UCB EECS Crisis [L&S CS over enrollment and inability of the department, L&S, and the campus to agree]

Often heard the large class in UCB CS or Econ. Turns out true and worse. How come the department is underfunded…

The background is that L&S CS requires a 3.3 GPA in CS 61A, 61B, 70 to declare the major. It does not use competitive admission to the major, nor do those three CS courses use competitive (curve) grading to limit the number of B+ or higher grades given. Interest in the L&S CS major, and the number of students meeting the GPA requirement, continues to increase.

Various actual or rumored proposals:

  • Raise the minimum GPA: apparently not desired by the department, since it disadvantages those who have not had previous computing experience before college.
  • Use a semi-direct-frosh-admission process, where declaring the L&S CS major is limited to those who indicated intended major of L&S CS during frosh admission (implies that this could be more selective as well): apparently rejected by L&S.
  • Limit access to CS 70: the writer of the opinion says that this was proposed.
  • More funding: apparently the campus is unwilling.

The EECS major in the CoE is direct admission, so its numbers are controlled better.

The current state of enrollment in CS courses is given at Getting Into Computer Science Classes .

Glad my kids won’t be attending UCB!


Wondering funding and overcrowdedness in popular major such as CS a common issues in other state flagship uni as well…

It’s a problem in every large public. Invariably they all go down the admit by major route which is what Berkeley might end up doing starting the class of 2027.

can’t see that happening. Letters and Science has never admitted by major, so don’t know why they’d start now. Plus I’m sure some would say that is exclusionary to those high schools that have strong math offerings and perhaps AP Comp Sci.

"Raise the minimum GPA: apparently not desired by the department, since it disadvantages… " those who are underprepared when they enter L&S with less than ideal quant backgrounds. Not gonna happen.

Yes, popular majors are impacted, so they are extremely competitive to get in. It’s a public school system. The Regents don’t care since UC-Merced has plenty of spots available.

fwiw: this is just one the reasons taht I cannot understand families that want to pay OOS rates to attend UCB or UCLA. That said, EECS is one of the two majors that I do feel is worth paying OOS rates for. It’s a direct admit for Frosh, and one of the tops in teh country. (Berkeley’s College of Chemistry is the other program that is worth OOS rates to attend.)

There is a proposed LSCS policy that does just that - fill most CS seats with direct admits while providing a switch pathway with a likely 20% admit rate similar to Haas. This is overwhelmingly supported by CS faculty. There is also a fair amount of professors leaving the program due to the lack of resolution to the overcrowding issue. It’s a matter of when not if.

ETA: I wouldn’t pay OOS tuition to attend Berkeley L&S if my goal is CS.

Yes, there is a proposal from the Dept of Computer Science to L&S, but that doesn’t mean it will happen. (A proposal to change historical admissions practice for Berkeley’s largest undergraduate college to benefit one department will get a really long examination.)

Not sure its anything close to Haas, which does not admit Frosh. One applies to Haas during Sophomore year, and many/most students transfer into Haas from L&S. Perhaps you meant CoE which does admit by major, but then has done so for decades?

I am saying the proposal is that CS seats be filled primarily via frosh direct admits. And then offer an additional pathway for people who “discover” CS once they are in LS. But that pathway will account for a small % of CS seats and will follow a pathway similar to the current Haas process.

In terms of a long examination - its already undergoing that. There were previous attempts to implement so this is a multi-year saga that’s playing out. If anything, the proposed system is more reliable for students without the annual drama around EECS enrollment policies.