Frequently Asked Questions

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    Application, General Questions

  • What are my options for completing the online application if I have limited internet access?

    There are several things you can do if your internet access is limited. You can

    - Enter part of your application and return to it at any time before submitting it, just remember your password.
    - Use computers provided at school, libraries, internet cafes, or by a friend.
    - Print out your application and find the answers to the questions while you are offline.
    - Prepare your answers in word processing software (e.g. MS Word or Notepad), and cut and paste your answers into the application.

  • Why can't I access the online application for admission?

    UC Santa Cruz blocks traffic from unsecure web browsers. If you're unable to access the online application at, be sure that you're attempting to connect to it from a browser that meets our campus's web browser security standards and is the newest version of that browser. If your browser meets these standards and you're still unable to connect, please contact for further assistance. Be sure to indicate what browser and version you are using.
  • May I submit my application online before it is complete? How do I know if you have received all my supporting materials?

    All required fields and pages of the application must be complete before you submit it. There are several optional pages which you may choose to skip. You can not make any changes to your application after submission. You can, however, submit your application online before you send us all the supporting materials, or vice versa. The deadlines listed are for submission of all documents. You are strongly advised to submit your application and supporting materials well in advance of the official deadlines. There is no guarantee that materials received after the deadline will be reviewed.

  • May I apply to more than one department or program of study just in case I’m not accepted to my first choice?

    No. Only one application may be considered from each applicant within a given admission-processing period (winter through fall of the same calendar year). Simultaneous applications to multiple departments are not accepted and any application fee paid for multiple applications is non-refundable.

  • Do I apply to the Division of Graduate Studies as well as the department? Do I need to submit two sets of materials?

    "No" to both questions. You submit only one application, and only one copy of each transcript.

  • How can I change the program that I'm applying to?

    If you have not submitted your application yet: 

    In the Application - Use the Change Program link in the top right corner of the page prior to submitting your application. While the majority of your application data will be moved to your new program's application, some pages are program specific, including but not limited to the Statement of Purpose and Resume pages. Changing your program will result in the loss of any data or documents you've entered on those pages; review all application pages for accuracy and completeness prior to submitting your application.

  • Can I review the contents of my file?

    Your online application will be available for review after it is submitted. Supporting materials submitted by other parties (i.e. transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation) are not available to applicants. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 does give students, once admitted and enrolled, the right to inspect their records.
  • Will you give information on the status of my file to my parents, spouse, or friend while I'm out of the country?

    File information is provided only to the applicant unless you give permission to release information on your file to a specific person. You can request to give this permission in the field for additional information on the application. If you have already submitted your application, send an email to

  • My connection to the online application keeps expiring. Why is this happening?

    Our application relies on your having a static IP address for the duration of your session. If you're using an unsecured, public connection, or possibly one associated with your college campus, the service is likely changing your IP address. Each change would result in loss of your authenticated session and force you back to the login page. We recommend finding a more stable source of connectivity to the internet.

  • What if I have questions that are not answered?

    Questions regarding university policy, admission procedure, or your application that are not answered through the website, please direct to the Division of Graduate Studies:

    Telephone: (831) 459-5905

    Questions related to the online application, system issues, technology challenges (e.g. login problems or browser problems), please contact:

    Telephone: (831) 459-2281

    Specific questions about the program or the evaluation of your application should be directed to the individual departments.

  • Application Fee

  • What is the application fee, and can it be deferred or waived?

    The application fee is $105.00 for domestic applicants and $125.00 for foreign applicants. Electronic payment options are available through our application system and, when necessary, paper checks or money orders are accepted. Application fees are not refundable.

    Fees can not be deferred. International applicants do not qualify for application fee waivers or exemptions

    Fee Waivers: A waiver of the application fee is possible due to financial hardship. Please be aware that fee waivers are extremely limited and only apply to US citizens and permanent residents with a financial hardship. 

    An Application Fee Waiver can be requested in one of two ways (do not send tax filings, FAFSA applications, etc.):

    1) If you are currently receiving financial aid, you should ask your Financial Aid Office to complete the 2nd page of our Request for Graduate Application Fee Waiver form.

    2) If your present financial situation makes it impossible to pay the application fee, you should send a letter accompanying page 1 of the Request for Graduate Application Fee Waiver form indicating your itemized monthly family budget, all income and all expenses, and stating reasons necessitating your request. (Do not send copies of income tax returns.)

    Note: Fee waivers will only be processed after you have initiated the graduate application. The completed fee waiver form and any accompanying materials should be sent via email to Graduate Admissions.

    If you choose to mail your fee waiver application, please be aware that the Graduate Admissions office must receive the application for fee waiver no less than five working days prior to your program's application deadline. The office is closed from December 24th through January 1st. If you do not receive a reply regarding your waiver after three business days, please contact us to confirm that it was received.

    You can mail the application to:

    University of California, Santa Cruz
    Attention: Admissions Coordinator
    Graduate Application Processing
    1156 High Street
    Santa Cruz, CA 95064

    For parcel services (FedEx, DHL, UPS), include "Kerr Hall - 500" after the street address

    You will receive an email notifying you of our decision to the email address you used to create your application.

    Please note: If you pay the application fee, your money will not be refunded to you.

    Fee Exemptions: Fee exemptions are available for applicants who participate in a qualifying program, listed below:

    • ABRCMS (Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students)
    • CAMP (California Alliance for Minority Participation)
    • CBSE-RMI (Center for Biomedical Science and Engineering - Research Mentoring Institute)
    • CfAO-RIM (Center for Adaptive Optics - Research Internships on the Mainland)
    • CSU Pre-Doctoral Program
    • Diversity Forum (The California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education)
    • Fulbright (any sponsoring agency)
    • Graduate Pathways to STEM Conference
    • LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation)
    • MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers)
    • MBRS/IMSD (Minority Biomedical Research Support/Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity)
    • McNair Scholars Program
    • MIRT (Minority Biomedical Research Training Program)
    • NAC (National Astronomy Consortium)
    • NSF REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates)
    • Peace Corps
    • PREP (Post baccalaureate Research Experience Program)
    • Project 1000
    • SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science)
    • STEPS Institute (Science, Technology, Engineering, Policy and Society)
    • SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship)
    • SURF-IT (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Information Technology)
    • UC LEADS (University of California Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees)
    • UC-HBCU Initiative (Historically Black Colleges and Universities Alumni for Campus Outreach)
    • UCEAP Reciprocity
    • US Military Veteran

    To apply for a Fee Exemption: Navigate to the Payment section of the application, choose "Fee Exemption" and click "Next Step." Complete the information on the following page and click "Save Answer." 

  • Why does the fee on my bank statement say "Processed at UCLA"?

    Application fee payments to the UCSC Graduate Division are processed through UCLA's payment center. Your application will only be delivered to UCSC.

  • Application Materials

  • What materials are required to apply?

    You need an email address to use the online system.

    A complete application consists of:

    - Submitted online application
    - $105.00 application fee ($125 for international applicants)
    - Transcripts (official or unofficial) from each college-level institution attended
    - Three letters of recommendation
    - Required test scores (including TOEFL/IELTS for international students)
    - Other materials requested by the department (resume, writing sample, CD or tape, etc.)

  • Where do I send hard copy materials?

    Transcripts and items sent from your school, or a private letter service are the only materials we accept in hard copy format.

    The online application is designed so that most required items, including your transcripts, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, writing samples and resumes, can be submitted online. Please use the online features whenever possible and do not send paper copies of material that has been submitted online. 

    These paper documents will be scanned and saved digitally so that they can be viewed electronically by your admissions committee. To assist us in processing your application, please do not bind, glue or laminate your documents, nor send in folios or document covers. Be sure to include your name, birth date and the department to which you are applying with every document.

    Mail hardcopy materials to:

    UC Santa Cruz
    Graduate Application Processing
    1156 High Street
    Santa Cruz, CA 95064

    For parcel services (FedEx, DHL, UPS), include "Kerr Hall - 500" after the street address

    For additional materials requested by the program such as portfolios, please send directly to the department. Unsolicited material sent to Graduate Application Processing will not be included in the review materials and will be discarded.

  • Can I get copies of my application materials? Can I have my application materials forwarded to another person, institution or organization?

    All materials, including the application itself, submitted as part of an admission application are the property of UC Santa Cruz and will not be returned to the applicant, nor shared with another individual, institution or organization under any circumstances.

  • How do I determine whether or not additional materials are required?

    In addition to our Supplemental Materials page, you can also contact the graduate program to which you are applying. Any additional (often referred to as “supplemental”) materials required to complete the application package will be listed.

  • Where do I send additional materials requested by the department to which I am applying?

    Materials should be sent directly to the program to which you are applying. Check with the graduate program directly for information about required additional materials and where to send them.

  • How do I reactivate my old application materials?

    Applicants have the option of reactivating application materials submitted within the last year. You will need to submit a new application and fee, but you may use any or all of your supporting materials such as test scores, transcripts and letters of recommendation. Please note, we keep application materials for only one year, so if you applied two or more years ago, you will need to submit all your supporting materials again.

    Once you have submitted your new application and receive login information to access MyUCSC, our student portal, contact and specify which supplemental materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.) you wish to apply to your new application.


  • I have additional relevant material (book, magazine article, videotape, award certificate, etc.) that I would like the review committee to see. How do I include it with my application?

    If you have website links available to material you would like the review committee to see, please provide the links on your resume, or in the space for additional information. For all other materials, please check directly with the graduate program to which you are applying, to find out what materials they will accept and where to send them.

    Please do not send unrequested materials to Graduate Application Processing. We will not process items that are not required by your department. Unsolicited material sent to Graduate Application Processing will not be included in the review materials and will be discarded. 

  • How will I know if you have received all of my application materials? What if you didn't receive everything I've sent?

    After you submit your application, you will receive an email with your UCSC CruzID and instructions for setting your password. You can use your CruzID and password to log in to the UCSC student portal.

    If you have sent material that is not reflected on your To Do List in the portal:

    If you mailed the document yourself, allow 5-10 business days for mailing and processing time.

    If the item was sent directly to us by another source (ETS test scores, transcripts from another university, letters of recommendation), contact the source directly to confirm if and when it was sent.

    After you have submitted your application, you can access your To-Do List on MyUCSC to verify which documents have been received. If we have a required document, it will either not appear on the To-Do List, or it will be listed as "completed" when you click the Details or More link on the To-Do List.

    If your inquiry did not solve the problem, send us an email at to inquire about your missing document. Include in your email:

     - Your full name

     - The email address used to create your application profile

     - The department you applied to

     - Information on the document:

       - Type of document

       - Where did you or your sources (recommender, school, ETS) send it

       - When was it sent

       - When did you last check on the status of this document

  • Letters of Recommendation

  • Where do my recommenders send letters of recommendation? May my recommender(s) send their letters by email or FAX?

    We now require all applicants to register their recommender(s) for online letters of recommendation. Your recommender will be able to upload their letter as a PDF document, and will be able to complete qualitative assessment rankings as part of their assessment of your skills and abilities. The qualitative assessment rankings will be used by departments when reviewing your application, but recommenders are not required to complete these. 

    Please note: Because the online recommendation feature does not allow the recommender to save and edit the letter text, we advise that the recommender complete their letter in a word processing software program (MS Word, Notepad, WordPerfect, etc.), convert the file to PDF and upload the document into the online recommender submission form. We do not accept letters of recommendation by fax or email.

  • How do I submit letters from a letter service?

    If you plan to use a letter service, please review that service's instructions before registering your recommenders through the online application; many services will provide you with a unique email address under which you'll register each recommender, allowing the service to electronically submit the letters. (Please see our section on Letters of Recommendation)
  • May I submit more than three letters of recommendation?

    You may submit up to five letters if you wish.

  • What if I want to waive access to review letter(s) of recommendation?

    The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 does give students, once admitted and enrolled, the right to inspect their records, including letters of recommendation.

    The FERPA gives important rights, including:

    - the right of students to inspect their student records
    - the right to challenge incorrect information in those records
    - the right to keep student records private

    Because the FERPA gives students these rights, neither UCSC nor other institutions or organizations can require you to waive these rights. The following are factors you may want to consider in making the decision to waive or retain access to your letters of recommendation:

    - Members of the admissions committee will know whether you waived access.
    - If your recommender knows you well and has said he/she can write a letter in support of your candidacy, the chances are slight that inaccuracies or unfair statements will be presented in the letter.
    - It may relieve stress and anxiety to know exactly what has been said.
    - By reading a subjective evaluation, you have a chance of benefiting from criticism.
    - A potential recommender may choose not to write a letter for you if you retain your right of access.

    You must select to either waive or not waive your right of access when registering each recommender in your online admission application. This decision can not be changed once you have sent your recommendation request.

  • My recommender wants to edit the letter online. How can that be done?

    After online submission, the letter can not be replaced, but a new letter can be submitted for you. If your recommender feels the letter should be replaced after submission, please ask your recommender to contact Graduate Admissions.

  • Can I submit a letter of recommendation on behalf of my letter writer?

    Letters of recommendation must be submitted by the letter writer; an applicant must not submit a letter of recommendation on behalf of the letter writer unless explicit prior consent has been granted by the Office of Graduate Admissions. Contact us to request an exception to this policy.

    In cases where an applicant has fraudulently submitted official application materials on behalf of another individual or institution, the matter will be reviewed as a case of falsification and can result in the cancellation of the application. See our Policy: Falsification, Accuracy of Application Materials for more information.

  • Test Scores

  • What test scores are required and when do I submit them?

    GRE requirements vary by program. See the Required Test Scores page for a summary of required tests.

  • Will my test scores arrive in time?

    It takes approximately 10 days to receive test scores on the computer based tests and six weeks to receive the scores on the paper based tests. If you know your (GRE, TOEFL or IELTS) scores, report them in your application. Your self-reported GRE score will suffice for review purposes until we receive the official score reports from ETS. Please do not send paper copies of your scores; only the scores reported by the testing agency are considered official.

    Note to International students: Because we need the official TOEFL/IELTS score in order to admit you to the program, please make sure that your official report has been sent by ETS or IELTS by the deadline. It is strongly recommended that you complete testing at least four to six weeks before your application deadline to allow sufficient time to receive official test scores from ETS.

  • How can I check to see if my scores have been received by UCSC?

    After you submit your application you will be able to log into MyUCSC to see if we have received your test scores. You will get access to MyUCSC several days after your application is submitted, and the list of items required for your application will appear in the To-Do List; you will also be able to view the actual scores via Main Menu > My Student Center > View Test Scores.
  • What are the minimum GRE scores required for admission?

    Requirements vary by program and you should contact the program to which you are applying for more information.
  • (International Applicants) What are the minimum TOEFL or IELTS scores required for admission?

    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 (TOEFL iBT) 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.

    For those choosing to take the IELTS, a minimum overall score of 7 from the IELTS test is required for admission.

    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 TOEFL iBT; 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.

  • (International Applicants) Can I waive the TOEFL or IELTS requirement?


    TOEFL/IELTS waivers for admission purposes may be requested by applicants who have completed a four-year bachelor's degree at an English-speaking institution. 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 English Language Competency section of the online application.

    Please note that the waiver of English Language Competency will be considered if you are being recommended for admission; you may still see the requirement for English Language Test Score in your MyUCSC To-Do list.

  • I am a Permanent Resident of the United States; do I have to provide a TOEFL or IELTS score?

    If you are originally from a country where English is not the primary language, you must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test. However, there are waivers for this requirement. See above "TOEFL/IELTS waiver" FAQ.

  • Transcripts

  • What if my previous school(s) will not send transcripts directly to me?

    Some institutions do not release transcripts directly to students. If this is the case, request that your transcripts be forwarded directly to:

    UC Santa Cruz
    Graduate Application Processing
    1156 High Street
    Santa Cruz, CA 95064

    For parcel services (FedEx, DHL, UPS), include "Kerr Hall - 500" after the street address

    If your school will not issue duplicate transcripts to institutions, please email Graduate Admissions.
  • My university will only release one official transcript to me; how can I submit my official transcript to UCSC?

    Please remember that you may upload an unofficial transcript for application purposes.

    If your prior degree-granting university will only issue one official transcript to you, do not open this transcript. Retain it so that if you are offered admission you can use it to satisfy our requirement. Send it in the original, university-sealed envelope to us at:

    UC Santa Cruz
    Graduate Application Processing
    1156 High Street
    Santa Cruz, CA 95064

    For parcel services (FedEx, DHL, UPS), include "Kerr Hall - 500" after the street address

  • I attended (or I am currently attending) UC Santa Cruz. Do I need to order a transcript?

    You are required to upload an unofficial transcript with your application for admission. However, if you are offered admission, you do not need to order an official transcript from UCSC. Please notify us at Graduate Admissions if you are graduating in the quarter prior to your admitted term, so that we may verify your degree. 
  • Why do you need my official transcript after I have been offered admission?

    If you are offered admission, and you accept this offer, we require a final, official transcript from any previously attended schools where you earned a degree. This is so that we may verify your previously earned degree(s).

    If your final transcript does not contain degree information - for example, your school only uses transcripts to list grades or marks - you should request from your registrar a degree certificate. This certificate must include:
     - Your major
     - Your degree title
     - The date your degree was awarded (provisional degrees will not fulfill this requirement)

    If you are unable to obtain this document from your university, please contact us at Graduate Admissions

  • My school sent me an electronic transcript and I can not upload this to my application, what should I do?

    Print the electronic transcript and scan it, and save it as a PDF document; upload the PDF document to your application - please follow the document scanning guidelines at the bottom of the Application Instructions page.
  • I participated in an Education Abroad Program. Do I need a transcript from this school?

    You only need a transcript from the EAP school abroad if your home institution did not include your courses and grades on your transcript.

  • My undergraduate GPA is not on the 4.0 scale, how should I enter it on the application?

    You should not convert your GPAto the 4.0 scale.  We request GPA's to be entered in their original form on the application, and you can chose the appropriate GPA scale when entering the information to your application.
  • My school won't confer my degree until after I'm scheduled to start the graduate program; is this ok?

    If your degree is not awarded (conferred) by the third week of classes, your enrollment at UC Santa Cruz, as well as all financial support, will be subject to cancellation if you do not provide evidence of graduation, and of satisfying any further conditions set by the department. We do not provisionally admit graduate students at UC Santa Cruz. You are required to provide a final transcript with degree certification to the Graduate Division at UC Santa Cruz.

    You should contact the program that has offered you admission and request a deferral of admission to the next quarter. If you need to defer your admission for more than one quarter you will be required to re-apply to the program. Contact the program for further information.

  • Admission Decisions

  • When will decisions on my admission to UC Santa Cruz be made?

    Applicants to academic (non-professional) programs: You will be notified by email in spring as to whether or not you have been admitted for graduate study at UC Santa Cruz. Emails are sent throughout the months of February and March as the reviews are completed.

    Do not call; under no circumstances will this information be given over the phone, in person, or by proxy.

    International Students: Admitted international applicants will also receive a hardcopy admission letter by mail with their I-20 after acceptance of the offer.

    Professional-Program Applicants:

    Fall admission: You will be notified by email in summer as to whether or not you have been admitted for graduate study at UC Santa Cruz. Emails are sent throughout the months of June and July as the reviews are completed.

    Winter admission: You will be notified by email in fall as to whether or not you have been admitted for graduate study at UC Santa Cruz. Emails are sent throughout the month of November as the reviews are completed.

    Spring admission: You will be notified by email in winter as to whether or not you have been admitted for graduate study at UC Santa Cruz. Emails are sent throughout the month of February as the reviews are completed.

  • How are admissions recommendations made?

    The Graduate Division is responsible for general campus requirements and processes related to graduate admissions; these are stated in the Graduate Division's admissions information. Admissions criteria specific to over seventy programs and concentrations are the purview of the faculty of the individual programs. Please inquire with the graduate programs for program-specific concerns.


See Also