Frequently Asked Questions

Campus Life

You can check out the list of engineering clubs on our "CoE Clubs" tab. You can also look out for any emails sent out by CoE/departments.

You can check out the club's official/Facebook pages. You can also check our "CoE Calendar" tab.

1. Walk along the beach to the campus point.

2. Talk to someone about it, especially if they are directly related to it. For school work, you can talk to TA/professors. For mental health, you can talk to CAPS.

3. Take things step by step. There are many things going on 24/7 on campus or off campus. If there are things that you want to add as a recurring, weekly, monthly activity, try to add them slowly instead of all at once.

Research

A common way to find research is going onto the CoE research website where you can find all the ongoing research on campus and their affiliated faculty. From there you can find their contact information where you can email them and express your interest in their research and ask if there are any openings in their lab. 

Another wonderful place to find research opportunities as an undergrad is at the Materials Research Laboratory (MRL), they have a number of research opportunities available on their website. 

The pandemic presents unique challenges for the on-campus researchers, and the restricted access for undergraduates in research buildings makes the prospect of joining a research group intimidating. There is plenty of work to be done remotely, including data analysis, design, and simulations, all activities that can safely be done remotely. Most research groups have had ample time to adjust to the new reality of research in the COVID-19 era and have transitioned a majority of their projects into goals that can be accomplished remotely. 

If there is a professor that you are interested in working with, their faculty websites are a good place to start. The current research areas are commonly listed on the website, along with the graduate students working on each topic. Reading papers published by the research group is a good way to learn more about the work being done, and to have specific talking points that demonstrate your interest. After you have done your research, you should send a well crafted personal email to the professor of choice expressing your interest, sharing relevant skills, and asking if there is any openings or opportunities for you to become involved in the lab environment. If there are no projects open or no grants available, ask if you can sit in on group meetings, that is a great way to receive research exposure and increase your presence in the event that positions open. 

Working in research is a very challenging and rewarding experience. It requires a certain amount of tenacity, because the scale of research projects is typically months or even years of careful planning and experimentation. Research projects often face setbacks, challenges, and numerous iterations before success, which can be quite frustrating and discouraging. However, it is important to remember that these projects are pushing the boundaries of engineering and knowledge, so the answer does not come easy or on the first try. Research groups foster close bonds due to the length of time spent working on projects, and group meetings have a familial quality that compliments the enthusiasm for learning new information. The professor, the graduate students, and you are all learning from each other, and the atmosphere that accompanies this relationship is hard to find anywhere else. The research experiences change based on the professor, the mentor within the research group, the project focus, the type of research (experimental, theoretical, or computational to name a few), but the right environment for you is accompanied by feeling a positive challenge to strive for success.

Classes

Following the grid (on GEAR) can help you to not fall behind on your four-year graduation plan. If unsure, check in with your department advisor. They can go through and plan out your schedule with you. For non-major classes, take classes that you think are fun! For practical reasons, you can also consider classes that fulfill multiple requirements (Look for classes that have multiple symbols on GEAR).

CAPSTONE projects last 2-3 quarters depending on your major, and they begin in fall of your senior year. Check your specific major on whether CAPSTONE is required or optional. Typically four-six students group together and each group is advised by a sponsored company. You will work on a proposed project and present it at the end of year/winter quarter.

You can either ask upperclassman from your major, or ask your department advisor, rather than the college advisor.

1. Be organized and have a calendar/task book helps a lot.

2. Take breaks, or things can get overwhelming. Don’t be continuously stuck on a problem for hours.

3. Form study groups with fellow students.

Career

Graduate school for engineering majors can be used to specialize in a niche area in your field, learn unique skills for a head-start in industry, or for kickstarting a career in academia, but ultimately, it varies depending on your major and interests.

Searching for opportunities on job search websites is the most direct way to find internships. Making connections and building up your resume can improve your chances of landing an internship. Many of UCSB’s College of Engineering clubs offer resume workshops, industry panels, and professional mixers for undergraduate students.

You can check out UCSB Career Services website for detailed services they offer. They regularly host resume workshops, networking workshops and etc. They also host quarterly Career Fairs, which are great ways to meet companies and hand out your resume. In addition, a lot of companies come to UCSB to host their own recruiting events, so make sure to check your UCSB email regularly so you don't miss out!

Others

Applications for the Honors Program are only open during July each year and students may not apply during the summer between junior and senior year. If you are already in it, you must complete 10 hours of community service every year and maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA at the end of each spring quarter. 

Studying abroad is encouraged and doable for engineering students. However there are somewhat more restrictions for engineering majors, since our major courses can be a little tricky in terms of finding the right schools offering classes at the right time. Most engineering majors can only study abroad in their sophomore and junior year, since most seniors have the CAPSTONE project. If you decide to study abroad, you should start your application process early! Talk to the EAP office first to nail down your destination, and then talk to the College of Engineering advisor to discuss your academic planning and get an approval.