You have questions, we have answers! Check out our FAQ below to get answers to some of the questions we regularly receive. If your question isn't below, visit our Contact Us page.

Applying to UCSB

UCSB does not look at "demonstrated interest"—or the degree to which you show a university you are interested in attending—in the admission process. We encourage students to connect with Admissions through our application overview sessions, virtual tours, and open house events, but attendance at these offerings, virtual or in-person, will not affect your application for admission.

The UC Application for fall admission to UCSB opens on August 1. The submission period is November 1-30. UCSB only accepts applications for the fall term.

You can fill out and submit a UC application on the University of California’s admissions website during the submission period (November 1-30 each year). There is a $70 fee per campus for U.S. residents and an $80 fee per campus for international students.

The University of California will waive application fees for up to four campuses for qualified students who otherwise would be unable to apply for admission. To be accepted for the fee waiver, you must be a U.S. resident or qualify through a selective visa and you must meet specific requirements related to your family income and size. Consideration for the fee waiver is built into the UC application, no other application is necessary.

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships website provides a sample budget for approximating the cost of attending UCSB. You can calculate your estimated financial aid package from UCSB using the Net Price Calculator.

Most financial aid at UCSB is only available to California residents based on demonstrated financial need. To be considered for financial aid, students must fill out the scholarships section of the UC application as well as submit a financial aid application (either the FAFSA or the CA Dream Act Application). Current UCSB students will also have access to an exclusive scholarship search engine called Scholarship Universe. Please refer to UCSB’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships website for more information.

UC Santa Barbara does not review unsolicited transcripts, letters of recommendation, or supplemental material for general admission. We will only use the UC application submitted in November to make our decision. To get a better understanding of our admissions selection process please see our Freshman Eligibility and Selection page.

Students applying to a major in the College of Creative Studies will be required to submit a supplemental application, which may include letters of recommendation, in addition to the UC application.

UCSB will not use SAT/ACT scores in our selection process for fall 2021 applicants. All applicants to UC have the option to submit scores on the application. If you elect to do so, these scores will not be visible to Admission Counselors reviewing your application to UCSB. For details on the UC system, visit the UC Exam Requirement page.

UCSB departments that previously recommended SAT subject exams have suspended these recommendations given the current challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The University of California will be test-blind for fall 2023 and fall 2024 admissions. This means that students have the option to send SAT or ACT test scores, but those scores will not be used in admissions selection. Test scores may be used for coursework placement post-enrollment.

Transfer students are never required to submit ACT or SAT scores.

If you attended a high school for three or more years where the language of instruction was English, you do not need to take an English proficiency exam. If your language of instruction in high school was not English, you will need to demonstrate English language proficiency. You can find more information on the English Language Proficiency page.

Please note that UCSB will also accept a Duolingo score of 115 or higher to meet the English proficiency requirement for fall 2021 only.

Transfer students do not need to take an English proficiency exam as they are required to take two UC-transferable English composition courses prior to transferring.

UC offers college credit to students who have taken and scored well on Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and A-level exams. Refer to UCSB’s General Catalog for details on UCSB course equivalency for each exam. 

Transfer students who passed AP or IB exams can use those scores to meet minimum admission requirements and certain major preparation requirements, but exam scores alone will never be sufficient to meet all of the transfer admission requirements. Credit is not granted for AP or IB courses, only for AP exam scores of 3 or higher and IB HL exam scores of 5 or higher. Please refer to the UC Undergraduate Admissions AP & Exam Credits page for details on what credit will be granted for each exam. Refer to UCSB’s General Catalog for details on UCSB course equivalency for each exam. 

For freshman applicants, GPA is one of many factors taken into consideration in the admissions review process. Every student has an opportunity to be admitted as long as they are meeting the minimum eligibility requirements and take advantage of the opportunities presented to them outside of the classroom. While there is no recommended GPA for freshman application, students must earn a minimum GPA of a 3.0 (3.4 for non-California residents) in all A-G courses.

For transfer students, it is recommended that you have an overall transferable GPA of 3.2 or higher for most majors (3.6 or higher for engineering). The higher your GPA is, the more competitive you will be in our selection process. If you are an out-of-state student or a non-California community college (CCC) student, it is recommended that you have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Freshman students may repeat A-G courses with a grade of D or F for a new grade. If the course is repeated before senior year, the new grade will be used to calculate your UC GPA. 

Transfer students may repeat courses with grades of C- or lower for credit. If a course is repeated by the fall of the year you submit a UC application, then the repeated grade will replace the original grade in your GPA calculation. Courses taken at a UC campus may only be repeated for credit at a UC campus, not at another institution such as a community college. 

Yes, that is correct. If you are paying your application fee by mail and/or mailing a fee waiver, the address is: 
UC Application Center
PO Box 4438
Greenwood Village, CO 80155

Some majors at UCSB admit new students to a “pre-major” status. This designation does NOT mean it is more selective or difficult to gain admission. This means that once you begin your studies at UCSB you must take a set of required courses and meet GPA requirements, which are determined by the department, in order to declare a full major. The UCSB General Catalog indicates (**) next to the majors at UCSB that have a pre-major status. 

Transfer applicants from California community colleges can refer to the major articulations on www.assist.org for more details about pre-major status.

Majors in UCSB's College of Engineering are impacted, meaning they have a limited number of spaces available. Majors in UCSB's College of Letters and Science are not impacted/capped, but Dance B.A., Dance B.F.A., and Music B.M. applicants must complete an audition before admission. Majors in UCSB's College of Creative Studies are also not impacted, but a supplemental application and additional materials are required for all applicants. 

To formally withdraw your application, please send an email to our office at admissions@sa.ucsb.edu including your full name and UC Application ID number. Please send your email from the address on your UC application.

If you would like to cancel your application after being offered admission, please decline your offer of admission in your applicant portal. If you have already submitted your Statement of Intent to Register to UCSB, please contact admissions@sa.ucsb.edu to cancel your SIR.

Applying to UCSB: Transfer Applicants

The Transfer Admission Guarantee, or TAG, is an admission program for qualified students transferring from any one of the California community colleges. Please see our TAG page for more information and TAG-specific FAQs.

The UC Transfer Admission Planner (UC TAP) is a free online tool for transfer students to enter their college coursework and track their progress towards transferring to a UC campus. It allows UC admissions staff to provide feedback to students and is integrated with the Transfer Admission Guarantee application. We recommend that all students interested in transferring to UCSB create a UC TAP account.

Any course taken at a California community college can be researched on www.assist.org to see if it is UC-transferable and if it meets any admission or pre-major requirements. Whether a course was taken during or after high school does not affect its transferability, and whether a course was taken online or in-person does not affect its transferability. 

Any course taken at a University of California campus will be accepted for credit at UCSB. Whether courses taken at another UC campus are equivalent to courses at UCSB can only be determined after a student is admitted and decides to attend UCSB. Courses taken through UC Extension may or may not be UC transferable.

Any course taken at a college or university outside of the California community college and University of California systems will be evaluated at the time of application to determine if it is UC-transferable. Please refer to the Guide to Course Transferability PDF for more detailed information. 

If you cannot find a required course on the major articulation agreement for your college, it is advised that you take the equivalent course at a different community college. You can also review online programs from an accredited college or university. A required course will not be waived when it is not available at your community college. Note that only majors in engineering, economics, mathematics, and biology currently require specific major preparation courses. Recommended major preparation courses for these majors, as well as major preparation courses for all other majors at UCSB, are not required to be completed before you transfer.

On the UC application, all information is self-reported and transcripts are not required to apply. If you are admitted and decide to enroll at UCSB, then we will require a high school transcript unless you are transferring from a California community college (CCC) and have full IGETC certification. If you do not have full IGETC certification then we will require a high school transcript to process your enrollment.

The Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum is a general education (GE) course pattern available at the California Community Colleges (CCCs) that can be followed to receive completion credit for GE requirements. IGETC must be certified by the CCC, usually through the Transfer Center or counseling department. Refer IGETC questions to your community college. IGETC is not required for admissions eligibility at UCSB, however, some UC campuses may ask for IGETC to meet their selection criteria. 

Freshman applicants are not required to complete specific major preparation courses before admission. 

Transfer applicants should complete as much major preparation as possible prior to admission. If major preparation is required, then it must be completed by the end of the spring prior to transfer, possibly with a specific GPA. If major preparation is recommended, it does not have to be completed prior to transfer for admissions purposes. However, we recommend you complete as much major preparation as possible before transfer to help prepare you to graduate on time.

UCSB only accepts transfer students at the junior level (between 60-89 semester units or 90-134 quarter units). Lower-division units are limited to a maximum of 70 semester/105 quarter, so as long as you have only taken CCC courses then you do not need to worry about the limitation because all California community college (CCC) courses are lower-division. Units earned at a UC campus (both lower- and upper-division), as well as UC-transferable upper-division courses from other four-year institutions, are not subject to this limitation. So, if you have a significant number of units from a non-CCC institution, then it is possible to earn too many units to transfer and thus not be eligible to transfer.

Students interested in transferring to UCSB from another UC campus must apply for admission and go through the same process as any other transfer applicant. To be considered for admission to UCSB, you must leave/have left your previous UC campus in good academic standing or have cleared any probationary standing. Please note that all UC units transfer from one UC to another, which can put students at risk of being denied admission due to excessive units if all units combined put them at senior status. We recommend reaching out to our office early using the Contact Us page to make sure you are aware of unit limits.  

After You Apply

A change of major request can be submitted via email to admissions@sa.ucsb.edu, subject line “Change of Major Request". A student can also visit the Contact Us page and select the "change of major" subject line.

Freshman applicants requesting a change of major into the College of Engineering will be considered but not guaranteed. The five majors in engineering are all limited in size, and we have a major preparation screening of math preparation which is required. A student's email request is held until after the May 1 SIR deadline. In May, we will review space allotments in each engineering major. If there is a spot open, we'll review the change of major requests. An email is sent to each student in May to affirm or deny that major change. A visual explanation of the College of Engineering change of major is available in the Changing Your Major YouTube video.

A request for a change of major in the College of Letters and Science is guaranteed for freshman applicants (except for majors that require an audition). A list of majors can be reviewed on our Majors page. Students will see the change of major reflected in their applicant portal in 48 hours.

Transfer applicants may request a change of major in the College of Letters and Science only. Major preparation course and GPA requirements apply for majors in the biological sciences, economics, and mathematics departments. You may email your major change request to admissions@sa.ucsb.edu and if the change is allowed, it will be updated on your UCSB applicant portal.

Freshman applicants are responsible for reporting all D or F grades earned in their senior year as soon as possible. Please email admissions@sa.ucsb.edu with your name, UC application ID or UCSB perm #, and the class that you did not pass. We will contact you directly if we need additional information from you.

  • Freshman applicants are not responsible for reporting any schedule changes in their senior year until after admission decisions have been released.
  • Transfer applicants should update any changes to their winter or spring schedules directly in their UC application via the Transfer Academic Update (TAU). The priority deadline for the TAU is January 31, but additional updates may be submitted until the end of March. Changes made after March can be reported to UCSB by emailing admissions@sa.ucsb.edu with your name and UC application ID or UCSB perm number. 
     

All admissions decisions will be released in your UCSB applicant portal in March for freshman applicants and April for transfer applicants.

UCSB does not email applicants their admission decision. Decisions can only be viewed by creating and logging into your UCSB applicant portal. We will email you when your decision has been posted; then you will need to log into your portal to view your decision.

Please refer to the portal tutorial video for details on creating your account. Make sure to follow directions exactly as they are outlined in the video. First, you must create an account which is a multi-step process that ends with creating a password. Then, you use the password to log in to the portal. Each step has specific directions that must be followed carefully; otherwise, there can be errors. If the information you enter does not match, please refer to the information you used when you submitted your UC application. If you have created a password, but forgot it, then you can click the "forgot my password" link on the portal login page.

If you did not get admitted to UCSB, you may apply again in a future term. If you were a freshman applicant, you are encouraged to explore the transfer pathway. If you were a transfer applicant, you are encouraged to contact us at ucsb4me@sa.ucsb.edu to connect with a transfer admissions counselor.

Academics at UCSB

UCSB's College of Letters and Science (L&S) Honors Program is available for high achieving freshman students in L&S. The top 10% of the admitted freshman class is automatically enrolled in the Honors Program. If you aren't already in the Honors Program and would like to apply, you can apply in July between your freshman and sophomore year only. You can find more about admission and eligibility on the Honors Program website.

Transfer students in L&S are encouraged to explore opportunities for honors or distinction in their major directly with their academic department. All students, freshman and transfer, are also potentially able to graduate with honors, high honors, or highest honors based on their GPA at UCSB at the time of graduation.

UCSB's College of Engineering invites approximately the top 10% of incoming freshmen into the Honors Program. Select incoming transfer students will also be invited to join. If you do not enter the College of Engineering with honors, you may petition to enter the program at the end of the academic year by meeting eligibility criteria set by the college.

If you have a genuine passion for two subjects and feel confident in your ability to handle a heavier workload, a double major could be a wise option for you. However, there are some important considerations to keep in mind before you decide to take on a double major:

  • Because of the requirement to complete all degree requirements and graduate without exceeding 200 units, students pursuing a double major typically have very few free elective courses.
  • Some major combinations are not possible.

Before you declare a double major, discuss your choice with the departmental undergraduate advisor for each major to ensure you understand what is expected. You should also consult with an academic advisor in the College Advising Office for additional assistance in evaluating this option and developing an academic plan. This will happen after you begin at UCSB, not before the fall term begins. You can find more information about double majoring on the Choosing Your Major page.

Transfer students who are interested in double majoring should complete as much major preparation as possible for both majors before transferring. It is generally only possible to double major in the College of Letters and Science, and a second major can only be added after transferring to UCSB and meeting with an academic advisor.

Undergraduate research is a signature part of the UCSB experience. Over 56% of undergraduates conduct research before graduation! There are many opportunities for our students to get involved in research, even as a first-year freshman or transfer student. The Division of Undergraduate Education has several programs that support our undergraduates interested in research, such as the Faculty Research Assistance Program (FRAP) and the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA) grant. Students also have the opportunity to showcase their research projects at our Undergraduate Research Colloquium to peers and distinguished faculty. The Chancellor’s Award in Undergraduate Research is intended to honor exceptional undergraduate contributions to knowledge creation within the field in which the research was conducted.

The Education Abroad Program is specifically designed for UC students and their academic needs. We have 300 programs in over 40 countries! All EAP course titles, units, and grades taken abroad will automatically transfer to your UCSB transcript.

UC Santa Barbara’s Freshman Summer Start Program (FSSP) is an innovative six-week experience designed for admitted freshmen to get a head start on coursework in a supportive atmosphere conducive to a successful transition from high school to college. With more than 70 courses to choose from, students enroll in 7–13 units and receive credit toward their general education or pre-major requirements. If you have questions about the Freshman Summer Start Program, please email fssp@summer.ucsb.edu.

The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) hosts a one-week summer transitional program for both freshman and transfer students to help acclimate them to the university. Students who indicate an interest in EOP on their UC application and who meet EOP eligibility requirements will receive email communication about this program after admission.

Transfer students may also take summer courses at UCSB through the Transfer Edge program to get a head start on their major requirements and progress to graduation. 

If you are a current UCSB student considering enrolling in courses outside of UCSB, use our Transfer Credit Guidelines for Current UCSB Students PDF to assist you through the process of transferring credit to UCSB. If you have general questions regarding transfer credit that are not covered in this document, please email admissions@sa.ucsb.edu and put "Credit Memo" in the subject line.

If you are a current UCSB student considering studying abroad in a non-UC education abroad program, use our Transfer Credit Guidelines for Students Participating in Non-UC Study Abroad PDF. The Office of Admissions at UCSB does not have a study abroad advisor for these programs, therefore, this information is only meant to assist you through the process. Plan in advance; this process takes time.