School of Engineering

School of Engineering

2014-15 General Catalog

Baskin School of Engineering
335 Baskin Engineering Building
(831) 459-2158

Dean’s Office
335 Baskin Engineering
(831) 459-2158

Undergraduate Office
227 Baskin Engineering
(831) 459-5840

Graduate Office
298J/K Engineering 2
(831) 459-5737
(831) 459-2576

Professor Joseph Konopelski, Acting Dean

Professor Charles E. McDowell, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs

Professor Marilyn Walker, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies

Professor Lise Getoor, Associate Dean for Research

Professor Patrick Mantey, Associate Dean for Industry Programs

Professor Brent Haddad, Associate Dean for Technology Management

Baskin School of Engineering

The Baskin School of Engineering has a high-technology focus incorporating programs and curricula that educate students to meet the changing demands of society and a high-technology global marketplace. The school offers a stimulating academic environment that provides a foundation for professional growth as well as a lifetime of learning. The Baskin School’s programs and courses prepare students for the human aspects, as well as the technical challenges, of careers in engineering, computer science, and bioinformatics. The Baskin School of Engineering includes the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, the Department of Biomolecular Engineering, the Department of Computer Engineering, the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Electrical Engineering, and the Department of Technology Management.

Graduate Study

The Baskin School of Engineering offers 13 graduate programs designed to prepare students for advanced study and research in major areas of biomolecular, computer, and electrical engineering, as well as computer science and statistics and applied mathematics:

  • Biomolecular engineering and bioinformatics master of science (M.S.) and doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.)

  • Computer engineering M.S. and Ph.D.

  • Computer science M.S. and Ph.D.

  • Games and playable media M.S.

  • Electrical engineering M.S. and Ph.D.

  • Statistics and applied mathematics M.S. and Ph.D.

  • Technology and information management M.S. and Ph.D.

These programs are described in subsequent sections. The aim of these programs is to develop professionals who can address the complex scientific and technological problems of today and tomorrow.

Undergraduate Study

The School of Engineering offers 12 undergraduate degree programs in the following majors:

  • Bioengineering bachelor of science (B.S.)

  • Bioinformatics B.S. or combined B.S./Graduate

  • Computer engineering B.S. or combined B.S./M.S.

  • Computer science bachelor of arts (B.A.) and B.S.

  • Computer science: computer game design B.S.

  • Electrical engineering B.S.

  • Network and digital technology B.A.

  • Robotics engineering B.S.

  • Technology and information management B.S.

Bioengineering. The bioengineering program prepares graduates for a rewarding career at the interfaces between engineering, medicine and biology.  UCSC bioengineering graduates will have a thorough grounding in the principles and practices of bioengineering and the scientific and mathematical principles upon which they are built; they will be prepared for further education (both formal and informal) and for productive employment in industry. The program includes a broad range of courses in the sciences, engineering, ethics, and other topics, and is co-sponsored by the Departments of Biomolecular Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology.

Bioinformatics. The bioinformatics curriculum combines mathematics, the physical sciences, computer science, and engineering to explore and understand biological data from high-throughput experiments, such as genome sequencing and gene expression chips. The immense growth of biological information stored in computerized databases has led to a critical need for people who can understand the languages, tools, and techniques of mathematics, science, and engineering. The undergraduate bioinformatics degree program prepares students for graduate school or a career in the fast-paced pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries.

Computer Engineering. The computer engineering curriculum focuses on making digital systems that work. It overlaps with computer science on one end (software systems) and with electrical engineering on the other (digital hardware). The emphasis of our program is on design rather than analysis—on making things work, rather than on explaining the abstract theory of computation or electronics. The program’s emphasis on problem solving provides both excellent training for future engineers and a strong foundation for graduate study. The computer engineering B.S. program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The combined B.S./M.S. program provides an opportunity for outstanding undergraduates to begin advanced study and earn both degrees in five years.

Computer Science. The computer science curriculum has options that include topics in hardware and software, giving students a solid grounding in both theoretical and practical aspects of computer technology and computer usage. The bachelor of arts focus is designed to give students a solid grounding in both theoretical and practical topics in computer science, computer engineering, and mathematics while leaving flexibility for a broad program of study, including many courses outside of science and engineering. The bachelor of science curriculum has a stronger concentration in the sciences, with more courses in computer science and computer engineering, as well as courses in physics or chemistry. Students become proficient in many areas, with a good academic foundation for various careers in the software industry, as well as preparation for graduate school.

Computer Science: Computer Game Design. The computer game design curriculum is a four-year interdisciplinary program that focuses on the technical, dramatic, and artistic elements of computer games. The program provides a rigorous education in computer science, in concert with a broad introduction to those aspects of art, music, narrative, digital media, and computer engineering most relevant to games. An intensive year-long game design studio sequence permits students to create substantial video games as part of a multi-student team. Students receive proficiency in many aspects of computer science, a good academic foundation for careers in the computer game industry or information technology industry, or for the pursuit of graduate studies in computer science, or computer game design.

Electrical Engineering. The electrical engineering curriculum provides a balance of engineering science and design and allows students to specialize in both the traditional topics and the latest subjects in electrical engineering. Students may concentrate their electives in the areas of electronics and optics, communications, or signals and systems. The major is designed to attract motivated students who, upon graduation, will be sought by employers in the high-tech industry. The electrical engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Network and Digital Technology. The network and digital technology B.A. program provides students with in-depth knowledge of the underlying structure and function of network and computer technology and the design processes which make these technologies function. The program, through its flexible requirements, is especially tailored to students who wish to combine technology with other fields, such as through a double major or a minor, or who, through the choice of electives, with to concentrate on the digital design or computer networks aspects of computer engineering in preparation for future employment. The network and digital technology B.A. program is offered by the Computer Engineering Department.

Robotics Engineering. The robotics engineering program prepares graduates for rewarding careers at the interfaces between electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering. UCSC robotics engineering graduates will have a thorough grounding in the principles and practices of robotics and control, and the scientific and mathematical principles upon which they are built; graduates will be prepared for further education (both formal and informal) and for productive employment in industry.

Technology and Information Management. The technology and information management (TIM) curriculum is multidisciplinary and focuses on the fusion of information systems, technology, and business management for two purposes: the use of information systems to solve business problems and the management of technology, which includes new product development and enterprise management. Students must learn the mathematics, science, and technical fundamentals of computer science and engineering as well as understand the environment in which information technology (IT) solutions will be applied—through economics, business, and management of technology courses. It is a rigorous, challenging major for those students wanting to pursue careers in information systems management and the management of technology.

Undergraduate Minors

Undergraduate students may choose from the following seven minor options:

Applied Mathematics. The applied mathematics minor is available to students who wish to develop 1) proficiency in modeling real-life problems using mathematics and 2) knowledge of standard, practical analytical and numerical methods for the solution of these models. This minor could be combined with a major in any of the physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering sciences as preparation for a graduate degree in that field or in applied mathematics.

Bioinformatics. The bioinformatics minor is intended primarily for bioinformatics tool users who are majoring in a biological or chemical specialty. The bioinformatics minor is also appropriate for computer science or computer engineering majors who are considering graduate work in bioinformatics.

Computer Engineering. The computer engineering minor provides a solid foundation in digital hardware, electronics, and computer software, as well as the prerequisite material in mathematics and physics. The minor is well-suited to students who wish to take part in the design of computer and embedded systems in any discipline.

Computer Science. The computer science minor is available for students whose primary interest is in another area, and are interested in the applications of computer science in other areas of study, from art and music to business and science.

Electrical Engineering. The electrical engineering minor provides a solid foundation in the core areas of electronic circuits and signals and systems, as well as the prerequisite material in mathematics and physics. Concentration of upper-division electives in either of the major tracks constitutes substantial and focused work in the discipline of electrical engineering. This minor is particularly suitable for students with majors in applied physics or any School of Engineering major.

Technology and Information Management. The technology and information management minor provides undergraduates in the School of Engineering as well in other programs and divisions in the university, such as economics and business management economics, the physical and biological sciences, and arts, the opportunity to expand the breadth of their knowledge and training to include the management of information systems and the management of technology.

Statistics. The statistics minor is available for students who wish to gain a quantitative understanding of how to a) measure uncertainty and b) make good decisions on the basis of incomplete or imperfect information and apply these skills to their interests in another field. This minor could also be combined with a major in mathematics as preparation for a graduate degree in statistics or biostatistics.

Undergraduate Advising Office

The Baskin School of Engineering undergraduate advising office offers general advising for prospective and declared undergraduates majoring in School of Engineering programs. The office handles major declarations, transfer credits, course substitutions, articulations, and degree certifications. Undergraduate students obtain and submit all paperwork requiring departmental approval to the undergraduate advising office. Students may obtain additional information and assistance on the School of Engineering web site:

Admission to School of Engineering Majors

High School Preparation for Engineering Students

It is recommended that high school students intending to apply to a School of Engineering major have completed four years of mathematics (through advanced algebra and trigonometry) and three years of science in high school. Comparable college mathematics and science courses completed at other institutions also serve to properly prepare students for these majors.

College Board Advanced Placement Credit

Prospective students are encouraged to take the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IBH) Examinations as acceptable scores on these examinations may satisfy both university or major degree requirements. Prospective engineering students should consider taking examinations in computer science, mathematics, economics, chemistry, or biology. Students must provide official examination scores to the UCSC Office of Admissions to be granted credit toward course prerequisites or degree requirements. The following AP and IBH scores are accepted for course credit requirements as follows:

Common Entrance Examination for Admission to Polytechnics



UCSC Course Credit



Biology 20A: Cell and Molecular Biology


Biology 20B: Development and Physiology



Allows enrollment in Chemistry 1B and 1M

Computer Science:

Exam A


Computer Science 5J: Introduction to Programming in Java


Computer Science 12A/L: Introduction to Programming

Computer Science:

Exam AB


Computer Science 12A/L: Introduction to Programming and Lab


Computer Science 12 A/L: Introduction to Programming and Lab and Computer Science 12B/M: Introduction to Data Structures Lab



4 or 5

Economics 1: Introductory Microeconomics



4 or 5

Economics 2: Introductory Macroeconomics


Calculus AB


Mathematics  3 or AMS 3: Precalculus


Calculus AB

4 or 5

Mathematics 19A: Calculus for Science, Engineering and Math


Calculus BC


Mathematics 19A: Calculus for Science, Engineering and Math


Calculus BC

4 or 5

Mathematics 19A:Calculus for Science, Engineering and Math and Mathematics 19B: Calculus for Science, Engineering and Math

International Baccalaureate Credit

IBH Exam


UCSC Course Credit

Computer Science


Computer Science 12A/L: Introduction to Programming and Lab

Computer Science

6 or 7

Computer Science 12A/L: Introduction to Programming and Lab and Computer Science 12B/M: Introduction to Data Structures and Lab

Students may check with the Office of Admissions for details about other AP and IBH examinations that also satisfy university requirements.

Admission as First-Year Students

Students interested in pursuing a school of engineering major should indicate the major as their first or second choice on the UC application for admissions.Some school of engineering programs offer direct acceptance to qualified first-year applicants. For those engineering majors offering direct acceptance, admission is based upon high school grade point average, courses completed in mathematics and sciences, scores on standardized tests, and/or their personal statement. Some majors may specify criteria for directly accepted students to remain declared in the major. Please consult the department program statements for more information about which majors offer direct admission for first-year students and additional criteria, where applicable.

Post First-Year Current Students Acceptance to Majors

Students interested in declaring a School of Engineering major can do so by following the major declaration policy for that major as specified in the corresponding program statement. Major declaration must be completed by the sixth quarter of study at UCSC, but can be done earlier. Students are encouraged to declare as early as possible, to ensure placement into courses required for the major. Specific information about requirements and the School of Engineering major declaration process can be found at

Junior Transfer Acceptance to Majors

The School of Engineering strongly encourages applications from transfer students. Due to the prerequisite structure for upper-division courses, prospective transfer students should have completed as many of the lower-division requirements for the respective majors as possible to complete the degree within a reasonable time. Students must plan carefully because many courses must be taken sequentially.

Transfer students should not follow the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) because it will not provide transfer students with enough mathematics and engineering courses to allow them to complete School of Engineering programs at UCSC in two years.

Students who apply as transfer students with junior status (90 quarter credits or more of transfer credit) who wish to earn a degree from the School of Engineering must indicate a School of Engineering major as their first choice on their UC application. (Students may also indicate an alternative School of Engineering major as their second choice.)

Junior transfers who do not list a School of Engineering major on their application to UCSC will not be considered for admission to such majors after the first day of their first quarter on campus. Junior transfers who are qualified by the applicable declaration of major deadline will be considered by exception.

Acceptance into the major is based on the student’s academic college record and preparation for the major. Applicants are encouraged to take and excel in as many courses that are equivalent to the department’s foundation courses as possible. For many School of Engineering majors, this includes completion of a year of calculus (accepted as equivalent to Mathematics 19A-B), linear algebra, differential equations, a year of calculus-based physics courses (accepted as equivalent to Physics 5A, 5B, 5C), and two programming courses (accepted as equivalent to Computer Science 12A/L or Computer Engineering 13/L, Computer Science 12B/M, and Computer Engineering 12/L) are strongly recommended. An applicant will be approved, conditionally approved, or declined. Only students who have completed most or all of the foundation courses will be approved or conditionally approved for acceptance into the major.

Students who are approved for acceptance and who have course credit for all the foundation courses for their major must declare the major in their first term of enrollment at UCSC. The status of students who are approved for acceptance but who, upon review of their transcripts, are found not to have course credit for all the foundation courses for their major will be changed to proposed.

Students who are proposed majors must complete the remaining required foundation courses for their major during their first term at UCSC in order to declare the major at the beginning of the following term at UCSC. Students who are unsuccessful in their attempt to complete their remaining foundation courses should be prepared to declare an alternative major outside of the School of Engineering.

Course Substitutions

Undergraduate engineering students who wish to complete a course at another institution or study abroad must first consult the School of Engineering Undergraduate Advising Office. The advising office may require that a Petition for Course Substitution be approved before credit for a course completed at another institution can be applied to any School of Engineering major requirement. This petition is in addition to and separate from the transfer credit awarded by the university. Petition forms are available at the undergraduate advising office and online at Each petition must be accompanied by a course description, syllabus, and verification of the number of credits earned with a grade of C or better. To guarantee equivalency, departments may sometimes require a grade of B or better. It is very helpful if students can provide further evidence of course content, such as examples of programming assignments, homework, or examinations.

Appeal Process

Students who are informed that they are not eligible to declare the major may appeal this decision by submitting a letter to the department chair within 15 days from the date the notification was mailed. Within 15 days of receipt of the appeal, the department will notify the student, the college, and the Office of the Registrar of the decision.

If you have further questions concerning the appeal process, please contact the Undergraduate Student Affairs Office at (831) 459-5840 or e-mail

Letter Grade Policy

Starting fall 2014, all students admitted to a School of Engineering major, or seeking admission to a major, must take all courses required for that major for a letter grade.

Ethics Requirement

Graduates of the Baskin School of Engineering are expected to become professionals with the highest ethical standards. Knowledge and practice of professional ethics is a requirement for the degree. Examples of professional society codes of ethics are available at and Students of the Baskin School of Engineering are also expected to adhere to high ethical standards while pursuing their undergraduate studies.

Courses Taken Elsewhere After Enrollment

Once enrolled in the School of Engineering continuing students must have permission to subsequently take courses elsewhere. Course substitutions, such as taking a course at another UC campus, in the Education Abroad Program (EAP), or at a community college, require approval prior to taking the class.

Continuing students must get pre-approval before taking a class at a California community college. Applications and procedures for pre-approval can be obtained from and submitted to the Undergraduate Advising Office.

When a student declares their major, minor, or proposed major in a School of Engineering program, the decision as to whether a course taken elsewhere is accepted for this School of Engineering major or minor is made by the major department at that point. (Note: There is no guarantee that a course will be applicable toward a School of Engineering major, minor, or proposed major even if the student has completed more advanced courses in that department.)

School-Wide Information and Policies

Computing Facilities

The Baskin School of Engineering houses research facilities and teaching laboratories in the Baskin Engineering Building for courses in programming, software design, circuits, electronics, graphics, digital design, and computer and system architecture. Emphasis in these laboratories is on state-of-the-art equipment, including personal computers, engineering workstations, a 1000-processor Linux cluster, logic analyzers, microprocessor development systems, a wireless network for mobile computers, and network support at 100MB/sec.
All Unix computers and workstations and most personal computers on campus are networked together, allowing students to access the School of Engineering and the Information Technology Services (ITS) facilities from any computer account on campus. For a more complete description of the computing facilities on campus, see


Because of the sequential nature of the School of Engineering curricula, most courses have prerequisites, which are listed in the course descriptions. Students should carefully review these descriptions in the catalog and the quarterly Schedule of Classes. Students must have passed all prerequisites of a course for which they are enrolling. Pre-enrolled students who then fail a prerequisite are no longer eligible to be enrolled in the course and will be dropped.

For example, to enroll in Computer Science 101, a prerequisite to many upper-division courses, the prerequisite courses that must be completed or in progress are Computer Science 12B, Computer Engineering 16, Mathematics 19B, and one of the following: Mathematics 21, 22, 23A, 24, or Applied Mathematics and Statistics 10.

Students who have transferable course work from another institution that appears to satisfy a UCSC course prerequisite, but is not listed in current articulation agreements, should promptly consult with the School of Engineering’s staff advisers for guidance. Students will be asked to present records from the other institution to document the course equivalency. Until such evidence has been verified by the department, students attempting to enroll in a course using a prerequisite course that was not completed at UCSC will be informed that they have not satisfied the course prerequisite. (See the Course Substitutions section under Admission to School of Engineering Majors.)

Permission Numbers

Students not meeting the regular prerequisite requirements for courses sponsored by the Baskin School of Engineering may petition the course instructor to receive a permission number to enroll. The instructor may ask a student to demonstrate the ability and/or potential to succeed in the course or may request additional information to formulate a decision. If no instructor has been assigned to the course, please contact the Undergraduate Advising Office for direction.

Materials Fee

Students should be aware that some laboratory courses require each student to purchase miscellaneous parts or a material kit for completion of the laboratory work. Some laboratory courses may include consumable (one-time use) parts and materials that are distributed to the entire class. Some laboratory kits include parts that the student will assemble into a project and keep. Please refer to the Baskin Engineering Laboratory Support web page for specific course material fee amounts:

Miscellaneous Fees

Miscellaneous breakage or loss of equipment fees are assessed to address the cost of damaged laboratory equipment and loss of laboratory materials due to abuse or negligence. This fee is only charged if a student breaks or loses laboratory equipment or materials and is not a mandatory fee charged to all students taking the course. Please refer to the Baskin Engineering Laboratory Support web page for more information:

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Revised: 09/01/14