Key Policies for CS Undergraduates

  • ECS 150 Registration Pass Restrictions
  • The reasoning for restricting pass one access to our Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) and Computer Engineering (CE) students was to accommodate the required capstone course these students have to complete before they graduate. Since this capstone course is a two-quarter sequence that is only offered in the winter and spring quarters, if CSE and CE students cannot enroll in ECS 150, a full year is added to their time in completing their degree.
    Our pass two course registration restriction has been open to all students in the past, giving little priority to our majors in the department. This caused very long waitlists where our majors could not enroll because they had not received priority in pass one or pass two. We heard your concerns regarding long waitlists for this course and worked diligently to find a way where our majors would have priority to enroll in this course. Please note that the size of the CSE student population in comparison to Computer Science (CS) is significantly smaller (about 1/3 as big). Therefore, we do not expect CSE students to take up more than about 33% of the available seats for ECS 150. This means there should be well over 100 seats available for our CS majors to occupy during pass two. Changing these registration restrictions the way we did was an attempt to ensure all majors in our department have an equal opportunity to get into the course first, before any non-majors. 

  • Permission to Add (PTA) Policy for Undergraduates
  • The Department of Computer Science does not accept requests for PTA numbers for full courses.

    If a course is full, you will need to add to the waitlist. Keep in mind, we cannot guarantee you a seat in the class if you are on the waitlist, so we recommend finding a backup plan as soon as possible. Whenever possible our department tries to expand the capacity of the class, but we are often limited by classroom space and TA and instructor resources. Your instructor will keep you informed about any developments related to enrollment. If expansion is not possible, your only way to get off of the waitlist is if enrolled students drop the course. Please do not request a PTA number from your instructor, advising staff, or peer advisors if the class is full.

    PTA numbers can be requested for courses with open seats if there is a time conflict with another course and you have already received permission from the instructors of both courses. Written consent is required from instructors of both courses.

    Below are NOT acceptable reasons to request a PTA number:

    ♦   The course is full and you want to bypass the waitlist
    ♦   A change of major
    ♦   Classes dropped due to non-payment of fees
    ♦   Classes dropped accidentally
    ♦   Completion of degree requirements for institutions other than UC Davis
    ♦   Missing Pass 1 registration
    ♦   The class is listed on your academic plan for the current quarter
    ♦   Completing a Minor
    ♦   Completing the Major (if you have other opportunities to take the course and it does not delay your graduation beyond the usual graduation timeline such as attempting early graduation)
    ♦   Elective course for completing a Major (if you have other options/opportunities to take the course)
    ♦   Completing CS/CSE classes for other university requirements
    ♦   Circumventing course registration restrictions (ex. Pass 1 registration restricted to CS/CSE majors)
    ♦   This course is recommended for a job, internship, research position, or admission to a graduate program
    ♦   To maintain full-time status and/or receive financial aid
    ♦   To meet the minimum progress requirement
    ♦   To repeat a failed course

  • Academic Misconduct Policy
  • Misconduct-implies-F policyIt is the policy of the Computer Science Department that, for ECS courses, any academic misconduct violation in a class will normally result in getting an “F” grade for that class. This is in addition to any disciplinary sanctions from the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs (OSSJA).

    Rationale. In recent years, faculty have been referring more and more cases to OSSJA, and there is a general perception that cheating has become increasingly prevalent. Both students and faculty are unhappy about this. Academic misconduct is unfair to other students, robs faculty of time, violates ethical norms and causes reputational damage to the department and the campus. 

    In the past, ambiguity in an Academic Senate regulation often resulted in a student getting a “0” or “F” grade only for the work in which academic misconduct occurred. Many faculty viewed this as an inappropriately small penalty, even when combined with OSSJA disciplinary sanctions. The UC Davis Academic Senate has clarified the regulation, making it unambiguous that an “F” may be assigned for a course in which a student  commits academic misconduct.

    What misconduct entails: The UC Davis Code of Academic Conduct describes expectations common to all courses. You are responsible for following those requirements. Precise expectations can vary somewhat from course to course, and it is your responsibility as a student to understand what the rules are for each course you take. If in doubt, ask the instructor.

    By default, ECS courses define the following as academic misconduct: (1) Viewing past assignments or exams for your class; (2) During an exam, sitting next to (left, right, behind, diagonal) any student you’ve been working with academically or interacting with socially; (3) Using unattributed source code in an assignment, or any source code you don’t understand; (4) Uploading an instructor’s materials to a site like CourseHero. Note that assignments are often screened for plagiarism using software tools and datasets of past work. 

    Advice.  We have found OSSJA investigations to be thorough, fair and respectful. However, academic misconduct referrals are not a pleasant experience for anyone. If you are in violation, we urge you to acknowledge your mistake, accept the consequences, learn from the experience, and move on. Not telling the truth only makes the situation worse. 

    To faculty. Put a link in your course syllabus to the Code of Academic Conduct. Also link to the page you are reading and elaborate rules specific to your class. Do what you can to minimize the prevalence of cheating, like trying to space students as far apart as possible during exams and reminding students of your specific rules. Report all suspected incidents of academic misconduct to OSSJA; do not handle incidents privately. Students should only be treated as responsible for academic misconduct based on their own admission or a finding from OSSJA. If a case is pending with SJA when grades are due, assign a “Y” grade until OSSJA completes their work. If a student is found responsible for academic misconduct, OSSJA will request your input regarding the penalty they impose. In providing that input, you may wish to consider if a student owned up to the misconduct right away. Assigning an “F” grade for a course in which misconduct occurred is not obligatory, but is advocated as a consistent response to a shared problem.

    Written by C. Nitta and P. Rogaway (12/2018). CSUGA approved (12/2018). Departmental approval (4/2019).

  • Pass/No Pass Policy and Information
  • CSE Majors
    Students may exercise the Pass/No Pass grading for General Education (GE) courses or unrestrictive electives taken outside the College of Engineering, up to 16 units.

    No course that appears on a list of degree requirements or could potentially be used to satisfy a requirement can be taken under a P/NP grading option unless the requirement has already been satisfied for students in the College of Engineering.

    Students pursuing a Computer Science and Engineering degree may use courses offered on a P/NP basis only (i.e. cannot be taken for a letter grade) towards GE requirements. Courses that may be repeated for credit can only be used towards GE once.

    For more information, see the College of Engineering’s website.

    CS Majors
    Students may exercise the Pass/No Pass (P/NP) grading for any course - major, GE, or elective. 

    Excluding courses that are graded on a P/NP basis only, the number of units graded P that may be accepted towards a degree in the College of Letters and Science is limited to not more than one fourth of the units completed in residence on the UC Davis campus.

    The Academic Senate limits the total number of courses graded P, including units earned in courses graded “P/NP only,” to one third of the units completed on the UC Davis campus. This limitation applies to all UC Davis undergraduates, including Letters and Science students.

    For more information, see the College of Letters & Science's website.

  • Prerequisites Policy and Information
  • One of the goals of the Department of Computer Science is to assist students to be successful and learn as much as possible in their academic program. Specifically with respect to prerequisites, when a student takes a course without the prerequisites, he/she, more often than not, is less likely to pass (or do well in) the course, gains less insight into the course material, and can unnecessarily burden instructional resources, e.g., the instructor and/or TA’s time. Prerequisites are there for a reason. These prerequisites have been determined after many offerings to ensure that the course outcomes are maximally achieved. Bypassing prerequisites will significantly damage the quality of the program. This will impact what the students learn and also jeopardize the accreditation of our program which will further impact the students. The department regularly scans ECS courses to ensure that registered and waitlisted students have completed their prerequisites. We therefore strongly recommend that you enroll only in those courses for which you have completed the prerequisites or for which the prerequisite course is in progress.

    Students without the required prerequisites will be dropped from the course. If as an oversight you enrolled in a course without the required prerequisite, please drop the course as soon as possible, but no later than the drop deadline. Students with coursework from another institution that has been approved as a course substitution can submit a prerequisite petition. Please review the Prerequisite webpage for more information. Please also see additional prerequisites information included in our Frequently Asked Questions for current CS undergraduates.

    Students with "I" or "Y" grades will need to have their grade resolved by the first day of instruction if the course is a prerequisite to a course they wish to take in that quarter. For example, "I" or "Y" grade in ECS 36A would need to be resolved before taking ECS 36B.

  • ECS 32 and ECS 36 Series Policy
  • Effective fall quarter 2021, students will not be able to jump in between the ECS 32 and 36-course series and receive credit for both. Students will need to choose and follow either the ECS 32 or 36 series pathway before entering their desired computer science or computer science and engineering major program. This policy is not intended to affect time to degree.

    ECS 32 Series Pathway
    For students who choose this series, they are expected to first enroll and complete with a passing grade the courses listed below to receive credit:
    ♦   ECS 32A – Introduction to Programming
    ♦   ECS 32B – Introduction to Data Structures
    ♦   ECS 32C – Implementation of Data Structures in C
    ♦   ECS 34 – Software Development in UNIX & C/C++

    ECS 32 Series Course Restrictions:
    ♦   ECS 32A – No credit to students who have completed ECS 30, 32B, 32C, 36A, 36B, 36C, 40, or 60.
    ♦   ECS 32B – No credit to students who have completed ECS 36B, 36C, 40 or 60.
    ♦   ECS 32C – No credit to students who have completed ECS 36B, 36C, 40 or 60.
    ♦   ECS 34 – No credit to students who have completed ECS 36B, 36C, 40 or 60.
    When students have successfully completed the ECS 32 series, they will then move forward in taking CS upper-division courses.

    ECS 36 Series Pathway
    For students who choose this series, they are expected to first enroll and complete with a passing grade the courses listed below to receive credit:
    ♦   ECS 32A – Introduction to Programming- if students did not pass the CS Placement Exam
    ♦   ECS 36A – Programming & Problem Solving
    ♦   ECS 36B – Software Development & Object-Oriented Programming in C++
    ♦   ECS 36C – Data Structures, Algorithms, & Programming

    ECS 36 Series Course Restrictions:
    ♦   ECS 36A –Only 2 units of credit to students who have completed ECS 032A. No credit to students who have completed ECS 30, 32B, 32C, 34, 40, or 60.
    ♦   ECS 36B – No credit to students who have completed ECS 32B, 32C, 34, 40, or 60.
    ♦   ECS 36C – No credit to students who have completed ECS 32B, 32C, 34, or 60.
    When students have successfully completed the 36 series, they will then move forward in taking CS upper-division courses.

    -Approved by CSUGA on 01/25/2021
    -Approved by UGEP 3/11/2021