Undergraduate Admission and Financial Information

2011-12 General Catalog


Undergraduate admission to the University of California is based on two principles: that the best predictor of a student's success in the university is high scholarship in previous work and that the study of certain subjects gives a student good preparation for university work. Minimum admission requirements are the same for each UC campus, but each one sets additional standards when the number of qualified applicants exceeds capacity.

If you are considering applying to UC Santa Cruz, the Office of Admissions wants to help you learn more about the campus and its distinctive educational programs. For more information, see admissions.ucsc.edu.

If you are able to visit the campus, you may wish to take a student-led tour. The Office of Admissions offers tours on weekdays, and reservations are required. Visit our web site at admissions.ucsc.edu/campustours for information and reservations for campus tours. Please see admissions.ucsc.edu/transferworkshops for information and reservations for transfer information sessions. If you do not have Internet access, please call (831) 459-4008.

The University of California, Santa Cruz, continues to take positive steps to increase the diversity of the student population, including applicants coming from low socioeconomic backgrounds, students with disabilities, military veterans, and non-traditionally aged students. The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy (pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to childbirth), disability, age, medical condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a military veteran or special disabled veteran in admission to or participation in its programs, activities, or services.

Educational Opportunity Programs at UCSC are designed to encourage students from educationally and/or economically disadvantaged backgrounds to prepare for and enter the university. For a description of these programs, see Educational Opportunity Programs.

Admission by Exception. Special consideration may be given to a limited number of applicants who do not meet standard admission requirements. Admission by Exception is granted to a very small percentage of those considered for admission. Such factors as academic accomplishments in light of a person's life experiences and/or special circumstances, socioeconomic background, special talents and/or achievements, contributions to the community, and the quality of the applicant's personal statement are taken into consideration when reviewing applicants seeking Admission by Exception.

Graduation rates. The following graduation-rate information is listed in compliance with the 1990 Title I: Federal Right-to-Know Act, Section 103. Fifty percent of the students who entered as first-year students in 2004 graduated in four years; 69 percent of those who entered in 2003 graduated in five years; and 71 percent of those who entered in 2002 graduated in six years. In recent years, those who entered as first-year students took an average of 4.19 years to graduate, and students transferring to UCSC as juniors averaged 2.29 years. These graduation rates are well above the national averages.

In accord with the Education Amendments of 1976, Section 493A, more detailed information regarding retention is available on the Institutional Research web site at planning.ucsc.edu/irps/retengrad.asp.

Admission Procedures

The University of California Application for Undergraduate Admission and Scholarships may be accessed through admissions.ucsc.edu.

In addition to the application, the above site includes a wealth of information for prospective UC students about undergraduate education, admission, financial aid, and various topics of interest.

If you do not have web access, e-mail ucinfo@ucapplication.net for a printed application.

Application Filing Periods

Applications for the fall quarter must be submitted during the month of November. Applications for winter quarter admission are accepted only as enrollment allows. Check with the Office of Admissions in mid-June to see whether UCSC is accepting applications for winter quarter.

Quarter of Attendance       Attendance Filing Period
Fall quarter 2011              November 1–30, 2010
Winter quarter 2012          July 1–31, 2011
Fall quarter 2012              November 1–30, 2011
Winter quarter 2013          July 1–31, 2012

Application Fees

The application fee is $60 ($70 for international nonimmigrant applicants) to apply to one campus of the university. For each additional campus you select, you must pay an extra $60 fee ($70 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.

Students who qualify for fee waivers and who select more than four campuses must pay $60 for each additional choice.

There are several ways to apply for a fee waiver, as described below. To qualify, you must meet the same income and family-size guidelines, regardless of the application method you use.

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.

Other methods for waiving the application fee are listed below.

  • 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 Califor- nia community college, obtain a fee waiver authorization from the EOPS Office.
  • Other applicants: Qualified students may obtain a UC fee waiver authorization at a UC campus Admissions, Relations with Schools, or Educational Opportunity Programs Office. When requesting a fee waiver authorization, be prepared to answer questions about your gross family income and family size.

University of California College Prep (UCCP)

UCCP publishes free high-quality online courses and content to benefit California students, with a special emphasis on helping underserved students gain college eligibility. A statewide University of California program, UCCP mines the educational resources of UC faculty and programs to develop the highest-quality online courses. The program makes its UC-approved Advanced Placement® and college-prep courses freely available to California students, teachers, and schools. UCCP courses are aligned to California content standards and are College Board certified. In 2008–2009, more than 200,000 California students and teachers accessed UCCP content and about 1 million more students and teachers worldwide viewed our courses. The program currently licenses a catalog of 17 high school courses and 34 community college courses through educational partnerships. View UCCP courses at www.uccollegeprep.org.

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

Information regarding the admission and selection process for UC Santa Cruz can be accessed at admissions.ucsc.edu. This site provides information on establishing UC eligibility for both residents and nonresidents of California. If you are unable to access the online information, please call the Admissions Office at (831) 459-4008.

High School Preparation for University Work

Carefully planned high school course work 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 eligibility is the completion of the high school courses required for admission (see "a–g" Subject Requirement 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.

Reading. University students must be able to read and understand scholarly publications, analyze what they read, and question themselves about an author's intentions, viewpoint, arguments, and conclusions. You should read commentaries and essays as well as textbooks, and a wide variety of other material—including literature, biography, nonfiction, and criticism—in addition to what you are required to read in class.

Writing. You must learn to write clearly and skillfully in English and to think critically and analyze what you learn in class and in your reading, so that you can present your ideas in a clear and persuasive manner.

University students proficient in composition must be able to understand the assigned topic, select and develop a theme by argument and example, use words and sentences that clearly and precisely express what they mean, demonstrate an understanding of the rules of standard English, and punctuate and spell correctly.

Mathematics. A number of fields of study require preparation in mathematics beyond the three years necessary for admission to UCSC. All majors in engineering and the physical, mathematical, and life sciences include courses in calculus, as do programs leading to professional degrees in medicine, dentistry, optometry, and pharmacy. Moreover, many majors in the social sciences, business, and economics require statistics and/or calculus.

The recommended four years of high school mathematics should include basic operations with numerical and algebraic functions; operations with exponents and radicals; linear equations and inequalities; polynomials and polynomial equations; functions and their graphs; trigonometry, logarithms, and exponential functions; and applications and word problems.

Senior-Year 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 course work in the intended major. A strong senior program will also strengthen your chances for admission to UC Santa Cruz.

High School Proficiency Examination

While the University of California expects freshman applicants to have graduated from high school, in lieu of the regular high school diploma, 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 ExaminationGeneral Educational Development (GED) CertificateProficiency tests from other states

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 course work 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.

Admission as a Freshman: Fall 2012 Changes. The UC Board of Regents in February 2009 adopted a proposal to change freshman admission to give more high-achieving students the chance to apply to UC and receive a full review of their applications. The new rules will take effect for the fall 2012 entering class. For more information, see www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/eligibilitychanges/.

Subject Requirement

  • History/social science—two years required. Two years of history/social science, including one year of world history, cultures, and geography; and one year of U.S. history or one half year of U.S. history and one half year of civics or American government.
  • English—four years required. Four years of college preparatory English that include frequent and regular writing, and reading of classic and modern literature. No more than one year of ESL-type courses can be used to meet this requirement.
  • Mathematics—three years required, four years recommended. Three years of college preparatory mathematics that include the topics covered in elementary and advanced algebra and two- and three-dimensional geometry. Approved integrated math courses may be used to fulfill part or all of this requirement, as may math courses taken in the seventh and eighth grades that your high school accepts as equivalent to its own math courses.
  • Laboratory science—two years required, three years recommended. Two years of laboratory science providing fundamental knowledge in at least two of these three foundational subjects: biology, chemistry, and physics. Advanced laboratory science courses that have biology, chemistry, or physics as prerequisites and offer substantial additional material may be used to fulfill this requirement. The last two years of an approved three-year integrated science program that provides rigorous coverage of at least two of the three foundational subjects may be used to fulfill this requirement.
  • Language other than English—two years required, three years recommended. Two years of the same language other than English. Courses should emphasize speaking and understanding, and include instruction in grammar, vocabulary, reading, composition, and culture. Courses in languages other than English taken in the seventh and eighth grades may be used to fulfill part of this requirement if your high school accepts them as equivalent to its own courses.
  • Visual and performing arts discipline (VPA)—one year required. A single yearlong approved arts course from a single VPA discipline: dance, drama/theater, music, or visual art.
  • College preparatory electives—one year required. One year (two semesters), in addition to those required in "a–f" above, chosen from the following areas: visual and performing arts (non–introductory level courses), history, social science, English, advanced mathematics, laboratory science, and a language other than English (a third year in the language used for the "e" requirement or two years of another language).

Admission as a Transfer Student

The University of California defines a transfer applicant as a student who has been a registered student in a college or university, or in college-level extension classes following high school graduation. Summer session attended immediately following high school graduation is excluded in this determination. If you are a transfer applicant, you cannot disregard your college record and apply for admission as a freshman.

The admission and selection process for transfer students reflects the academic rigor and preparation needed for admission to a major research institution. UC Santa Cruz gives highest priority to junior-level transfers from California community colleges.

Information regarding the admission and selection process for UC Santa Cruz can be accessed at admissions.ucsc.edu. This site provides information on eligibility and selection for both residents and nonresidents of California. If you are unable to access the online information, please call the Admissions Office at (831) 459-4008.

Credit for Courses Taken Elsewhere

The university gives unit credit to transfer students for courses they have completed at other accredited colleges and universities, including courses taken at recognized institutions outside of the U.S. To be accepted for credit, your courses must be comparable to those offered at the university, as determined by the UC Santa Cruz Admissions Office. The UC Santa Cruz department sponsoring your major decides which transfer courses may be used to satisfy major requirements.

Because a total of 70 semester units (105 quarter units) of credit toward a university degree may be earned at a community (two-year) college, only subject credit will be granted for courses taken in excess of these amounts.

Applicants will not be considered for admission if they have completed 90 semester units (135 quarter units) or more of UC–transferable credit. If students have earned all of their credits from community college, they are not affected by this limit. Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate Higher Level (IBH) credit is permitted to exceed the 90 semester unit maximum by the number of AP or IBH units granted.

Opportunities to take courses at UC Santa Cruz as a nonmatriculated student are available through Summer Session, Open Campus/Concurrent Enrollment through UC Extension, and Intersegmental Cross-Enrollment.

UC Santa Cruz Transfer Services

The Office of Admissions provides information to all students who wish to transfer to UC Santa Cruz. For prospective transfer students and their families, the Office of Admissions offers Transfer Information Sessions. Designed for prospective transfer students and their families, Transfer Information Sessions are small-group meetings in which an Admissions adviser presents information about transfer admissions matters and transfer-related student services. Please note that pre-evaluations of transcripts are not available as part of the sessions. This workshop is designed for students who have not yet applied to UCSC. Students and their families may make reservations at admissions.ucsc.edu/transferworkshops.

Student-led guided tours take place year-round and also require advance reservations. Please see admissions.ucsc.edu/campustours to make a reservation. If you do not have Internet access, please call (831) 459-4008.

In addition, UCSC Admissions counselors visit many community colleges in California. Check with your counseling department or transfer center to determine whether a UCSC counselor will be visiting your community college.

Admission of International Students

The University of California welcomes appli-cations from international students. The academic credentials of applicants from other countries are evaluated in accordance with the general regulations governing admission.

UC Santa Cruz accepts applications from international students for the fall quarter, and students should begin application inquiries a year before the quarter of desired admission. Openings for the winter quarter may be limited. If you are interested in applying for winter, check with the Office of Admissions. For information, write to admissions@ucsc.edu or the International Admissions Specialist, Office of Admissions, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064.

If your native language is not English, you must certify proficiency in English by one of the following methods: earning a score of 83 or higher on the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (minimum 550 if paper-based TOEFL; minimum 220 if computer-based TOEFL), or earning a minimum score of 7.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, or completing two transferable English composition courses with grades of B or higher in a U.S. college or university.

A financial certificate and official academic records will be required if you are admitted to the university. Generally, nonimmigrant students must provide documentation that sufficient funds will be available to cover nonresident tuition, educational fees, and living expenses. The university does not offer financial assistance to international students.

For information about services for international students, see International Education Office.


If you are an undergraduate who wants to return to UC Santa Cruz after an absence of a portion of a quarter or more, you must file an Application for Readmission. The application form is available online at advising.ucsc.edu/student/read and from your college office. The completed application should be filed, along with the nonrefundable $60 application fee, with the Office of Admissions during the appropriate period:

Quarter of Application                        Attendance Filing Period*
Fall quarter                                       November 1–July 31
Winter quarter                                  July 1–October 31
Spring quarter                                  October 1–January 31

*Filing deadlines for priority enrollment: fall, April 1; winter, October 1; spring, January 1.

If during your absence you attended another UC campus, an official transcript must be submitted to the Office of Admissions before your application will be sent to your college for approval. If you attended another collegiate institution, your UC Santa Cruz college may require a transcript. If you left for health reasons, clearance from the Cowell Student Health Center is required. You must pay all outstanding bills owed to the university before you will be permitted to register.

Admission to Special Categories

For information on applying for admission in the categories described below, please contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@ucsc.edu or University of California, Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, (831) 459-2131.

Second Bachelor's Degree

Applications from students interested in pursuing a second baccalaureate or limited-status program will be considered as campus enrollment allows. Priority is given to applicants who have not yet had the opportunity to complete a bachelor's degree.

If your educational goals have changed substantially since receiving your bachelor's degree, you may be eligible to pursue a second undergraduate degree in an established major at UCSC.

You must meet regular university admission requirements, and your experience or previous scholarship record must show potential for academic success in your proposed area of study. Additional selection criteria may be applied. Admission is also subject to approval by the appropriate department and the college.

For a second degree, you must fulfill major and residence requirements, as well as system-wide requirements in American history and institutions and the Entry Level Writing Requirement. You must enroll for at least three quarters and are usually restricted to six quarters total.

Limited Status

If you have already completed an undergraduate degree and you have a particular reason to take specific undergraduate university classes, you may be eligible to enroll in a nondegree program as a limited-status student.

Your proposed program of study must either prepare you for graduate or professional school or satisfy some definite educational need or interest. Participants generally enroll full-time for a specified period that does not exceed three quarters. You must meet regular university admission requirements, and your experience or previous academic record must show potential for success in your proposed program. Additional selection criteria may be applied. Admission is subject
to approval by the appropriate department or college.

Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action Policies

Student-Related Matters

The University of California, in accordance with applicable federal and state law and university policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer related or genetic characteristics), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services. The University also prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs and activities. University policy also prohibits retaliation for bringing a complaint of discrimination or participating a complaint process or investigation pursuant to this policy.

Inquiries regarding the University's student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to Student Judicial Affairs, (831) 459-1738, or e-mail sja.ucsc.edu.

Inquiries regarding the University's affirmative action, equal employment opportunity, and nondiscrimination policies as they relate to student employment may be directed to the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, (831) 459-3676 or e-mail cbene@ucsc.edu.

Inquiries regarding UCSC's Policy on Sexual Assault, the UC Policy on Sexual Harassment and Procedures for Reports of Sexual Assault(s) and Sexual Harassment and/or violations of Title IX may be directed to Title IX Coordinator/Sexual Harassment Officer, (831) 459-2462, or e-mail rew@ucsc.edu.

Student inquiries regarding disability or disability accommodations may be addressed to the Director, Disability Resource Center, (831) 459-2089; or e-mail drc@ucsc.edu.

Employment-Related Matters

The University of California prohibits discrimination against or harassment of any person employed by or seeking employment with the University on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services (as defined by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994).

University policy also prohibits retaliation against any employee or person seeking employment for bringing a complaint of discrimination or harassment pursuant to this policy, or against a person who assists someone with a complaint of discrimination or harassment for giving such assistance as the complainant may seek, or who participates in any manner in an investigation or resolution of a complaint of discrimination or harassment for participating in a way requested by the complainant or the university.

The University of California is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. The university undertakes affirmative action to ensure equal employment opportunity for minorities and women, for persons with disabilities, and for covered veterans. University policy is intended to be consistent with the provisions of applicable state and federal laws.

Inquiries regarding the university's affirmative action, equal employment opportunity, and nondiscrimination policies for academic, staff and student employment may be directed to the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, (831) 459-3676, or e-mail cbene@ucsc.edu.

Sexual Harassment/Title IX

The university cherishes the free and open exchange of ideas and expansion of knowledge. To maintain this freedom and openness requires objectivity, mutual trust, and confidence; it requires the absence of coercion, intimidation, or exploitation. The principal responsibility for maintaining these conditions must rest upon those members of the university community who exercise the greatest authority and leadership: faculty, managers, and supervisors.

The university has therefore instituted a number of measures designed to protect its community from sexual and other forms of harassment. Students, faculty, and staff who want information, advice, to file a complaint, and/or copies of the UCSC Policy on Sexual Assault, the UC Policy on Sexual Harassment, and Procedures for Reports of Sexual Assault(s) and Sexual Harassment should contact Rita E. Walker, Title IX/Sexual Harassment Officer, 105 Clark Kerr Hall, (831) 459-2462 or via e-mail at rew@ucsc.edu. For detailed information about the services of the Title IX/Sexual Harassment Office, visit the web site at www2.ucsc.edu/title9-sh/. The Title IX/SHO is also available to investigate other violations of Title IX.

Revised: 8/13/12