Admission Requirements for International Freshmen

International students at Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz. Photo by Hector Gonzalez Rodas.

As an international student, you can apply for admission as a freshman or a transfer. You are considered a freshman applicant if you have completed secondary school and have not enrolled at any college or university. If you have completed secondary school and enrolled at a college or university, please see information on international transfer admissions. 

International students must meet the same admission requirements and will be included in the same selection process as U.S. students. Requirements for UCSC freshman admission can be found by visiting our freshmen admissions webpage.

Applying to UC Santa Cruz

  • Students interested in applying to UCSC must complete the University of California application for admission, which can be accessed here:
  • Application filing period: November 1-30, 2016 (for entrance in Fall 2017). Please note that we only offer a fall term enrollment option. For more information on late application appeals, please visit our freshmen admissions webpage

Secondary School Requirements

To be considered for admission to UC Santa Cruz, international students must be on track to complete secondary school with superior grades/marks in academic subjects and to earn a certificate of completion that enables the student to be admitted to a university in their home country. 

More information on varying secondary school requirements by country and type can be found here.

Reporting Foreign Course Work on the Application: When you apply to UC Santa Cruz, you must report ALL foreign course work as it would appear on your foreign academic record. You should not convert the grading system of your home country to U.S. grades or use an evaluation done by an agency. If your grades/marks appear as numbers, words, or percentages, please report them as such on your UC application. Each UC campus has an International Admissions Specialist who will thoroughly evaluate your international records.

Test Requirements

All freshman applicants are expected to submit scores from one of the following tests. Even if the test is not offered in your country, we expect it:

  • The ACT Assessment plus the ACT Writing Test  


  • The SAT with critical reading, mathematics, and writing scores from the same sitting. 

*Note: We no longer require SAT Subject exams. (We will still review these exam scores if applicants choose to send them to us, however, and certain SAT Subject exams may be recommended for some majors.)

SAT Subject exams accepted by UC:

  • English (literature) 
  • History/social studies
  • Mathematics (Level 2 only; Level 1 is not accepted by the UC)
  • Science
  • Languages (Other than English)

Please note: In order for your test scores to be available in time for our review, all tests must be taken by December of the year before you plan to enroll.

Proof of English Proficiency

For instructions on how to satisfy UCSC's English Proficiency Requirement, please see our English Proficiency web page.

Additional Documents

You should not send additional documents, awards, or copies of your academic records when submitting your UC application. However, please use your official academic records to help you fill out the application completely. If admitted to UCSC, you will be given detailed instructions on how to submit your official academic records. Please visit our web page for admitted international students for more information.

See Also