Frequently Asked Questions for International Students

Photo by Phil Carter.

Admissions 

Q: What are the admissions criteria? 

A: For this information, please see our 2014-15 Freshman and Transfer Admissions Guides.

Web versions: Frosh GuideTransfer Guide

PDFs:

Admission Guide for California First-Year Students

Admission Guide for International First-Year Students

Admission Guide for U.S. First-Year Students (Outside of California)

Admission Guide for Transfer Students

Q: What standardized tests do I need to take? 

A: Freshmen must take either the ACT Plus Writing or the SAT Reasoning Test no later than December of the senior year. The university does not require SAT Subject Tests, but certain programs on some UC campuses recommend them, and you can use SAT Subject Tests to satisfy the "a-g" requirements (see Frosh Guide for more information).

In addition, proficiency in the English language is crucial to your success at UC Santa Cruz.

Frosh

We require all applicants whose first language is not English to adequately demonstrate English competency as a part of the application process. Students may demonstrate competency by submitting scores from IELTS (International English Language Testing System), by earning a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based Test of English (TOEFL) (80 on the Internet-based test), or by earning a score of 560 or higher on the Writing section of the SAT Assessment test. Our institution requires an overall band score of a 7 or higher on the IELTS.

For IELTS, UC Santa Cruz only accepts scores submitted electronically by the IELTS test center. No paper Test Report Forms will be accepted. An institutional code is NOT required. Please contact the test center where you took the test directly and request that your test scores be sent electronically using the IELTS system. All IELTS test centers worldwide are able to send scores electronically to our institution.

For more information, please see the Admission Requirements for International Freshmen.

Transfers

If your native language is not English and your education in high school or at the college or university level was in a country where English is not the native language, UC Santa Cruz requires one of the following:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based test, or 80 on the Internet-based test
  • A minimum score of 7 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) academic module
  • Completion of two UC-transferable English composition courses (not ESL) in the U.S. with grades of B (3.00) or better

For more information, please see the Admission Requirements for International Transfer Students.

Q: What are the average SAT and ACT scores, GPA, etc. for admitted freshmen and transfer students?  

A: For information of this kind, please see our UC Santa Cruz Facts page. 

Q: What is the acceptance rate?  

A: In fall 2013, 48.6% of freshman applicants were accepted, and 54.9% of transfer applicants were accepted. Admissions rates vary from year to year depending on the strength of the applicant pool.

Q: Does UC Santa Cruz give AP or IB credit? 

A: The university grants credit for College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations on which a student scores 3, 4, or 5 and for International Baccalaureate Higher Level (IBH) Examinations on which a student scores 5, 6, or 7. The university does not grant credit for IB standard or subsidiary level exams. Students completing the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a score of 30 or higher receive 30 quarter credits. For more information, please see our AP and IBH table

Q: Where do I need to send my high school transcripts and test scores? 

A: The University of California has a common deadline to submit official transcripts and test scores: July 1. Official transcripts (both high school and collegiate) are only required for those students who accept their offer of admission. When requesting official test scores, please use the following codes for our campus: For ACT scores our code is 0460, and for SAT scores, our college code is 4860. 

Q: What is UCSC's policy regarding the use of agents?

A: UC Santa Cruz does not partner with agents to represent the University or to administer any part of the undergraduate admission application process. The engagement of agents or private organizations for the purpose of recruiting or enrolling international students is not endorsed by UC Santa Cruz. Agents who may be retained by students to help with the application process are not recognized as representatives of the University and do not have a contractual agreement or partnership to represent UC Santa Cruz.

UC Santa Cruz expects all applicants to complete their own application materials. The use of agent services is not aligned with UC’s Statement on Integrity -- expectations explained as a part of applying for admission to the University. For the complete Statement, go to: https://admissions.universityofcalifornia.edu/docs/StatementOfIntegrity.pdf

UC Santa Cruz expects an application to be the work of the applicant and that all information on the application is complete, accurate, and truthful. 

Costs, Tuition, and Financial Aid 

Q: What is the cost of attendance now, and what will it be next year? 

A: Current undergraduate student budgets can be found on the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships web site. The charts include tuition and fees for both in-state and out-of-state students, room and board, books and supplies, etc. International students pay out-of-state tuition and fees. We cannot predict what future costs will be, since that is determined yearly by the UC Board of Regents and depends on a number of factors, including state support and operating budgets. 

Q: How much financial aid is offered for international students? 

A: Need-based financial aid is not available for international students. We recommend that international students research scholarship opportunities that may be available in their home countries to study in the U.S. Also, the Undergraduate Dean's Award, which offers $20,000 over four years for frosh or $10,000 over two years for transfer students, is available for qualifying international students on a student visa. 

Q: What scholarships are available from UC Santa Cruz? 

A: For this information, please see the Scholarships page on the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships web site. The UC application is also an application for scholarships. 

Visa Requirements 

Q: What are the visa requirements for international students? 

A: UC Santa Cruz admissions notifications occur in mid-March. If you are admitted to UC Santa Cruz and wish to enroll, you will need to apply for a student visa to attend college in the U.S., a process that includes submitting financial statements showing that you have funding to study in the U.S. More information on the visa application process can be found in the International Education Office web site.  

Majors and Academics 

Q: Does UCSC offer a ____ major? How is the ___ major at UC Santa Cruz? 

A: UC Santa Cruz offers 63 undergraduate majors in the following academic divisions: Arts, Humanities, Physical and Biological Sciences, Social Sciences, and the Jack Baskin School of Engineering. For a list of majors with more information about each one, go to the Admissions Major Pages. Each page has information on study and research opportunities, career opportunities for graduates in the major, how to prepare for the major, and links to the departments and course lists. 

Q: Does UCSC offer a pre-med program? A business program? What about preparation to become a teacher? 

A: UCSC offers a major in human biology, which provides excellent preparation for applying to medical school, and a business management economics program. In addition, UCSC offers a minor in education, as well as a graduate teaching credential program. For potential teachers in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), UCSC is home to the innovative Cal Teach program.  

Q: May I apply to UCSC with an undeclared major? When must I declare a major? 

A: Frosh may apply to UCSC without declaring a major, but they will be asked to choose an advising cluster in a general area of study, such as Human Psychology, Culture and Society or Life and Health Sciences. The advising clusters are designed to help students receive the best possible advising, based on their interests. Choice of major has no bearing on frosh admission decisions. 

Students who entered UCSC as frosh may declare a major as early as they would like, if they have decided which major to pursue and have satisfied prerequisites or admission requirements (if any) for the major. They are required to be formally declared in a major before enrolling in their third year (or equivalent).  

Upper-division transfer students must select a major when they apply to the university and are required to be declared in a major by the deadline in their second term of enrollment. 

Q: Can I double major? 

A: Students at UC Santa Cruz often double major in two different subjects. You must obtain approval from both departments to declare a double major. More information on pursuing a double major can be found in the Navigator online undergraduate handbook

Q: How large are classes? 

A: Class level and major affect the size of classes a student will encounter. Students are likely to experience an increasing proportion of small classes as they progress from freshman to senior level. 

Currently, only 15.2% of our courses have more than 100 students enrolled, and 65% of our courses have fewer than 30 students enrolled. Our largest lecture hall, Classroom Unit 2, holds 473 students. 

The student/faculty ratio at UCSC is 19:1. 

Q: What are the graduation requirements? 

A: UCSC redesigned its undergraduate general education requirements in 2010 to provide all students a relevant and rich learning experience. A complete list of the general education requirements is included in the UCSC General Catalog.

Q: What support do freshmen have? Do they have advisers? 

A: All UCSC students have a number of advisers to help them navigate through the university, choose a major that is right for them, and graduate on time. Advisers include college advisers, college preceptors, and program, major, and department advisers. An introduction to advising for new students (both frosh and transfers) can be found on UCSC's advising web site

In addition, all freshmen are required to take a small, writing-intensive core course, which is offered by their residential college. The core courses are an excellent introduction to college-level reading and writing skills and are also a way to build a community within your college during your first quarter at UCSC. For information about the core courses, please start at the Residential Colleges homepage and click on the links for the 10 residential colleges. 

Q: What honors courses or programs are available? 

A: UC Santa Cruz offers a variety of honors and enrichment programs, including departmental and division honors and intensive programs; college honors; field studies and internships; international, national, statewide, and UC-wide honor societies; intensive programs of study, and other campuswide programs. 

For further information about these opportunities, see the Undergraduate Honors Program web site.

Internships and Undergraduate Research 

Q: What internships are available to undergraduates? 

A: UCSC offers many opportunities for paid and unpaid internships, benefiting from our excellent location near the innovation centers of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Silicon Valley. Students find internships through the Career Center, contacts with their professors, and enrollment in co-curricular programs, such as the Chancellor's Undergraduate Internship Program. In addition, UCSC offers a rich array of field work and exchange programs, many of which are associated with students' majors. 

Q: What opportunities are available for undergraduate research? 

A: UCSC is an excellent university for undergraduate research. Our professors invite undergraduates into their research projects and labs, and students often co-publish papers along with their professors. For more information and specific examples, please see the web pages for Undergraduate Research and Student Achievement Week

Q: Are there volunteer opportunities for students? 

A: Yes, students can volunteer at a number of local organizations and schools. The Student Volunteer Center helps connect students with volunteer opportunities. 

Campus Life and Student Organizations 

Q: What is it like to be a student at UC Santa Cruz? 

A: To answer this question, we'd like to refer you to the webcast page for our online Admissions events, where you can see videos of current students talking about their experiences at UCSC, particularly the video from Virtual Spring Spotlight 2013, which features four students talking together in a dorm room. 

You can also go to Admissions' Our Student Profiles page, a dynamic page of student profiles that can be sorted according to hometown, frosh versus transfer, etc.

Q: Is there a general feeling of safety (do students feel safe walking around campus at night)? 

A: UC Santa Cruz is a very safe campus. We maintain our own police force and fire station. (The campus fire station is no more than four minutes from any part of campus). All campus residence halls are locked at night. In addition, we have “blue light” emergency phones located throughout the campus connected directly to the campus police department, and a night shuttle service is provided, so you don’t have to walk between your college and other places on campus at night.  

Community Safety Officers (CSOs), visible in the residential communities from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., work in conjunction with the UC Police, UC Fire and the administration of university residential communities (both on- and off-campus) to ensure a safe and secure living environment for all residents. CSOs are trained in emergency response, first aid and CPR, and disaster response and carry radios linked to University Police Dispatch. 

We also have CruzAlert, a campus messaging system, which delivers voice messages to telephones, text and voice messages to cell phones, and e-mail to all UCSC e-mail addresses in the case of a life-threatening emergency. 

More information can be found on the Admissions Health and Safety web page. 

Q: What clubs are there? 

A: UC Santa Cruz has over 150 registered student organizations and associations based on academic, athletic, ethnic, religious, political, and cultural interests. For a list of current organizations, please go to our Student-Led Clubs & Organizations page. 

Athletics and Sports 

Q: What kinds of athletics and intramural programs are there? 

A: UC Santa Cruz offers NCAA Division III athletic teams in men's/women's basketball, cross-country, soccer, swimming/diving, tennis, and volleyball; and women's golf and track. 

Athletic clubs include badminton, baseball, boating, cheerleading, cross-country, cycling, dance, diving, equestrian, fencing, flying disc - disc golf, men's lacrosse, racquetball, men's and women's rugby, men's soccer, Special Olympics, track and field, triathlon, men's and women's Ultimate Frisbee, and men's and women's water polo. Intramural competition is also popular at UC Santa Cruz.

Q: Does UC Santa Cruz offer any athletics scholarships or financial aid? 

A: No, as an NCAA Division III institution, we are not able to offer any athletics-based scholarships or athletics-based financial aid. 

Q: If I wanted more information about a particular team, how would I obtain it? 

A: UCSC Athletics has a web site that is a great resource for information about UC Santa Cruz Athletics. It has information such as phone numbers and e-mail addresses of coaches, schedules, rosters, weekly updates on how teams are doing, coaches' biographies, and much more.  

Further Information 

For further information, please see the Admissions main FAQ page, or e-mail internationaladmissions@ucsc.edu.

See Also