Transfer Admission and Selection: 2019-2020

Students at a recent graduation ceremony. Photo by Rob Knight.

Winter 2020 Admissions

UC Santa Cruz is accepting applications for winter quarter 2020 in certain majors. From July 1 to July 31, 2019, sophomore- and junior-level students can apply for UC Santa Cruz's winter quarter that begins in January 2020. The following majors will be open, and students will be expected to have all screening major prerequisites completed prior to enrollment.

Open majors for winter quarter 2020:

Anthropology History
Biology, B.S. History of Art and Visual Culture
Biomolecular Engineering and Bioinformatics Human Biology
Business Management Economics Italian Studies
Cognitive Science Jewish Studies
Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Latin American and Latino Studies
Earth Sciences Latin American and Latino Studies/Politics
Earth Sciences/Anthropology Latin American and Latino Studies/Sociology
Economics Legal Studies
Economics/Mathematics Literature
Electrical Engineering Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Environmental Sciences Neuroscience
Environmental Studies Philosophy
Environmental Studies/Biology Politics
Environmental Studies/Earth Sciences Psychology
Environmental Studies/Economics Robotics Engineering
Feminist Studies Theater Arts
Global Economics

All our undergraduate majors will again be open to transfers in fall 2020.


The admission and selection process for transfers to UC Santa Cruz reflects the academic rigor and preparation needed for admission to a major research institution.

Transfer applicants are thoroughly reviewed to determine their full spectrum of academic and personal achievements, including transfer coursework completed for their major. UC Santa Cruz uses faculty-approved criteria to determine which transfer students will be selected for admission. Junior-level transfer students selected for admission are expected to graduate within two years of their initial enrollment. 

Selection Criteria

To be considered for admission by UC Santa Cruz, junior-level transfer students must have completed the following no later than the end of the spring 2019 term:

  1. Complete at least 60 semester units or 90 quarter units of UC-transferable coursework.
  2. Complete the following UC-transferable course pattern with minimum C (2.00) grades. Each course must be at least 3 semester units/4 quarter units:
    1. Two English composition courses
    2. One course in mathematical concepts and quantitative reasoning
    3. Four courses from at least two of the following subject areas: arts and humanities, social and behavioral science, and physical and biological sciences
  3. Earn at least an overall UC GPA of 2.40, but higher GPAs are more competitive.
  4. Complete required lower-division courses with the required grades/GPA for the intended major.

*Major-specific screening criteria

Other criteria that may be considered by UCSC include:

  • Completion of UC Santa Cruz General Education courses
  • Completion of IGETC
  • Completion of an AS/AT degree
  • Participation in honors programs
  • Performance in honors courses

Lower-division transfer students

UC Santa Cruz will admit a limited number of transfer students before they reach junior standing, provided all required coursework is completed prior to enrollment.

Non-residents of California

The selection criteria are the same as for California residents, except that you must have a minimum GPA of 2.80 in all UC-transferable college coursework, although higher GPAs are more competitive.

Applicants with international academic records

UC Santa Cruz welcomes transfer students who have completed coursework outside the United States. A record of coursework from collegiate institutions and universities outside of the U.S. must be submitted for evaluation. 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 completing one of the following:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 550 on the paper-based or 80 on the Internet-based test
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a score of 6.5 or higher
  • Completion of two UC-transferable English composition courses (not ESL) in the U.S. with grades of B (3.00) or higher

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.

Admission by Exception

Admission by Exception is granted to a very small percentage of applicants who do not meet the UC transfer requirements. Such factors as academic accomplishments in light of your life experiences and/or special circumstances, socioeconomic background, special talents and/or achievements, contributions to the community, and your answers to the Personal Insight Questions are taken into consideration. UC Santa Cruz does not grant exceptions for the required courses in English composition or mathematics.

Please note:

Students who have completed 90 UC-transferable semester units (135 quarter units) or more are not considered for admission to UCSC, except in the following circumstances:

Students will be granted up to 70 semester/105 quarter units of credit for lower-division coursework completed at any institution or any combination of institutions. For units beyond the maximum, subject credit for appropriate coursework taken in excess of this unit limitation will be granted and may be used to satisfy requirements.

  • Units earned through AP, IB, and/or A-Level examinations are not included in the limitation and do not put applicants at risk of being denied admission.
  • Units earned at any UC campus (Extension, summer, cross/concurrent and regular academic year enrollment) are not included in the limitation but are added to the maximum transfer credit allowed and may put applicants at risk of being denied admission due to excessive units.

Second baccalaureate candidates are evaluated on a case-by-case basis when enrollment allows. Check this website for more information in the fall before applying.

Related Information

UC Santa Cruz Transfer Admission Guarantee (UCSC TAG)

Application filing period

Financial aid and scholarships


One year of university housing is guaranteed for new transfer students entering single-student housing, as long as all deadlines are met. New transfer students requesting university housing are housed in the Transfer Community at Porter College.

Contact your representative

Prospective students and their families in California, as well as California community college counselors, may contact an Admissions Representative for more information. Please see our Admissions Representatives page.


See Also