The Office of Admissions is familiar with educational systems around the world, and will provide each applicant with a holistic review - which takes into account both academic and non-academic factors. To be considered competitive for admission, your grades and exam scores must be excellent. Follow the steps below to prepare to apply.

1. Meet Curriculum Requirements

In general, international applicants will have graduated from a secondary school and earned a certificate of completion that enables attendance at a university in that country.

You may either meet minimum requirements for the International Baccalaureate or British Systems:

You must take a minimum of five IB exams, with two exams taken at the higher level. The overall average must be 5 with no exam score below 4. Exams must be taken in academic subjects comparable to the UC A-G course pattern. UCSB uses grades leading up to the final year to determine if a student will be eligible for admission along with predicted grades for year 12. 

You must complete at least five GCSE/IGCSE (O-Level) exams with a 3.4 GPA or higher and at least three GCE (A-Level) exams with a 3.0 (unweighted) GPA or higher and no grade below C to be considered for admission. If you receive A, B, or C grades on your GCE (A-Level) exams, UCSB may grant you transfer credit toward your bachelor’s degree. The exact amount of credit will be determined after you are formally admitted and provide your official Statement of Results. 

Or meet minimum requirements for your country:

  • Canada: 
    • Alberta: Completion of Advanced High School Diploma with a minimum average of at least 70
    • British Columbia: Completion of Secondary School Graduation Diploma (Ministry of Education) with a minimum average of at least 80
    • Manitoba: Completion of Diploma or Statement of Standing Grade 12 with a minimum average of at least 75
    • New Brunswick: Completion of New Brunswick High School Graduation Diploma/Certificate de fin d'études secondaire with a minimum average of at least 75
    • Newfoundland and Labrador: Completion of Provincial High School Graduation Certificate with an minimum average of at least 75
    • Nova Scotia: Completion of Provincial High School Graduation Certificate with an minimum average of at least 75
    • Ontario: Completion of Ontario Secondary School Diploma with a minimum average of at least 75
    • Prince Edward Island: Completion of Grade 12 Graduation Certificate with a minimum average of at least 75
    • Quebec: Completion of Diplôme d'études secondaires (General) with a minimum average of at least 85 AND the Diplôme d'études collégiales (Diploma of College Studies) 
    • Saskatchewan: Completion of Grade 12 or Division IV standing with a minimum average of at least 74
    • Yukon Territory: Completion of High School Diploma (academic) with a minimum average of at least 80
  • Costa Rica: Completion of Diploma de conclusión de estudios de educación diversificada (Certificate of conclusion of diversified education studies) OR completion of Bachillerato (Baccaleureate) with a minimum average of at least 80
  • El Salvador: Completion of Bachillerato/Bachiller Académico (Academic Baccalaureate) with a minimum average of at least 8 OR Completion of Diploma de Educación Media (Diploma of Secondary Education) with a minimum average of at least 8
  • Guatemala: Completion of Bachillerato/Bachiller en Ciencias y Letras (Baccalaureate in Lettres and Sciences) with a minimum average of at least 71
  • Honduras: Completion of Bachillerato/Bachiller/Bachiller en Ciencias y Letras (Secondary School Diploma in Letters and Sciences) with a minimum average of at least 80
  • Mexico: Completion of Bachillerato (Certificate of Baccalaureate)/Titulo de Bachiller (Title of Bachiller) with a minimum average of at least 8
  • Panama: Completion of Bachillerato/Diploma de Bachiller with a minimum average of at least 4
  • Argentina: Completion of Bachillerato Universitario/Nacional (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) with a minimum average of at least 7
  • Brazil: Completion of Certificado de Ensino Médio (Certificate of Completion of Middle Education)/Vestibular (University Entrance Exam) with a minimum average of at least 7 on the 1-10 scale or an average of at least 4 on the 1-5 scale
  • Chile: Completion of Licencia Secundaria (Secondary Education License) or Licencia de Education Media with a minimum average of at least 5.5
  • Colombia: Completion of Bachiller Académico (Diploma of Academic Secondary School) with a minimum average of at least 8.5 
  • Ecuador: Completion of Bachillerato en Humanidades/Ciencias (Secondary School Diploma with a focus in Humanities or Sciences) with a minimum average of at least 7.5
  • Peru: Completion of Certificado de Estudios de Educación Secundaria Común Completa (Certificate of Completion of General Secondary Education) with a minimum average of at least 14
  • Uruguay: Completion of Bachillerato Diversificado de Enseñanza Secundaria (Diversified Baccalaureate of Secondary Education) with a minimum average of at least 8
  • France, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion: Completion of Diplôme de Bachelier de l'Enseignement du Second Degré or Baccalauréat de l'Enseignement Secondaire/Baccalauréat Général (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) with a minimum average of at least 12 (Assez Bien)
  • Germany: Completion of Abitur/Zeugnis der allgemeinen Hochschulereife (Certificate of General Maturity for Higher Education) with a minimum average of at least 2.3 on the 1-6 scale
  • Greece: Completion of Apolyterion/Απολυτηριο (Certificate of Completion) upon completion of Lykon/Αυκειο (Upper Secondary School) with a minimum average of at least 15
  • Italy: Completion of Diploma di Maturità (Diploma of Maturity with field indicating area of study) with a minimum average of at least 83 if on a 1-100 scale or a minimum average of at least 8 if on a scale from 1-10 OR Completion of Diploma di Esame di Stato (Diploma of State Examination) with a minimum average of at least 83 if on a 1-100 scale or a minimum average of at least 8 if on a scale from 1-10
  • Scotland: Completion of Scottish Certificate of Education (Higher Grade) and pass a minimum of 4 higher exams with a minimum average of at least B
  • United Kingdom (England/Wales/Northern Ireland): Completion of International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma or British Systems (see minimum requirements listed above)
  • Nigeria: Completion of Senior School Certificate (SCC) issued by the West African Examination Council (WAEC)
  • Bangladesh: Completion of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC)
  • China: Completion of Graduation Certificate from upper middle school and Senior High School Graduate Certificate
  • India: Completion of All India Senior School Certificate with a minimum average of at least 70 and no mark below 60 OR Completion of Higher Secondary School Certificate with a minimum average of at least 70 and no mark below 60 OR Completion of 10th and 12th year board/state examinations
  • Indonesia: Completion of Surat Tanda Tamat Belajar Sekolah Menengah Unum Tingkat Atas (SMA) (Certificate of Completino of General Academic Upper Secondary School) with a minimum average of at least 7.5 OR Completion of ljazah (Diploma)
  • Israel: Completion Teudat Bagrut (Matriculation Certificate) with a minimum average of at least 7
  • Japan: Complete Kotogakko Sotsugyo Shomeisho (Upper Secondary School Graduation Diploma) with a minimum average of at least 4.4
  • Jordan: Completion of Tawjihi OR completion of General Secondary Education Certificate (Literary or Secondary) with a minimum average of at least 75%
  • Kuwait: Completion of Shahadat Al-Thanawiya-Al-A'ama (General Secondary Education Certificate) with a minimum average of at least 75%
  • Malaysia: Completion of Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) AND completion of Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) (Malaysian High School Certificate) OR completion of the SPM and at least 3 academic GCE (A-Level) exams
  • Philippines: Completion of 12-year Elementary-Secondary education and receive a High School Diploma after the 12th year with a minimum average equivalent of at least B+
  • Qatar: Completion of Thanawiya aam Qatari (Qatari General Secondary Education Certificate) with a minimum average of at least 77
  • Republic of South Korea: Completion of Senior High School Diploma with a minimum average of at least B+
  • Russian Federation: Completion of Secondary Attestat with a minimum average of at least 4. Acceptable curricula include Aттестат ο полном среднем общем образовании/Attestat o polnom srednem obshtem obrazovanii (Certificate of Complete General Secondary Education), Aттестат  среднем образовании/Attestat o srednem obrazovanii (Certificate of Secondary Education), and Aттестат зрелοсти/Attestat zrelosti (Certificate of Maturity)
  • Saudi Arabia: Completion of Tawjihiyah (General Secondary Education Certificate) with a minimum average of at least 75% and with no grade lower than 60%
  • Singapore: Complete at least 5 Singapore-Cambridge GCE O-Level exams with 3.40 GPA and at least 3 academic Singapore-Cambridge GCE A-Level exams at the H2 level with a 3.0 (unweighted) GPA or higher and no grade below C to be considered for admission. UC will not consider H1 level exam results
  • Sri Lanka: Completion of Sri Lankan GCE A-Levels in four subjects with a minimum average of at least 3.4
  • Taiwan: Completion of Senior High School Leaving Certificate with a minimum average of at least 80%
  • Thailand: Completion of Mathayom 6 (Certificate of Upper Secondary Education) with a minimum average of at least 75%
  • United Arab Emirates: Completion of Shahadat Al-Thanawiya-Al-Amma (General Secondary Education Certificate)
  • Vietnam: Completion of Bằng Tốt Nghiệp Phổ Thông Trung Học (Secondary School Graduation Certificate) with a minimum average of at least 8
  • Australian Capital Territory: Completion of Year 12 Certificate/ACT
  • New South Wales: Completion of NSW Higher School Certificate/Board of Secondary Education
  • Northern Territory: Completion of Senior Secondary Studies Certificate OR completion of South Australian Graduation Diploma
  • Northwest Territories: Completion of Senior Secondary Graduation Diploma
  • Queensland: Completion of Senior Certificate of Achievement OR Completion of South Australian Certificate of Education
  • South Australia: Completion of Year 12 Certificate of Achievement OR Completion of South Australian Certificate of Education
  • Tasmania: Completion of Tasmanian Certificate of Education 
  • Victoria: Completion of Higher School Certificate/VCE
  • Western Australia: Completion of Western Australia Certificate of Secondary Education

This is a student in a lecture smiling.

2. Understand Eligibility vs. Selection 

Attaining eligibility means meeting the minimum requirements to be admitted to UC Santa Barbara. However, minimum eligibility does not assure admission. When UCSB cannot admit all eligible applicants, we use standards called "selection criteria" to select students who are more competitive than the minimum requirements. Selection criteria includes 13 holistic review factors, which we use to review your achievements and personal qualities in the context of the opportunities and/or challenges you have experienced. We do not compare your application with any other applicant, regardless of school or location.

3. Review English Language Proficiency Requirements

If your native language is not English - and your high school, college, or university education was in a country where the language of instruction was not English - you must meet UCSB's English Language Proficiency requirement.

4. Understand Exams & Supplemental Applications

Visit the Freshman Eligibility and Selection page for domestic applicants to review UCSB's ACT and SAT exam policy, information on how our three colleges evaluate applicants, and information on which majors require supplemental applications.

5. Verify Your School is Accredited  

Your international school must have an appropriate level of recognition in the educational system it follows. If your international school follows a U.S. curriculum, the school must have U.S. accreditation and you must graduate with a U.S. high school diploma or an equivalent credential.

High schools and colleges outside of California must be accredited by one of the following regional accreditation agencies: Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges, Ministry of Education, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, North Central Association of Schools and Colleges, Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, or Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

IB programs and A-Level examinations do not require accreditation from a U.S. regional accreditation agency.