Course Planning

Every mathematics undergraduate student has to fulfill the course requirements of the curriculum of her/his major, but when those courses are taken is left to the student to determine.

Creating a quarter-by-quarter plan of coursework is the theme of this page, and it is easy to do. After you plan out one or more quarters, you are welcome to show it to a Department of Mathematics advising staff member for opinion.

To help with planning, use these aids:

(1) The curriculum for your mathematics major. The official source for all campus curricula is the UC San Diego General Catalog. You have a choice of satisfying the requirements of your major’s curriculum as published in the General Catalog in the academic year that you began at UC San Diego or any published since then until your graduation.

For current curricula in the current General Catalog, go to, click “Courses, Curricula, and Faculty”, scroll down to “Mathematics” (not “Mathematics and Science Education”), and click “Undergraduate Program”. (You can also directly just go to

For General Catalogs from past years, go to, click “Catalogs of Record Archive”, and then click the academic year sequence corresponding to when you started at UC San Diego. (Academic years start in fall quarter. For example, if you started in 2013 Summer, yours is the 2012-2013 General Catalog.) Catalog formats have changed over the years. Some were single, downloadable PDF’s. Others were web-based, but even these have changed in format.

(2) Your degree audit. The Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) produces for each undergraduate student an audit of all completed courses that were transferred to UC San Diego (except those for which “F” or “NP” was earned), courses that were completed at this campus (except those for which “F” or “NP” was earned), courses that are presently being taken at this campus, and courses that the student is registered for in future quarters or summer sessions. (Courses taken at UC San Diego Extension through concurrent enrollment are not included on the degree audit nor on the student’s academic history until the student requests a transfer of those courses from Extension. Again, courses for which “F” or “NP” was earned will not appear on an audit, but may show on the academic history. Although connected to the campus, UC San Diego Extension is mostly treated as a separate institution, and not all Extension courses are transferable to UC San Diego.) The degree audit is meant to track your progress toward fulfilling the various requirements for any major(s) and minor(s) that you are in. You can access your audit by logging into TritonLink. (Note: Classes that a student withdrew from or dropped are not noted on a degree audit.)

(3) Mathematics planned course offerings. The Department of Mathematics publishes online the list of its courses that are planned to be offered in the current (and maybe next) academic year. The listing is divided into Lower Division, Upper Division, and Graduate Level courses. You can see the names of faculty members assigned to teach specific courses. Not include are days of the week, times of day, locations, nor class sizes of course offerings. Nonetheless, the listing is useful for tentative planning of your future quarters.

(4) Course descriptions. Every course has a name, number, departmental affiliation, description, and possible prerequisites. All of the aforementioned for UC San Diego courses is provided in the General Catalog. Go to, click “Courses, Curricula, and Faculty”, and then scroll down to the department of interest. For the majors in this department, the departments where required courses are offered include “Mathematics”, “Computer Science and Engineering”, “Economics”, and “Education Studies”. (For Department of Mathematics courses, you can directly go to

(5) UC San Diego schedule of classes. It is customary about halfway through a quarter for the campus schedule of classes to be offered in the next quarter to go live. (To find the exact date when the next online schedule will be available, look in the academic year of interest at the Enrollment and Registration Calendars page.) The schedule also shows all classes that were offered each quarter and summer session over the previous 24 months. Past offerings may be worth looking at to detect patterns; just understand that they are not a guarantee of what will happen in the future.

Once the aforementioned web pages are opened, it should be easy to what courses you have yet to take. Use the planned course offerings and schedule of classes sites to plan for the coming quarter and tentatively for future quarters. Click here for a downloadable Course Planning Worksheet which you can use to fill in what courses you intend to take each term.

Here is advice and information to be aware of as you proceed:

– A departmental requirement is that you earn a letter grade of “C-” or better in all coursework to be applied to the requirements of your major. (Click as appropriate for information on repeating a course and grades.)

– It is campus policy that a full-time undergraduate student should complete 36 units of coursework over any three consecutive quarters. (A course is considered completed if you earned a “P” or letter grade other than “F”, but the Department of Mathematics has its own rule on grades for required coursework. See above.)

– Definitely, after getting past MATH 20C, you should be able to handle more than one course per quarter in your major. However, do not overload yourself with more work than you can manage. Some courses will demand much more/less of your time than others. If you want an idea of how much of your time a course may require, talk to faculty members who teach the course. (You could also ask tutors in the calculus tutor room about their experiences.)

– MATH 20F was renumbered to MATH 18 (without change to course content) effective 2016 Fall Quarter. If you already completed MATH 20F (or its equivalent elsewhere) with a grade of “C-” or better, you do not need to take MATH 18, nor can you take it and receive credit.

– Historically, MATH 109 is always in greatest demand. As a prerequisite for several other upper-division mathematics courses, you are advised to take it as soon as you have met its prerequisites.

– When your curriculum gives you a choice of courses (example: MATH 140A-B or 142A-B), read the General Catalog descriptions of these courses. Then make your selection based on your plans for after undergraduate studies. Comparisons of these and other courses is planned for inclusion in this handbook.

– Not every mathematics course is taught every year. Past offerings can be viewed in the UC San Diego schedule of classes and at the Planned Course Offerings page. Again, be mindful that the past does not guarantee the future.