Graduate Academic Program

Degrees and Programs

UC Santa Cruz offers graduate programs leading toward the following degrees: master’s of arts, master’s of sciences, master’s of fine arts, doctor of musical arts, and doctor of philosophy. See our full list of programs and read about each program’s application requirements.


At UC Santa Cruz, individual graduate programs are directed by the academic departments. Overall policy is determined by the Graduate Council, and coordination and record keeping for matters common to all graduate students—such as admission applications, fellowships, and advancement to candidacy—are the responsibility of the Division of Graduate Studies. The dean of graduate studies is the chief administrative officer. Graduate policies and other information can be found online in the Graduate Student Handbook.


Catalog Rights

Students matriculating in a given graduate program will select the UCSC General Catalog they will follow to meet their requirements; either the catalog published the year they enter the program, or any subsequent catalog published prior to the year they are awarded the degree sought. Students who seek readmission after a break in attendance of more than two years (six regular quarters) must adhere to the graduation requirements in effect at the time of readmission or to those subsequently established for all portions of the degree requirements not already fulfilled. The readmitting program will determine which degree requirements remain to be fulfilled. A student must follow the chosen catalog in its entirety, including both the individual degree program and general university requirements. General university requirements may be found in the Graduate Student Handbook.


Evaluation of Performance

All graduate students in graduate or undergraduate courses will be graded Satisfactory (S), Unsatisfactory (U), or Incomplete (I). Graduate students also have the option of receiving a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or I in most courses. The grades of A or B shall be awarded for satisfactory work. Grades of C or D will not satisfy any course requirement for a graduate degree at UCSC. A graduate program has the option of requiring letter grades or S/U grades for any graduate course offered by that program.

Under the grading options, you will receive Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory unless you elect the letter grade option (A, B, C, D, F). The choice is yours at the time of enrollment and can be changed up to the end of the third week of instruction for the quarter.

Graduate students are not eligible to file Credit by Examination, Credit by Petition or to receive a "no record" notation. All notations including those of C, D, F, or Unsatisfactory will be listed on the permanent record.

Graduate student performance may also be evaluated according to the Narrative Evaluation System. Evaluations may be used by academic advisers and become part of the student’s official academic record. Read the FAQs for Students: Evaluations for an explanation of the narrative process.

Please also refer to the statement on Academic Integrity; Appendix F, Graduate Student–Faculty Adviser Relationship Guidelines; and Appendix O, Official University Policy on Academic Integrity for Graduate Students, published in the Student Policies and Regulations Handbook.

Duplication of Higher Degrees

It is the policy of UC Santa Cruz campus to prohibit the pursuit of duplicate advanced degrees. However, applicants may petition the graduate dean for an exception to this policy if the degree sought is in a field of study distinctly different from the field in which the original advanced degree was attained.

In order for a student who already holds the doctorate to be admitted or readmitted to work toward a second Ph.D.—or toward an academic master’s degree—each of the following conditions must be met:

  • The applicant must petition the graduate dean in writing prior to the application deadline for the program in question.
  • The department sponsoring the program to which admission is sought must support the applicant’s petition.
  • The department must present the graduate dean with a clear and complete outline of the program required for the degree sought, and must explain the intellectual separateness of the proposed program from that completed by the applicant in attaining the earlier degree.
  • The graduate dean will review all materials submitted and decide whether or not to admit the applicant, consulting with the Graduate Council when appropriate.

Admission to a professional master’s program after a Ph.D., or to an academic master’s program after a professional doctorate, is not subject to these restrictions.

Transfer of Credit

UC Santa Cruz does not automatically grant credit for graduate-level work undertaken at other universities. Each department determines credit transferability on an individual basis.