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Frequently Asked Questions

Student Services Questions

How do I meet with an advisor?

If you feel your questions cannot be answered over VAC (or just want to talk to a person) you can schedule an advising appointment here:


How do I submit petitions and other forms to the department electronically?

Send all petitions and forms to the department via email using the following email address and subject line:

Department email address: 

Email Subject: HDS Form Submission: [Type of form named here; Student last name, first initial]

Example: "HDS Form Submission: Double Major Petition; Welch, A"

An advisor will respond to your email within 3 business days with further instructions.

Prospective Major Questions

Does the HDS major have restrictions?

No. As of Fall 2018, you can directly declare into the HDS B.A. or B.S. major.  

HDS no longer has admission requirements, nor is it capped or impacted.

Do I have to take classes for a letter grade?

Yes. All courses for the HDS program (upper-division, lower-division, major, and minor -- ALL of them) must be taken for a letter grade.  

Note: for the 2020-21 academic year, we did make a modification to our letter grade policy during remote instruction.  Please view our announcements page for details here: 

What is the minimum grade requirement for HDS?

All courses for the HDS program (upper-division, lower-division--ALL of them) must be a C- or above.

D's are not accepted.

Can I use a different statistics class than HDS 60?

HDS 60 is a preparatory class for the HDS major, and a prerequisite for our upper division research course, HDS 181, which focuses on applied statistics, laboratory techniques, and APA format writing.

As a prerequisite, the learning outcomes of HDS 60 extend beyond simply understanding the numerical techniques of data analysis typical of most stats classes. It incorporates a strong conceptual understanding of statistics, interpretation of research, and skill building in technical skills and software.

Petitioning the HDS 60 requirement with a different class

Fulfilling the HDS 60 requirement with a course other than HDS 60 is considered under limited conditions, with the caveat that the student may have additional outside preparation work to do when taking the subsequent course in our series, HDS 181. Stats classes that received a “Pass” or a grade of C or below are ineligible to be petitioned to waive HDS 60. AP Stats is also ineligible to be petitioned.

Petitions to waive HDS 60 will be considered under the following conditions:

  • The replacement course was taken prior to declaring the HDS major.
  • The class was taken less than two years ago.
  • Students must show demonstrated mastery in statistical analysis
    (Grades of B+ or higher will automatically meet this criteria.  For community colleges that do not utilize +/- grading, B grades will meet this criteria).

Petitions that meet the above criteria using grades in PSYC 60, MATH 11, or their transfer equivalents (via will be approved automatically, otherwise additional review will be needed. 

Note: Students that transferred in a stats course that is not automatically applied as PSYC 60 or MATH 11 via should submit an equivalency petition to PSYC, or MATH (for calculus-based statistics classes), to have their stats course equated, thus helping them automatically clear broader campus-wide stats prerequisites when enrolling in UCSD courses.

Can I use AP credit for a lower-division HDS requirement?

Yes, as long as the AP score equates one of the courses we allow for the HDS major.

What if I took a class Pass/No Pass prior to pursuing an HDS major?

Only P/NP credit taken prior to pursuing an HDS major can be considered for credit.

Note: Using P/NP credit requires you to submit a petition to the HDS office. A P/NP grade is only approved if it meets the following conditions:

  • The course is a lower-division class (upper-division courses cannot be petitioned).
  • The lower division course is on our approved course list.
  • The actual grade earned in the lower admission course was a C or above.
  • You can verify the ACTUAL grade with the professor and submit documentation with your petition. Verification can be provided though a letter from the course professor that is on official department letterhead. E-mail verification is not acceptable.
If you cannot verify the actual grade, or the grade equated a C minus, we will only consider one lower division course for a pass grade petition.

How frequently is HDS 1 offered?

HDS 1 is offered twice per year: Fall and Spring.

Junior college transfer students should consider the UC San Diego Cross Enrollment Program if they wish to complete this course prior to transferring. Apply to cross enroll via the UC San Diego
 Cross Enrollment Program Application.

Can I take a lower-division course at another school?

Yes, with the exception of HDS 1 or 60.

Junior College courses taken for HDS must articulate to one of our approved courses via, or be approved for HDS via petition. Classes can also be taken at another university, including abroad, but must be UC transferable and approved via petition. You MUST take it for a letter grade.

How do I declare the HDS major?

You can use the online major change tool in Tritonlink to switch into the HDS major (HS25 for the BA, HS26 for the BS, HS27 for our Equity and Diversity Specialization, HS28 for our Healthy Aging Specialization).

What is the difference between the HDS B.A. and B.S. degrees?

For more information about the differences between our Bachelor of Arts degree and Bachelor of Science degree check out our B.A. and B.S. compared information page.

Major Questions

OK, I'm now a HDS major. What classes should I take first?

You should focus on your coursework in this order:

  1. First: Major Preparation (Lower-division). This includes HDS 1, Formal Skills, Bio Sciences, Social Sciences, and Statistics.
    Pro-tip: You should prioritize HDS 1.  Save Statistics for closer to your junior year if you can, as it is a firmly enforced prerequisite for HDS 181, and you will want your statistics knowledge to be fresh when you take 181.
  2. Next: Completing your 4 core courses. These provide the basis of developmental theory in the 3 domains.
  3. Then: After taking statistics, HDS 1, and some course classes, You can begin your methods sequence with HDS 181. Your development series courses can begin at any time, but ideally, should be completed after a number of your core courses are done. 
  4. HDS 191 should occur after completing HDS 181, your core courses, and at least 1 or 2 development courses.
  5. HDS 150, the senior seminar, is the capstone course. It should be taken at the end of the major.

What is the minimum major GPA needed for HDS?

Your GPA requirements for a B.A. or B.S. in Human Developmental Sciences is the same as the general university requirements: a minimum of 2.0 GPA.

Grades for the HDS Major and Minor must be C- or above. D's are not accepted.

I'm trying to add HDS 181, but TritonLink won't let me. What's wrong?

You have to be pre-authorized to enroll in HDS 181. HDS 181 requires a minimum of junior standing, and the following prerequisites: HDS 1, Statistics, and a minimum of three upper division course completed--at least one in each domain. During periods of peak enrollment, registration priority will be given to student who are closest to major completion.

Enrollment requests are reviewed in 1st pass, and enrollment is not grade unit 2nd pass has begun. Enrollment in 181 is independent of you enrollment appoint time--please use those times to secure other courses you need.

I'm trying to add HDS 191, but TritonLink won't let me. What's wrong?

You have to be approved to enroll HDS 191, which requires the submission of an application well in advance (see the below HDS 191 FAQ), and completion of the prerequisite, HDS 181.

If you are already approved to enroll in the term you are requesting 191, you will receive notification of which section you will be allowed to enroll in.  This notification occurs AFTER you have received your site placement for that term. Unit that happens, you will not be allowed to enroll. Enrollment in 191 is independent of 1st or 2nd pass--please use those times to secure other courses you need.

I'm trying to add HDS 150, but TritonLink won't let me. What's wrong?

You have to be pre-authorized to enroll in HDS 150. HDS 150, the Senior Seminar, is one of the last classes for HDS majors to take, so we need to verify you are indeed ready for it by requiring a degree check prior to enrollment. Graduating seniors receive priority enrollment. Learn more about HDS 150 and how to request a seat from the HDS 150 course webpage.

I want to go abroad. Can I take courses for HDS while I am there?

Yes. The only HDS courses you must take at UC San Diego (no exceptions) are HDS 1, HDS 181, HDS 191, and HDS 150. For more information, see our page about HDS study abroad.

Can I take courses for HDS at another UC or other school in the US?


The only HDS courses you must take at UC San Diego (no exceptions) are HDS 1, HDS 181, HDS 191, and HDS 150. All upper-division courses from other universities must be approved via petition.

I am currently on track for the B.A. in HDS, but would like to switch over to a B.S. What should I do?

Information about switching from the B.A. to the B.S. can be found at the bottom of the B.A. and B.S. compared information page.

If you are considering switching from the B.A. to the B.S. it is highly recommended that you meet with and HDS advisor. 

HDS 191 Questions

What is HDS 191?

This course combines lectures on research methodology with an actual field research position at a site somewhere in San Diego county. It includes 3 hours/week in class, and four hours/week at a pre-approved study site. This course is different from HDS 181 in that you are not in a laboratory setting (i.e. a controlled environment). The research phenomenon you are observing is studied in a naturally occurring environment.

When should I take HDS 191?

By the time you are enrolling in HDS 191, you should have completed HDS 181 and a significant number of upper-division core and/or development courses, with at least 1 course in each area of focus: Biological, Ontogenetic, Socio-cultural. You do not need to wait until your last quarter to take HDS 191.

Do I really have to apply a year in advance to take HDS 191?

Not exactly one whole year -- Your application has to be submitted in the spring quarter prior to your HDS 191 enrollment. If you are requesting a placement for the following fall, that is only 5 months away. If you are requesting spring, then it is a year in advance.

There are 150 positions available for HDS 191 each year: 50 in fall, 50 in winter, and 50 in spring. In order to make sure theses are evenly distributed and that everyone who needs a placement gets one, we take enrollment requests during the month of May and fill all 150 positions for the following academic year. We always take into consideration your desired quarter, site location, academic plans, career & research interests, and special requirements when making your placement.

Do I have to have all prerequisites completed to apply for HDS 191?

No. You are welcome to submit your application regardless of your status—so please do. Course prerequisites and restrictions need to be cleared before your first day of class, which could be almost a year away, depending on which quarter you are placed. So, if you think you may take the course any time next year, apply! You can always withdraw your application (and make someone on our waitlist very happy) if your plans change.

What if I miss the application period for HDS 191?

You will be placed on our internal waitlist for an opening during the academic year.

Once in a while, we do offer the course during summer session, as a normal 10-week session, when there is high enough demand.

I have been approved to take HDS 191 this quarter, but TritonLink won't let me enroll. What is wrong?

You must be pre-authorized to enroll in one of the two sections. Pre-authorization does not occur until all 191 students have HAD their enrollment appointment and determined their schedules for the following quarter. Because your enrollment in 191 has been approved in advance, you are guaranteed a seat…but not your section of choice. Students with genuine course schedule conflicts that prevent them from enrolling in either 191 section will receive priority for section enrollment. Once all legitimate schedule conflicts are resolved, then remaining students will be allowed to enroll.

Is HDS 191 really as much work as they say it is?

Yes. You should enroll in no more than two additional courses and keep outside commitments and part-time jobs to a minimum while completing HDS 191.