UC San Diego SearchMenu

Freshman Admission Requirements

Freshman applicants must earn a high school diploma (or equivalent) and satisfy the following UC admission requirements:

  • Subject Requirement
  • Scholarship Requirement
  • Examination Requirement
  • Personal Insight Questions
  • Portfolio Review

Meeting these requirements does not guarantee admission. Students admitted to UC San Diego exceed UC admission requirements.

Definition: A freshman applicant is currently in high school or has graduated from high school but has not enrolled in a regular (non-summer) session at a college or university. If you've completed college courses during high school (through summer after graduation), you're still considered a freshman applicant.

Subject Requirement (courses you must take)

UC College Preparatory Courses ("a-g" courses)

  • Must be completed with a C grade or better.
  • Complete at least 11 of the 15 courses before your senior year of high school.
  • California residents: courses must be on your high school's UC-approved course list.
  • There is no pre-approved course list for schools outside of California.
  • International applicants: read the Freshman Admission for International Students webpage for additional information.
"a-g" Courses Years
a. History/social science 2
b. English 4
c. Mathematics 3 (4 recommended)
d. Laboratory science 2 (3 recommended)
e. Language other than English
   (or other second language)
2 (3 recommended)
f. Visual and performing arts 1
g. College preparatory elective 1

Scholarship Requirement (GPA you must earn)

  • California residents: You must earn a GPA of 3.0 or better with no grade lower than C.

  • Non-California residents: You must earn a GPA of 3.4 or better with no grade lower than C.

GPA is based on “a-g” courses taken during 10th and 11th grades. See Subject Requirement for “a-g” course explanation.

Examination Requirement (test(s) you must take)

You must submit scores from either:

  • ACT Plus Writing OR

  • SAT Reasoning Test with critical reading, math and writing; scores must be from same sitting

  • 2 SAT Subject Tests closely related to your major are recommended for engineering, biological or physical sciences majors. If taking math subject test, Math Level 2 is required. All tests must be taken by December of your senior year (the year before you plan to enroll).

  • Only your highest scores from a single sitting will be considered.

  • When you report your ACT or SAT scores to one campus they will be shared with every UC campus to which you've applied.

  • Official test scores must be reported no later than January for students applying for the fall term.

Should I take the old or new SAT exam?

Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate

  • If you complete Advanced Placement courses, we recommend that you complete the related AP examination to demonstrate subject mastery.

  • Similarly, International Baccalaureate scores can be used to showcase academic mastery.

  • To receive unit credit toward the baccalaureate degree, you must submit an official copy of your AP or IB scores directly from the testing agency. This can be done in the summer following high school graduation.

Other Entrance Exams

  • Entrance exams taken after high school graduation are not considered.

International Students

  • If your native language is not English and your secondary/high school education was in a country where English is not the language of instruction, you must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination (academic modules) and have the scores reported to the UC San Diego Office of Admissions. A minimum score of 83 is required for the TOEFL, or a minimum score of 7 is required for the IELTS.

Personal Insight Questions

  • You must answer 4 of the 8 questions listed here.

  • You choose which questions to answer, but you should select the questions that reveal the most about you and best reflect your experiences.

  • All questions are given equal consideration in the application review process. There is no advantage or disadvantage to choosing one question over another.

  • Each answer is limited to a maximum of 350 words.

Click here for further direction, writing tips & techniques, and brainstorming exercises.

Portfolio Review

The Division of Arts & Humanities at UC San Diego is committed to a diverse entering class and is actively seeking applicants who wish to major in History, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Theatre & Dance, and Visual Arts.

Submitting additional materials may enhance your overall UC San Diego application.


  • Any incoming freshman interested in pursuing a major in one of the Arts departments (Music, Theatre & Dance, and Visual Arts) may submit an optional portfolio/audition tape.


  • Any incoming freshman interested in pursuing a major in History, Literature or Philosophy may submit an optional writing sample/portfolio.

Undeclared Arts & Humanities Majors

  • Undeclared Arts & Humanities majors are welcome to submit a portfolio in your area of primary interest.

You may begin reviewing the submission requirements and loading your materials on October 1; however, you will need to complete your basic UC San Diego application before you will be able to complete this supplemental submission, as you will need your application ID number from the UC San Diego application.

The department faculty will review the art portfolio/audition tape and share their evaluations with UC San Diego's Admissions Committee.

Click here to submit a portfolio (after you have applied to UC San Diego).

Homeschooled students

  • You must receive a high school diploma, or a General Education Diploma (GED), or a Certificate of Proficiency.

  • You must meet the Examination requirement listed on this page.

California residency for tuition purposes

  • Living at a California address does not mean you automatically have resident status in terms of tuition. The financial independence requirement makes it extremely difficult for most undergraduate students whose parents are not California residents to qualify for classification as a resident at the University of California.

  • This includes students from community colleges and other post-secondary institutions within California.

  • Transfer students who were classified as residents of California at their previous school should not assume that they will be classified as residents at UC San Diego.

  • See the Registrar's Office webpages for more information on California residence for fees and tuition.

UC Applicant Resources

UC Online Application Guide
Application opens August 1

Submit between November 1 and 30

Testing Websites

  • SAT (code: 4836)
  • ACT (code: 0459)