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La Jolla, CaliforniaLOCATION
Estd 1960Established Year

University of California 2020-2021 Admissions: Acceptance Rate, Requirements, Deadlines, Application Process

Hitaishi Bhatia Hitaishi Bhatia
Study Abroad Expert

The University of California is a public university that offers admission at an acceptance rate of just 30% and was established in 1960. It has a total enrollment of 30,285 students, its location is urban and the size of the campus is around 1,976 acres. It uses a quarterly academic calendar with a student-faculty ratio of 19:1 and is undoubtedly a renowned name in the US Education System.

The seventh oldest of the 10 campuses of the University in San Diego is home to about 22,700 undergraduates and 6,300 postgraduates. Around 23.7% of the student population consists of international students. The University offers programs at undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs. There are more than 130 undergraduate programs covering all major disciplines. The University has 6 colleges, however students can only give a preference of the college and it is only at the discretion of the University to decide which college to assign based on student ranking.

Some important points to be considered before applying for admission to the University of California are:

  • The university accepts international applications through the online portal for both graduate and undergraduate programs.
  • Applications are accepted on a semester based academic calendar. Undergraduate applicants can apply any time between August 1 and November 30 whereas graduate programs have separate deadlines.
  • The University does its own evaluation of transcripts and so it does not accept those evaluated by other agencies.
  • Graduate program applicants can submit 3 applications for the same term by paying application fee once.
  • Students can seek a waiver from paying an application fee of 140 USD by submitting "Fee Waiver Request".
  • The university does not offer federal or state financial aid to international students.

COVID-19 Admission Updates

  • Students who have been admitted and cannot physically arrive on campus due to COVID-19 pandemic can accept the admission offer, register for fall 2020, enroll in the remotely offered courses and join the normal classes in winter session.
  • Admission offer acceptances shall be sent before May 1, 2020. However, if the students need more time to decide, they must contact the Admissions Office.
  • Tuition and other fees will remain the same, if learning remotely, except for the service fee and material fee.
  • Admitted students shall have a secured housing facility, if they have applied for it, on their arrival on campus.
  • For students who apply for freshman entry in the fall of 2021, UC temporarily suspends the standard test requirement i.e. SAT and ACT score requirements.
  • The Walk-In Hours of graduate-admission departments have been suspended until further notifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time the admissions office is reachable through telephone and email.


Application PortalOnline portal
Application Fees140 USD
Average SAT score1320-1510
Average ACT score28-34
Acceptance Rate30%
Retention Rate94%
Graduation Rate86%
Academic calendarSemester-based Calendar
Mode of PaymentMasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, and JCB
Financial AidGrants, scholarships, student employment, loans

Application deadlines

The applicants must submit their applications by the deadlines mentioned below:

Undergraduate ApplicationsAugust 1 – November 30
Graduate ApplicationsVaries from program to program

International Student Admissions

International applicants from all over the world are accepted at the University of California – San Diego. International applicants must meet general requirements for first-year and transfer students in addition to specific international requirements. Applicants who have received their high school or college education outside the U.S. must send all required documentation to the University of California San Diego including their certificates, transcripts and international baccalaureate certification and other records.

Basic Admission Requirements 

For admission to University of California, applicants must follow these steps to ensure you submit a complete application:

  • Applicants from India must provide their Higher Secondary Certificate or Senior Secondary Certificate.
  • Applicants must demonstrate English Language Proficiency through scores in TOEFL, IELTS and PTE
  • Submission of ACT Assessment plus ACT writing test or SAT Reasoning Test with critical reading, mathematics and writing scores for undergraduates.
  • Submission of GRE/ GMAT scores for graduate program applications.
  • Provide proof of sufficient financial support for residence and dining in addition to tuition fee.
  • All international transcripts since 9th grade must be submitted from the institution issuing them and these transcripts must be in English language.
  • For international applicants, the transcripts, statements, academic reports and test score results must be translated in English if they are originally in another language.

English Proficiency Test Scores

Applicants must demonstrate their ability in English for both Bachelor and Master programs. For applicants who have not obtained U.S. education, any of these globally accepted tests would usually demonstrate English skills:

TestUndergraduate RequirementsGraduate Requirements
TOEFLFirst-year Applicants
Internet-based: Overall 83
Paper-based: Overall 550
Transfer Students
Overall 83 or higher
Internet-based Test: Overall 85
IELTSFirst-year Applicants Overall band: 7 or higher
Transfer Students
7 or higher in each module
Overall band: 7 or higher
Pearson Test of English – PTENot RequiredOverall Score: 65 or higher

Visa Process for International Students

Applicants will need to apply for an F-1 visa to study in the USA to be able to study in the U.S. Students will also need a residency permit or right of residency for studying at University of California. Apply well in advance to ensure that your request is processed in due course. As soon as applicants are admitted to the university, they must begin to arrange their paperwork to ensure it's all in order in time to arrive.

As soon as applicants receive their I20/DS-2019 document from the university, they must complete their online visa application.

Applicants applying for a visa must prepare the following documents:

  1. A valid passport
  2. Form I-20 or DS 2019 documents approved by the university.
  3. Bank statement for financial support proof or a letter of a sponsor.
  4. Additional documents as required by the U.S. Embassy in their home country.

University of California Undergraduate Admissions

University of California offers more than 50 undergraduate courses to all the applicants. The basic admission process for all the courses is the same:

Where to Apply: Online Application Portal

Application Fee: 140 USD (For International Applicants)

Admission Requirements: Applicants must fulfill the following prerequisites at the time of admission:

  • College Preparatory Course – Applicants must have a grade “C” on the following subjects:
  • History/Social Science – 2 years
  • Mathematics – 3 years
  • English – 4 years
  • College preparatory elective – 1 year
  • Laboratory science – 2 years
  • Visual and performing arts – 1 year
  • Language other than English – 2 years
  • GPA requirement – Applicants must possess a GPA of 3.4 or better.
  • Submit ACT and SAT scores; 28-34 and 1320-1510, respectively.
  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency through scores in TOEFL, IELTS and PTE.
  • If taken an AP/ IB course, then submit official scores from the testing agency.

These documents are to be mailed to the below-mentioned address:

University of California, San Diego

Office of Admissions

La Jolla, CA 92093-0021

United States

University of California Graduate Admissions

The University of California offers more than 60 graduate courses to all the applicants. The basic admission process for all the courses is the same. However, most courses and study programs have different entry requirements. All graduate applicants must have a completed bachelor’s degree with minimum 3.0 GPA or grade B and will have to submit GMAT/ GRE scores for admission in addition to other supporting documents.

Where to Apply: Online Application Portal

Application Fee: 140 USD (For International Applicants)

Admission Requirements:

Applicants must fulfill the following prerequisites at the time of admission:

CourseApplication PortalApplication DeadlineEntry RequirementEnglish Requirement
MBAOnline PortalFall semesterGRE/ GMAT scores; 2 Letters of Recommendation; A valid CV/Resume is recommended; A statement of Purpose; 3 essay questionsTOEFL, IELTS, and PTE are accepted
Master of Science in Chemical EngineeringOnline PortalFall – December 19GRE scores; 3 Letters of Recommendation; A valid CV/Resume is recommended; A statement of Purpose not exceeding 2500 wordsTOEFL, IELTS, and PTE are accepted
Master of Advanced Studies in Data Science and EngineeringOnline PortalFall – June GRE scores; 2 Letters of Recommendation; Statement of purpose not exceeding 4-6 sentences; A valid CV/Resume; A professional experience of 2 yearsTOEFL scores accepted
Master of Arts in MathematicsOnline PortalFall – February 3GRE scores; 3 Letters of Recommendation; A valid CV/Resume; A statement of Purpose not exceeding 2500 words; A list of all Mathematics textbooks studied in PDF formatTOEFL (Internet-based Test): overall 85 or higher; TOEFL for Math Department: Speaking score must be 23; IELTS overall score must be 7 band; IELTS speaking score must be 7 band
Master of Arts in HistoryOnline PortalFall – January 3GRE scores; 3 Letters of Recommendation; A valid CV/Resume; A statement of Purpose not exceeding 2500 words; Writing sampleTOEFL, IELTS scores are accepted

The University of California is selective in terms of admission when sending offers of place to students seeking to study in the USA. The application review process takes up to 4 weeks. It prefers to offer admission to students who display the potential to take up studies at the graduate level and successfully complete it.

The process of application review is conducted by the respective program’s faculty members. Due consideration is given to each and every aspect of the application including academic records, recommendation letters, statement of purpose, work experience etc. and students are expected to be particularly careful in providing documents. It is the responsibility of the faculty to recommend approval or denial of an application to the graduate dean. The official notification of admission is sent by the Dean via email.


Ques. Which application portal of University of California is accessible to applicants?

Ans. New applicants at University of California shall log into the applicant portal once they receive an email with instructions about the login to create their account.

Ques. When should the transcripts be sent to the admissions office for undergraduate admission to University of California?

Ans. Undergraduate applicants for University of California do not need to submit their transcripts during the review process. However, first-year as well as transfer applicants must send their transcripts latest by July 1.

Ques. How does the University of California assign a college to students?

Ans. Applicants are asked to list out the colleges as per their preferences in their applications to the University of California. The admission office assigns suitable colleges according to the ranks of the applicants.

Ques. Can applicants apply to more than one program at University of California?

Ans. Yes, applicants can apply for more than one program at the University of California provided that they are not from the same department.

Ques. How can applicants check application status at the University of California?

Ans. Application status at University of California can be checked by logging into . Once the decision is made, the Dean shall send an email to the students for confirming their decision.

Ques. How can one apply for Application Fee Waiver at the University of California?

Ans. A fee waiver at University of California can be demanded in the "Fee Waiver Request" area of the application. In order to review the application submitted to the institute, applicants must indicate which criteria they meet and upload the corresponding documents. They will be notified by email of the status of exemption from payment.

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