University of California, Santa Barbara

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Q: The course I need to take is full. What do I do?
A: There area number of things you can try. First, register for the more impacted courses during your first pass time if you can.  Also, contact the course department and/or instructor directly to see if there is a waitlist. Continue to check GOLD and plan to show up to class the first week to see if spaces open up during the Add/Drop period.  Most importantly, be flexible. There is usually more room in early morning, late afternoon sections and in summer.  Here are some other helpful hints from Acting Dean of Undergraduate Education, Mary Nisbet.  Her comments are specifically directed to Fall and Winter 09/10, but these are good suggestions for any quarter.  Finding Space in Classes 

Q: What kind of computer should I get?
A: We suggest 4GB of memory and 120GB+ hard drive. We recommnd the new i series processors from Intel. i5 and i7 are more powerful than i3, but most students don't run much engineering software on their laptops anyway. Full versions of all the engineering software you need are available on the computers in the CAD lab. A dedicated Nvidia (or Ati) card can help your computer run more smoothly.   You can get a free copy of Windows from the department if you need it.

Q: What is an Upper Division Elective form?
A: The Upper Division Elective Form MUST be completed by the end of Winter Quarter of the senior year. Each student is required to take 15 units of upper division Departmental Electives. To complete the form, meet with ssee [at] engineering [dot] ucsb [dot] edu (Suzi See) (ME Undergraduate Advisor) in the ME office.

Q: I took an upper division ME course which was different from those on my filed elective sheet. What do I do?
A: You MUST update your elective sheet. You can do this by going to the ME office and speaking with Suzi See.

Q: I am a new ME student and I don’t know what courses to take. What do I do?
A: You should, as closely as possible,  follow the GRID of courses as published in the College of Engineering Announcement. If you are ahead in math or physics courses, and have some openings in your schedule, please consult ssee [at] engineering [dot] ucsb [dot] edu (Suzi See) or your faculty advisor for more personalized information. It is important not to get behind on the GRID, because most of the ME courses are only offered once a year and have prerequisite science and math courses which are very important.

Q: I am not an ME major, but want to transfer in. How do I get into the ME courses?
A: The most important first step is to meet with, Suzi See, the Undergraduate Advisor.  The Mechanical Engineering major is very competitive and space is limited. Before petitioning for a change of major to mechanical engineering, six (6) of the following core courses or their UC equivalents must be completed: Math 3A-B; Math 4A-B; Math 6A-B; Physics 1-2; ME 14-15 (at least one of the 6 courses must include ME 14 or ME 15). Acceptance into the major will be based on UC grade point averages, applicable courses completed and available space. Read more about changing your major to Mechanical Engineering and please see Suzi See for more information.

Q: I am interested in undergraduate research. How do I find a position
A. Upper-division undergraduates have opportunities to work in a research environment with faculty members who are conducting current research in the various fields of mechanical engineering. 

Students interested in pursuing undergraduate research projects should contact individual faculty members during office hours or by appointment. For more information about how to gain research experience as an undergraduate, visit the UCSB Undergraduate Research Office website.

Additionally, all seniors will gain hands-on experience via the ME Capstone Project (ME189). Sample projects include Portable Incubator, Wireless Connectivity Extension System, and Ergonomic Retail Ice Cream Scoop. For more information, contact Professor Steve Laguette.

Q: How do I find a summer job?
A: Take advantage of the services provided by Career Services! They will be happy to talk to you about options. In addition, there are workshops on resume writing, job hunting, and career fairs to help you as well.

Q: I am doing badly in my courses and the drop deadline is nearing. I feel like in order to succeed in some of them, I should drop one. Which one should I drop?
A: In this case, it is ESSENTIAL that you speak with your faculty advisor. If you cannot find your faculty advisor, speak with ssee [at] engineering [dot] ucsb [dot] edu (Suzi See) or Professor Paden. Dropping courses which are prerequisites to other courses may set you back an entire year. A discussion with ssee [at] engineering [dot] ucsb [dot] edu (Suzi See) before any schedule changes are made is critical.

Q: I don’t have the prerequisites for a course, and if I don’t take it, it will add a year to my graduation. How can I get in the course?
A: These requests are not taken lightly. You can contact the instructor to see if s/he feels you have the necessary background to proceed without a prerequisite. However, these requests are only granted under extreme circumstances (and adding a year to graduation, especially if your GPA is low or borderline probation level is NOT considered an extreme circumstance). Prerequisites are in place for a reason, and allowing you to take courses for which you don’t have prerequisites is not in your best interest.

Lastly, the ME department wishes to provide you with every opportunity to succeed. If you have questions, please direct them to ssee [at] engineering [dot] ucsb [dot] edu (Suzi See), paden [at] engineering [dot] ucsb [dot] edu (Professor Brad Paden), or your faculty advisor. In addition, we also welcome your comments/feedback! Feedback can be directed to the same individuals.

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