Tips for Transfer Students
Starting at a community college and then transferring to a four-year University is a great way to get a college education at a reasonable cost. Here at the UC Davis Department of Computer Science, you can transfer into the Computer Science or Computer Science and Engineering majors as a third-year student. If you come with the right preparation, you can graduate from UC Davis after two more years of enjoying interesting advanced CS courses and all the other opportunities offered by a world-class University. But be warned! Without good planning and preparation, you might find yourself spending three or more years completing the CS or CSE majors at UC Davis. Here are some guidelines on how to get ready:
- Start early! Take an introductory computer science course in your very first quarter, or as early as you can. The programming language in your first course is not important – Java, Python, Basic, C or C++ are all fine.
- Take three or more computer science classes before you get here. Check assist.org to find courses that fulfill the UC Davis lower-division requirements: ECS 20, ECS 50, and ECS 36ABC.
- Learn C++ and the Unix programming environment really well. This is the computing platform in many of our advanced courses, and not knowing it can lead to disaster. Unfortunately, courses in object-oriented programming and data structures taught in Java or other programming languages, although they do fulfill the lower-division requirements, don’t prepare you for advanced courses taught with C++ / Unix!
- Take at least two quarters of Calculus, and maybe one of Linear Algebra. Our major requires some advanced math courses. Again, use assist.org to make sure your math courses articulate to MAT 21ABCD and perhaps MAT 22A.
- Don’t take all your GE (General Education) courses before you get here. This is for two reasons. One is that only the truly crazy take three or four advanced computer science and mathematics courses every quarter. A little variety keeps you energized! The second reason is that you want to see some of the University besides the computer lab. Keep in mind that if it comes down to it, you can always finish up GE courses over the summer, or even at a community college, here in Davis or back at home.
Our university gets a lot of great transfer students, and some of our very top Computer Science students come to us from community colleges. We hope these suggestions can help you plan and prepare for a fun and successful experience as a UC Davis CS major.