IV. Admissions

This section of the Handbook focuses on admission policies generally. For more explicit information on processes and procedures, please refer to the Prospective Students section of the Graduate Division web site for information on graduate study at UCSC.

Criteria for Admission

UCSC is committed to the recruitment, admission, and retention of a highly qualified and diverse graduate student population. The University of California offers admission to those applicants who have the highest potential for graduate study and who, with the benefit of graduate education, are most likely to contribute substantially to their academic or professional fields through teaching, research, or professional practice.

To be considered for admission to the Santa Cruz campus of the University of California:

  • one must have received a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited university prior to the quarter for which admission is sought
  • and have at least a B average in last two years of undergraduate coursework.

Satisfaction of minimal standards does not, however, guarantee admission, since the number of qualified applicants far exceeds the number of places available. As a consequence, many well-qualified applicants cannot be accommodated. Students must refer to individual departments for additional admission criteria. Please note that only one application may be considered from each applicant. Simultaneous applications to multiple departments are not accepted.

Application Fee Waivers

A limited number of application fee waivers are available for applicants who can demonstrate serious financial need (U.S. citizens and permanent residents only, international applicants are not eligible). The Fee Waiver Request Form must be accompanied by proof of need that meets specific financial criteria. Examples of financial need include a letter from a university financial aid officer or a financial aid award letter from a current university.

Applicants who are affiliated with any of the following undergraduate research programs may document their affiliation to the program:

  • CSU California Pre-Doctoral Program
  • McNair Scholars Program
  • Project 1000
  • University of California Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS)
  • Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Information Technology (SURF-IT)
  • Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)
  • The STEPS Institute for Innovation in Environmental Research
  • Research Mentoring Institute (RMI)
  • Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC)
  • The Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD / MBRS)
  • Center for Adaptive Optics Research Internships on the Mainland (CfAO-RIM)
  • California Alliance for Minority Participation in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (CAMP)
  • Diversity Awards for Undergraduate Research in Genomic Sciences (CBSE-MRIP)
  • CBSE Mentoring Research Institute Program (MRIP)
  • Minority Biomedical Research Training Program (MIRT)

Standardized Tests

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for all Masters and Ph.D. programs, with the exception of the following Masters programs: Digital Arts & New Media; Education; and Social Documentation. The GRE is not required for our Theater Arts Certificate program. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS): TOEFL scores must be no more than two years old at the time of application. UCSC does not admit students conditionally in order to learn English prior to beginning an academic program; an excellent command of written and spoken English is required prior to enrollment.


Duplication of Higher Degrees

It is the policy of the 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.