UC San Diego looks for students at the freshman level who are well-prepared to succeed in a rigorous and challenging academic setting. Admission is highly competitive and you must exceed the minimum requirements.
You're considered a freshman applicant if you are still in high school, or you have graduated from high school and have not enrolled in a regular session at a college or university. (If you attend a summer session immediately after graduating from high school, you are still classified as a freshman applicant.)
Most applicants gain UC eligibility under Eligibility in the Statewide Context guidelines. Students qualifying for admission in the statewide context must present an "a-g" GPA and UC Score total that meets the criteria for the UC Admissions Index. Download recommendations for the focus of these courses (PDF).
To be eligible, you must satisfy these subject, GPA, and examination requirements:
You must complete 15 units of high school courses to fulfill the subject requirement. At least 7 of those 15 units must be taken in the last 2 years of high school. (A unit is equal to an academic year, or 2 semesters, of study.)
You must earn at least a "C" grade in these "a-g" subject requirements, as follows:
a. History — 2 years
b. English — 4 years
c. Mathematics — 3 years (4 years recommended)
d. Laboratory science — 2 years (3 years recommended)
e. Language other than English — 2 years (3 years recommended)
f. Visual and performing arts — 1 year
g. College preparatory electives — 1 year
The University accepts only "a-g" courses that appear on the official UC Certified Course List for the California high school you attended. Take a look at the UC-certified A-G course list. Download recommendations for the focus of these courses. If you took some or all of your courses outside of California or in a country other than the United States, this doesn't have to remain a mystery. Ask an Admissions Officer or one of our International Specialists.
You need to earn a minimum GPA based on your "a-g" courses taken in the 10th and 11th grades.
Honors: The University assigns extra points for up to 8 UC-approved honors-level and advanced placement "a-g" courses taken in the last 3 years of high school. Acceptable honors-level courses include Advanced Placement courses, Higher Level, and designated Standard Level International Baccalaureate courses, and college courses transferable to the University.
Note: No more than 2 year-long, UC-approved honors-level courses taken in the 10th grade may be given extra points.
Note: Are you planning to apply to the Jacobs School of Engineering or considering the biological or physical sciences? If so, we strongly encourage you to take the SAT Subject Test: Math Level 2 and a science test (biology E/M, chemistry, or physics) that is closely related to your intended major.
Through the Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC) path, the top 9 percent of students at each participating California high school are designated UC-eligible and guaranteed admission to one of UC's general campuses.
To be considered for ELC, you must complete 11 specific units of the subject requirement by the end of your junior year. The 11 units include:
Together with the participating high school, the University of California identifies ELC students on the basis of GPA in the required course work. ELC-eligible students are notified in early autumn, prior to the application period of November 1 through 30.
UC San Diego welcomes applications from ELC-designated students who:
You may qualify for admission to the University by earning high scores on the ACT Assessment plus Writing or SAT Reasoning Test, and two SAT Subject Tests.
To qualify this way, you must:
Note: You may not use an SAT Subject Test to meet these requirements if you have completed a transferable college course in that subject with a grade of C or better.
Applicants who are residents of states or territories other than California must meet the same requirements as California applicants, with the following exceptions:
Students educated in self-determined or innovative ways can be well-prepared to succeed at the University of California level. Your education plan may have given you the opportunity to learn in a setting outside a traditional classroom. Some examples include a high school education that has been based on courses from various sources such as high school, community college, and online programs, with or without extensive home-based education.
If you believe you have developed the motivation to learn in ways that foster depth of learning, socialization, maturity, creativity, and vision, we encourage you to apply to UC San Diego.