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 selected for admission are expected to graduate within two years of their initial enrollment. 

Admissions Requirements

To be considered for admission by UC Santa Cruz, transfer students must have completed the following no later than the end of the spring 2022 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 must submit a miscellaneous appeal seeking permission to submit an application. Appeals are only accepted for non-impacted majors. All senior-level applicants must complete all transfer requirements, including major preparation.

Candidates for a second baccalaureate must submit a miscellaneous appeal seeking permission to submit an application. Appeals are only accepted for non-impacted majors. All second baccalaureate candidates must complete all transfer requirements including major preparation.

Screening Major Selection Criteria

For students applying to majors that will be screening for completion of major preparation, please visit the major-specific screening criteria for your proposed major.

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Non-Screening Majors

UC Santa Cruz offers many excellent majors that do not require completion of specific major coursework for admission. However, you are still encouraged to complete as many of the recommended major preparation courses as possible prior to transferring.


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Preparing to Transfer

We love our transfer students! Here is a step-by-step guide for successfully transferring to UC Santa Cruz.

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Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG)

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


Non-California Community College Transfers

Not transferring from a California community college? No problem. We admit many qualified transfers from other four-year institutions or out-of-state community colleges, as well as lower-division transfers.

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Transfer Student Services

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