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Undergraduate Admission

[ advanced placement (AP) credit chart (PDF) ]
[ international baccalaureate (IB) credit chart (PDF) ]
[ intersegmental general-education transfer curriculum (IGETC) ]

Undergraduate Admissions
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 exceed the minimum UC admission criteria. Applicants applying to selective majors are advised to choose an alternate major on the UC application for admission. The campus does not admit students based on the 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. Find the application online at the University of California website. Students with disabilities who need support with completing and submitting an application for admission, visit the Getting Help section on the University of California application website. Admission at UC San Diego begins with the fall quarter.

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 to which they apply.

When to Apply

The application filing period is October 1–November 30 of the prior year; the application is available online beginning 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 arts degree, a bachelor of science degree, or a combination degree offered to undergraduates.

Entrance Requirements

The university’s minimum undergraduate admission requirements, which are the same for all UC campuses, are based on two principles.

  1. The best predictor of success in the university is high achievement in previous work.
  2. 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.

Academic preparation is the principal basis for gaining admission to UC San Diego. Students are encouraged to pursue the most rigorous academic curriculum possible and available to them, including honors classes, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, in order to prepare for the university experience. 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 many highly competitive applicants, most of whom will have exceeded the minimum requirements. Selection, therefore, depends on additional factors. For details visit the Admissions website.


An application for admission is effective only for the term 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 different term. 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. Visit the Registrar’s Office website for information on refunding your tuition.

Second Baccalaureate/Limited Status Applicants

UC San Diego does not accept undergraduate applications from students who have earned a four-year degree.

Admission as a First-year Student Applicant

Definition of a First-year Student Applicant

You are a first-year 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 first-year student 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.

Minimum Requirements for First-year Student Applicants

To be eligible for admission to the university as a first-year student you must meet the subject requirement as described below.

You must also have earned a diploma from a high school to enter the university as a first-year student. In lieu of the regular high school diploma, 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, or the General-Education Development (GED) certificate, will be accepted.

If you were educated outside the United States, see the international diploma equivalents webpage.

Subject Requirement

You must complete a minimum of fifteen college-preparatory courses with at least eleven of the courses 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 A-G Policy Resource Guide web page.

The subject requirements may also be satisfied by completing college courses or earning particular scores on SAT Subject, Advanced Placement (AP), or International Baccalaureate (IB) exams.

For detailed information about the content of acceptable “a–g” courses, refer to the UC admissions web page for first-year student a–g requirements.

GPA Requirement

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. Your GPA is based on the above “a-g” courses taken during tenth and eleventh grades. Students admitted to UC San Diego have GPAs that exceed these minimums. See “First-year Student Admission Requirements.”

Applying as a Nonresident Student

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 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 first-year student requirements, please see the UC web page for out-of-state students.

Details about residency for tuition purposes can be found at the Registrar’s Office website.

Applying as an International Student

International applicants must meet the same first-year or transfer requirements for admission as any other applicant in addition to the following requirements:

For international students to be considered for admission to UC San Diego, you must meet specific English proficiency requirements. If you are a transfer applicant, you can fulfill the requirement with grades of “B” or better in your two required transferable courses in English composition. All other applicants must fulfill the requirement with an exam. Report your scores to the undergraduate admissions office before January.

  • TOEFL minimum scores
    • Internet-based: 83
    • Paper-based: 550
  • IELTS minimum score of 7 (academic module)
  • AP Exam accepted scores
    • English Language and Composition: 3, 4, 5
    • English Literature and Composition: 3, 4, 5
  • IB Exam accepted scores
    • English (Language A) higher level: 5, 6, 7
    • English (Language A) standard level: 6 or higher
  • Duolingo English Test (DET): Minimum score of 115

TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo English Test exams must be completed no more than two years prior to transfer.

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. The Explanation of Registration Fees web page describes the types of fees.

Additional Credit

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 for both campuswide and college-specific requirements

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 for both campuswide and college-specific requirements.

College Courses

Many high schools have arrangements with nearby postsecondary institutions, allowing you to take college-level 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 those at the college level.

No matter how many college units you earn before graduating from high school, you will still be considered a first-year student and apply as such.

First-year applicants completing California Community College course work, please note: Neither IGETC certification nor partial IGETC completion may apply toward fulfillment of UC San Diego college general-education requirements for incoming first-year students.

Admission as a Transfer Applicant

Definition of a Transfer Applicant

You are a transfer student if you enrolled in a regular session (fall, winter, or spring) at a college or university after high school, 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 first-year student.

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 Admissions. 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, to be considered for admission you must exceed these requirements:

  • Achieve junior-level standing (a minimum of ninety UC-transferable quarter units/sixty semester units) by the end of spring term, prior to fall admission
  • Maintain a competitive GPA in UC-transferable courses and be in good academic standing.
  • Meet UC subject eligibility by completing the UC-transferable college courses listed below. A grade of C or better or a Pass (P) grade (equivalent to a C: 2.00) must be earned in each course. Each course must be 4–5 quarter (three semester) units and completed by the end of the spring term, prior to fall admission:
    • Two courses in English composition
    • One course in 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
    • Select majors require completion of minimum major preparation. Learn more on the UC San Diego Transfer Major Preparation website. Completion of major preparation prior to admission is strongly recommended for all transfer applicants.

California Residents

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. Details about resident status for tuition purposes can be found on the Registrar’s Office web page for residency.

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 on the Residence for Tuition purposes web page.

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 transfer requirements for admission as any other applicant in addition to the following requirement.

If your native language is not English, and your high school or college/university education was in a country where the language of instruction was not English, you must provide evidence of English proficiency in one of the following ways.

  • Achieve grades of B or better in the required UC-transferable English composition courses.
  • Submit a TOEFL score of 83 or higher (internet-based test).
  • Submit a IELTS examination with a 7 or better band (academic module).
  • Submit a Duolingo English Test (DET) with a minimum score of 115.

TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo English Test exams must be completed no more than two years prior to transfer.

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 “Registration Fees”).

Credit from Other Colleges

The university gives unit credit to transfer students for courses they have taken at other regionally accredited colleges and universities, including some extension courses. To be accepted for credit, the courses must be equivalent to those offered at the University of California, as determined by the Office of Admissions. 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.

For information on transfer credit including senior standing, see the Admissions website for transfer requirements.

UC San Diego does not give credit for CLEP examinations.

Military Credit

UC San Diego may award lower-division credit, postadmission, for military courses completed if the courses are consistent with university policy on awarding transfer credit and 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 official Joint Services Transcript (JST) or equivalent military transcript to the Office of Admissions.

Transfer Agreement: UniversityLink

UniversityLink provides guaranteed admission to high school seniors and first-year college students who complete the online UniversityLink application and successfully complete academic and program requirements at a participating community college. Interested students should check the UniversityLink page on the admissions website for detailed program information. UniversityLink students must also complete the UC application for admission.

IGETC (Intersegmental General-Education Transfer Curriculum)

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, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Muir, and Seventh. For Revelle College, courses completed prior to transfer will be applied toward the college’s own lower-division requirements but additional lower-division courses may be required. Please refer to the individual college website for more information.

Transfer students must obtain the IGETC certification from their community college and submit it to the Office of Admissions. 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 San Diego 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 first-year student applicants.

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, Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, Sixth, John Muir, and Seventh. For Revelle College, courses completed prior to transfer will be applied toward the college’s own lower-division requirements. Please refer to individual college website for more information.


UC San Diego has major-preparatory agreements with California community colleges for all majors. These agreements can be found at the ASSIST website, 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 articulation and major preparation information for students attending a California community college. UC San Diego does not have articulation agreements outside of the California Community College system.

UC San Diego Undergraduate Colleges

When filling out the UC application, rank the UC San Diego undergraduate colleges in order of preference, starting with your first choice. College ranking does not impact admission decisions. Applicants offered admission to UC San Diego are assigned a college.

Learn more about UC San Diego’s eight colleges on our website.

Notification of Admission

UC San Diego communicates with applicants and admitted students by email. Make sure the email address we have for you is current. Application decisions are posted on UC San Diego’s applicant portal. First-year applicants will be notified by March 31. Transfer applicants are notified by April 30.

Accepting the Offer of Admission

To accept UC San Diego’s offer of admission, complete and submit the reply to offer of admission and the California Residency Questionnaire for Tuition Purposes online through the applicant portal. The $250 nonrefundable deposit accompanying your reply to offer of admission (if required at that time) is applied toward payment of tuition.

The applicant portal guides you through the steps to accept the offer online. If you do not submit the reply before the deadline, you will be denied enrollment due to space limitations. The deadlines to accept the offer of admission and submit the California Residency Questionnaire for Tuition Purposes are:

  • May 1—first-year students
  • June 1—transfer students

Official Documents

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 Admissions between May 1 and no later than July 1. Other documentation is due by July 15. Request transcripts from your school(s). If you attended school outside the United States, see additional information below. Please refer to the Applicant Portal for detailed information regarding required documents.

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 admissions web page showing US high school diploma equivalents.

The Office of Admissions may have made a preliminary evaluation of your application based on the self-reported information you provided in your UC Application. 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

*Official record means an original transcript sent from the institution in a sealed envelope. Photocopies or opened envelopes are invalid records and may jeopardize your enrollment until you can provide an official record.

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.

ROTC Program

ROTC programs at San Diego State University and the University of San Diego handle UC San Diego’s ROTC process. Learn more about funding opportunities on our website.

Fees and Expenses

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, cost of attendance estimates are available and are subject to change.

Financial Assistance

For information regarding student employment, loans, scholarships, grants and other forms of financial aid at UC San Diego, see the finances web pages and the website for the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office.