Academics

UC Santa Cruz offers 75 undergraduate majors in the 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 Find Your Program


UCSC offers a B.A. and B.S. major in global and community health, which provide 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.


First-year students may apply with an undeclared major. However, if you’re interested in the Computer Science major, you must list Computer Science as your first choice major on the UC application and be offered admission as a proposed CS major in order to pursue this at UCSC. First-year students who list Computer Science as their alternate major will not be considered for the Computer Science program.

Students who enter UCSC as first-year students or sophomores must be formally declared in a major before enrolling in their third year (or equivalent).

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.

For more information, please see Declaring Your Major (or Minor).


First-Year Students - Alternate majors are primarily used for students seeking a Computer Science degree who may not be offered admission as Computer Science students because of limited capacity. Students who accept our offer of admission to their alternate major will not be able to switch to Computer Science. Whether you enter an alternate major or not on your UC Application, your major will be a proposed major when you are admitted. For all students except those majoring in Computer Science, after arriving at UC Santa Cruz, you will have time to prepare before formally declaring your major.

Transfer Students - An alternate major will be considered if you do not meet all of the screening requirements for your first choice major. At times, students may also receive an option to be admitted beyond their first choice and alternate, if they show strong preparation, yet do not meet the major screening requirements. If you are having trouble meeting the screening requirements for a certain major, you may want to select a non-screening major on your UC Application. Once enrolled at UC Santa Cruz, you will not be able to switch back to the major(s) you originally requested.


Students at UC Santa Cruz often double major in two different subjects. You must obtain approval from both departments to declare a double major. For additional information, please see Major and Minor Requirements in the UCSC General Catalog.


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, 16% of our courses have more than 100 students enrolled, and 57% of our courses have fewer than 30 students enrolled. Our largest lecture hall, Kresge Lecture Hall, holds 600 students. 

The student/faculty ratio at UCSC is 23 to 1.


A complete list of the general education requirements is included in the UCSC General Catalog.


UC Santa Cruz offers three-year accelerated degree pathways in some of our most popular majors. Students have used these pathways to save themselves time and money.


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. 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.


UC Santa Cruz offers a variety of honors and enrichment programs, including honor societies and intensive programs.


The UC Santa Cruz General Catalog is only available as an online publication.


Undergraduates are graded on a traditional A-F (4.0) scale. Students may elect a pass/no pass option for no more than 25 percent of their coursework. Several majors further limit use of pass/no pass grading.


UCSC Extension Silicon Valley is an affiliated program that offers classes to professionals and members of the community. Many of these classes provide additional academic opportunities for UC Santa Cruz students.


Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen) Not Offered Admission

We employ a faculty-approved comprehensive review of the freshman applicants. Our selection guide is online if you'd like to review the different factors that we take into consideration.


Yes, but all these students would have been held to the same selection criteria as in-state students, although the minimum GPA for a non-resident of California is higher than the CA resident GPA (3.40 vs. 3.00, respectively). In addition, most international students are also held to the UCSC English proficiency requirement.


Yes. UCSC offers a number of denied freshmen the opportunity to be considered on a waitlist. For more information on the waitlist process, please see the FAQ below.


Yes. Information on how to appeal an admission decision can be found on the UCSC Admissions Appeal Information page.


Dual Admission is a program for transfer admission into any UC that offers the TAG Program or Pathways+. Eligible students are invited to complete their general education and lower-division major requirements at a California community college (CCC) while receiving academic advising and other support to facilitate their transfer to a UC campus. UC applicants who meet the program criteria receive a notification inviting them to participate in the program. The offer includes  a conditional offer of admission as a transfer student to the participating campus  of their choosing.

For further information, please see the Admissions page for Next Steps if You Were Not Offered First-Year Admission.


Information for Transfer Students Not Offered Admission

We employ faculty-approved selection criteria of transfer applicants. Students coming from California community colleges remain our top priority in selecting transfer students. However, lower-division transfers and second-baccalaureate students are also considered, as are transfer students from colleges other than California community colleges.


Yes. Transfer students should complete as many of the lower-division requirements as possible for their intended majors. This is especially important for students proposing a major that is listed on the UCSC Admissions Screening Majors for Transfers web page.


Since transfer students are expected to have completed most (if not all) of the lower-division coursework required for admission to their major, a change of major prior to admission will not be possible. Admitted students have the option to change their proposed major using the "Update Your Major" link available in your MyUCSC portal. Please note that only those majors students can change into are displayed.


Students applying for fall admission are required to complete all in progress fall coursework with a grade of C or better.


No. We hold all transfers to the same standards for admission, regardless of geographic location. Students transferring from the California community colleges remain the highest priority in our selection process. However, lower-division applicants and second-baccalaureate applicants are also considered, as are transfer students from colleges other than California community colleges.


We prioritize the review of applicants who had submitted a UCSC TAG (Transfer Admission Guarantee) application, as well as many other transfers who appear highly qualified and are transferring directly from a California community college.


Yes. Out-of-state students and international students are held to the same selection criteria as in-state transfers. Non-residents must have a 2.80 UC transferable GPA compared to a 2.40 for California residents. Most of our international transfers attend California community colleges. In addition, most international students are required to meet the UCSC English proficiency requirement.


Yes, see the UCSC Admissions Appeal Information page for instructions.


The only way that UC Santa Cruz will reconsider you is if you submit an appeal through our online appeal form, and do so by the deadline.


No, there is no specific number, and submitting an appeal does not guarantee that we will reverse our decision. We look at each appeal in relation to the selection criteria that we use each year, and apply the criteria fairly. However, if in review of your appeal we find that you meet our selection criteria, you will be offered admission.


Appeals that are submitted within two weeks of their denial being posted on the MyUCSC portal will receive a decision via email within 21 days.


UCSC considers winter quarter admission for transfer applicants who do not meet the fall selection criteria if the student's major is open for winter, including those who submit an appeal. Additional coursework is normally required of those students offered winter quarter admission.


Yes, UCSC uses a waitlist for fall quarter admission.


Our campus does not accept applications for the spring quarter.


The Waitlist Option

The waitlist is for applicants who were not offered admission due to enrollment limitations but who are considered excellent candidates for admission should space become available in the current admission cycle. Being on the waitlist is not a guarantee of receiving an offer of admission at a later date.


Your admission status on my.ucsc.edu will indicate that you were denied admission,  but that you may opt in to the waitlist. You are not on the UCSC waitlist until you notify the campus that you want to be on the waitlist.


Far more students apply to UC Santa Cruz than we can possibly admit. UC Santa Cruz is a selective campus and many qualified students are unable to be offered admission.


Once all waitlist activities have concluded, students not offered admission from the waitlist will receive a final decision and may submit an appeal at that time. There is no appeal to be invited to join or be admitted from the waitlist.

For information on submitting an appeal after receiving a final denial, please see our Appeal Information page.


Students offered the waitlist option were selected as the best-qualified students who could not be offered admission because of enrollment limitations.


Yes. The waitlist option is limited to applicants by invitation only. If you were invited to the fall 2023 waitlist, the deadlines for opting in were 11:59:59 p.m. (PDT), on March 22, 2023 (first-year students) or April 26, 2023 (transfer students)


No. If you have received a waitlist offer from UCSC, that means that you were granted an option to be on the waitlist. You need to tell us if you want to be placed on the waitlist. Here's how to accept your waitlist option:

  • Under the menu in the MyUCSC portal, click on the Waitlist Option link.
  • Click the button indicating "I Accept My Waitlist Option."

Once you've completed that step, you should receive an immediate acknowledgment that you've accepted your Waitlist Option. If you were invited to the fall 2023 waitlist, the deadlines for opting in were  March 22, 2023 (first-year students) or April 26, 2023 (transfer students).   


That’s impossible to predict, since it depends on how many admitted students accept UCSC's offer, and how many students opt in for the UCSC waitlist. Applicants will not know their standing on the waitlist. Each year, the  Office of Undergraduate Admissions will  not know until late July how many applicants -- if any -- will be admitted off the waitlist.


We don't have a linear list of students who have been offered a position on the waitlist so are not able to tell you a specific number.


We will send you an email and you will also see your status on the portal change. You will be required to accept or decline the offer of admission through the portal within a week of your acceptance.


If you accepted admission to another UC campus and are offered admission from the UC Santa Cruz waitlist, you can still accept our offer. You will need to accept your offer of admission at UCSC and cancel your acceptance at the other UC campus. The Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) deposit to the first campus will not be refunded or transferred.


Yes, you can be on more than one waitlist, if the option is offered to you by multiple campuses. If you subsequently receive offers of admission, you may accept only one. If you accept an admission offer from a campus after you have accepted admission to another, you must cancel your acceptance to the first campus. The SIR deposit paid to the first campus will not be refunded or transferred to the second campus.


We are advising waitlisted students to take an offer of admission if they receive it. Being on the waitlist at UCSC -- or any of the UCs -- does not guarantee admission.


If You Are Admitted from the Waitlist -- Questions about Housing and Financial Aid

Yes. If you applied for financial aid and submitted your FAFSA to UC Santa Cruz by the March 2 deadline, you will be able to receive information about your financial aid award prior to your admission acceptance deadline. For general information, your best resource is the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office website.


Just as with any of our incoming freshmen, there is no guarantee of being assigned to your first-choice college, no matter when you are admitted. If admitted, you will receive your college assignment within approximately two weeks of accepting your offer of admission.


When you receive the information about which college you have been assigned to, you will also receive information about how you might appeal that assignment. Please note that very few college change appeals are granted.


Athletics

UC Santa Cruz student athletes must follow the same application procedures and deadlines as all other students. Undergraduate admission is handled through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Please see our pages on freshman and transfer admission for more information.


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

UCSC offers both competitive and recreational sports clubs, and intramural competition is also popular at UC Santa Cruz.


No, as an NCAA Division III institution, we are not able to offer any athletics-based scholarships or athletics-based financial aid. However, as with all U.S. students, student-athletes are able to apply for financial aid through the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office using a need-based application process. Students must apply by the appropriate deadline.


NCAA Division III athletics is as competitive as any other collegiate level. The primary difference between Division I and III is talent level and number and strength of athletes. We do, however, attract a high caliber of student-athletes, which has allowed several of our programs to compete at a very high level.


All UC Santa Cruz Athletics teams are highly competitive. The best way to find out where you may fit into a particular team is by contacting the coach. Videos, athletic resumes and references are also encouraged to give UC Santa Cruz coaches more tools to access talent. In all cases, you should make contact with a coach to express an interest in joining a team.


They include a 50-meter swimming pool, which has 1- and 3-meter diving boards, 14 tennis courts in two locations, two gyms for basketball and volleyball, and playing fields for soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, and rugby all overlooking the Pacific Ocean. UC Santa Cruz also has a state-of-the-art Fitness Center.


Athletics has a website that is a great resource for information about UC Santa Cruz Athletics. It has information such as phone numbers and email addresses of coaches, schedules, rosters, weekly updates on how teams are doing, coaches' biographies, and much more.


Applying

To apply to UC Santa Cruz, fill out and submit the online application. The application is common to all University of California campuses, and you’ll be asked to choose which campuses you want to apply for. The application also serves as an application for scholarships.

The application fee is $80 for U.S. students. If you apply to more than one University of California campus at the same time, you’ll need to submit $80 for each UC campus you apply to. Fee waivers are available for students with qualifying family incomes for up to four campuses. The fee for international applicants is $95 per campus.

Our campus is open for new freshmen and transfer students each fall quarter, and we are open for transfer students in selected majors for winter quarter. Please check our Transfer Students page in July to see which majors are open for upcoming winter admission.


For this information, please see our Freshman and Transfer Admissions web pages.

Freshman Admissions, Transfer Admissions


The University of California campuses are test-free and 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. Like all UC campuses, we consider a broad range of factors when reviewing a student's application, from academics to extracurricular achievement and response to life challenges. No admission decision is based on a single factor. Exam scores may still be used to meet area b of the a-g subject requirements as well as the UC Entry Level Writing requirement.


For information of this kind, please see our UC Santa Cruz Statistics page.


In fall 2023, 62.8% of freshman applicants were accepted, and 65.0% of transfer applicants were accepted. Admissions rates vary from year to year depending on the strength of the applicant pool.


All frosh, regardless of home geographic location, are reviewed and assessed using faculty-approved criteria, which can be found on the Freshman Admissions web page. UCSC seeks to admit and enroll students who will succeed at the university, including students from California and those from outside California.


The University of California grants credit for all College Board Advanced Placement Tests on which a student scores 3 or higher. For more information, please see our AP and IBH table and UC Office of the President information on AP and IBH.


Residency requirements are on the Office of the Registrar website. You will be notified if you are classified as a non-resident. Please email the Registrar’s Office at reg-residency@ucsc.edu if you have further questions about residency.


For fall quarter acceptance, most notices are sent March 15–31 for freshmen and March 17–April 30 for transfer students. For winter quarter acceptance, notices are sent out on approximately September 15 of the previous year.


Housing

UC Santa Cruz has a distinctive college system, providing a living/learning environment for the students. For more information, please see the Housing website.


When you have been admitted to Santa Cruz, you will specify in order of preference which colleges you would like to be affiliated with. Assignment to a college is based on available space, taking student preferences into account whenever possible.

It is also possible to transfer to another college. In order for the transfer to be approved, the change must be approved by both the current college and the prospective college.

The Transfer Community houses incoming transfer students who request university housing (regardless of college affiliation).


No, it doesn’t. You may take classes that meet in any of the colleges or classroom buildings throughout the campus.


For this information, please go to the Community Rentals Web Pages.


To make it easier for students to find off-campus housing, the Community Rentals Office offers an online program of available local rentals and advice on the process of renting a room in shared housing, an apartment, or house in the Santa Cruz area, as well as Renters’ Workshops on issues such as finding a place to live, how to work with landlords and housemates, and how to take care of paperwork. Check out the Community Rentals Web Pages for more information and a link to Places4Students.com.


Family Student Housing (FSH) is a year-round housing community for UCSC students with families. Families enjoy two-bedroom apartments located on the west side of campus, adjacent to a nature reserve and overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Information on eligibility, costs, and how to apply can be obtained from the Family Student Housing website. If you have further questions, please contact the FSH office at fsh@ucsc.edu.


Finances

Current undergraduate student budgets can be found on the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships website.


The UC Santa Cruz Financial Aid and Scholarship Office works with students and their families to help make college affordable. The two types of aid available are gift aid (aid you don’t have to pay back) and self-help aid (low-interest loans and work-study jobs).

Non-U.S. students are not eligible for need-based aid.


The Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan is a university-sponsored guarantee in which undergraduate students who are in their first four years of attendance at UC -- or two for transfer students -- will receive enough scholarship and grant assistance to at minimum fully cover their system wide UC fees if their families have incomes below $80,000.


In addition to "need-based" financial aid programs, a variety of other financing options are available. Please see the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office website for more information. Also, please see our list of scholarship opportunities for current students.


To be considered for financial aid, UC Santa Cruz applicants need to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application, due March 2. UC Santa Cruz applicants apply for university scholarships on the Application for Undergraduate Admission and Scholarships, due November 30 of the year before you plan to enroll (fall quarter admission) or July 31 (winter quarter admission).


Generally, non-California residents will not receive enough financial aid to cover non-resident tuition. However, new non-California resident students and new international students on a student visa are considered for the Undergraduate Dean's Scholarships and Awards, which offer between $12,000 and $40,000 for frosh (split over four years) or between $6,000 and $20,000 for transfers (split over two years). Also, students who attended a California high school for three years may qualify to have their non-resident tuition waived under AB540 legislation.


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. However, new non-California resident students and new international students on a student visa are considered for the Undergraduate Dean's Scholarships and Awards, which offer between $12,000 and $40,000 for frosh (split over four years) or between $6,000 and $20,000 for transfers (split over two years). Also, students who attended a California high school for three years may qualify to have their non-resident tuition waived under AB540 legislation. Please see Cost & Scholarship Opportunities for more information.


Student Business Services, sbs@ucsc.edu, offers a deferred payment plan that allows students to pay their fees each quarter in three monthly installments. You will receive information about this plan before you receive your first bill. In addition, you may make similar room-and-board payment arrangements with the Housing Office, housing@ucsc.edu.


Student Life

UC Santa Cruz has over 150 registered student clubs and organizations. For a complete list, please go to the SOMeCA website.


Two art galleries, the Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery and the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery, show works by students, faculty, and outside artists.

The Music Center includes a 396-seat Recital Hall with recording facilities, specially equipped classrooms, individual practice and teaching studios, rehearsal space for ensembles, a gamelan studio, and studios for electronic and computer music.

The Theater Arts Center includes theaters and acting and directing studios.

For fine arts students, the Elena Baskin Visual Arts Center provides modern, well-lit, spacious studios.

In addition, UC Santa Cruz sponsors many student instrumental and vocal ensembles, including its own student orchestra.

For further information, please see the following links:


There is always something happening in Santa Cruz in the arts, from street fairs, to world music festivals, to avant-garde theater. For a complete list of events and activities, search the Santa Cruz County website.


For information on health and safety issues, please go to our Health and Safety page.


For this information, please go to our UC Santa Cruz Statistics Page.


For this type of information, please see the website for the Student Health Center.


Student Services

 For this type of information, please see our page on Supporting You on Your Journey.


Transferring to UC Santa Cruz

For this type of information, please see our Transfer Student Timeline (for junior-level applicants).


 For a full description of the academic criteria for transfer admission, please see our Transfer Students page.


For this type of information, please see our Transfer Students page.


UC Santa Cruz accepts courses for transfer credit whose content (as described in the school's course catalog) is similar to courses offered in any regular session at any University of California campus. Final decisions about the transferability of courses are only made after an applicant has been admitted and submitted official transcripts.

Transfer course agreements and articulation between the University of California and California community colleges can be accessed on the ASSIST website.


The University will award graduation credit for up to 70 semester (105 quarter) units of coursework transferred from community colleges. Courses in an excess of 70 semester units will receive subject credit and may be used to satisfy University subject requirements.


For information about the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC), please see the UCSC General Catalog.


 If you don't satisfy general education requirements before transferring, you'll need to satisfy them while you're a student at UC Santa Cruz.


For information about UCSC's Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) program, please see the UCSC TAG page.


UC Transfer Admission Planner (UC TAP) is an online tool to help prospective transfer students track and plan their coursework. If you are planning to transfer to UC Santa Cruz, we highly encourage you to sign up for UC TAP. Enrolling in UC TAP is also your first step to completing a UCSC Transfer Admission Guarantee (UCSC TAG).


For fall quarter acceptance, notices are sent April 1-30. For winter quarter acceptance, notices are sent September 15.


Undergraduate students enrolled at UCSC may enroll, without formal admission and without payment of additional university fees, in courses at another UC campus on a space-available basis at the discretion of the appropriate campus authorities on both campuses. Cross-Campus Enrollment refers to courses taken through UC Online, and Simultaneous Enrollment is for courses taken in person.


Visiting UC Santa Cruz

Via car

If you are using an online service to get directions, enter the following address for UC Santa Cruz: 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064. 

For local transportation information, Cal Trans traffic reports, etc., please visit Santa Cruz Transit Information.

For information about traveling between UCSC and various common destinations, including the local airports, please visit our Getting Home for the Holidays site.

From the San Jose Train Depot

If you are coming into the San Jose Train Depot via Amtrak or CalTrain, you can take the Amtrak bus, which will transport you directly from the San Jose Train Depot to the Santa Cruz Metro bus station. These buses operate daily. At the Santa Cruz Metro station you will want to connect to one of the University bus lines, which will take you directly up to the UC Santa Cruz campus.


We’re so excited to welcome you to our beautiful campus between the sea and the trees. Register here for a General Walking Tour led by one of our Student Life & University Guides (S.L.U.G.s). The tour will take approximately 90 minutes and includes stairs, and some uphill and downhill walking. Appropriate walking shoes for our hills and forest floors and dressing in layers are highly recommended in our variable coastal climate.

You can also take a Self-Guided Tour with your phone or access a Virtual Tour.  Learn more about these options by visiting our Tours webpage.


Advisers are available to answer your questions. We will be glad to refer you to the academic departments or other offices on campus that can advise you further. We also encourage you to contact your Admissions Representative for more information. Find the Admissions Representative for your California county, state, community college, or country here.


For updated parking information, please see our Parking for Your Tour page.


For accommodation information, please see the website for Visit Santa Cruz County.


The Visit Santa Cruz County website keeps a thorough list of activities, events, and tourist destinations, as well as information on lodging and dining.


To search and register for an Admissions event, please start at our Events page. The Events page is searchable by date, location (on-campus or virtual), topics, audiences, and more.