Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools
Fourth Floor Student Services Center (858) 534-4831
UC San Diego is a popular campus with an international reputation for excellence. Each year the campus receives more applications from eligible students than can be accommodated and, as a result, is highly selective. Successful applicants must exceed the minimum UC admission criteria. The campus does not admit students on the basis of academic major or choice of UC San Diego undergraduate college.
Applying for Admission
To apply for admission to UC San Diego, complete the UC Application for Admission and Scholarships. Applicants may apply for the fall quarter at http://universityofcalifornia.edu/apply.
One application is used for the nine UC campuses with undergraduate programs. Students apply to one UC campus for a nonrefundable application fee; an additional fee is charged for each additional campus.
When to Apply
The application filing period is November 1–30 of the prior year; however, the application is available August 1.
Definition of an Undergraduate Applicant
You are an undergraduate applicant if you are a student who wishes to complete a program of study leading to a bachelor of art degree, a bachelor of science degree, or a combination degree offered to undergraduates.
The university’s minimum undergraduate admission requirements, which are the same for all UC campuses, are based on three principles. They are
- the best predictor of success in the university is high achievement in previous work
- the study of certain subjects in high school gives a student good preparation for university work and reasonable freedom in choosing an area for specialized study
- standardized assessment tests provide a broad base for comparison and mitigate the effects of differing grading practices
Academic preparation is the principal basis for gaining admission to UC San Diego. Students are encouraged to pursue the most rigorous academic curriculum possible, including honors, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, in order to prepare for the university experience. High test scores are necessary in conjunction with strong performance in classes and a consistent pattern of courses. Applicants who have not had the opportunity to take AP or IB courses or who have not taken exams for these courses will not be disadvantaged.
The academic requirements for admission are minimum entrance standards. Students admitted to UC San Diego are chosen from a large number of highly competitive applicants, most of whom will have greatly exceeded the minimum requirements. Selection, therefore, depends on additional factors. For details see http://admissions.ucsd.edu.
An application for admission is effective only for the year for which it is submitted. If you are ineligible for admission, or if you are admitted and do not enroll in classes for that admission term, you must file a new application to be considered for a later year. The selection criteria in effect for the new term must be met.
If you were admitted to the university, enrolled and paid tuition, but did not attend, you need to contact your undergraduate college to withdraw from the university. Contact the Registrar’s Office for information on refunding your tuition.
Second Baccalaureate/Limited Status Applicants
UC San Diego does not accept applications from students who have earned a four-year degree.
Definition of a Freshman Applicant
You are a freshman applicant if you are a student who is currently enrolled in high school and will graduate at the end of the current academic year. You are also considered a freshman applicant if you have graduated from high school and have not yet completed UC-transferable courses during a regular term at any accredited college-level institution. This does not include attendance at a college summer session immediately following high school graduation.
To be eligible for admission to the university as a freshman you must meet the high school diploma requirement, the examination requirement, and the subject requirement as described below.
High School Diploma Requirement
You must earn a diploma from a high school in order to enter the university as a freshman. The certificate of proficiency, awarded by the California State Department of Education upon successful completion of the high school proficiency examination, proficiency tests from other states, and the General-Education Development (GED) certificate, will be accepted in lieu of the regular high school diploma.
If you were educated outside the United States, see international diploma equivalents online.
To apply as a freshman, you must submit the following test scores:
- ACT Assessment plus ACT Writing Test
- SAT Reasoning Test with critical reading, mathematics, and writing scores
All applicants for admission to UC San Diego who apply for the fall term must take these tests no later than December of their senior year, preferably earlier. Students who take the ACT must take all components including writing in the same sitting.
Review the UC guidelines for the examination requirement.
You must complete a minimum of fifteen college-preparatory courses with at least eleven finished prior to your senior year in high school. These are called “a through g” courses (“a–g”) and include:
- History/Social Science—two years
- English—four years
- Mathematics—three years (four years recommended)
- Laboratory science—two years (three years recommended)
- Language other than English—two years (three years recommended)
- Visual and performing arts—one year
- College preparatory electives—one year
The approved courses for high schools in California are specific to each high school and lists are available through your high school’s counseling office and on the University of California Doorways web page.
The requirement may also be satisfied by completing college courses or earning particular scores on SAT, Advanced Placement (AP), or International Baccalaureate (IB) exams. See the UC web page for “a–g” courses.
For detailed information about the content of acceptable “a–g” courses, refer to the UC San Diego admissions site for freshman requirements.
You must earn a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher, or 3.4 or higher if you are a nonresident applicant. See “Determining Your Grade Point Average.”
Definition of a Nonresident Applicant
You are considered a nonresident applicant if you are a student who lives outside the state of California. You will be required to present higher academic credentials than California residents in order to be eligible for admission to the university, in addition to paying the nonresident tuition.
Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and UC-transferable college courses are the only courses considered honors courses for admission purposes for non-California resident applicants. For additional details about freshman requirements, please see “Out-of-State Students”.
Details about residency for tuition purposes can be found online at the Registrar’s Office.
Definition of an International Applicant
International applicants must meet the same requirements for admission as any other applicant with the exception of English proficiency. See http://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/international/index.html.
All applicants educated outside the U.S. where the language of instruction is other than English will be screened for a level of English language proficiency. Rather than relying on a single factor for identifying English language proficiency for non-native speakers of English, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools is recommending a more comprehensive approach to assess proficiency.
- Standardized tests considered for proficiency include the TOEFL and IELTS as well as the SAT and ACT. The minimum recommending score is 83 for TOEFL and 7 for IELTS, for UC San Diego selection. (For freshman applicants, English Reading and Writing scores on the SAT or ACT will also be reviewed.)
- Additional indicators of English language proficiency are Advanced Placement (AP) exams or International Baccalaureate classes showing an acceptable result: AP English exam – score of 3 or better; IB English A – 6 or better for Standard Level, or 5 or better for Higher Level.
- In addition to standardized measures, courses and grades in secondary school curriculum or UC-transferable college courses, are reviewed. Any such course work needs to include English composition, and the student must have received a grade of B or better.
In addition to an adequate English-language background, international students must have sufficient funds available to cover all fees, living and other expenses, and transportation connected with their stay in the United States (See: https://students.ucsd.edu/finances/fees/registration/explanation.html).
Advanced Placement (AP)
The university grants credit for all College Board Advanced Placement Tests on which you score 3 or higher. This may be subject credit, graduation credit, or credit toward general-education or breadth requirements. Credit is expressed in quarter units. For details, see the Advanced Placement credit chart, which also shows requirements by college.
International Baccalaureate (IB)
The university grants credit for International Baccalaureate exams. Only Higher Level Exams are accepted for credit by UC; Standard Level Exams are not given credit. The IB credit limit at UC San Diego is thirty units. For details, see the International Baccalaureate credit chart, which also shows requirements by college.
Many high schools have arrangements with nearby postsecondary institutions, allowing you to take regular courses while you are still in high school. These courses may be accepted by the university exactly as they would be if you were a full-time college student. If you are admitted to UC San Diego, you must provide a transcript of all courses taken, including college courses.
No matter how many college units you earn before graduating from high school, you will still be considered a freshman and apply as such.
Definition of a Transfer Applicant
You are a transfer applicant if you have graduated from high school or equivalent and have completed UC-transferable course work during a regular academic term, other than a summer session immediately following high school. As a transfer applicant, you may not disregard your college record and apply for admission as a freshman.
Applying as a Transfer Student
To be eligible for admission to UC San Diego as a transfer student, you must meet certain requirements. The acceptability of courses for transfer credit is determined by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools. For details on transfer admission requirements, visit the transfer admission web page.
Minimum Requirements for Transfer Applicants
The following are minimum eligibility requirements for the University of California. Because the San Diego campus has been unable to accommodate all minimally eligible applicants, you must exceed these requirements in order to be considered for admission:
- Junior level standing (a minimum of ninety UC-transferable quarter units/sixty semester units) by the end of spring term, prior to fall admission
- Have a competitive GPA in UC-transferable courses and be in good academic standing.*
- Meet UC eligibility by completing these UC-transferable college courses:
- Two: English composition
- One: mathematical concepts and quantitative reasoning
- Four: courses from at least two of the following:
- Arts and humanities
- Physical and biological sciences
- Social and behavioral sciences
- Strongly recommend completion of all lower-division preparation for your major as well as completing all lower-division breadth and general-education requirements (B/GE) prior to transfer.
*Nonresidents may be held to a higher GPA.
If you are a transfer student who was classified as a resident of California at your previous school, do not assume that you will be classified as a California resident for tuition purposes at UC San Diego. Additional details about residence for tuition purposes can be found online.
Definition of a Domestic Nonresident Applicant
You are considered a nonresident applicant if your course work was completed outside the state of California. Additional details about residence for tuition purposes can be found online.
Definition of an International Applicant
You are an international applicant if you are a student who holds or expects to hold any nonimmigrant visa.
International Transfer Requirements
International applicants must meet the same requirements for admission as any other applicant with the exception of English proficiency. All applicants educated outside the U.S. where the language of instruction is other than English will be screened for a level of English language proficiency. Rather than relying on a single factor for identifying English language proficiency for non-native speakers of English, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools is recommending a more comprehensive approach to assess proficiency.
- Standardized tests considered for proficiency include the TOEFL and IELTS as well as the SAT and ACT. The minimum score is 83 for TOEFL and 7 for IELTS, for UC San Diego selection.
- Additional indicators of English language proficiency are Advanced Placement (AP) exams or International Baccalaureate classes showing an acceptable result: AP English exam—score of 3 or better; IB English A—6 or better for Standard Level, or 5 or better for Higher Level.
- In addition to standardized measures, UC-transferable college courses, are reviewed. Any such course work needs to include English composition and the student must have received a grade of B or better.
In addition to an adequate English-language background, international students must have sufficient funds available to cover all fees; living and other expenses; and transportation connected with their stay in the United States (see “Fees and Expenses”).
Credit from Another College
The university gives unit credit to transfer students for courses they have taken at other accredited colleges and universities, including some extension courses. To be accepted for credit, the courses must be consistent with those offered at the University of California, as determined by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools. UC San Diego admits transfer applicants at the junior level only; applications from students who have more than 135 quarter units (ninety semester units) of transfer credit will not be considered for admission.
UC San Diego does not give credit for CLEP examinations.
UC San Diego will grant transfer credit, postadmission, for military training when there is an equivalent course taught at a UC campus. In most cases, when applicable, elective credit will be awarded for course work deemed UC transferable. Students will be required to submit their Sailor/Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript (SMART), Army/American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (AARTS), or equivalent military transcript to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools.
Transfer Agreement: UniversityLink
UniversityLink provides guaranteed admission to high school seniors and first-year college students who sign an agreement and successfully complete academic and program requirements at a participating community college.
Because the UniversityLink program and its requirements are reviewed each year and subject to change, interested students should check for the latest UniversityLink updates.
UC Transfer Reciprocity Agreement
Transfer students who have attended any campus of the University of California and satisfied lower-division breadth and general-education (B/GE) requirements at that campus prior to transfer may consider the requirements satisfied for the following undergraduate colleges: Earl Warren, Thurgood Marshall, Sixth, and John Muir. For Eleanor Roosevelt or Revelle College, courses completed prior to transfer will be applied toward the college’s own lower-division requirements. Please refer to individual college websites for more information.
UC San Diego has major-preparatory agreements with California community colleges for all majors. These agreements can be found at ASSIST.org, which shows how course credits earned at one public California college or university can be applied when transferred to another. ASSIST is the official repository of articulation for California’s public colleges and universities and provides the most accurate and up-to-date information about student transfer in California.
Transfer students from California community colleges can fulfill the UC lower-division breadth and general-education (B/GE) requirements by completing the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC). Completion of IGETC will satisfy the lower-division/GE requirements for the following undergraduate colleges: Earl Warren, Thurgood Marshall, Sixth and John Muir. For Eleanor Roosevelt or Revelle College, courses completed prior to transfer will be applied toward the college’s own lower-division requirements. Please refer to individual college websites for more information.
Transfer students should obtain the IGETC Certification from their community college and submit it to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools. Students must provide this certification prior to the start of classes at UC San Diego.
It should be noted that completion of IGETC is not a requirement for transfer to UC nor is it the only way to fulfill the lower-division, general-education requirements of UC prior to transfer. IGETC certification is not available to freshman applicants.
UC San Diego Undergraduate Colleges
When filling out the UC application, designation of the UC San Diego colleges with which you want to affiliate. Rank all the colleges in your order of preference, starting with your first choice. Although there are no guarantees, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools makes every effort to place students in one of their top choices, as enrollment quotas permit. Applicants who do not indicate any college preference or alternate choices, will be assigned a college.
You can read about UC San Diego’s six colleges at the Admissions website. You will also want to look at the individual college websites linked from that page.
Notification of Admission
UC San Diego communicates with applicants and admitted students by e-mail. Make sure the e-mail address we have for you is up to date. Application decisions are posted on UC San Diego’s application status site, MyApplication. If you are a freshman applicant and you filed your application on time, UC San Diego will notify you between mid-March and March 31. If you are a transfer applicant and you submitted your application on time, UC San Diego will notify you between mid-March and April 30.
Accepting the Offer of Admission (SIR)
To accept UC San Diego’s offer of admission, complete and submit the Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) and the online Statement of Legal Residence (SLR). The $100 nonrefundable deposit accompanying your SIR (if required at that time) is applied toward payment of tuition.
Please note your deadline to return these two documents. Use MyApplication to submit both documents online. If needed, you can print out the SIR and mail it to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. If you do not submit or have your SIR postmarked before the deadline, you will be denied enrollment due to space limitations. The deadlines for return of your SIR and SLR are:
June 1—transfer students
If you are admitted and you accept UC San Diego’s offer of admission, you must arrange to have final, official transcripts sent to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions no later than July 1. Any other documentation is due July 15. Request transcripts from your school(s). If you attended school outside the United States, see additional information below.
AP/IB Exam Results: If you took AP or IB exams, you must arrange to have your official exam results sent to UC San Diego.
Transcripts and other documents that you submit as part of your application become the property of the university; they cannot be returned to you or forwarded in any form to another college or university.
Applicants Who Have Attended School Outside the United States
In the United States, the academic record is called a transcript. In other countries, it may be called by another name—such as leaving certificate, maturity certificate, bachillerato, or baccalauréat. See the chart on the admissions website showing US high school diploma equivalents.
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions may have made a preliminary evaluation of your application based on the information you provided. Once you are admitted, however, we must receive an official academic record directly from each institution you attended, beginning with grade nine, and up to and including the school or college/university you currently attend. Each academic record must list
- dates you attended the institution
- titles of courses and examinations you completed
- grades (marks) you received
- credits, hours, or units earned
- any degree or diploma you may have received
The university recognizes that it may be difficult to obtain international records in the event of political upheaval or natural disaster; however, these situations are rare. Failure to provide official records may jeopardize your enrollment at the university.
U.S. Air Force ROTC Program
The Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is a three- or four-year program designed to equip students with leadership skills and commission officers for tomorrow’s air force. Required course work includes lectures, a leadership laboratory practical component, panel discussions, dialogues, problem solving, and physical training. All course work is completed on-site at or near San Diego State University (SDSU), with the exception of a four-week summer field training encampment conduced on a military base between the student’s second and third year. UC San Diego does not have a ROTC program; however, under the provisions of a special agreement, students may participate in the ROTC program hosted at SDSU. Students may enroll and attend ROTC classes at SDSU by contacting the SDSU Department of Aerospace Studies at (619) 594-5545. Scholarships may be available for qualified cadets. The credits in these classes may be transferred as electives to meet degree requirements. Upon successful completion of the program and all requirements of a bachelor’s degree, cadets are commissioned as second lieutenants and serve a minimum of four years in the active duty air force.
The exact cost of attending UC San Diego will vary according to the personal tastes and financial resources of the individual. It is possible to live simply and to participate moderately in the life of the student community on a limited budget. The university can assist the student in planning a budget by indicating certain and probable expenses. For planning and budgeting purposes, sample budgets are available and are subject to change.
For information regarding student employment, loans, scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid at UC San Diego, see the admissions: finances web page and financial aid and scholarships.