Undergraduate FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

PSTAT 8

PSTAT majors

Courses

Outside Department Electives

Grades/Repeats

Enrollment/Waitlist

Approval Codes

Petitions

Major Changes

Transfer Students

Actuarial Program

Actuarial Club

Miscellaneous Questions


PSTAT 8


Q: Will PSTAT 8 count towards my major?

A: Yes. PSTAT 8 will satisfy the Math 8 requirement for your major, even if it is not listed on your major sheet. Starting in the 2022-2023 academic year, PSTAT 8 will be listed on all PSTAT major sheets. 

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Q: Can I take upper division Math courses if I take PSTAT 8 instead of Math 8?

A: PSTAT 8 will be an optional prerequisite for Math 117 and Math 104ABC. If you plan to take additional upper division Math courses, you must take Math 8.

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Q: Do PSTAT majors still receive registration priority in Math 8?

A: Yes. PSTAT majors still receive Pass 2 priority for Math 8, but will receive Pass 1 priority for PSTAT 8. FMS majors will receive Pass 1 priority for both PSTAT 8 and Math 8.

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Q: I have already taken Math 8. Can I still take PSTAT 8?

A: No. PSTAT 8 is not open for credit for students who have completed Math 8.

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Q: What are the prerequisites for PSTAT 8?

A: The prerequisites for PSTAT 8 are the same as those for Math 8: Mathematics 3C or 3CI or 4A or 4AI or 4B or 4BI or 5A or 5AI or 5B or 5BI or 5C or 6A or 6AI or 6B with a grade of B or better.

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Q: I am an FMS major. Should I take PSTAT 8 or Math 8?

A: FMS majors must first consider which Math courses they would like to take before choosing between PSTAT 8 and Math 8. PSTAT 8 meets the Math 8 prerequisite for upper division Math courses: Math 117 and Math 104ABC. All other upper division Math courses require Math 8 and do not accept PSTAT 8 as a prerequisite.

If you are planning to only take the required Math courses for the FMS major (Math 117 and Math 104ABC) you may take PSTAT 8. If you are planning to take upper division Math courses outside of Math 117 and Math 104ABC, you must take Math 8. 

If you are unsure of which electives you would like to take for the FMS major, we recommend you take Math 8, as PSTAT 8 limits your elective options. 

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Q: I am considering a major or double major in Math. Should I take PSTAT 8 or Math 8?

A: If you are considering a Math major, you should take Math 8. PSTAT 8 will not satisfy the Math 8 prerequisite for upper division Math courses other than Math 117 and Math 104A.

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Q: I did not pass Math 8. Can I take PSTAT 8 instead?

A: PSTAT 8 is an illegal repeat of Math 8, so if you received any unit credit for Math 8, you will not be able to take PSTAT 8.
 
If you received a D- or higher or a P in Math 8, you will not be able to take PSTAT 8. If you enroll in PSTAT 8, you will be dropped by the Registrar's office.
If you received an F, NP, or W, which results in 0.0 units given in Math 8, you can take PSTAT 8. 
 
UCSB's course repeat policy can be found here.
 

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 Statistics and Data 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 Statistics and Data 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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Courses


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

A: Students should check the UCSB General Catalog for course descriptions and pre-requisites.

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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 or an Undergraduate Program Advisor here

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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 grade 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 major, students must complete 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 Validation of Educational Experience (VEE) credits, which are part of the career requirements through the SOA (Society of Actuaries). 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 120B
  • Econ 134A and Econ 3A

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 Actuarial Science major and I didn’t get a B- in my Econ 1 and/or Econ 2 course?

A: Econ 10A and/or Econ 100B may be a substitute for Econ 1 if you did not receive a B- or higher in Econ 1. Econ 101 may be a substitute for Econ 2 if you did not receive a B- or higher in Econ 2.

More information on about the VEE requirements for the SOA can be found here.

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

A: Students will need to email the the Undergraduate Program 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:

  • Student information (PERM and umail).
  • University name that course is coming from, course name, course description, and syllabus.
  • What UCSB PSTAT course they think the course may cover.

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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Outside Department Electives


Q: Can I take a course from an outside department and have it apply to my major?

A: Yes. Students may petition up to one 4.0 unit course not listed on the major sheet to apply as an elective for the major. Courses are reviewed and approved on a case by case basis. It is highly recommended that students contact the department before enrolling in a course not on the major sheet, if they would like for the course to count for the major.

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Q: How do I know which courses are approved to apply for the major?

A: Courses will first need to be reviewed by the faculty and are approved on a case by case basis. If you would like to check if a certain course may apply as a major elective, please email the department with your PERM number, the course name, and a recent syllabus. 

There is no longer a pre-approved elective sheet. It is highly recommended that students contact the department before enrolling in a course not on the major sheet if they would like for the course to count for the major.

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Q: Is there a limit to how many elective courses I can petition to have count for the major?

A: Yes. Students are limited to petiitoning one 4-unit course from an outside department to apply as an elective for the major. Courses are reviewed and approved on a case by case basis.

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Q: How do I petition for my approved elective course to apply towards my major?

A: A Credit and Enrollment Clarification Petition is required to have the course apply to your major. This petition should only be submitted after your course has received department approval. Approvals are on a case by case basis.

All Credit and Enrollment Clarification petitions should be submited using our Google form here.

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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 webpage 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 Program Advisor for more information and 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 and 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 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 to keep up with the material in case they are added to the class by the waitlist. 

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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 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 Credit and Enrollment Clarification petition and where do I find it? Do I need to speak with an advisor?

A: This petition can be found here and is used in order to request to repeat a course for a second time, to earn major credit for pre-approved courses taken outside UCSB (i.e. other UC's, CSU's, education abroad courses), etc. A petition for a course completed at another UC to serve as a legal repeat for UCSB course cannot be approved without the UCSB department’s endorsement. The major department’s review is required if a student is petitioning for a second repeat of a course that is applicable to a student’s major, but the Dean has final approval. There are also other matters regarding credit clarification that may require a department’s response. Please consult with the College of Letters and Science, 1117 Cheadle Hall.

Credit and Enrollment Clarification petitions should be submited using our Google form here.

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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.

If you are an undergraduate student who wishes to enroll in a graduate course, please upload the Enroll in a Graduate Course petition to our Google form here. The policy requires the student to have a cumulative G.P.A of a 3.0, and a minimum of 12 upper division units with a grade of B or better. Graduate courses completed as an undergraduate will not count towards graduate degrees. You must receive the instructor's approval before submitting the petition to the PSTAT Department.

Students interested in PSTAT 99/199 will need to submit their petition and research proposal here.

Students interested in PSTAT 193 should first fill out this interest form.

Both the College of Letters and Science Proposed Schedule of Graduation (PSG) form and Education Abroad Program (EAP) Academic Planning form will need the Undergraduate Advisor’s signature and should be submitted via email

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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 College of Letters and Science website here.

Students are welcome to contact our Undergraduate Program Advisors 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: All PSTAT majors now have a pre-major in place. Students will need to have at least two UCSB Math grades before being eligible to switch to one of our pre-majors. Students will need to have completed each of the pre-major requirements with a letter grade of C or higher and an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher to be eligible to switch to the full major. More information on the major change policies and how to submit your Major Change Petition may be found here.

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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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Q: I already took all of my math prerequisites at a community college; what courses should I take to meet the department's requirement of 2 MATH or PSTAT grades on my transcript from UCSB?

A: You must take PSTAT 10; beyond that, PSTAT will consider you with CS 16, MATH 8, ECON 10A (for Pre-FMS majors only), ECON 1 (Actuarial Science majors only), or any UD PSTAT course. Students are able to enroll in UD PSTAT courses during Pass 3 if there is room. If the course is full, you may add yourself to the waitlist during Pass 3.

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Q: What if I had to repeat several math prerequisites/preparation for the major/pre-major courses? Is there any way I can still be considered?

A: Students that are struggling with math courses early on are strongly encouraged to pursue a major that is a better fit. The college advisors will work with you in finding appropriate alternatives. If you nonetheless still wish to pursue a PSTAT major, you may continue to attempt to take courses; once you have proven that you can regularly pass a UD PSTAT course in one attempt, you may reapply and be considered for the major. The department suggests you have at least two quarters of PSTAT courses passed within 1 attempt on your transcript before you apply. Please be aware that, as you will not be a major, you will not have priority registration and may find it difficult to enroll in required courses without going through the waitlist process.

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Q: What if I need to submit a Change of Major Petition due to an administrative error?

A: If the College or the Department has requested that you submit a second Change of Major Petition due to a processing error with a previous petition, please resubmit your petition to our Google form.

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Q: What if I need an expedited Change of Major Petition because I am graduating soon?

A: If you have been advised by the college that you need to submit a Change of Major Petition as soon as possible, PSTAT will accept the petition so long as you have an email from a college advisor stating that you need the petition as soon as possible. If you speak with the advisor in person, please ask them to write an email to you stating you will need to submit a petition as quickly as possible, and you may turn in this printed email along with your petition to the front desk.

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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: CS 8 and CS 9 (or 16) 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 and Data Science 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 may attend our Zoom drop in hours or make an appointment here 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 ASSIST by 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 UCSB General Catalog for course descriptions and pre-requisites.

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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 admitted students will need 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 Undergraduate 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 Undergraduate Advisor will verify the pre-requisites for that PSTAT course have been satisfied and 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 the 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 or 2 if I don’t get a B- or above in both for the VEE requirement?

A: Econ 10A and/or Econ 100B may be a substitute for Econ 1 if you did not receive a B- or higher in Econ 1. Econ 101 may be a substitute for Econ 2 if you did not receive a B- or higher in Econ 2.

More information on about the VEE requirements for the SOA can be found here.

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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: Please contact the Actuarial Association regarding this question. Their website can be found here.

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Q: When and where does the Actuary club meet?

A: Locations for the association will vary each quarter. Students should refer to the association website here for updated meeting days, times, and location.

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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.

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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.

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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 undergradadvisor@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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