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Freshman Admission for International Students

You are a freshman if you have:

  • completed your secondary education
  • earned a certificate of completion that enables you to be admitted to a university in your home country
  • never been enrolled full-time as a college or university student — if you have, you will need to apply as a transfer student
  • a certificate of completion equivalent to a US high school diploma — to see equivalent certificates from your country, go to US High School Diploma Equivalents

Secondary School Requirements

To be considered for admission, international students must have completed secondary school with a superior average in academic subjects and have earned a certificate of completion that enables the student to be admitted to a university in the home country. See the chart below for more country-specific information.

Test Requirements

All freshmen applicants are expected to take the following tests:

In order for your test scores to be available in time for our review, all tests must be taken by December of the year before you plan to enroll. Arrangements to take the tests in your country may be made with the Educational Testing Service. You should request that your test scores be sent directly to the UCSD Undergraduate Admissions Office. For details, follow the link to MyApplication on the I've Applied webpage.

Academic Records

Before you apply:

You must have a US high school diploma or the equivalent to be eligible for UC San Diego admission — check our page for specific country certificates.

When you apply:

Report all completed coursework as it would appear on your academic records at your home school.

If you are admitted:

We must receive an official academic record directly from each institution you attended, beginning with grade nine (or international equivalent) and up to and including the school or college/university you currently attend. Each academic record must list:

  • dates you attended institution
  • titles of courses and examinations you completed
  • grades (marks) you received
  • credit, hours, or units earned

Any degree, certificate or diploma received must show subjects you passed and the grades received.

International Baccalaureate

If you are completing your IB diploma or simply taking some IB courses, make sure to report your IB status in your application. There are instructions in the application for reporting IB coursework and examinations.

Specific Countries and Educational Systems

This information is meant to supplement the general eligibility requirements for freshmen, not to replace them.

Your international school must have an appropriate level of recognition in the educational system it follows. You must also be earning a certificate of completion that will allow you to enter a university in that educational system. If your international school follows a US curriculum, your school must have US accreditation and you must graduate with a US high school diploma or an equivalent credential.

13-year Educational Systems

If pre-university education is 13 years long in your country, you must complete all 13 years before entering UC San Diego. You must graduate from secondary school in your country earning a certificate of completion that enables you to attend a university in your country. Admission to UC San Diego is not offered prior to completion of the 13th year.

British & Singapore

You must complete at least 5 IGCSE/GCSE/GCE O Levels, and at least 3 GCE A Levels to be considered for admission. AS levels will also be considered. If you receive A, B or C grades on your GCE A level examinations, UC San Diego may consider granting you transfer credit toward your bachelor’s degree. The exact credit amount will be determined after you have been formally admitted and provide your official certificate.

India & Pakistan

You must complete your standard XII years of education and sit for 10th and 12th year board/state examinations.


You must complete your SPM and STPM or A Levels to be considered for admission.

Sri Lanka

You must complete Sri Lankan O and A Levels. You may also complete O and A Levels through a British Examination Authority.

New Zealand

You must complete Form 7 earning your Higher School Certificate. If you will be receiving a Bursary or NCEA Level 3, please indicate this in your application.

Residence for Tuition Purposes at UC San Diego

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.

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Admissions Office Contacts

International specialists

+1 858 534 4831
+1 858 534 5629