How the pandemic is affecting admissions

UC Santa Cruz, along with all other UC campuses, is preparing to return to primarily in-person instruction in fall 2021. While we are looking forward to resuming in-person activities, the health and safety of our community remains our highest priority. Be assured that we will be extremely careful about how we implement our re-opening. For further information and updates, please see our Roadmap to Recovery page

As of summer 2021, the following short-term measures are still in place to aid our future students who may be affected by the pandemic:

  • No letter grade requirement for A-G courses completed through summer 2021 for all students, including recently admitted freshmen. 
  • No standardized test requirement for students applying for fall 2022 freshman admission.

Please continue to communicate with us should you become aware of anything that may impact your admission. We are reachable by phone at +1 (831) 459-4008, or via our Contact Us page, where you can report any changes to your spring schedule and/or grades.


FAQs for Students Applying for Fall 2022

For students applying for fall 2022, the temporary suspension of the letter grade requirement for A-G courses applies to all A-G coursework completed from spring 2020 through summer 2021, including coursework completed by students currently in 9th, 10th, and 11th grades.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions, in collaboration with our campus partners, will ensure students who apply for a future term are not disadvantaged in the admissions process. Freshman applicants to UC Santa Cruz are evaluated using a comprehensive review process while transfer applicants are selected using faculty-approved criteria . Students who have been and will be offered admission are those whom our faculty believe have demonstrated the strongest achievement within the context of their opportunities, have the potential to succeed, and will contribute their skills, perspectives, and passion to our campus community. We are strongly committed to enrolling a class of students that is diverse, including those with international experiences and perspectives.

Freshman Applicants - The P/NP grades earned through summer 2021 will not impact your admission status or chances of being admitted in a future term. The letter grade requirement for A-G courses has been temporarily suspended for all A-G coursework completed through summer 2021, including coursework completed by students currently in 9th, 10th, and 11th grades. A Pass or Credit grade in spring and summer 2021 will meet A-G requirements for any student currently enrolled in high school during the 2020-21 academic year.

Pass (P) or Credit (CR) grades will not be calculated in the GPA. Campuses will calculate the GPA for admission purposes using letter grades received in A-G courses from 10th and 11th grade, including summer terms following grades 9, 10, and 11. Extra points for honors-level coursework will continue to be capped at 8 semesters of honors points in A-G courses completed with letter grades of A, B, and C in grades 10 and 11.


UC Santa Cruz’s Committee on Educational Policy has decided that all majors will be accepting online labs taken during the 2021-2022 academic year (fall/spring semesters or fall/winter/spring quarters). However, students are advised to take in-person labs whenever possible. The modality of the labs that you take (whether online or in person) for the 2021-2022 academic year will have no impact on admissions decisions for fall 2022 or any other future term.

The University of California campuses will not consider SAT or ACT test scores when making admissions decisions or awarding scholarships. If you choose to submit test scores as part of your application, they may be used as an alternative method of fulfilling minimum requirements for eligibility or for course placement after you enroll.

If you have scores, we encourage you to submit them as they can be used for UC eligibility and applications for certain scholarships, and can help you fulfill some University graduation requirements after you enroll at UC. If you have scores but do not want to submit them, you are not obligated to do so.

Students Admitted for Fall 2021

Amid cautious optimism due to the acceleration in COVID-19 vaccinations and falling case rates in the Santa Cruz area, the campus will plan to return to primarily in-person instruction for fall 2021. Classroom size restrictions have been loosened compared to several weeks ago, allowing for in-person classes of no more than 150 students.

Remote instruction or hybrid instruction will continue to be offered in certain situations, such as classes of over 150 students, or in the case of students needing remote instruction for disability-related accommodation. In addition, classes on September 23 and 24 will be offered remotely to allow for COVID-19 testing for both students and faculty.

We are also keeping a close eye on the opening of consulates and scheduling of visa appointments. International students are encouraged to consult with UC Santa Cruz’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) to evaluate their options as the situation develops.

We will share more details with you as they become available, through emails, on this website, and webinars that we will offer for admitted students and their families.

For the safety and well-being of the entire university community, the UC Office of the President has released a final COVID vaccination policy requiring that all students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated for COVID-19 for fall 2021. Limited exceptions and deferrals are detailed in the policy itself.

If you have yet to receive your vaccine, we encourage you to do so promptly. The systemwide policy requires students and employees to provide proof of vaccination prior to the start of fall instruction. Students should log in to the campus health portal, go to Medical Clearances, then COVID-19 to add their information. If you received your vaccine at the Hay Barn through our Student Health Center, we already have that record, and you do not need to provide proof.


 Some or all instruction for all or part of the academic year may be delivered remotely. Tuition and fees have been set regardless of the method of instruction and will not be refunded in the event instruction occurs remotely for any part of the academic year. Figures for tuition and fees represent currently approved or proposed amounts and may not be final. Actual tuition and fees are subject to change by the University of California as determined to be necessary or appropriate. Final approved tuition and fee levels may differ from the amounts presented.


Visiting the Campus

Please see our Visit UCSC page to see our many options for visiting, either in-person or remotely.


 Our front counter at 150 Hahn Student Services is now open on weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.


My Future at the UC Santa Cruz Campus

The latest news and announcements regarding UC Santa Cruz’s response to the coronavirus can be found here. Our Student Health Center is posting updates here.

In addition, our campus has mobilized to help the community and the nation during this trying time. Our scientists and staff are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, providing an on-campus testing lab, mapping the genome of the virus, making hand sanitizers and masks, and studying better methods of testing and treatment. For more news about campus actions against the virus, please see our Campus News website.


Spring and Summer Instruction

Much like we did in fall and winter, UC Santa Cruz is continuing to offer most courses remotely or online for summer 2021, providing in-person instruction for a small number of courses that may not be effectively delivered remotely, such as some laboratory, studio, field-research and field-study courses. Each course has the mode of instruction listed within the schedule of courses.

Our in-person instruction and learning spaces will remain modified to ensure that we comply with public health measures. While we may have a small increase of in-person courses in the spring quarter, students are still strongly encouraged to live and learn remotely.

The campus is very much looking forward to returning to normal on-campus operations. For further updates, please see our Roadmap to Recovery page.

Housing and Dining

The residential housing and dining experience remains modified to accommodate current public-health guidance - students primarily live in single rooms and are required to take COVID-19 tests once a week.

Housing Priority List for Fall 2021

Information on COVID-19 and Student Housing

Information on COVID-19 and Dining

Student Services

Student Health Services is providing services in person and remotely. Counseling and Psychological Services, Basic Needs support, Learning Support Services, Disability Resource Center, and CARE are all open and providing services remotely. A full list of services and operating hours can be found on the COVID-19 webpage and the Division of Student Affairs and Success website.

McHenry Library and Science & Engineering Library

Beginning July 1, 2021, both the McHenry and Science & Engineering libraries re-opened for in-person services. Before visiting the facilities, first check the University Library website for the latest on hours, service, and safety protocols. Not all librarians and library staff will be immediately transitioning back to on-site, in-person work, so faculty and students needing resources or assistance should continue to use Remote Library Services as their first point of library contact.

Keeping our Campus Healthy

Reducing the spread of COVID-19 remains a top priority. In collaboration with the campus Molecular Diagnostic Lab, the Cowell Student Health Center offers an asymptomatic testing program for our campus and is also testing students who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

Santa Cruz County has recently joined other Bay Area counties in adjusting the guidance for wearing face coverings indoors, regardless of vaccination status. We require that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a face covering when accessing shared campus indoor spaces. Also, please note that on public transit, such as buses and campus shuttles, face coverings are required for everyone. Face coverings are also still required in any healthcare settings, such as the Student Health Center, Counseling and Psychological Services facilities, COVID-19 test sites, and Athletic Trainer spaces.