The University of California-Santa Barbara was initially founded as the Anna Blake School for industrial arts in 1891. After being acquired as Santa Barbara State College in 1921, Pulitzer Prize-winning Senator Thomas M. Storke pushed for its entry into the research-oriented UC system. Bolstered by the post-WWII baby boom, UC Santa Barbara developed into a “Public Ivy,” space-grant RU/VH institution within the elite Association of American Universities. UCSB occupies 708 suburban acres near Goleta overlooking the Pacific Ocean for a Mediterranean climate. Endowed for $273.3 million, the University of California-Santa Barbara educates over 21,500 undergrad and 2,700 post-grad Gauchos in five colleges, including the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science.

According to the U.S. News, UC Santa Barbara is the 37th best national university, eighth top public school, and 57th top value. In particular, the UCSB College of Engineering is lauded for America’s 32nd best bachelor’s degrees and 34th best graduate computer science programs. Forbes ranked UC Santa Barbara as the country’s 50th top research university. On Niche, the University of California-Santa Barbara is graded “A+” as the 41st best computer science college nationally. Yahoo! Finance placed UCSB among the “15 Fantastic Higher Education Values.” UC Santa Barbara landed 17th on the Washington Monthly rankings. The Times Higher Education even chose UCSB among the top 50 global universities.

University of California-Santa Barbara Accreditation Details

Renewed for 10 years in 2014, the University of California-Santa Barbara holds institutional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior Commission. It’s one of six regional, third-party agencies recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to audit academic quality. The College of Engineering is also covered under the ABET’s Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) and Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) through 2021.

University of California-Santa Barbara Application Requirements

Classified as “more selective,” the University of California-Santa Barbara had a Fall 2015 acceptance rate of 33 percent. Freshmen interested in the B.S. in Computer Science must have completed approved A-G subject areas, including pre-calculus, for a high school diploma. UCSB uses a Minimum Eligibility Index to admit only the top 9 percent of grads. On average, successful first-year applicants have a GPA of 4.02, New SAT score of 1330, and ACT score of 27. Undergrads with fewer than 105 units from accredited colleges could transfer. Incoming transfers generally have a minimum 3.2 GPA while passing Computer Science 16 and 24.

Applying to the UCSB Graduate Division will require having finished at least seven semesters of a four-year, accredited bachelor’s degree. The Department of Computer Science mandates that undergraduate study be within an STEM major for prerequisites like discrete mathematics and basic programming. Master’s applicants need to carry a 3.0 GPA or higher overall. Doctor of Philosophy candidates are held to a minimum 3.5 GPA. Satisfactory performance is necessary on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections of the GRE, but there isn’t a minimum score. Non-U.S. citizens studying on F-1 visa must pass the TOEFL with a paper-based score of 600 or equivalent.

The University of California-Santa Barbara has posted a Freshmen deadline of November 30th, Graduate deadline of December 15th, and Transfer deadline of January 30th for Fall enrollment. Please submit the UC Application online with the following:

• $70 non-refundable application fee (or waiver)

• Official academic records from each school

• Most recent test scores (SAT, ACT, or GRE)

• Test of English as a Foreign Language if applicable

• Statement of personal achievements

• Two to three letters of recommendation

Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time B.S. students from California will pay $12,630 for tuition and $1,779 for fees annually. Non-resident undergrads are charged an extra $28,014 tuition fee. Room and board is estimated to add $14,778 per year. With textbooks, health insurance, and personal expenses included, the total annual cost of attendance is $36,180 (in-state) and $64,194 (out-of-state). Graduate students from California are billed $11,220 with $2,029 for fees yearly. The Department of Computer Science has non-resident M.S. or Ph.D. tuition at $26,322 each year.

The NCES reports that 71 percent of beginning, full-time UCSB Gauchos earn assistance for a mean amount of $19,104. Institutional awards, such as the Regents Scholarship, Glen Culler Scholarship, Leung Memorial Scholarship, Northrop Grumman Scholarship, and Yardi Systems Scholarship, total over $2.2 million. Families with income up to $156,000 could receive the California Middle Class Scholarship. Other “Golden State” options include the Cal Grant, Chafee Grant, and John R. Justice Program. Federally, FAFSA applicants could earn the Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, or loans from the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. Federal Work-Study jobs and graduate assistantships also provide tuition funding.

Studying Computer Science at UC Santa Barbara

At the University of California-Santa Barbara, the Department of Computer Science in Harold Frank Hall confers three degree options. Hands-on, applied courses are delivered with an 18:1 student-faculty ratio for interaction with PhD-level professors, including five Nobel Prize winners. Over $217 million in funding keeps research booming in state-of-the-art labs like the Center for Geometric Computing and Computer Security Lab. Featuring a four-year graduation rate of 70 percent, UCSB alumni have excelled at Google, Microsoft, Boeing, Cisco, and more. Budding computer scientists could pursue the following:

B.S. in Computer Science

Enrolling around 375 majors yearly, the B.S. in Computer Science is a rigorous, ABET-accredited program building problem-solving skills as the durable foundation for designing and analyzing computer systems. The 97-unit major integrates courses like vector calculus, object-oriented design, applications programming, data structures, and parallel scientific computing. Top-performing students could add the Honors Program or pursue the Five-Year B.S./M.S.

M.S. in Computer Science

Boasting an average salary of $101,000 according to PayScale, the M.S. in Computer Science lets UC Santa Barbara grads push the limits of their computing knowledge with new algorithms and experiments. Offering an optional emphasis in Computational Science and Engineering, the 42-unit curriculum has three majors: Theory, Systems, and Applications. Students also pick to complete a thesis, capstone project, or comprehensive exam.

Ph.D. in Computer Science

Organized in the 2-2-1+3 Model, the Ph.D. in Computer Science spans four to five years full-time to train candidates with the scientific inquiry methods for teaching positions in universities or leadership positions in industry. The curriculum offers emphases in Computational Science and Engineering, Technology and Society, or Cognitive Science. While working as TAs, students also take major area exams and prepare an in-depth dissertation paper.

Similar programs at the University of California-Santa Barbara include the B.S. in Computing, B.S. in Computer Engineering, M.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Master of Technology Management (MTM).

Related resource:

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