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International Applicant Information

UCSC greatly values the participation of scholars from diverse nations and cultures in our various graduate programs, and we therefore actively solicit applications for admission from international applicants.


Please note especially application deadlines and special requirements. The Division of Graduate Studies does not provide preliminary applications or evaluations of your credentials. We do not offer conditional admission.

If you have questions about a program's requirements for admission, please reach out to the individual program.

Click a heading in the list below to jump to a section:
Admissions Requirements & International Transcripts

In order to qualify for admission to graduate school at UC Santa Cruz, applicants must have:


  • A bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited university awarded (conferred) prior to the quarter in which admission is sought. 

    • Applicants with a three-year undergraduate degree must also hold a post graduate diploma, Master’s Degree, or a higher degree.

    • Vocational, secretarial, associate, or technical degrees are not acceptable as a first degree. 

    • Degrees that are completed through extension universities are not acceptable as first degrees.

    • Degrees that follow the Bologna Accord must state as such in the official transcript. 

  • A cumulative or overall GPA of 3.0 (on a 4 point scale) in the last two years of undergraduate education. This should be displayed on your official academic records.

You must also demonstrate your ability to speak and write in English. See English Language Testing requirements below.

Academic Records, Transcripts

Please note:

  • Once submitted, documents may not be borrowed, returned to you, or sent elsewhere.

  • Any transcripts in unsealed (opened) envelopes will be considered unofficial.

Unofficial transcripts are accepted for the application process. Upload your unofficial transcripts in the online application. Official copies are not currently required for the application (only for accepting an offer of admission), however we reserve the right to change this requirement at any time.


  • Admitted students who graduated from a school in the United States must submit an official transcript, and the transcript must arrive direct to Graduate Admissions in a sealed university-issued envelope; the transcript must include the degree title earned and date it was awarded.

  • If your degree is not awarded (conferred) by the third week of classes, your enrollment at UC Santa Cruz, as well as all financial support, will be subject to cancellation if you do not provide evidence of graduation, and of satisfying any further conditions set by the department.

  • We do not provisionally admit graduate students at UC Santa Cruz. You are required to provide a final transcript with degree certification to the Graduate Division at UC Santa Cruz.

Students who have attended an institution in China
Admitted students who graduated from an institution in China need to submit a course-by-course ICAP evaluation from World Education Services (WES) in order to verify any degrees earned in China.

The WES ICAP evaluation is not necessary for transfer work or study abroad done in China; those course credits should appear on the home school's records.

Students who have attended an institution in India
  • Is your school affiliated to a university? You must upload unofficial transcripts or marks sheets from the university, not the affiliated school.

    • Also, in the Prior Institutions section of the application, only enter the name of the main university (e.g. Anna University, Visvesvaraya Technological University, Osmania University, etc.) to which your college or institution is affiliated.

Admitted students who graduated from an institution in India need to submit a course-by-course ICAP Evaluation from World Education Services (WES) in order to verify any degrees earned in India.

  • Students with three-year degrees from India must also have been conferred:

    • a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in the same field of study; or

    • a Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM); or

    • a master's degree, to be considered eligible for admission.

    • Bachelor's degrees in India that are three-year degrees are BA, BS, BBA, BCA, B Comm and BFA.

English Language Testing

English is the language of instruction and communication at the University of California. Your success at UC Santa Cruz will depend on daily classwork, written papers, frequent short examinations, and major examinations in English.


Applicants whose primary language is other than English, regardless of citizenship status (either US citizens, Permanent Residents, or non-citizens) must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test.

Scores must be reported to us electronically from your test provider; we do not accept paper test score reports, nor do we look up scores individually. Language scores must be received before they expire or they will not be considered official.


For those choosing to take the TOEFL iBT (including the TOEFL iBT Home Edition*) the following scores are the minimum allowed by UC Santa Cruz for admission qualifications:

  • 89 for applicants to the Bioinformatics, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Applied Math,  Computational Media, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Statistical Sciences programs; 

  • 100 for applicants to Natural Language Processing; 

  • 83 for all other programs.

    • For inquiries on test dates, fees and free test preparation courses and guides, please contact TOEFL Services.

    • *Test scores from the TOEFL ITP Plus China Edition are not accepted at UC Santa Cruz.

Any international students who wish to be considered for Teaching Assistant opportunities must score a 26 or higher on the Spoken Word portion of the TOEFL iBT.


For those choosing to take the IELTS Academic (in-person and online versions), a minimum overall score of 7 from the IELTS test is required for admission.


Any international students who wish to be considered for Teaching Assistant opportunities must score an 8 or higher on the Speaking portion of the IELTS Academic test

Language Waiver Requests

If you declare English as your second language, the TOEFL/IELTS examination requirement will show up, regardless of your citizenship status.


You may ask the program you are applying to for a waiver of the requirement based on your language and life experience, where you may have used English in an academic setting, and other relevant aspects to your background and mastery of language (certificates in English, or degrees earned at English-speaking schools). 


Notice that the waiver of the requirement will only be offered to admitted applicants - at the point of admission. 

  • English Language Waiver for Admission:

    • TOEFL/IELTS waivers for admission purposes may be requested by applicants who have completed a four-year bachelor's degree at an English-speaking institution. If you plan to request such a waiver, you must select a back-up method of examination on the admission application in case your request is not approved. Indicate a future testing date and explain your desire and qualifications for a waiver of this requirement on the English Language Competency section of the online application.

    • Please note that the waiver of English Language Competency will be considered if you are recommended for admission; you may still see the requirement for English Language Test Score in your MyUCSC To-Do list.

  • English Language Waiver for Teaching Assistantship:

    • Applicants with a Master's degree earned in the United States, at an accredited university, and with experience as a Teaching Assistant at that university may be eligible for an exemption of the English language prerequisite for Teaching Assistant (TA) purposes only (not admission).

    • A final transcript indicating that the degree was awarded, as well as a letter from the TA supervisor confirming the applicant's position, their level of responsibility in the classroom, and their proficiency in English are required to apply for this type of waiver. The letter would be provided to your graduate program upon admission.

    • Request this waiver in the application, in the English Proficiency section.


All official academic records must be issued in the original language and accompanied by English translations prepared by the issuing institution. If translations are not available from the institution itself, translations may be prepared by government or official translators.

If your home university does not provide English translations of transcripts, you must:

  • Request two official transcripts from your university. One copy will be used for a translator, the other must remain sealed. 

    • Do not open a sealed, endorsed envelope containing transcripts intended for submission to your program.

  • Give one copy to a certified English translator and request a complete, word-by-word, literal English translation

  • Ask the translator to put both the original language transcript and their English translation into a sealed envelope; they must endorse the envelope by signing across the seal

  • Send both the sealed, endorsed envelope from the translator and the sealed (unopened) original transcript to UC Santa Cruz Graduate Admissions


Note: Academic records must be translated in their entirety, including any information that appears on the reverse side of any document. We will not accept the following:

  • photocopies that have not been stamped, attested and endorsed by the Registrar at your home university

  • documents in envelopes that have been opened; do not send academic records that are not in sealed and endorsed envelopes.

  • documents that do not arrive in sealed envelopes endorsed by the issuing institution or certified translator

  • documents that arrive without the official seal of the university

  • photocopies notarized by a notary public

  • photocopies endorsed by a lawyer, professor, judge etc.

  • unofficial translations

  • non-literal translations


In order for translations to be acceptable, they must bear the stamp or seal of the issuing institution or government agency and the original signature of the translator. They must be complete and exact word-for-word translations of the original documents, not interpretations. Do not convert grades to the American scale. Specially prepared English versions are not acceptable in place of documents issued in the original language.

We do not offer conditional admission.

Passports and Visas

You will need a passport from your own government and visa from a U.S. Consulate to enter this country. The types of visas available to you are the F-1 student visa or the J-1 exchange visitor visa.


After you have been admitted and submitted your Financial Certificate form, you will be issued the appropriate document in order to obtain your student visa. To apply for a visa, take your passport and Certificate of Eligibility (1-20) plus proof of adequate financial resources for your studies and living expenses to a U.S. Consulate. 


Admitted students with questions about visas will be put in contact with the International Student Services office (ISSS) at UCSC.

Financial Support, Documentation


International applicants will be required to submit up-to-date evidence of financial support for the first academic year after they have received formal admission to a graduate program.

  • Information sent prior to receiving an admission letter will be considered invalid.

  • If you are admitted, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to prepare the materials for your I-20.

An I-20 will be issued by UC Santa Cruz’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office only after all standard admissions requirements have been met. Before ISSS can issue an I-20, you will be required to complete and return an I-20 Request Packet showing that you are able to undertake this level of expense for your education at UCSC. Should you receive financial support from your department, your letter of acceptance will be sufficient.


Every student is responsible for having sufficient funds for initial expenses. Before a U.S. Consul will grant a visa, you must prove that you will have sufficient money to meet all your expenses while studying in the United States. You must show documented evidence of the source of your funds and guarantee that you will receive them while at UCSC.

Financial aid programs are restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, financial support for international applicants is restricted to fellowships, research-ships and teaching assistantships as offered and/or available by departments. International students are unfortunately not eligible for grants, loans, or work-study awards through the UCSC Financial Aid Office.

International applicants are eligible for merit based financial support in the form of fellowships, teaching assistantships and/or graduate research assistantships. Need based financial aid is not available to foreign students.

Students who come without adequate resources, in hope of locating some form of aid after arriving here, face the very real possibility of not being able to complete their educational programs. Unless you have received a definite offer in writing of a teaching or research assistantship before your arrival, you should not expect to receive an offer later and you should plan on other sources of income.

Health Insurance

Medical care insurance coverage in the U.S. is not provided by the government and is expensive. Mandatory insurance coverage is included in your fees for the academic year and the Health Center is available to you. In addition some costs (eyeglasses, contact lenses, dental work) are not covered by insurance and must be paid for by the student.


Additional information on the insurance coverage may be obtained from the UC Santa Cruz Heath Center.

EAP and Non-Degree (NDG) Applicants

Applicants currently in the EAP program will need to follow particular instructions for filing their application. Please follow the instructions outlined below:

  1. Go to and click "Start New Application."

  2. Select the appropriate "NDG" (non-degree) program from the list of programs (for example, "Psychology NDG").

    1. If the course of study you plan to pursue does not offer a non-degree option, select the most closely applicable degree-seeking program.

  3. Complete the admission application. Though the following application pages do not apply to EAP applicants, you will need to access those pages and click the "section not applicable" link at the top of the page in order to submit your application: 

    1. Fee Waiver Instructions (see below regarding the EAP fee exemption)

    2. Financial Support

    3. Diversity Fellowships

  4. Recommendations: In addition to your required 3 recommenders you must also register Ralitsa Kirova,, from the UC EAP office as a recommender. This will allow Ralitsa to upload an EAP cover letter to your application explaining to faculty the benefits of admitting EAP applicants to their program.

  5. Application Fee: As an EAP applicant, you will not be required to pay an application fee.

    1. On the Payment page, select "Fee exemption" and click Next Step.

    2. Select "UCEAP Reciprocity" from the list of programs.

    3. List your home institution in the space provided and the term and year in which you started your current graduate program.

    4. For the program sponsor and email address, enter Ralitsa Kirova,

Records Transcripts
English Language
Passports Visas
Financial Support
Health Insurance
EAP Non-Degre
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