Undergraduate FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

PSTAT majors

Courses

Grades/Repeats

Enrollment/Waitlist

Approval Codes

Petitions

Major Changes

Transfer Students

Actuarial Program

Actuarial Club

Miscellaneous Questions


PSTAT Majors

Q: Why would anyone ever want to major in statistics?

A: First of all, statistics is an integral part of any science, from engineering to sociology. A degree or a minor in statistics will equip you with tools that you will be able to use later on. It is not simply number-crunching; statistics is a creative and challenging science.

Second of all, for those who are mathematically inclined, statistics is a wonderful alternative to math or economics (and not too many students know about it).

And the big reason, of course, is salary. And actuaries, consistently rated as one of the top ten professions, can make $150,000+ annually!!!

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Q: What's the difference between the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and the Bachelor of Science (B.S.)?

A: The B.A. in statistical science is a general statistics degree intended for students interested in general training in statistics and the use of statistical methods in the social and decision sciences. It is suitable as a terminal baccalaureate degree, or as preparation for advanced training in business administration, management science, or operations research.

The B.S. in statistical science is a /specialized statistics/ degree intended for students interested in the use of statistical theory and methods in the biological, physical, and technological sciences. It is suitable as a terminal baccalaureate degree, or as preparation for advanced training in applied statistics, or probability and statistics. Students interested in applications of mathematics and statistics to risk management and insurance,should consider a separate specialized degree of BS in Actuarial Science.

The preparations for both majors are identical (lower-divison requirements). Upon completing all lower-division requirements, B.S. students must complete 52 upper-division units, while B.A. students must complete 40 upper-division units. B.S. students are required to choose an upper-division concentration and are required to take particular courses that pertain to that concentration. B.A. students, on the other hand, have the option to pursue a less-focused and more general approach to statistics, and correspondingly have more freedom to choose their classes. For both B.A. and B.S. students, the classes that may be chosen to fulfill both lower and upper-division requirements are described in detail in the undergraduate brochure

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Q: I want to get a B.S. But what's a "concentration"? 

All B.S. majors will be required to take PSTAT 120 A-B-C, PSTAT 122, and PSTAT 126. In addition, all B.S. majors will be required to choose one of the two concentrations: Applied Statistics or Probability and Statistics. Each concentration has a list of classes attributed to them, and the student must choose their classes accordingly to attain that degree. Applied Statistics is the right choice for students seeking a career in industry or advanced graduate studies in wide variety of fields. Some students, interested to pursue doctoral degree in the areas related to probability and statistics, might prefer the Probability and Statistics concentration for its flexibility; faculty advisor typically helps students to make a proper choice.

If you are interested in the B.S. program, come into the department (South Hall, 5607 A), and simply state that you are interested in the B.S. program and would like info on selecting an emphasis so that a program of study can be made for you.

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Courses

Q: What are the prerequisites for a particular PSTAT course?

A: Students should check the university general catalogue to check course descriptions and pre-requisites. (The catalogue can be found here: http://my.sa.ucsb.edu/catalog/current/CollegesDepartments/ls-intro/AcademicDepartments.aspx)   

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Q: What PSTAT elective courses should I take?

A: Major sheets with recommend plan of study for the required courses can be found outside the department door, and on our website.

If a student needs help with course scheduling they can speak with a PSTAT department Peer Advisor anytime one is present at the front desk, or also come in during walk-in hours from 1-4pm Monday through Friday, or email  the undergrad advisor for an appointment at an alternative time in the morning.

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Q: Which Econ classes do I need to take for this major?

Pre-FMS/ FMS students are required to take ECON 1, ECON 2, and ECON 10A for a letter grad for their major. ECON 1 and 2 are courses that used as part of the pre-major GPA calculation requirement. To declare the full FMS majors students must completed ECON 1 and 2, along with the entire lower division Math sequence listed on the major sheet with a minimum 2.5 cumulative UC GPA.

Actuarial Science B.S. students should take ECON 1 and 2 for letter grades to count towards their VEEs, which are part of the career requirements through the SOA (Society of Actuaries). VEEs stand for Validation of Educational Experience credits. Students need to get a B- or above in both ECON 1 and ECON 2 for the VEE credit.

The full list of VEE areas students can take at UCSB are:

-          Econ 1 and Econ 2

-          PSTAT 126 & PSTAT 174

-          Econ 134A

To receive VEE credit students need a B- or above in the above courses.

Any PSTAT major student who would like to take the upper-division Econ electives listed on their major sheet will need to complete the appropriate pre-requisites in order to be eligible for the upper-division Econ courses.

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Q: What Econ do I take if I’m an Actuary major and I didn’t get a B- in my Econ 1 and/or Econ 2 course?

A: Econ 10A and/or Econ 100B are substitutes for Econ 1 if you did not receive a B- or higher in this course.

Econ 101 is a substitute for Econ 2 if you did not receive a B- or higher in this course.

More information on about the VEE requirements for the SOA can be found here: https://www.soa.org/education/exam-req/edu-vee.aspx

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Q: I’m taking a class at another university, is it equivalent to PSTAT ###?

A: Students will need to send an email to the undergrad advisor with this question. Courses from other universities will need to be reviewed by the PSTAT department for approval for either major substitutions or equivalencies within PSTAT classes. It is recommended students have the course reviewed prior to enrolling in the course, since approval for credit towards the major is not guaranteed. Students should include the following information:

-          what UCSB PSTAT course they think the course may cover

-          Student information (PERM and umail).

-          University name that course is coming from, course name, course description, and syllabus.

Courses from California Community colleges can be checked online at ASSIST.org. However, no upper-division PSTAT courses can come from community colleges.

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Q: I’m trying to take PSTAT 5A for my major, but GOLD is not letting me enroll. What do I do?

A: PSTAT 5A is not open for credit to students who have Advance Placement Exam credit for Statistics; or completed PSTAT 5LS, Psychology 5, Economics 5, Sociology 3, EEMB 30, Communications 87, or other introductory statistics courses.

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Grades/Repeats

Q: I took this class for Pass/No pass, but now I need it for my major. How do I change the grading?

A: All courses part of a student’s major requirement need to be taken for a letter grade.  Students should check the Office of the Registrar’s Registration deadlines web page (https://registrar.sa.ucsb.edu/passinfo.aspx) to find a quarter’s deadline date for the last day to change grading options within a quarter.

If you are in the major and miss the deadline date to change a major requirement to the required letter grade option, then you will need to speak with the undergraduate major advisor for information/direction.

If you took a major course P/NP before you were in the major and knew it was a requirement, then you will need to check with the undergraduate advisor for further information/direction.

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Q: I got below a C in one of my required classes, do I still get credit towards my major/minor?

A: You must maintain a 2.0 (C average) in your upper-division courses as well as all major courses. It is possible to receive a low (passing) grade and still be above a 2.0. Also, classes in series or upper-division electives may require that you receive a C or better in a particular course(s) to be eligible to enroll. If your overall GPA or your UD GPA are below 2.0, or the class is a prerequisite for another class (where it is clearly specified that you must get a C or better), then you should repeat the class if possible. Otherwise, anything above an F will give you credit for that class, and you may continue on.

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Q: Can I repeat a class if I get a C or higher?

A: NO, students are only able to repeat a course once if they receive a grade of C- or lower, or a NP.

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Q: How do I go about repeating a class for a third time? Can I even do that?

A: Students are only able to legally repeat a course once. This means if you are trying to take a course for a 2nd repeat (3rd time) you will need to complete a petition through the College of Letters and Science. There is no guarantee that the College will approve the 2nd repeat petition.

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Enrollment/Waitlist/Approval Codes

Q: If the class is full/becomes full, what do I do?

Students will need to add to the waitlist on GOLD. Waitlists become active on GOLD during Pass time #2. If spots become available, then students will automatically be added from the waitlist. Students need to check the waitlist notes on GOLD for information on how that particular waitlist priority is set. If students do not have a spot by the start of the quarter, then they should crash the lecture and sections by adding their name and PERM to the crashlist for approval code consideration. There are a limited number of approval codes distributed at the start of the quarter after evaluation of the crashlist, waitlist, and spots available. Specific dates for the crashlist review can be found on the waitlist notes on GOLD.

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Q: What do I do after I add to the waitlist?

If spots become available in a course, the system will automatically add students from the waitlists. The students who are added to the course will be notified if this happens.

If a student has not been added automatically by the start of the quarter they should follow the crashlist directions.

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Q: Who gets chosen first from the waitlist?

A: Students need to check the waitlist notes on GOLD for information on how that particular waitlist priority is set.

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Q: What number am I on the waitlist?

A: Students can check their waitlist status on GOLD where it will show your waitlist position for every discussion section you have selected.

The department recommends students be as flexible as possible with the discussion sections students select on their waitlist to increase the possibility in getting into the course.

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Approval Codes

Q: I need an ADD code for PSTAT ###, how do I get one?

A: Students will need to add to the waitlist on GOLD. Waitlists become active on GOLD during Pass time #2. If spots become available, then students will automatically be added from the waitlist. Students need to check the waitlist notes on GOLD for information on how that particular waitlist priority is set. If students do not have a spot by the start of the quarter, then they should crash the lecture and sections by adding their name and PERM to the crashlist for approval code consideration. There are a limited number of approval codes distributed at the start of the quarter after evaluation of the crashlist, waitlist, and spots available. Specific dates for the crashlist review can be found on the waitlist notes on GOLD.

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Q: What should I do if I can’t get the course I need for my major?

A: Students that are unable to enroll in a course will need to take that course in the next quarter it is offered.

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Q: I was enrolled in PSTAT ###, but I accidently dropped it so can I get an add code?

A: No. When students are registering on GOLD they need to be careful since add codes are not given for students who accidentally drop a course. Since waitlists are automatic the available spot created by the drop will go automatically to the next student on the waitlist. Students will need to follow the waitlist instructions to try and add the course again, and follow the crashing procedure if they are not back in the class by the start of the quarter.

Students can add or modify their waitlist preferences without dropping a course. To add new sections to your waitlist settings for a particular course students click on the “modify” button in GOLD.

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Q: My section conflicts with another course, what do I do? How will switching sections/lectures work now that it isn’t done through the department?

A: If you are in one of your assigned pass times, and there is room in another section that does not conflict, then you can directly switch into the non-conflicting section by choosing the “switch” function on that course in your GOLD account. This will allow you to remain in the current lecture, but switch to a new section with openings. You should not drop the course to switch sections.

If there is not room in an alternative section time, but you would like to try and attend another section, then you should complete the following steps:

You will need to contact the TA of the section you are officially enrolled in to inform them that you are trying to attend a different section. If you do not notify your current TA of your absence, YOU RUN THE RISK OF BEING DROPPED.

Contact the TA of the section you would like to unofficially attend. The TA of this section can decide if they will permit your unofficial attendance or not, and approval is not guaranteed.

Please be aware that if there are multiple lectures of the same course offered in the same quarter, you may only enroll and attend a discussion section attached to that specific lecture. Students are not permitted to switch to or attend a section attached to a lecture time they are not officially enrolled in.

(In GOLD Discussion Sections are listed directly below the lecture day and time that they are attached to).

Students trying to attend a different lecture time for a course with multiple offerings will need to drop the lecture they cannot attend, and then waitlist for the lecture they would like to attend and follow the crashing procedures. Waitlisting and crashing is the only way to change lectures. Please note we cannot guarantee waitlisted students will get into the lecture. You run the risk of not getting the course you need if you decide to try and change lecture times.

Students may also want to check if they can switch the conflicting course time as well.

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Petitions

Q: What is the Degree Requirement petition and where do I find it? Do I need to speak with an advisor?

A: There is a form called the Degree Requirements Petition This form is usually required for the following requests:

·         Second repeats –Students should pick up the form available in the College Advising Office in Cheadle hall. It is recommended that students speak with an advisor in the College Advising Office about second repeat petitions.

·         Major substitutions- These students can pick this form up from the undergraduate advisor. It is recommended that the student check with the undergraduate advisor about their petition.

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Q: What petitions do I need to submit through the PSTAT department?

A: Any petition pertaining to completion of your PSTAT major requirements will need to go through the PSTAT department first. The Degree Requirement petitions can be picked up and submitted in the PSTAT office.

The College of Letters and Science Proposed Schedule of Graduation (PSG) will need the undergraduate advisor’s signature.

Some EAP forms require the undergraduate advisor’s signature.

PSTAT 99/199 and PSTAT 193 are independent study courses that require students to submit a completed form to the PSTAT department for eligibility to enroll.

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Q: What petitions do I need to submit to the College of Letters and Science or the Office of the Registrar?

A: There are many forms and petitions that require submission through the College of Letters and Science or the Office of the Registrar (examples: Late Drop Petition, PSG, and Incomplete grade petition). A list of petitions can be found and downloaded at the following College of Letters and Science website: http://www.duels.ucsb.edu/advising/petitions.

Undergraduate petition to take a graduate level course like our PSTAT 274 or 231. Students must first enroll and have a space in PSTAT 174 or PSTAT 131. Then at the start of the quarter the student must complete the Undergraduate Petition to take a Graduate level course and have this signed by the instructor. This petition needs to be submitted to the Office of the Registrar and follows the Registrar’s enrollment deadlines. The petition can be found here: http://www.duels.ucsb.edu/advising/petitions#grad-course

Students are welcome to come to the PSTAT department office if they have questions about the petition process, or need further guidance.

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Major changes

Q: What do I have to do to change my major?

A: Students interested in changing to our Actuarial Science B.S. or Statistics B.S./B.A. will need to have at least one UCSB Math grade before submitting their change of major form to the department. 

The FMS degree is a joint degree with the Math department and students will need to have at least two UCSB Math grades before submitting the change of major form to the pre-major or major.

After the fifth week of the quarter we will start processing major change petitions. You need to either come in during walk-in hours (M-F, 1:00PM – 4:00PM), or make an appointment via email with the advisor to go through class scheduling and change of major advising. Freshmen and sophomores can meet with a PSTAT peer advisor to submit their change of major forms at any time from the fifth week onward that the peer advisors are at the front desk.

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Q: How long before my major change is available on GOLD?

A: Approved change of major petitions can take from 4-6 weeks to be processed and applied to a student’s GOLD account.

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Transfer Students

Q: I am transferring to this school, is there anything I need to do in preparation for this major? And what classes should I take for this major before transferring?

A: Students should refer to the PSTAT website for information on the degree requirements. Complete as many of the lower division courses as possible including: calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, and multivariate calculus (UCSB equivalents of Math 3AB, Math 4AB, Math 6AB)

computer science: CS8 and CS16 equivalent (Python and C++)

economics: microeconomics and macroeconomics (UCSB equivalent of Econ 1 and Econ 2)

writing: UCSB equivalent of Writing 2 (if needed)

Take general electives, if possible, that develop your communication skills, e.g., theater courses focusing on spontaneous speech, body language, etc.

Take an Excel class if offered.

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Q: When can Transfer students change to this major? How long will it take?

A: Transfer students cannot submit a change of major petition until after they have completed at least one quarter at UCSB. They will need at least one UCSB Math Grade to change to the Actuarial B.S. or the Statistics B.S./B.A. Or if they have completed all lower division Math they should have at least one upper-division PSTAT course.

It is highly recommended for transfer students without at least Math 3A and Math 3B equivalents completed to check alternative major options.

Students would need to either come in during walk-in hours (M-F, 1:00PM – 4:00PM), or make an appointment via email with the advisor to go through class scheduling and change of major advising.

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Q: How do I know if I’ve met the prerequisites for the statistics courses that are required for the major?

A: Courses from California Community colleges can be checked online at www.ASSIST.org.   This is a website that can be used to check on equivalents from any community college in California and courses at UCSB.

Students can search ASSISTby UCSB major and their community college to see a list of courses that are accepted for transfer credit towards the major.

Additionally, students can check the major sheet to see the full list of preparation for the major courses that are required.

A student should check the university general catalogue to check course descriptions and pre-requisites. (The catalogue can be found here: http://my.sa.ucsb.edu/catalog/current/CollegesDepartments/ls-intro/AcademicDepartments.aspx)    

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Q: What if I fail one or two classes the quarter before I transfer, will I still get into the major?

Transfer students should check with the Office of Admissions with this question.

If these are courses that were needed as part of the preparation for the major or pre-major requirements, then if the students are still able to come they would have to take their equivalents at UCSB.

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Q: What if I have met the pre-requisites for a course, but GOLD is saying I have not when I try to enroll in the course?

For transfer students, this may mean that their transcripts have not been fully processed yet by admissions. If they are trying to enroll in a PSTAT course then they would need to email the undergrad advisor a copy of their unofficial transcripts along with their full name, UCSB PERM number, and name of the PSTAT course they would like to take. The undergrad advisor would have to verify the pre-requisites for that PSTAT course have been satisfied. If the pre-requisites have been met, then the undergrad advisor will manually clear the student in the system so that the registration system will be updated with the information the student has the pre-requisites.

Clearance for the course does not guarantee a spot in the course. After being cleared students will still need to enroll in the course through GOLD. If the course is full they should add their name to the waitlist and follow the crashing directions if they have not been added automatically by the start of the quarter.

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Actuarial Program

Q: What is Actuarial Science/ I want to find out more about being an actuary.

A: Starting Fall 2010 UCSB offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Actuarial Science. For more info on what an actuary is, or for information on the program itself, please visit program website.

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Q: What is the 1-year MS program, and does it apply to all majors?

A: The one year MS program is a combined degree program only available for currently enrolled students in the Actuarial Science BS degree program.

Interested students should read through the eligibility and application process on our website found here.

Current Actuarial students should also speak with the undergraduate advisor by the end of their second year for more information regarding the application process.

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Q: Which classes can be substituted for Econ 1 / 2 if I don’t get a B- or above in both for the VEE requirement?

A: Econ 10A and/or Econ 100B are substitutes for Econ 1 if you did not receive a B- or higher in this course.

Econ 101 is a substitute for Econ 2 if you did not receive a B- or higher in this course.

More information on about the VEE requirements for the SOA can be found here: https://www.soa.org/education/exam-req/edu-vee.aspx

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Actuarial Club

Q: How/Can I check out an Actuary exam study manual? For how long?

A: In order to check out an exam manual you must be a paid Actuary Association member. Students can check out exam manuals in the department office.

Students can check out one manual for the length of one quarter.

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Q: How much does entry to the club cost?

A: ????

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Q: When/Where does the Actuary club meet?

A: Locations for the association will vary each quarter. Students should refer to the association website for updated meeting days, times, and location. http://actuaryclub.pstat.ucsb.edu/

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Q: Who can I talk to for more information about the Actuary club?

A: The association website has a general email that students can send questions to.

http://actuaryclub.pstat.ucsb.edu/

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Miscellaneous Questions

Q: Where can I find PSTAT tutors?

A: The department does not coordinate private tutoring. However, we have provided a link to contact information of graduate students that may be willing to tutor students. This list can be found on our website here: https://secure.lsit.ucsb.edu/stat/d7/undergrad/tutors

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Q: How do I go about contacting visiting faculty that have left already?

A: If you have a question about a course grade you can also email your TA from that course.

Students can also contact undergradinfo@pstat.ucsb.edu to request a forwarding email address for the visitor, but we cannot guarantee one will be available.

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Q: Why is my instructor not responding to my email?

A: Instructors receive a large volume of emails throughout the quarter from many students that are taking the course(s) they are teaching. It is customary to send a follow-up email if you have not received a response in 3-5 days.

Students should also always email advisors and instructors through their UMAIL account. Using your UMAIL helps advisors and instructors to confirm your identity and helps to make certain their email is not being marked as spam.

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