Eligibility & Documents Required for Admission

The minimum graduate admissions requirements are:

  • A bachelor's degree or the recognised equivalent from an approved institution is required for graduate admittance.
  • A good academic record, with a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a scale of 4.0; and
  • One must have sufficient undergraduate training to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field.

However, meeting minimum requirements does not ensure admission, as the number of competent applicants far outnumbers the number of available positions. As a result, many qualified applications are unable to be considered.

Many departments and organizations have extra requirements, such as GRE, TOEFL, and GPA requirements. Please review the department's material for any extra requirements. 
Plan ahead of time because each UC graduate programme has its own application deadlines and admittance standards. Here's a rundown of what students will need to submit when applying:

  • Forms and Deadlines for Applications - Online applications are available for all UC graduate schools. Application dates, GRE codes, and other crucial information can be found on each program's website. UC graduate programmes have a variety of prerequisites and dates, and some require applicants to send supplemental materials via mail, so be sure you read all of the guidelines carefully.
  • Fee Waivers and Application Fees - You'll have to pay a different fee for each UC campus - and possibly each programme - when you apply. Fee waivers may be available on UC campuses depending on financial need; check with the graduate division to see if you qualify. Fee waivers may be available to participants in particular programmes, such as McNair Scholars and Peace Corps volunteers.
  • Recommendations -
    • Most graduate schools demand three professor recommendations attesting to your capacity to excel in a graduate programme. Request letters of recommendation from instructors in your field who are familiar with you and your work.
    • Only submit letters from academics unless a few schools clearly mention that they welcome recommendations from employers or other people familiar with your work. Allow enough time for recommenders to write insightful letters in response to your request. If you're applying for the following academic year, request letters by October of your senior year.
  • Transcripts - You must get official transcripts from each institution you have attended, including any community colleges, to submit records of all college-level courses you have taken. For each transcript, you might have to pay a price. Make sure formal transcripts are requested by the schools to which you are applying. You can save money if the programme specifically indicates that unofficial transcripts may be submitted.
  • Standardized assessments, such as the GRE - Scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or equivalent standardized tests are required by many programmes. Make arrangements to have your score forwarded to all of the institutions to which you are applying. Many programme websites provide a GRE department or institution code that you'll need to purchase your score reports.
  • Statement of Purpose - This crucial essay is used by the graduate programme admissions committee to assess your motivation, competency, and potential as a graduate student, as well as your writing skills.
  • Personal Statement - Some colleges may require you to submit a personal history statement, which highlights how you will contribute to the school's diversity and be a valuable member of the programme. This is not the same as the SOP. You can use your personal history statement to showcase your achievements as well as your ability to persevere in the face of social, economic, or educational challenges.
  • Annual Earnings - Annual income (your parents' if you're a dependant; your own if you're an independent) must be given for the previous and current years. This is optional unless you're looking for an application fee waiver or the Educational Opportunity Program.
  • Social Security Number - If you have one, you can also provide your Social Security number. This allows the university to link your application to items such as your test score report, final transcript(s), and, if you're asking for financial aid, your Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
  • Citizenship Status - You must enter the nation in which you were born (or "No Selection"). If you are a citizen of a nation other than the United States, you must state your immigration status and visa type.
  • California Statewide Student ID (optional) - In California public schools, each K-12 student is assigned an ID number. If it isn't on your transcript, inquire with your counselor or registrar.
  • Credit Card - It is required for an online mode of payment.
  • Additional Resources - Additional information, such as your résumé, curriculum vitae (CV), articles, or portfolio, is allowed in some - but not all - programmes. Supplementary items should only be included if the application guidelines clearly say that they are acceptable.

July 1

Merced, Riverside, and Santa Cruz accepting applications - the winter/spring of 2022.

August 1

Applicant applications open in the fall of 2022.

October 1

The FAFSA and Cal Grant Verification Form filing periods begin (the filing period open through March 2, 2022).

November 1-30

All applicants must submit an application for admission in the fall of 2022.

March 1

The notification of admission decisions for the fall of 2022 begins.

March 2

All applicants must complete an FAFSA and a Cal Grant GPA Verification Form by the deadline for all terms.

March 31

Admission decisions for the fall of 2022 have been sent out for the last time.

May 1

Admissions freshmen must submit a Statement of Intent to Register by the deadline (SIR).

July 1

Final, official transcripts must be given to the school admissions office for students admitted for fall 2022. On or before July 1, transcripts must be postmarked or electronically submitted.

July 15

Official AP and IB exam results must be given to the admissions office on campus. On or by July 15, test results must be postmarked or electronically submitted.

To make sure you've submitted a full application, use the checklist below.

  • Fill up the online UC application.
  • Confirm that you've asked for and received three letters of recommendation.
  • Send in your personal history and a diversity statement.
  • Submit your statement of purpose.
  • Upload all previous academic transcripts, whether official and unofficial.
  • The application cost must be paid.
  • Any other program-specific application components should be submitted.
  • Any required test scores should be sent to UC. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Under the Admission by Exception policy, a UC campus may consider an applicant who does not meet the minimum admission requirements but is otherwise competitive and has demonstrated academic potential. Students with non-traditional educational backgrounds, such as home-schooled students or students from rural or extremely disadvantaged backgrounds, or students with special talents, such as athletic ability, who have demonstrated that they can succeed academically at UC, are typically given this designation. Campuses employ this strategy rarely, with such students accounting for about 2% of newly enrolled students across the system.
No. You are encouraged to apply to numerous graduate programmes, but you cannot apply for multiple degrees in the same programme. Master's degree programmes differ significantly from doctoral degrees. Before picking which degree to pursue, you should thoroughly research the requirements and programme content. Applicants to graduate programmes in Education, Nursing Science, and Health-Care Leadership, where each degree is offered as a separate programme, are the sole exceptions.
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