Admission Procedure

The University of California Application for Undergraduate Admission and Scholarships becomes available beginning August 1 for the following academic year. Students may access applications online.

In addition, the Undergraduate Admissions website includes a wealth of information for prospective UC Santa Cruz students about undergraduate education, admission, financial aid, and various topics of interest.

Application Filing Periods

Applications for the fall quarter must be submitted during the filing period of Oct.1 through Nov. 30, and applications for winter quarter admission are accepted only for junior transfer students in certain majors. Check the Office of Undergraduate Admissions in late June to see details on winter quarter admission. UCSC does not accept applications for spring quarter admission.

Application Fees

The application fee is $80 ($95 for international nonimmigrant applicants) to apply to one campus of the University of California. For each additional campus you select, you must pay an extra $80 fee ($95 for international nonimmigrant applicants). These fees are subject to change and are not refundable. The online application includes payment instructions.

Fee Waivers

The University of California will waive application fees for up to four campuses for certain students who otherwise would be unable to apply for admission. To qualify for the fee waiver, you must meet specific requirements related to your family income and size. The fee waiver is for U.S. citizens and permanent residents only. We encourage students who qualify for a fee waiver to take full advantage of the fee waiver by applying to the maximum of four UC campuses.

Students who qualify for fee waivers and who select more than four campuses must pay $80 for each additional choice. Methods of obtaining fee waivers are listed below.

An online fee waiver form is available to applicants when they apply. The application automatically determines if you are eligible for the fee waiver as soon as it is complete.
High school students: Use the College Board fee waiver. It is available from your school counselor.

EOPS community college students: If you are enrolled in Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) at a California community college, obtain a fee waiver authorization from the EOPS Office.

Admission as a First-Year Student (Freshman)

The university considers you a freshman applicant if you have graduated from high school and have not enrolled in a regular session at any college or university. If you attend a summer session immediately after graduating from high school, you are still a freshman applicant.

The admission and selection process to UC Santa Cruz reflects the academic rigor and preparation needed for admission to a major research institution. Meeting the minimum qualifications for the university does not guarantee you admission as a freshman. Students are encouraged to achieve well beyond the minimum qualifications to enhance their chances for selection.

Using a comprehensive review process comprising 13 faculty-approved criteria, each application is thoroughly reviewed to determine the full spectrum of a student’s academic and personal achievements, viewed in the context of their opportunities.

Information regarding the admission and selection process for UC Santa Cruz can be accessed on the Undergraduate Admissions website. This site provides information on the minimum qualifications for the University of California for both residents and nonresidents of California, including international students (see also Admission of Students from Outside California and Admission of International Students).

High School Preparation for University Work

Carefully planned high school coursework provides you with the best preparation for your undergraduate university studies, and allows for advanced preparation for your chosen field of study. Most important, students who master certain basic knowledge and skills in high school substantially increase their chances of success at the university. (Requirements for transfer students are explained in the Admission as a Transfer Student section.)

The basic foundation of UC qualifications is the completion of college preparatory courses required for admission (see “a–g” Subject Requirements below). However, you should take courses beyond the minimum levels in reading, writing, and mathematics in order to be adequately prepared for basic university courses that you may be expected to take freshman year.

A well-prepared student will have mastered the equivalent of four years of English composition and literature with a focus on expository writing; four years of mathematics, including a precalculus course in the senior year; two to three years of a language other than English; two to three years of laboratory science; two or more years of history and social sciences; and one or more years of visual or performing arts.

You should also give careful thought to the general field of study, and perhaps the specific major, you want to pursue at the university. By making this decision in advance, you can plan to take additional courses in high school related to the field.

Subject Requirements

The “a—g” subject requirements are described in detail on the UC Office of the President website.

  1. History/social science—two years required.
  2. English—four years required.
  3. Mathematics—three years required, four years recommended.
  4. Laboratory science—two years required, three years recommended.
  5. Language other than English—two years required, three years recommended.
  6. Visual and performing arts discipline (VPA)—one year required.
  7. College preparatory electives—one year required. 

Senior-Year (12th-Grade) Program. The senior year should be used to prepare you for your first year at the university and should include honors and advanced courses, as well as courses that will strengthen overall preparation. A challenging, successfully completed senior-year program is a natural bridge between high school and university coursework in the intended major. A strong senior program is one of the selection criteria used at UC Santa Cruz.

High School Proficiency Examination

While the University of California expects all freshman applicants to have graduated from high school/secondary school, in lieu of the regular high school diploma (or its equivalent), the university will accept the following:

  • Certificate of Proficiency, awarded by the State Board of Education upon successful completion of the California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE).
  • General Educational Development (GED) Certificate
  • Proficiency tests from other states and other countries

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit may be granted to a freshman applicant for acceptable college courses taken while still in high school if an official transcript is received from the college where the coursework was completed.

Transfer credit is granted for specified College Board Advanced Placement Examinations completed with a score of 3, 4, or 5 and for specified International Baccalaureate Higher Level Exams completed with a score of 5, 6, or 7. A score of 30 or higher on the International Baccalaureate Diploma is also awarded transfer credit.

Transfer credit is granted for specified GCE and Hong Kong A-Level Examinations.

Students should be advised that college courses taken before or after attending UCSC may duplicate AP, IB, and/or A-Level Examinations. Additionally, exams may duplicate each other (for example, an AP or IB exam in the same subject area). If the student does duplicate an exam with another exam of the same subject content, and/or an exam with a college course, UCSC awards credit only once.