Guide to UC San Diego/Printable version

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Guide to UC San Diego

The current, editable version of this book is available in Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection, at

Permission is granted to copy, distribute, and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.


History[edit | edit source]

The first steps to creating UC San Diego took place in the 1950s. The Board of Regents of the University of California voted to create a graduate school in La Jolla in 1956. This school was originally planned to be a school of science and engineering and was to be closely connected to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The first graduate students arrived in 1960. Eventually it was decided that a general campus of the University of California was to be built rather than just a graduate school. More land was acquired, more facilities built and more faculty hired to make this a reality. The first undergraduate students arrived in 1964. They were the first class of First College, which was renamed Revelle College the next year to honor Roger Revelle, one of the most important figures in the founding of UC San Diego. John Muir College accepted its first class in 1967 and Third College (later renamed Thurgood Marshall College) accepted its first students in 1970. Earl Warren College accepted its first students in 1974 and Eleanor Roosevelt College accepted its first students in 1988. Finally, Sixth College accepted its first students in 2002. Today, UC San Diego is an important public university in the University of California system.

Academic Year[edit | edit source]

At UC San Diego, the academic year is divided into quarters. Each quarter has ten weeks of instruction followed by a week devoted to final exams. The academic year begins with Fall Quarter, which starts in late September each year. After the Fall Quarter ends in December, there is a break before Winter Quarter begins in January. Spring Break divides Winter Quarter from Spring Quarter. Students can take classes during the summer as well as during the regular academic year. Summer is divided into Summer Session 1 and Summer Session 2. Each of these summer sessions in five weeks long so instructors compress a regular ten week course into only five weeks. A summer session course has twice as many weekly hours of instruction as a regular quarter course so students spend as many hours in class during a summer session as they do for a regular quarter course. There is also a Special Session for summer courses that have a different length than the regular Summer Session courses.

Applying to UC San Diego

Applying as a Freshman Student[edit | edit source]

Many graduating high school students apply to UC San Diego each year but only some of them receive an acceptance letter. Getting into UCSD is difficult because of all the competition with other potential students.

Applying as a Transfer Student[edit | edit source]

Each year, UC San Diego accepts a certain number of transfer students from community colleges and other colleges and universities. This number is smaller than the number of freshmen admitted each year and is very competitive. Most transfer students try to avoid being admitted to Revelle College and Eleanor Roosevelt College because IGETC certification does not cover all the general education (GE) requirements for those colleges. Transfer students who have completed the IGETC still need to fulfill certain Revelle and ERC specific GE requirements when they transfer to UCSD.[1][2]


UC San Diego has several libraries available to students. The largest library is Geisel Library. Other libraries on campus include CLICS and the Biomedical Library.

Libraries[edit | edit source]

There are several libraries on campus. These include Geisel Library, CLICS, the Biomedical Library, as well as several others.

Geisel Library[edit | edit source]

Geisel Library
File:Dr. Suess and the Cat in the Hat, Sculpture, UCSD.jpg
Dr. Seuss sculpture near Geisel Library entrance

The biggest library on campus is Geisel Library. It is located in the center of the campus (it was originally called the "Central Library") near the Price Center. The main entrance to this library opens to Library Walk, which is a busy walkway that extends all the way to Gilman Drive. This library is named after Theodor Geisel, the famous artist and children's author better known as Dr. Seuss. Geisel and his wife were generous benefactors to the library and his artwork and papers are currently in the possession of the library. A statue of Geisel and his famous character The Cat in the Hat are close to the entrance of the library. This library has a very distinctive design and is one of the main symbols of UC San Diego.

Geisel Library is composed of several smaller libraries. The biggest of these is the Social Science & Humanities (SSH) Library.[3] This library is housed on all the floors of Geisel Library except the basement level. To go to this library, turn left when entering Geisel Library or use the elevator or stairs located near the entrance to go to the floor you want to go to. The next largest is the Science & Engineering (S&E) Library.[4] It is located on the ground floor and in the basement level of Geisel Library. To go to this library, turn right when entering Geisel Library and continue walking until you enter this library. Geisel Library also includes the Arts Libraries.[5] The Arts Libraries are in the basement level of Geisel Library. The Mandeville Special Collections Library houses the library's rarest and oldest books.[6] It contains archives and important manuscripts. It is mainly used by researchers rather than undergraduate students. It is located on the ground floor of the library.

CLICS[edit | edit source]

CLICS (Center for Library & Instructional Computing Services) is located directly south of Revelle Plaza.[7] This library consists mostly of ACMS computers available for student use. The main level of this library consists of computer cubicles and a computer room. Printers and copiers are available here as well. The second level consists of more computer cubicles and tables students can study and do homework at. This library is open all day and night during Final Exams Week at the end of each quarter.

Biomedical Library[edit | edit source]

The Biomedical Library is located on the School of Medicine area of the main campus near Osler Lane.[8] The ground floor of this library consists mostly of computer cubicles and a computer room as well as study room students can use. The second level houses the biomedical book and journal collection. There are tables and other study areas available for student use on this level as well.

Course Reserves[edit | edit source]

Some instructors use the electronic course reserves system. Faculty can have material (typically PDF files or links to websites) uploaded to the library website so that students can access it. The material is typically organized according to which week of the quarter it is supposed to be read by. This system avoids the costs and hassles of having course readers printed for a class. To access the course reserves materials for a class, go to the San Diego Libraries Course Reserves homepage and click on "Students." Then select the department name the class is listed under (i.e. History of Science) from the drop-down menu and click on "Search." Then click on the link to the course number of the class (i.e. HISC115) and the course reserves for that class will appear.


Incoming and current student need a place to live. They have two main options to choose from: on-campus or off-campus housing. Incoming freshmen usually live on-campus for their first year or two and incoming transfer students normally live off-campus.

On-Campus Housing[edit | edit source]

Each college provides on-campus housing for its incoming freshman students. This housing can vary greatly, ranging from buildings built in the 1960s for Revelle students to buildings built in the 1990s for ERC students. On-campus housing can also vary in size, ranging from multistory buildings such as Tioga and Tenaya halls to the small "summer camp" style buildings used by Sixth College students.

Off-Campus Housing[edit | edit source]

After their first year or two on campus, students usually move off-campus. Transfer students normally do not have the option of living on campus so they must live off campus from the very beginning of their time at UC San Diego. However, new housing units are starting to open so more transfer students may be able to live on campus in the near future. Students living off campus have a number of options. They can live at one of the apartment complexes in the area or in a house near the campus. Many students live with fellow UC San Diego students or other young adults living in the La Jolla area and split the rent between them. To find off-campus housing, students have a number of options. UC San Diego provides housing listings for commuter students that they can search through to find roommates or apartments.[9] Students can also use resources like Craigslist to find a place to live.

Transportation and Parking

Parking Office[edit | edit source]

The Parking Office is on the first level of the Gilman Parking Structure and the door to this office opens to Russell Lane.[10] At the beginning of each quarter, many students need to go to the parking office and a very long line forms at times so incoming students should plan for this. Students can buy parking permits here and also at the UCSD Bookstore.[11]

Shuttles[edit | edit source]

There are several free shuttle routes that students can use.[12] There are two Campus Loop routes (clockwise and counterclockwise) that run throughout the day and evening. As its name states, it runs in a big loop around the main campus. There is an East/Regents route that runs from the Price Center East to East parking lot and Regents parking lot and back throughout the day and evening. There is a Mesa Housing shuttle that runs from the Mesa apartments to the main campus and back. These shuttles run Monday through Friday during the academic quarter.

Free Bus Route Sticker[edit | edit source]

Several public bus routes are free to UC San Diego students. These include MTS/NCTD routes 30, 41, 101, 150, 201, 202 and 921. To ride these buses for free, students must to go to the Parking Office and get a sticker attached to their Student ID. These stickers are good for one full year and enrolled students can get a new sticker each year they are a student at UC San Diego.

Textbooks and Course Materials

Instructors at UC San Diego normally require that their students purchase textbooks or other course materials for their courses. Instructors have a number of options regarding what kind of course materials they want students to buy and where students should get these materials. The instructor normally provides this information on the course syllabus or in class. This information is also normally available before the course begins and can be obtained by clicking on the 'book' icon by the course listed in the Schedule of Courses.

UC San Diego Bookstore[edit | edit source]

The UC San Diego Bookstore is located in the center of the main campus. It is part of the Price Center complex and opens out to the Price Center Plaza. There is also an entrance to the Bookstore on Library Walk and another facing the Town Square. The Bookstore contains a Textbook and Course Materials department, a General Books department (which is similar to a Borders of Barnes and Nobles bookstore), Customer Service, Perks Coffee Shop, a clothing department, a medical supplies department for School of Medicine and School of Pharmacy students, as well as other areas students can shop at. Facing the Price Center East foodcourt is the Sunshine Market, a convenience store run by the Bookstore. There is also a satellite bookstore by the new housing at the northern end of the campus which includes many of the items available at the main Bookstore. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography also has a bookstore which specializes in oceanography and related science books.

Textbook Reservation Service[edit | edit source]

During their orientation, incoming freshman and transfer students can sign up for the Textbook Reservation Service (TRS). Representatives from the bookstore will be at a table during most of the college orientations with the campus organizations and other groups students can visit during a portion of their orientation. This is a free service offered by the UC San Diego Bookstore to incoming students only for the Fall Quarter. Students can fill out a form for this service or can complete the form online by going to the UC San Diego Bookstore website.[13] Students can select their textbook preferences and their method of payment on this form. During move-in weekend before the start of the Fall Quarter, students who signed up for this service can go to the Price Center Ballroom West and get their textbooks. Changes can be made to their order at this time as well. Their textbooks will be in a convenient cardboard box students can carry out with them after checking out. After the Fall quarter, students cannot use the TRS again but can order their textbooks online using TxtXpress.

TxtXpress[edit | edit source]

For a certain period of time before the academic quarter starts, students can order their textbooks online from the UC San Diego Bookstore. Their books will be pulled from the shelves and will be ready to pick-up at Customer Service in the bookstore. This service is free but is only available for a certain time period each quarter (about two weeks before classes start each quarter). Check the bookstore website for more information.[14]

Return Policy[edit | edit source]

Textbooks are normally returnable for a full refund up to Saturday of Second Week. To return textbooks, students need their receipt and the textbook must be in the condition it was purchased in. This means no software has been opened and no online access codes have been uncovered. New books must be in the condition they were purchased in. There is more leeway with Used books students are attempting to return. Some books cannot be returned if they have been opened (looseleaf textbooks in particular) and this will be indicated on the book with a sticker that says something like "Nonreturnable in unwrapped." After that, textbooks can only be returned if the student has a Term Audit (obtained from the Registrar's Office) stating that the student dropped the course the textbooks are for and the rest of the conditions described above have been met. The rules are somewhat different for Extension and ELI textbooks and the Bookstore website should be consulted for the return policy for these textbooks. The policy is also modified for Summer Session courses since they are shorter than regular courses.

Textbook Sell-Back[edit | edit source]

During the First Week and during Final Exam Week of each academic quarter, a textbook wholesaler visits the campus and students have an opportunity to sell some of their textbooks. The most a student can get for a particular textbook is half the cost of a new textbook. Students can bring their old books to the white tent in front of Price Center Plaza of the Bookstore and check to see what price the buyer will offer them for their books. There is no guarantee the buyer will buy their book and what price they will offer for it. The employees in the Textbook department do not know if the wholesaler will buy back a particular book and can only offer an educated guess based on mainly on whether the book is being used for the upcoming quarter. It is recommended that students try to sell their books early in the week because the buyer can buy only so may of a particular book so they many have filled their quota by the end of the week.

Course Readers[edit | edit source]

Instructors have a number of options regarding course readers. Instructors can have UC San Diego print course readers for their course. These readers will be available in the UC San Diego Bookstore. They can also have students order their course readers through companies like University Readers. If an instructor does this, students have to purchase the reader from the company and cannot buy the reader from the Bookstore. Instructors can also have Cal Copy print the course reader for them. Students will have to go to Cal Copy to purchase their reader if this is the case. Cal Copy is located near the Villa La Jolla entrance to the main campus behind the gas station on Villa La Jolla Drive.

AS Soft Reserves[edit | edit source]

AS Soft Reserves is a service run by the Associated Students (AS) of UC San Diego. They print materials for courses such as packets and lecture notes. For some courses, a note-taker is paid to produce notes which are available to students at AS Soft Reserve. AS Soft Reserves is located at the old Student Center, which is behind Mandeville Center and near Porter's Pub.

Groundworks Books[edit | edit source]

Groundworks Books is a student-run bookstore that specializes in left-wing political and social publications.[15] They also carry textbooks for a number of courses, especially Ethnic Studies and Sociology courses. Groundworks Books is located in the old Student Center, which is behind Mandeville Center and near Porter's Pub.

General Store[edit | edit source]

The General Store sometimes has copies of certain textbooks available for purchase.

Clickers/Transmitters[edit | edit source]

Some professors require that students buy a small handheld device known as a "clicker" or "transmitter." This is typical for lower division chemistry course and physics courses. If this is the case, the type of clicker a students must buy will be listed with the other textbooks they need for the course. The UCSD Bookstore sells three types of clickers. One is known as a "RAD" or "H-ITT" or "13-button" clicker. It looks like a small, neon remote and comes in several colors (green, orange and yellow). It requires a 9 volt battery (which can be purchased at the bookstore). Another is the PRS transmitter. It has a metal cover with a LCD in it. The third type is the I-clicker. It is beige and flat. The same return and other policies apply to clicker that apply to textbooks. Students may also be able to sell clickers back like they can textbooks.

Dining and Shopping

There are a number of places students can shop or dine at on campus and off.

Price Center[edit | edit source]

Price Center consists of two parts, Price Center West and Price Center East. Price Center West is the original Price Center and consists of a plaza surrounded by the UCSD Bookstore, a movie theater, and a food court to name a few places of interest to students. There are tables students can sit at in the plaza and public events such as musical performances take place there. Price Center West is the recently-completed portion of the Price Center and consists of a large enclosed lobby area containing several restaurants such as Burger King and it contains the Sunshine Market, a small convenience store. There are also study rooms and ACMS computers available for student use here. Outside of Price Center East is the loop on Matthews Lane where students get on and off the East/Regents shuttle. Price Center West has a large ballroom used for events such as the Textbook Reservation Service and Price Center East has a smaller ballroom for events.

Malls[edit | edit source]

There are several malls near the main campus. La Jolla Village Square Shopping Center and La Jolla Village Shopping Center are close to campus and students can get there by exiting the main campus through the Villa La Jolla Drive exit and turning left on Nobel Drive. Students can also get there by taking the MTS 201 bus and returning to campus on the 202 or on the Nobel Cityshuttle. Each of these malls has a movie theater and a grocery store (Whole Foods Market and Ralphs, respectively). UTC Mall on La Jolla Village Drive has many stores such as Sears, Macy's and Nordstrom.[16] Across Genesee Avenue from UTC is Costa Verde Center.

Computers and Technology

Students at UC San Diego have access to many computers and other technology resources.[17] The people responsible for running it all are Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS).[18] If you are having a problem or have a question about the computers, you can contact them by email or by calling them at (858) 534-3227.

Computer Access[edit | edit source]

When you become a UC San Diego student, you will be given a username and password that you can use to log on to any ACMS computer on campus.[19]

Campus Email[edit | edit source]

You will be given an email address when you become a student at UCSD.[20] Your email address is the same as the username you use to log on to ACMS computers but with "" at the end of it. You will also be give a password (which you can change if you want). You will also learn what ACS server your email is hosted on. You can access your email account by going to this page and typing in your username (which is the same as your ACMS username that you use access ACMS computers) and your password (which is also the same password you use to access ACMS computers). Once you have typed your username and have tabbed down to your password, the server your email is on should be automatically selected for you.

Computer Labs[edit | edit source]

To find a ACMS computer lab, go to this page and search for a lab. You can search by location, type of computer, printing options and so on.

Eleanor Roosevelt College

The Great Hall at Eleanor Roosevelt College.

Eleanor Roosevelt College (ERC) is the fifth undergraduate college created at UC San Diego. It is located at the northern end of the main campus and is near Thurgood Marshall College. This college has an international theme and the International House ("I-House") is part of this college.[21] The ERC campus is one of the newer areas of the campus so ERC students enjoy newer residence halls and other facilities than students living at older parts of the UCSD campus such as Revelle College and Muir College.

Academics[edit | edit source]

Roosevelt College has a five quarter sequence of courses known as the Making of the Modern World (MMW) that every freshman must take (transfer students must take two of them).[22] This sequence consists primarily of world history, spanning prehistoric times up to the present. For each quarter of MMW, students must write a research paper on a certain theme relevant to what is taught in class. In the first few MMW courses, students learn to write a university-level academic paper and do so throughout the rest of the sequence. Attendance at discussion sections is required. A student's TA grades their paper so students can get valuable feedback from their TA at their discussion section.