Thank you for your interest in graduate study at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Please be advised that UCSC greatly values the participation of scholars from diverse nations and cultures in our various graduate programs, and we therefore actively solicit applications for admission from international applicants. However, because the financial aid programs are restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, financial support for international applicants is restricted to fellowships, research-ships and teaching assistantships as offered and/or available by departments.
Please examine this brief description of admission and graduate study at UC Santa Cruz and note especially application deadlines and special requirements. The Division of Graduate Studies does not provide preliminary applications or evaluations of your credentials.
You can obtain program information here: Programs Page
English Language Testing
English is the language of instruction and communication at the University of California. Your success at UC Santa Cruz will depend on daily classwork, written papers, frequent short examinations, and major examinations in English. Applicants from countries where English is not the primary language must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test.
For those choosing to take the TOEFL, a minimum score on the paper-based TOEFL of 550, or 220 on the computer-based test, or 83 on the internet-based test is required for admission. Chemistry and Biochemistry, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering require 570 on the paper-based test, 230 on the computer-based test, and 89 on the internet-based test. Any international students who wish to be considered for Teaching Assistant opportunities must score a 26 or higher on the Spoken Word portion of the internet-based test.
Educational Testing Service
P.O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, USA
For those choosing to take the IELTS, a minimum overall score of 7 from the IELTS test is required for admission. An overall score of 8 from the IELTS test is required for all new international students who may serve as a Teaching Assistant at any time during their graduate career.
For inquiries on test dates, fees and preparation, please contact your nearest test center.
TOEFL/IELTS waivers may be requested by applicants who have completed their bachelor's degrees in English-speaking institutions. If you plan to request such a waiver, you must select a back-up method of examination on the admission application in case your request is not approved. Indicate a future testing date and explain your desire and qualifications for a waiver of this requirement on the Additional Information page of the application.
Applicants with a Master's degree earned in the United States, at an accredited university, and with experience as a Teaching Assistant at that university may be eligible for an exemption of the English language prerequisite for Teaching Assistant (TA) purposes at UC Santa Cruz. A letter from the applicant's Master's program advisor indicating their completion of the degree (degree title and date conferred), and a letter from the TA supervisor confirming the applicant's position, their level of responsibility in the classroom, and their proficiency in English are required to apply for this type of waiver. These letters should be sent to the Graduate Admissions office.
Academic Records, Transcripts
Please note: Once submitted, documents may not be borrowed, returned to you, or sent elsewhere.
Unofficial academic records are accepted for application purposes only. You will be required to send official academic records if you are offered and accept admission to UC Santa Cruz. An official transcript will be required of any admitted applicant; the transcript must include the degree title earned and date it was awarded. If this information isn't available on the transcript, you must additionally send an official degree certification from your university.
All official academic records must be issued in the original language and accompanied by English translations prepared by the issuing institution. If translations are not available from the institution itself, translations may be prepared by government or official translators.
If your home university does not provide English translations of transcripts, you must:
- Request two official transcripts from your university. One copy will be used for a translator, the other must remain sealed.
- Do not open a sealed, endorsed envelope containing transcripts intended for submission to your program.
- Give one copy to a certified English translator and request a complete, word-by-word, literal English translation
- Ask the translator to put both the original language transcript and their English translation into a sealed envelope; they must endorse the envelope by signing across the seal
- Send both the sealed, endorsed envelope from the translator and the sealed (unopened) original transcript to UC Santa Cruz Graduate Admissions
Note: Academic records must be translated in their entirety, including any information that appears on the reverse side of any document. We will not accept the following:
- photocopies that have not been stamped, attested and endorsed by the Registrar at your home university
- documents in envelopes that have been opened; do not send academic records that are not in sealed and endorsed envelopes.
- documents that do not arrive in sealed envelopes endorsed by the issuing institution or certified translator
- documents that arrive without the official seal of the university
- photocopies notarized by a notary public
- photocopies endorsed by a lawyer, professor, judge etc.
- unofficial translations
- non-literal translations
In order for translations to be acceptable, they must bear the stamp or seal of the issuing institution or government agency and the original signature of the translator. They must be complete and exact word-for-word translations of the original documents, not interpretations. Grades must not be converted to the American scale. Specially prepared English versions are not acceptable in place of documents issued in the original language.
We do not offer conditional admission.
Passports and Visas
You will need a passport from your own government and visa from a U.S. Consulate to enter this country. The types of visas available to you are the F-1 student visa or the J-1 exchange visitor visa. After you have been admitted and submitted your Financial Certificate form, you will be issued the appropriate document in order to obtain your student visa. To apply for a visa, take your passport and Certificate of Eligibility (1-20) plus proof of adequate financial resources for your studies and living expenses to a U.S. Consulate.
Financial Support, Documentation
International applicants will be required to submit up-to-date evidence of financial support after they have received formal admission to a graduate program.
- Information sent prior to receiving an admission letter will be considered invalid.
- If you are admitted, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to prepare the materials for your Certificate of Eligibility (I-20).
A Certificate of Eligibility (I-20) will be issued by UC Santa Cruz only after all standard admissions requirements have been met. Before we can issue an I-20 certificate for a visa, you will be required to complete and return a Financial Certificate form showing that you are able to undertake this level of expense for your education at UCSC. Should you receive financial support from your department, your letter of acceptance will be sufficient. Every student is responsible for having sufficient funds for initial expenses. Before a U.S. Consul will grant a visa, you must prove that you will have sufficient money to meet all your expenses while studying in the United States. You must show documented evidence of the source of your funds and guarantee that you will receive them while at UCSC.
International applicants are eligible for merit based financial support in the form of fellowships, teaching assistantships and/or graduate research assistantships. Need based financial aid is not available to foreign students. INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR GRANTS, LOANS OR WORK-STUDY AWARDS THROUGH THE FINANCIAL AID OFFICE. Students who come without adequate resources, in hope of locating some form of aid after arriving here, face the very real possibility of not being able to complete their educational programs. Unless you have received a definite offer in writing of a teaching or research assistantship before your arrival, you should not expect to receive an offer later and you should plan on other sources of income.
Medical care insurance coverage in the U.S. is not provided by the government and is expensive. Mandatory insurance coverage is included in your fees for the academic year and the Health Center is available to you. In addition some costs (eyeglasses, contact lenses, dental work) are not covered by insurance and must be paid for by the student. Additional information on the insurance coverage may be obtained from the UC Santa Cruz Heath Center.
EAP, Non-degree Applicants
Applicants currently in the EAP program will need to follow particular instructions for filing their application. Please follow the instructions outlined below:
1) Go to https://gradapp.ucsc.edu and click "Start New Application."
2) Select the appropriate "NDG" (non-degree) program from the list of programs (for example, "Psychology NDG"). If the course of study you plan to pursue does not offer a non-degree option, select the most closely applicable degree-seeking program.
3) Complete the admission application. Though the following application pages do not apply to EAP applicants, you will need to access those pages and click the "section not applicable" link at the top of the page in order to submit your application:
- Fee Waiver Instructions (see below regarding the EAP fee exemption)
- Financial Support
- Diversity Fellowships
4) Recommendations: In addition to the three required recommenders you must register to complete your application, you should also register Ralitsa Kirova, email@example.com, from the UC EAP office as a recommender. This will allow Ralitsa to upload an EAP cover letter to your application explaining to faculty the benefits of admitting EAP applicants to their program.
5) Application Fee: As an EAP applicant, you will not be required to pay an application fee. On the Payment page, select "Fee exemption" and click Next Step. Select "UCEAP Reciprocity" from the list of programs. List your home institution in the space provided and the term and year in which you started your current graduate program. For the program sponsor and email address, enter Ralitsa Kirova, firstname.lastname@example.org.