Information for Applicants

The admission and selection process for transfers reflects the academic rigor and preparation needed for admission to a major research institution. UC Santa Cruz uses faculty-approved criteria to determine which transfer students will be selected for admission. Junior-level transfer students from California community colleges receive priority admission, but lower-division transfers and second-baccalaureate applicants will be considered, depending on the strength of the application. Transfer students from colleges other than California community colleges are also welcome to apply.

Application Requirements

To be considered for admission by UC Santa Cruz, transfer students should complete the following no later than the end of the spring term prior to fall transfer:

  1. Complete at least 60 semester units or 90 quarter units of UC-transferable coursework.
  2. Complete the following UC-transferable seven 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 (designated UC-E in ASSIST)
    2. One course in mathematical concepts and quantitative reasoning beyond intermediate algebra, such as college algebra, precalculus, or statistics (designated UC-M in ASSIST)
    3. Four courses from at least two of the following subject areas: arts and humanities (UC-H), social and behavioral science (UC-B), and physical and biological sciences (UC-S)
  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. See majors with screening requirements.

Other criteria that may be considered by UCSC include:

  • Completion of UC Santa Cruz General Education courses or IGETC
  • Completion of an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT)
  • Participation in honors programs
  • Performance in honors courses

Get guaranteed admission to UCSC from a California community college into your proposed major when you complete specific requirements!

A Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) is a formal agreement ensuring fall admission in your desired proposed major, as long as you are transferring from a California community college and as long as you agree to certain conditions.

Note: TAG is not available for the Computer Science major.

Please see our Transfer Admission Guarantee page for more information.

Lower-division (sophomore level) transfer students are welcome to apply! We recommend that you complete as much as possible of the coursework described above  in “Selection Criteria” before applying.

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.

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. See our International Transfer Admission Page for more information.

Admission by Exception is granted to some 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.


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.

UC Santa Cruz accepts applications from senior standing applicants – students who have attended a four-year college or university for more than two years and who have completed 90 UC-transferable semester units (135 quarter units) or more. Impacted majors, such as Computer Science, are not available for senior-standing applicants. Also, please note that certain majors have screening requirements that must be met, although non-screening majors are available as well.


UC Santa Cruz accepts applications from second baccalaureate applicants – students applying for a second bachelor’s degree. Impacted majors, such as Computer Science and Psychology, are not available for second baccalaureate applicants. Also, please note that certain majors have screening requirements that must be met, although non-screening majors are available as well.