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CS student at UC San Diego

Last Updated on January 15, 2023 by Team College Learners

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UCSD Computer Science Requirements

Computer Science is one of the majors in the computer & information sciences program at University of California – San Diego. Here, you’ll find out more about the major, including such details as the number of graduates, what degree levels are offered, ethnicity of students, average salaries, and more. Also, learn how UCSD ranks among other schools offering degrees in compsci.

Computer science is one of the fastest growing, recession-proof professions in the country. Computer science is embedded in almost every aspect of daily life. Computer science is also about using technology to solve society’s problems in fields such as the environment, medicine, robotics, and social services.  

The CSE department pursues a range of activities that reflect the profound societal changes being brought about by innovations in computing. The department’s research and teaching are centered on exciting areas of algorithms, bioinformatics, computer architecture, computer vision & graphics, cryptography & security, databases, embedded systems, machine learning, mobile & ubiquitous computing, systems & networking, and software engineering.  In addition, our department boasts top-quality, award-winning undergraduate instructors who employ innovative curriculum and pedagogy to give you an outstanding undergraduate course experience. Our undergraduate program provides three majors and a wide range of electives, allowing you the flexibility to explore your academic and career interests and passions.

Course Description

The degree programs are designed to address a variety of post-graduate educational needs. As with our PhD programs, we offer majors in both computer science and computer engineering.

Both majors are available in each of our three MS plans: Thesis Plan, Comprehensive Standard Plan, or Comprehensive Interdisciplinary Plan. Course requirements are intended to ensure that students are exposed to (1) fundamental concepts and tools, (2) advanced, up-to-date views in topics outside their area (the Breadth requirement), and (3) a deep, current view of their research or specialization are (the Depth requirement). The Interdisciplinary Option requires additional coursework in another department. Courses may not fulfill more than one requirement.

Depth Areas:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Bioinformatic
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Systems
  • Databases Systems
  • Graphics and Vision
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Programming Languages
  • Compilers
  • Software Engineering
  • Robotics;
  • Theoretical Computer Science.

Core Courses –

A student must take one course from each of the three areas.


  • Computability Complexity
  • Advanced Complexity
  • Algorithm Design and Analysis
  • Advanced Algorithms
  • Convex Optimization
  • Logic in Computer Science
  • Modern Cryptography


  • Operating Systems
  • Computer Communication Networks
  • Distributed Computing and Systems
  • Graduate Networked Systems
  • Advanced Compiler Design
  • Embedded Systems
  • Embedded Software
  • Validation/Testing of Embedded Systems
  • Embedded Systems Design
  • Principles of Computer Architecture
  • VLSI Integration of Computing Circuitry
  • VLSI Test


  • Principles of Software Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Principles of Programming Languages
  • Principles of Database Systems
  • AI: Probabilistic Reasoning and Learning
  • AI: Learning Algorithms
  • Computer Vision I
  • Computer Vision II
  • Parallel Computation
  • Algorithms in Computational Biology
Computer Science at UC San Diego #4 in Ranking | Computer Science

Why choose USD’s Computer Science program?

One of the most important skills of a successful computer scientist is the ability to problem solve. Here, you’ll learn to solve technical problems and serve society with personal guidance from accomplished, devoted faculty in an intimate classroom setting. We offer in hands-on experience and access to cultural and career-building opportunities that will set you on a trajectory for success.

Choosing the path that’s right for you.

The best way for students to discover if they like computer science is to try it out — take a class or two. The first two classes in the computer science program are Computational Problem Solving (COMP 110), and Programming Abstractions and Methodologies (COMP 120). If you find you enjoy programming, you’re an excellent candidate for majoring in computer science. And if your main interests lie elsewhere but you do like programming, you might consider a double-major or a computer science minor. Since software is used in nearly any job, your software development skills will boost your value in your future field. In fact, just taking a course or two will set you up to learn programming skills specific to your discipline.

University of California San Diego

Admissions to UC San Diego

Students who are interested in pursuing a major within the Department of Computer Science and Engineering must first be admitted to the University of California, San Diego. Prospective students who are interested in applying to UC San Diego should visit the UC San Diego Admissions website to review eligibility and admission requirements. The Computer Science and Engineering Department is not involved in the UC San Diego admissions process. All questions related to university admission should be directed to UC San Diego Admissions.

Admissions to CSE – Capped Major

In recent years, there has been a high demand from students who want to major in the CSE department. Since a quality education and timely progress to graduation are thwarted by a disproportionately large student body, CSE has made the difficult decision to implement Capped Major status. Capped Major status means there is a cap on the number of students admitted to the major.  Students who were admitted to UC San Diego, but not directly into a CSE major will need to apply competitively after enrolling at UC San Diego and completing eligibility criteria courses.  Please read full information on our Capped Major webpage.   

Student Organizations | Computer Science

UC San Diego College System

UC San Diego undergraduate students are admitted into one of seven unique colleges. To graduate, students must fulfill requirements for the major as well as general education requirements. The requirements for the CSE majors (or any other major) are always the same, but the general education requirements will vary by college. There are CSE majors in each of the colleges, and the choice of college should be based on the student’s academic interests outside of the major.

Eligibility and Application Requirements

High School Subject –

  • Official transcripts of educational institutions attented.
  • Minimum of 3 recommendations required.
  • Resume/Cv is also required
  • An online personal Statement

Standardized Tests – 

  • GRE: Required
  • TOEFL: score required for admission is 550 for the paper-and-pencil version, 213 for the computer-based test or 85 for the internet-based test (iBT)

UC San Diego Graduate

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) offers a variety of graduate education opportunities.  We have a vibrant and diverse population of approximately 800 students in our MS and PhD programs in computer science and computer engineering.  Applications for admission to the PhD and MS degree programs are considered annually for Fall Quarter admission only. The application deadline is normally in December.

Current CSE undergraduates who have a distinguished academic record can apply to the Five-year BS/MS degree program.

Graduate students receive financial assistance in the form of fellowships, research assistantships, or teaching assistantships.

Our Master of Advance Studies (MAS) programs for engineering professionals focus on emerging interdisciplinary fields critical to industry’s competitive future. MAS programs, offered jointly with other UCSD departments, include Architecture-Based Enterprise Systems Engineering, Wireless Embedded Systems, and Data Science Engineering.

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