter, typically during the first week of instruction, and may only be attempted once.

If you pass, your petition is approved and Math 20E equivalency is attached to your transfer course credit. Information on the exam, including dates, times, location, and practice homework/tests is updated quarterly on our webpage: http://www.math.ucsd.edu/programs/undergraduate/math_20E_exam/

 

Q: Does UCSD offer online Math courses? Can I take an online course at another school and transfer it for credit?

A: While UCSD does not offer any online math courses, students may transfer in equivalent credit for online courses from other accredited colleges and universities.

A current list of online offerings from California Community Colleges, CSUs, and UCs can be found on the California Virtual Campus website: http://www.cvc.edu/

Courses that are not already listed on the Math Department website as equivalent may be petitioned for credit (subject to the UCSD Admissions Office determination of UC transferability).

 

Q: Can I take an upper-division course at another UC or 4-year university and transfer it for credit? 

A: Upper-division courses taken at another UC or 4-year university may be reviewed for equivalency by petition. Information on petitioning transfer courses can be found here: http://www.math.ucsd.edu/programs/undergraduate/advising_resources/PetitionInformation.pdf

Petitions can be submitted to the Math Department in person (APM 7409), by email (mathadvising@math.ucsd.edu), or by fax (858-534-1176).

 

Q: I took a course that is not UC transferable. Can the Math Department give me credit for it? 

A: The Math Department cannot grant equivalency for any course that is not deemed UC transferable by the UCSD Admissions Office. Students who believe they have sufficiently learned the material of one of our courses through non-transferable means may attempt to earn Credit by Examination. Please contact us through the Virtual Advising Center if you would like further information about Credit by Examination.

 

Courses and Major Requirements
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Q: My degree audit doesn’t match up with the General Catalog requirements. How do I fix this?

A: Please contact us through the Virtual Advising Center if you see any discrepancies in your degree audit. The DARS 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.

 

Q: What is the difference between the Math 20 series and the Honors Calculus series (31AH-BH-CH)?

A: The Honors Calculus courses 31AH-BH-CH are unusually demanding and are intended for students with strong aptitude and deep interest in Mathematics. The sequence introduces students to mathematical proofs at the lower division level, which the Math 20 series does not. The Math 20 series focuses on computation; the Math 31 series focuses on abstract mathematical thought. The Math 31 series prepares students for direct enrollment in upper division courses that require Math 109 (Mathematical Reasoning) as a prerequisite. The Math 31 series is taught in smaller classroom settings, with a range of 30-75 students per lecture. The Math 20 series is taught in large lecture halls, with a range of 150-400 students per lecture.

 

Q: What is the difference between Math 100A-B and Math 103A-B?

A: Our faculty have provided the following information on this topic: http://www.math.ucsd.edu/~lrothsch/math103a/take103a.htm

 

Q: What is the difference between Math 140A-B and Math 142A-B?

A: Our faculty have provided the following information on this topic: http://math.ucsd.edu/~lni/math140/140ab_vs_142ab.htm

 

Q: I want to take one of my major requirement courses for a P grade. Is that allowed?

A: A P grade is not acceptable to fulfill Math major requirements. Students must earn a letter grade in all courses required for the major (lower division, upper division, sequences, and electives). AP and IB credit are exempted, as they only transfer as P/NP.

 

Q: I earned a D grade in one of my courses. Can I use it for my major?

A: A D grade is not acceptable to fulfill Math major requirements. Students must earn a C- grade or higher in all courses required for the major (lower division, upper division, sequences, and electives).

 

Q: A course is listed as a major requirement in the General Catalog but is not listed on my degree audit. Do I still need to take it?

A: 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. You still need to take it for a letter grade; you still need to earn a C- grade or higher.

 

Q: I’m interested in doing undergraduate research or a math internship. Is that available through the department?

A: Proactive students may find a faculty advisor to work with them on undergraduate research and earn credit through Math 199. The Math Department does not have a program in place to match students with faculty; students are encouraged to initiate those relationships on their own.

Students who have found a paid or unpaid position off-campus (in a math-related field) may request to earn academic credit through Math 197. These students will need to find a faculty advisor—a Professor in the Math Department who will work with them on a special studies reading or paper or project related to their position.

Here is the Special Studies application form:

https://students.ucsd.edu/_files/registrar/special-studies-form197-198-199_6-13-2014.pdf

A good resource for matching faculty and research areas is the Math Department website: http://www.math.ucsd.edu/research/all-research-areas/

While Math 199 and Math 197 cannot be used to fulfill any math major requirements, quality research with an excellent letter of recommendation from the supervising faculty advisor can be of great benefit to students looking to apply to graduate programs in Mathematics. A meaningful project or internship can serve as a supplement to classroom achievements to any potential future employers.

General information on student internships is provided by the university: https://students.ucsd.edu/finances/internships/

 

Q: I want to use a different course for a major requirement than what is listed in the General Catalog. Is that allowed?

A: Exceptions to major requirements as listed in the General Catalog can be requested through petitioning. Submitted petitions are then reviewed by the faculty advisor for your math major.

Students should include a course syllabus or outline with their petition form if they are requesting a major requirement substitution. Petition Form (PDF)

Petitions can be submitted to the Math Department in person (APM 7409), by email (mathadvising@math.ucsd.edu), or by fax (858-534-1176).

 

Changing Majors
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Q: I started in the Math 10 series, but now want to switch to the Math 20 series. Which courses can I skip?

A: Students who begin the Math 10 series and who wish to transition to the Math 20 series may follow one of three paths:

  1. Follow Math 10A with Math 20A, with two units of credit given for Math 20A. This option is not available if the student has credit for Math 10B or Math 10C.
  2. Follow Math 10B with Math 20B, receiving two units of credit for Math 20B.
  3. Follow Math 10C with Math 20B, receiving two units of credit for Math 20B (and two units of credit for Math 20C, if taken).

Credit will not be given for courses taken simultaneously from the Math 10 and 20 series.

 

Q: I started in the Math 20 series, but now want to switch to the Math 10 series. Is that allowed?

A: Students may begin with the Math 20 series and then transition to the Math 10 series if their major department or GE requirements allow the 10 series.

  1. If a student has completed up to Math 20A, they may enroll directly in Math 10B (4 units).
  2. If a student has completed up to Math 20B, they may enroll directly in Math 10C (4 units).

There is no duplication of credit if a student chooses either of the paths above.

 

Q: I’m interested in Pre-Med and/or Pre-Pharm. What math courses should I take?

A: Information on Pre-Med advising can be found on the Career Services Center website: http://career.ucsd.edu/undergrads/interest-areas/pre-med.html

Information on Pre-Pharmacy advising can be found on the Career Services Center website: http://career.ucsd.edu/undergrads/interest-areas/pre-pharmacy.html

 

Q: What is the difference between the Math-Computer Science degree and a Computer Science and Engineering degree?

A: Mathematics-Computer Science (MA30) is a major that has a strong foundation in mathematics and computational logic; it is not a technical major in computer science or engineering. There is not a lot of emphasis on programming and engineering solutions, but rather looking at algorithms of computation and how mathematical logic is used in computer science. It is foremost a mathematics degree with a limited specialization in computer science; students will study computer science with a mathematics perspective. The curriculum is concerned with topics like computability, combinatorics, discrete math, probability, and logic.

Career-wise this major will give students more background in computer science than any other math major in the mathematics department; however, it is not designed as a alternative to the computer science majors in Jacobs School of Engineering. It will prepare students with the technical and logical skills inherent in the field of mathematics with an applied background in computer science for those interested in using mathematics in that discipline. Most jobs from the life sciences to engineering and even social science all require mathematicians. Students in Math-CS often continue their career in engineering firms, but are open to various jobs in the market due to the broad skills that mathematics provides. Generally, these students are able to enter tech firms in more management/business venture positions, as consultants, or as analysts; they understand the general processes that the programmers are developing, but they are able to put them into a larger context. Since Mathematics is a broad skill, there is no restrictive market that defines Mathematics-Computer Science majors; Math-Computer Science majors can find themselves in many different jobs/companies. Further assistance in understanding career choices in mathematics can be found at the Career Services Center.

 

Q: I applied to UCSD as a CS major but was accepted as undeclared. Is Math-CS a good second choice major for me?

A: There is no single answer to this question. It will vary depending on your interests in the field of computer science. The Math-CS major would be a good choice for you if you are interested first and foremost in the mathematics of computer science (algorithms, combinatorics, probability, logic, discrete mathematics, numerical analysis). If you are more interested in software programming, data science, artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, computing and the arts, or computational physics there may be better options for you offered by other departments.

A helpful website for students interested in the fields of computational science is provided by the university: http://computingpaths.ucsd.edu/

 

Q: How do I declare a Math Minor?

A: Students may declare a Math Minor using the TritonLink Major/Minor Tool. The Math Minor consists of seven or more courses totaling at least 28 units. At least four of these courses (16 units) must be upper division courses taken from the UCSD Department of Mathematics. Acceptable lower division courses are limited to Math 20D, 20E (or 31CH), and 18 (or 31AH). Transferable lower division courses from other institutions may be used to fulfill lower division Math Minor requirements.

There is no restriction on the number of classes taken with the P/NP option. Lower division courses can overlap between a major and minor; however, no more than 2 upper division courses (8 units) can.

 

Q: How do I declare a Math Major?

A: Students who have earned a C- or higher in the five screening courses (Math 18/20F, 20A, 20B, 20C, 20D) with a minimum GPA of 2.5 for those courses are eligible to apply for a math major on the TritonLink Major/Minor Tool.

Incoming students who have already completed the screening courses may use the TritonLink Major/Minor Tool to apply to the majors after they have enrolled in their Fall Quarter courses.

For more detailed information on Entry to the Math Majors, please see the following document: https://www.math.ucsd.edu/programs/undergraduate/Entry_to_the_Math_Majors.pdf

 

Q: When will my request to declare a Math Major be reviewed?

A: We will review applications once per quarter during Week 5. If you apply before Week 5 your application will be reviewed during the same quarter. If you apply during or after Week 5 your application will be reviewed during the following quarter.

Here are the 2017-2018 application and review dates:

Quarter Application period Review Period
Fall 2017 5/1/17 – 10/29/17 10/30/17 – 11/3/17
Winter 2018 10/30/17 – 2/4/18 2/5/18 – 2/9/18
Spring 2018 2/5/18 – 4/29/18 4/30/18 – 5/4/18

 

Q: I’ve requested to declare a Math Major but my application was denied before the review period. Why did this happen? Should I re-apply?

A: If you were denied a major change before the review period, it is because you have not yet completed all five screening courses (Math 18/20F, 20A, 20B, 20C, 20D). You may re-apply for a change of major to the Math Department only after you have completed all five courses and your final grades are posted on your Academic History.

 

Q: If I request to declare a Math Major, what are my chances of being approved?

A: The answer to this question will depend on the quantity and quality of applicants who apply during the same quarter as you. If there are a large number of applicants with very high GPAs in the screening courses, the chances of having your change of major request approved are lowered. If there are a smaller number of applicants with lower GPAs in the screening courses, your chances are increased.

We rank applicants once per quarter first by their screening course GPA and then by their change of major request date. Students with high GPAs who applied early in the application cycle have the best chance of being approved.

 

Tutoring and Employment
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Q: Is there math tutoring available? 

A: Information on tutoring can be found online here: http://www.math.ucsd.edu/resources/calculus-tutoring/index.html

 

Q: Are there any jobs in the Math Department I can apply for?

A: Information on undergraduate employment can be found online here: http://www.math.ucsd.edu/about/employment/undergraduate-students/index.html