Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions for Current CSGG Students


  • I have an academic question. Who do I talk to?
  • If you have an academic question, first talk to your research advisor. You can also schedule an appointment with a graduate advisor via email.
  • I have a non-academic question. Who do I talk to?
  • If you have a non-academic question, you can talk to the graduate student service advisors in 2063 Kemper Hall.
  • I need to talk to one of the graduate student service advisors. How do I make an appointment?
  • You can either go to their drop-in hours or make an appointment. Select Computer Science as the office. Select Grad Advising as the schedule. In the Reason for Appointment field, write down any questions you’re hoping to have answered during your appointment. Click on Continue. Select a time that works for you. Ignore any times that say Walk-In Only.  If you don’t see any available times for this week, click on Next Week to check other weeks.
  • What is the Graduate Progress Report? How do I complete it?
  • The graduate progress report helps graduate students understand where they are in terms of completing their degree requirements, as well as their progress in the program. This report is required of all students within the department. Instructions on how to complete the yearly progress report will be sent to students every Winter Quarter.

Degree Requirements

  • What do I need to get my degree?
  • See our B.S.-to-M.S., M.S. and Ph.D. information. 
  • What are the core areas?
  • The core areas are described in the M.S. and Ph.D. degree requirements. The core areas are Architecture, Systems, Theory and Applications. M.S. students must satisfy the requirement for three of the four areas. Ph.D. students must satisfy the requirement in all four areas. See degree requirements on how to satisfy a core area and what classes fall in each area. 
  • I still need to take courses to finish some of the core areas. What should I do?
  • Look at the M.S. and Ph.D. degree requirements for options for each core area you need to satisfy. You can look at the course schedule for classes that are planned to be offered this year. 
  • I took classes at another institution that I want to get credit for. What is the process to do so?
  • Please ask the graduate student service advisors for the Evaluation of Graduate Coursework Taken at Another Institution form. On the form, you will need to include the grade you received in the course, along with a course description. When complete, return the form to the graduate student service advisors. They will submit the form to the Graduate Advisor and email you the result.

Undergraduate Proficiency Requirements

  • What are the undergraduate proficiency requirements?
  • The undergraduate proficiency requirements are courses in four fundamental areas of computer science, and mathematics. These requirements are described in the M.S. and Ph.D. degree requirements. Students must complete all proficiency requirements before graduating.
  • How do I obtain the undergraduate proficiency requirements form? How do I submit it?
  • The undergraduate proficiency requirements form will be sent out to all students in Fall Quarter through the GGCS listserve. Follow the instructions in the email to submit the form. Your results will be emailed back to you after the Graduate Advisor has reviewed your form.
  • I still need to finish some of my undergraduate proficiency requirements. What should I do?
  • The classes at UC Davis that fulfill the undergraduate proficiency requirements are listed in the M.S. and Ph.D. degree requirements. You may take either the upper division (100-199) or graduate (200-299) level course to fulfill the requirement. See the table below for graduate level course options. If you are unsure if a course fulfills the requirement, see the graduate student service advisors.



  • How do I register for classes?
  • Students use Schedule Builder to register for classes. If you need help using Schedule Builder, look at the Help tab within Schedule Builder.
  • How do I get a CRN (Course Registration) number?
  • A CRN is a Course Registration Number. CRNs for most courses can be found on Schedule Builder or the Class Search Tool. You do not need to know the CRN for a class before registering for it, except for the special cases listed below.
    ♦   For ECS 289 special topics courses, see the schedules page.
    ♦   For ECS 299 research units, CRNs are sent out through the GGCS listserve during registration times and at the beginning of the quarter.
    ♦   For classes with hidden CRNs offered by other departments, check the department’s website or ask the department directly.

  • How do I get a PTA for a class?
  • PTAs are only given for specific reasons. They are not given solely because the class is full. If the class is full, stay on the waitlist for the class. People may drop or the class may be expanded.
    The student must attend every day of class for the course they want to add from the first day of instruction
    The student must stay registered on the waitlist until the 10-day drop deadline
    If, after 10-day drop deadline, the student did not get in on their own, then the student may request a PTA following the process outlined below
    It is the student’s responsibility to keep track of dates and deadlines
    NOTE: Priority will be given to current GGCS students, followed by graduate students adding an ECS double major, and then finally students outside the major
    Process to Request a PTA:
    After the 10-day drop deadline, please email with the following information:
    ♦   Student Name
    ♦   Student ID Number
    ♦   Course Number and CRN
    Room capacity will be checked, and faculty approval will be obtained. If approved, the PTA will be created and distributed to the student within 2-3 business
    Important Reminders:
    ♦   Students are required to wait until after the 10-day drop to request PTAs. Requests received prior to this date will not be considered.
    ♦   Prior to the 10-day drop, students must remain on the waitlist to see if they can get in on their own.
    ♦   Room capacity must be checked prior to all PTA approvals (if the room is at capacity, PTAs will not be given out).
    ♦   Additional TA resources will not be allocated based on number of PTA approved students.
    ♦   Final PTA approval must always be confirmed by the faculty.

  • I have a hold on my registration. What do I do?
  • There are various reasons you could have a hold on your registration. Please see the graduate student service advisors in person for assistance with this.

Tuition and Financial Aid

International Students and California Residency

  • I'm an international student. Where can I get help?
  • Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) provides support for all international students, including visas, international travel and so on.

  • Why, when and how should I become a California resident?
  • Students who are not California residents must pay non-resident tuition. To become a California resident, you must be a US citizen or permanent resident. You should start this process as soon as possible after you arrive at UC Davis. Please contact the Office of the University Registrar for assistance with forms, and to start the process to establish California residency for tuition purposes.

Academic Student Employees (ASEs)

  • What is an ASE?
  • An academic student employee (ASE) refers to students employed in the Teaching Assistant, Reader, Tutor, and Associate In _ titles. For more information, see Graduate Studies’ website.

  • I would like to be a Teaching Assistant (TA). What is the process?
  • Teaching Assistant positions are limited and competitive. They are open to all graduate students, but subject to the rules and selection procedure outlined in the Graduate Studies Guidelines.

    TA selections are made on a quarterly basis. A month and a half prior to each quarter, an application is sent via email to all CS graduate students. If a student is selected for a TA position, they are notified via email before the quarter begins.

    As a TA in the Department of Computer Science, you must take ECS 390: The Teaching of Computer Science. If you are a new TA, you must also attend the Center for Educational Effectiveness’ TA Orientation. It is offered once a year in the fall.

    It is a University policy that if a TA does not have a degree from an English speaking institution, to qualify to be a TA, he or she must have scored a 26 or higher on the Speaking section of the TOEFL exam, or an 8.0 on the Speaking section of the IELTS. If not, the TA must have a Pass score on the SPEAK or TOEP test. See International and Academic English’s website for more information.

    Students can contact the graduate student service advisors for additional questions regarding TAships.

  • What resources are available to TAs?
  • Departmental Resources
    The main departmental resource is ECS 390: The Teaching of Computer Science. This seminar, taught in Fall Quarter of every year, is required of all TAs in our department. Individual observations of discussion sections are done by the instructor of ECS 390 during Fall Quarter. The instructor of ECS 390 will let you know more about this during the class itself.

    University-Level Resources
    Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE)
    The Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE) promotes excellence in undergraduate education at UC Davis. They collaborate with faculty, graduate students, and instructors to implement evidence-based instructional practices and develop and explore innovative solutions that enhance learner-centered instruction. Some of their resources that our students have utilized in the past include consultations, orientations, the Graduate Teaching Academy, year-round workshops and more. 
    Professors for the Future (PFTF)
    Professors for the Future (PFTF) is a year-long competitive fellowship program designed to recognize and develop the leadership skills of outstanding graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who have demonstrated their commitment to professionalism, integrity, and academic service. This unique program, sponsored by Graduate Studies, focuses on the future challenges of graduate education, postdoctoral training, and the academy. Professors for the Future is designed to prepare UC Davis doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars for an increasingly competitive marketplace and a rapidly changing university environment. Note that PFTF is only available to PhD students past their qualifying exams. 
    Assisting Students in Distress
    Learn more about how to assist students in distress. Remember that if you find yourself in a situation with a distressed or distressing student, there are additional resources on campus to help both the student and you.

    Types of Teaching Positions
    Within the United States, there are many options for teaching computer science at the higher education level, depending on the type of degree you have.
    ♦   M.S. -- Those with an M.S. degree have some options for teaching roles available to them, such as lecturer at a four-year university or professor at a community college.
    ♦   Ph.D. -- More teaching roles are available to those with a Ph.D., such as tenure-track faculty at a four-year university (this is not purely a teaching role; it also involves research), adjunct faculty at a four-year university (this may not be purely a teaching role, though it depends on the university), .ecturer at a four-year university or professor at a community college.

  • What is a reader? How do I become one?
  • Readers are employed for the ability to render diverse services as a “course assistant,” which will normally include the grading of student papers and examinations. A Reader will not be given the responsibilities customarily accorded a Teaching Assistant. Readers are paid hourly, and are eligible for fee waivers. Requests for readers for a class will be sent out before the quarter starts. Not all classes will require a reader.

GSR and Payroll

  • What is a GSR (Graduate Student Researcher)?
  • A Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) is a graduate student who performs research related to the student’s degree program, in an academic department or research unit under the direction of a faculty member or authorized principal investigator. Ph.D. students are usually funded through GSR positions. Though uncommon, master’s students may also be a GSR.

  • I would like to be a GSR. What is the process?
  • GSR positions are provided by faculty members to the students they advise, if funding is available. Talk to your research advisor if you are interested. Not all advisors will have available funding.

  • I have payroll questions. Who do I talk to?
  • Please see Jane Ryan in 3078 Kemper Hall for answers to payroll questions.

Fee Waivers

  • What is a fee waiver? How can I get one?
  • Fee waivers provide a waiver of tuition and certain fees for a quarter. GSRs and ASEs are both eligible for fee waivers. While a GSR fee waiver covers all fees, an ASE fee waiver does not. For more information about fee waivers, see Graduate Studies’ website.

  • Does a fee waiver cover health insurance?
  • A fee waiver covers UC SHIP. See Graduate Studies’ website for more information about what a GSR or ASE fee waiver covers. Note that if UC SHIP is waived, the money that would have been used for SHIP is not given to the student.

  • I'm an international student. Does a fee waiver cover nonresident supplemental tuition?
  • For the Department of Computer Science, GSR and ASE fee waivers cover nonresident supplemental tuition (NRST) for Ph.D. students. NRST is not covered for master’s students.

  • Why hasn't my fee waiver shown up on myBill?
  • Fee waivers take some time to show up in myBill. If your has not shown up, wait until the third week of the quarter. If it still has not shown up by the third week of the quarter, contact the graduate student service advisors.

Rooms and Keys

  • How do I reserve a room for my office hours or an event?
  • To reserve a room, please go to COWS. When reserving a room, make sure to do the following:
    ♦   Make sure that the room is ours and free before attempting to reserve it.
    ♦   53, 55, 3052, and 3106 Kemper are available for TAs to use for office hours and interactive grading.
    ♦   Only one TA may book a time slot in those rooms at a time.
    ♦   You may only book the TA rooms in blocks of two hours.
    ♦   There must be at least an hour break between any two of your reservations.
    ♦   If you attempt to circumvent this rule, all your reservations will be cancelled.
    ♦   For other rooms, check with Melinda first before reserving if you are unsure who the room belongs to.
    ♦   Give an appropriate title and description to your request.
    ♦   Requests may be denied if their purpose cannot be determined.
    ♦   For Event Type, choose COE Meeting.
    ♦   For Categories, choose CS.
    ♦   Leave an appropriate note for the approver, Melinda, if your request needs one.
    ♦   Double check the hours if your event repeats from week to week.
    ♦   The start and end date and time should be for the first meeting only.
    ♦   For repeats, use the Event Repeats section to specify how long it repeats.
    Your request will be denied if the hours are incorrect.

  • I need a key. Who do I talk to?
  • If you need a key, please see Melinda Meeker in 2063 Kemper Hall.

Be sure to also see our M.S. and Ph.D. information. For any additional questions, please email our advisors at