UCSD’s math department announced in March that all majors within the department will be capped, beginning Fall 2016, in an effort to keep upper-division math class sizes manageable and ensure a positive educational experience for both students and professors.
Students looking to transfer into the math department will be required to complete a set of prerequisite courses and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 before they can apply for the major. The department will admit students based on their GPA when they apply.
The change in the admissions process for the mathematics department is a result of the unpredicted increase in the number of students in the mathematics department since 2012. According to a statement released by the math department, the number of math majors increased from 572 in Fall 2012 to 1,724 in Fall 2015.
Undergraduate Vice Chair Patrick Fitzsimmons, stated the 2016-2017 caps that the university has set for freshman and transfer students will be 400 and 200, respectively, which is approximately 5-percent above the number of incoming freshmen and transfer students they received for the 2015-2016 academic year. In addition, there is a cap of 250 for continuing students who are currently not math majors but wish to become one.
Fitzsimmons explained to the UCSD Guardian that the increase in the number of math majors at UCSD could be a result of the increase in the student population at UCSD, which went from about 29,000 in 2012 to 33,000 in 2015, according to UCSD’s records.
“There has also been a general increase in the number of students who want to pursue a STEM major, as well as overflow from other STEM majors,” Fitzsimmons added.
The overflow is caused by students who are not admitted to impacted majors in other departments and declare joint majors in the math department instead. Currently, in UCSD’s Mathematics Department, about 45 percent are Math-Computer Science majors, 21 percent are Applied Math majors and 11.5 percent are Math-Economics majors.
Fitzsimmons suggests that students that who are not admitted to the math major try to apply for majors that have a strong mathematical emphasis.
“One possible alternative (aside from other crowded STEM majors) would be a major/program with a heavy mathematical emphasis; examples might be Cognitive Science and Physics,” Fitzsimmons said in an email to the Guardian.
In addition to the majors in the math department, all majors within the biology, economics, and engineering departments are currently capped as well.