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Everything you wanted to know about applying to UCI as an international student.

Important information for international applicants.

Read about our admissions requirements for international students.

International Freshman

COVID-19 Updates: For commonly asked questions and more detailed information regarding changes to admission requirements for fall 2021, visit our COVID-19 FAQ page here.

Secondary School Requirements:

To be considered for freshman admission, international applicants must meet the same subject requirements as all other applicants.

You must have completed secondary school with excellent grades/marks in academic subjects and have earned a certificate of completion that enables you to be admitted to a university in your home country and is equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma. You also must have never been enrolled as a university student.

The following academic subject requirements must be completed with a minimum average GPA of 3.4:

  • 2 years of history (in place of U.S. History, history of your country)
  • 4 years of English (or in the language of instruction at your school)
  • 3 years (four years recommended) of college-preparatory mathematics*
    *Math courses taken in the seventh and eighth grades/intermediate school may be used to fulfill part of this requirement. Integrated math courses (e.g. Math I, Math II, etc.) with geometry content may be equated with a standard course in geometry.
  • 2 years of college-preparatory science, including or integrating topics that provide fundamental knowledge in two of these three subjects: biology, chemistry, or physics.
  • 2 years of a second language
  • 1 yearlong course (or 2 semesters) of visual and performing arts
  • 1 additional course from any subject areas above

Other Considerations

The following faculty-approved selection criteria are taken into consideration:

  • Academic grade point average in all completed "A-G" courses, including additional points for completed UC-certified honors courses

  • Number of, content of and performance in academic courses beyond the minimum "A-G" requirements

  • Number of and performance in UC-approved honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate Higher Level and transferable college courses

  • Identification by UC as being ranked in the top 9 percent of your high school class at the end of your junior year (Eligible in the Local Context, or ELC)

  • Quality of your senior year program, as measured by the type and number of academic courses in progress or planned

  • Quality of academic performance relative to the educational opportunities available at your high school

  • Outstanding performance in one or more academic subject areas

  • Outstanding work in one or more special projects in any academic field of study

  • Recent, marked improvement in academic performance as demonstrated by academic GPA and the quality of coursework completed or in progress

  • Special talents, achievements, and awards in a particular field, such as visual and performing arts, communication or athletic endeavors; special skills, such as demonstrated written and oral proficiency in other languages; special interests, such as intensive study and exploration of other cultures; experiences that demonstrate unusual promise for leadership, such as significant community service or significant participation in student government; or other significant experiences or achievements that demonstrate your promise for contributing to the intellectual vitality of the campus

  • Completion of special projects undertaken in the context of the high school curriculum or in conjunction with special school events, projects or programs

  • Academic accomplishments in light of your experiences and special circumstances, including but not limited to: disabilities, low family income, first generation to attend college, need to work, disadvantaged social or educational environment, difficult personal and family situations or circumstances, refugee status or veteran status

  • Location of your secondary school and residence

Personal Insight Questions

Your personal insight questions should be exactly that – personal. This is your opportunity to tell us about yourself, what matters to you, your hopes, ambitions, life experiences, and inspirations. Key points about the personal insight questions include:

  • Freshman applicants choose four out of eight questions to answer.

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

We encourage you to take your time. Be open, be reflective, and be honest. Your personal insight questions provide context for the rest of your application.

Learn more about the personal insight questions.

As an international student studying in a foreign education system, you may be required to meet additional requirements specific to your secondary school curriculum or country:

  • Students enrolled in an IB Diploma Program (IBDP) are encouraged to earn scores of 5 or higher on IB subject exams.

    UCI does not use predicted scores as the only factor for admission. However, if predicted IB scores are available at the time you submit the application, you should enter the predicted scores on the International External Exams page of the application, under the Test Scores tab. If predicted IB scores are not available, you do not need to report them and you do not need to submit them at a later date (unless another campus requests that you do so).

    Additional information on IB credit can be found in the UCI Catalog.

  • Students must complete at least 5 IGCSE/GCSE/GCE O Levels and at least 3 GCE A Levels with a B result or better to be considered for admission.

    Report your subjects and grades (and predicted scores if available) on the International External Exams page of the application, under the Test Scores tab.

  • You must complete 12 years of education and receive your certificate of graduation (i.e., Red Book). We do require that you report coursework completed in grade 9 on the application.

  • You must complete both year X and XII state board or CBSE examinations. Competitive applicants typically achieve high marks, primarily A1 and A2 grades or scores above 80. Report your subject exams and grades on the International External Exams page of the application, under the Test Scores tab.

  • You must complete at least 5 Singapore-Cambridge GCE O-Levels, and at least 3 academic Singapore-Cambridge GCE A-Level H2 exams with B results or better. UCI does not consider H1 level exam results. Report your subjects and grades on the International External Exams page of the application, under the Test Scores tab.

  • You must complete a rigorous college preparatory program that includes the minimum academic subject requirement courses (see above). UCI is aware that many school systems may not offer similar courses, but we do expect students to take challenging courses offered in their schools.

English Proficiency Requirements

If you’ve completed all your secondary school/high school in a country where English is not the language of instruction, you can demonstrate proficiency by taking one of these exams and earning the required scores:

  • Score 24 or higher for the ACT English Language Arts (ELA)
  • Score 31 or higher on Writing and Language in the SAT 
  • Score 3, 4 or 5 on the AP examination in English Language and Composition, or English Literature and Composition
  • Score 6 or 7 on the IB Standard Level examination in English (Language A only) 
  • Score 5, 6 or 7 on the IB Higher Level examination in English (Language A only) 
  • Score 6.5 or higher on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Score 6.5 or higher on the IELTS Indicator (Fall 2021 only)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination:
    • Internet-based test (iBT): Minimum score of 80 or better
    • iBT Home Edition: Minimum score of 80 or better (Fall 2021 only)
    • Paper-delivered test: Minimum score of 60 or better
  • Duolingo English Test (DET): Minimum score of 115 (Fall 2021 and 2022 applicants)

International Transfers

International transfer applicants must meet the same transfer requirements for admission as any other applicant.

When You Apply and Fill Out the Application

When you apply to UCI, your academic record must be reported within the UC application. You do not need to send in your transcripts/academic records to UCI at this point, but you should refer to them as you fill out the application to ensure the information you entered is accurate.

Report all completed coursework as it appears on your academic records at each school. Do NOT convert scores yourself and be sure to include explanations if grades do not fit in the given space and are abbreviated.

If you have taken or will take external exams (e.g. IGCSE/GCSE/GCE exams, Year X/XII Board exams, SPM, etc.), report your subjects and grades/scores on the International External Exams page of the application.

If you reported external exams such as AP/IB/GCSEs/A Levels, you will be expected to complete all exams listed on your application.

International Student FAQs

  • Yes, but no later than December of your senior year/last year prior to high school/secondary school graduation — preferably earlier — to ensure that your application receives prompt and full consideration. If you plan to take an exam in December of your last year of high school, indicate the planned test date on your UC application. Send the official score report to one UC campus; they will be shared with every UC campus to which you have applied.

  • TOEFL score reports can be sent to one UC campus, and all UC campuses to which the student applied will receive it. IELTS score reports need to be sent to each UC campus to which the student applied. These scores must be received no later than January for students applying for the fall term.
  • No. When filling out the application, it is important that you use your full legal name as it appears on your official birth certificate/records or passport. The application asks for other names used on records so you may enter your preferred name or nickname in the designated field.

  • We do not request official transcripts/records until you are admitted. If needed, we will request unofficial transcripts/records to help clarify self-reported information on your application.

    Each transcript/record must list the dates you attended each institution; the titles of courses and examinations you completed; the grades (marks) you received; the credit, hours, or units earned; and any degree or diploma you may have received.

    Your transcripts/records also may be referred to by another name in your country, such as mark sheets, leaving certificate, maturity certificate, etc.

  • UCI does not accept nor consider letters of recommendation for admission to the university.

  • Yes, students who earn scores of 3, 4, or 5 on AP exams will receive credit toward graduation at UCI. Successfully completing the International Baccalaureate (IB) Exam can also result in credit allowed toward a UCI degree. More information is available in the UCI Catalog.

  • Yes, F-1 and J-1 students may work on-campus at UCI. This work is limited to part-time (20 hours per week) during each quarter when classes are in session. Full-time work (anything more than 20 hours a week) is permitted during vacation periods.

  • International undergraduate students are considered nonresidents of California and are required to pay nonresident tuition in addition to fees paid by legal residents of California. For the most current fee information, please visit the Office of the Registrar.

  • We do not offer financial assistance for international students. We recommend that you search for external scholarships for financial assistance.

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