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Overview: Undergraduate Admissions

Minimum Requirements

The university’s minimum undergraduate admission requirements, which are the same on all University of California campuses, are based on three principles. They are: (1) the best predictor of success in the university is high scholarship in previous work; (2) the study of certain subjects in high school gives a student good preparation for university work and reasonable freedom in choosing an area for specialized study; and (3) standardized assessment tests provide a broad base for comparison, and mitigate the effects of differing grading practices.

The academic requirements for admission are minimum entrance standards. Students admitted to UCSD are chosen from a large number of highly competitive applicants, most of whom will have greatly exceeded the minimum requirements. Therefore, selection depends on additional factors.

Academic preparation is the principal basis for gaining admission to UCSD. Students are encouraged to pursue the most rigorous academic curriculum possible, including honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses, in order to prepare for the university experience. High test scores are necessary in conjunction with strong performance in classes and a consistent pattern of courses. Overall performance must be well above minimum requirements in order to gain admission to the campus and major of your choice.

UCSD Admission Policy and Selection Criteria

The undergraduate admission policy at the University of California, San Diego is designed to select a highly qualified and diverse student body. As a major public institution of higher education serving the teaching, research, and public service needs of California, UCSD strives to reflect the diversity of the population of the state. This undergraduate admission policy has been developed by the San Diego campus in compliance with the University of California Policy on Undergraduate Admissions that “seeks to enroll a student body that, beyond meeting the University’s eligibility requirements, demonstrates high academic achievement and exceptional personal talent, and that encompasses the broad diversity of California.”

The number of applicants to UCSD far exceeds the number of spaces available, and it has become necessary to adopt standards which are much more demanding than the minimum requirements to admit students. The San Diego campus has developed the following procedures for the selection of applicants to be admitted from its pool of eligible candidates:

Comprehensive Review

All UC eligible applicants will receive a review which considers a combination of factors—academic, personal characteristics, and achievement, including:

  • Uncapped grade-point average (maximum of eight semesters of approved honors, AP/IB HL, or UC-transferable college-level courses)
  • Scores of all required examinations
  • Number of “a-g” courses beyond the minimum specified for UC eligibility
  • Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC)
  • Educational environment
  • Low family income
  • First-generation college attendance
  • Demonstrated leadership
  • Special talents, achievements, and awards
  • Volunteer/community service
  • Sustained participation in pre-collegiate/academic development and enrichment programs
  • Special circumstances and/or personal challenges

Academic achievement constitutes approximately 75 percent of the overall comprehensive review score. Applicants with the highest level of academic and other types of achievement as well as personal characteristics will be admitted in sufficient numbers to meet UCSD’s enrollment goals.

Admission into the Department of Bioengineering will be evaluated by the Admission committee at the Jacobs School of Engineering once the student has gained admission to UCSD

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