UCSD Transfer Acceptance Rate, GPA, and Requirements

The reasons why one might choose to transfer to UC San Diego are vast. 

UCSD is a part of the larger UC ecosystem, which has recently begun a state-wide campaign to make public universities in California more accommodating to transfer students. 

Part of this focus on transfer students manifests itself in the fact that the state mandates roughly 1 of every 3 students at all UC colleges—UC San Diego included—must be transfer students. 

The unique prioritization the UC system gives to transfer students is doubly impactful if a student attends a California community college, or one of UC San Diego’s various higher education partners

If one has attended one of these schools, they will have access to UC San Diego’s one-of-a-kind UniversityLink program which provides every affordance imaginable to make the transition from another college to UCSD as seamless as possible. 

UniversityLink members receive guaranteed admission to UCSD, are assigned a one-on-one transfer advisor to aid with every step of the process, and are even given access to special events at UCSD specifically designed for transfer students. 

But even if one is not transferring from another UC institution, UCSD still has much to offer to students from all across the world. 

From the fact that 1 out of every 3 UCSD students study abroad, to its robust research spending which totals roughly $1 billion per year (the 6th highest research spending in the country), to San Diego being one of the country’s most beautiful and exciting locations—UCSD would be the perfect university for so many transfer students. 

As such, this article will break down all the information students hoping to transfer to UCSD will need to assure they’ll soon become one of the many students who are proud to call themselves Tritons. 

UCSD Transfer Acceptance Rate

Tktktk, Center Hall Front, UCSD, CC BY 3.0

The acceptance rate for transfer students applying to UCSD is around 56%. As such, roughly 10,000 transfer students are admitted into UCSD each year.

In comparison, the acceptance rate for non-transfer students is around 31%

Because of UC San Diego’s concerted effort to attract transfer students from across California, and especially students who opted to complete a 2-year degree at a community college prior to attending UCSD, the transfer acceptance rate is noticeably higher than the general acceptance rate.

However, although this acceptance rate is the average across all disciplines, more detailed information about the chances of acceptance for transfer student discipline-by-discipline can be found on the University of California system’s website

Based on this data, some programs of study, such as environmental chemistry, have an acceptance rate as high as 83%, whereas other programs, such as computer science, have a transfer acceptance rate as low as 16%.

Alongside the offer of admission, around 60% of UCSD students receive financial aid. In order to further encourage transfer student enrollment, UCSD provides a wide array of scholarships that are only available to transfer students. 

Some of these scholarships, such as the Chancellor’s Associates Scholarships, can cover nearly all in-state tuition for transfer students. 

As such, UCSD focuses on making its campus welcoming for transfer students and providing transfer students with the financial support they need to succeed while there. 

Application Requirements & GPA for UCSD Transfers

UCSD requires transfer students to have maintained a minimum 3.0 GPA at their previous institution. Importantly, one must maintain a 3.0 GPA in all transferable credits, and as such, students are advised to check UCSD’stransfer credit portal to determine which credits of theirs are and are not transferable. 

If a student took a course that is non-transferrable, and that course is what is keeping that student above a 3.0 GPA, then there is a chance UCSD will calculate a GPA lower than 3.0 for this student. As such, students are advised to calculate their GPA by only taking into account which credits will transfer. 

UCSD only accepts transfer students at the junior level only, and UCSD defines the junior level as having completed 70 semester units of lower-level classes in a major, and 20 semester units of upper-level classes. 

Students must complete a specific set of courses before transferring, and students must receive a C grade or better in these courses. 

These include 2 English composition courses, one math course, and at least four courses worth of arts and humanities, physical and biological science, and social and behavioral sciences courses. 

Furthermore, depending on one’s major, students might need to complete a set amount of lower-level, major-preparation coursework in that subject prior to transferring. 

This is the case for the vast majority of STEM majors, such as biology, chemistry, and engineering, as well as most capped majors—majors which only admit a limited number of students. 

UC San Diego Transfer Deadline

UCSD Rady School
Tktktk, Rady School, UCSD, CC BY 3.0

The deadline to submit an application to UCSD as a transfer student is November 30th of each year, and applications open on August 1st of each year. 

In between these dates, students are advised to fill out their FAFSA and California Dream Act forms. The deadline to do so is March 2nd, but the FAFSA and California Dream Act open on October 1st of each year and, typically, it is best to complete these forms as soon as possible. 

Once a transfer student has submitted their application, they will then have access to an applicant portal whereby transfer students can complete their transfer academic update

This form is due on January 31st of each year, and entails updating one’s transcripts with the final grades from the most recent fall semester, considering the majority of students will not know their final grades prior to the November 30th application due date. 

If any other information or specific forms are required of a student, UCSD will update students via email, though be aware that often students’ email platforms mark UCSD’s emails as spam. 

What is the Decision Date for UC San Diego Transfers?

Admission decisions for transfer students are made available each year by late March-early April, and students have until June 1st to accept their position at UCSD. 

After this, those students who are not offered admission have the opportunity to opt into a waitlist to potentially still receive acceptance. Students have until 11:59 pm PST on May 15th each year to opt into the late-admissions waitlist.

Two important deadlines follow once a student has been accepted, either via the standard admission process or via being selected from the waitlist. 

The first is on July 1st of each year, which is the deadline to submit final transcripts from all previously attended institutions. The second is on July 15th, which is the final date students can submit any IB, AP, or similar exams to count as college credit. 

Once the acceptance of admissions has been offered, accepted, and all necessary documents are turned in, students will be all set to attend UCSD. 

Deciding Whether You Should Transfer to UC San Diego

After everything has been done to assure a smooth transfer into UCSD, students may still ask themselves: is San Diego the right choice? 

The answer to this question will be up to each individual student, but nevertheless, many factors make UCSD a wonderful choice for a variety of students. 

Firstly, transfer students might be drawn to UCSD in a unique way. In fact, UCSD was ranked by Money Magazine as the 6th best university in the nation for its transfer student resource. 

To expand more on their unique UniversityLink program, students qualify for this transfer student program if they or their family have an income less than $40,000 dollars a year. 

For this group of students, they will have the chance to connect with former transfer students, individual admissions advisors, and UniversityLink financial aid/scholarship advisors. 

These financial aid advisors can then aid students as they apply for the pool of scholarships only available to UniversityLink transfers

In more general terms, UCSD has one of the best college towns in America, with 300+ days of sunshine, an average temperature of 77 degrees, and wonderful downtown attractions. These attractions include the San Diego Zoo, the beautiful nearby beaches, and historical locations related to San Diego’s status as “the birthplace of California.”

As such, UCSD is sure to provide the full range of adventures anyone could hope for throughout their years in undergraduate. 

Academically, UCSD tops charts as the #1 pharmacy school. It also ranks 5th for film schools, and #6 for the best public schools in the United States. 

With UCSD being an institution that cares deeply about its transfer student population, all the while mixing the adventures of undergrad with academic excellence, it’s sure to be a wonderful choice for many transfer students. 

RECAP: How to Apply As a Transfer Student to UC San Diego

UCSD Medical School
TritonsRising, UCSD Biomedical Library, CC BY-SA 4.0

To recap, in order to transfer to UCSD the first thing one must do is assure they’ve taken the necessary prerequisite classes (preferably at a partner institution of UCSD) prior to applying. This will usually entail around 90 semester hours worth of classes. 

Be sure to reach out to the specific program hoping to be applied to to assure the necessary coursework for that specific major is completed prior to applying for UCSD.

If a student is interested in the UniversityLink program, they must submit their application either in their senior year of high school or during their first semester at a partner institution. 

Next, watch for the application to be available on August 1st and submit the UCSD application before November 30th. In the meantime, fill out the FAFSA and the California Dream Act application form before March 2nd—but the sooner the better, usually. 

Update all academic information on the application portal with updated grades from the most recent semester before January 31st, and look out for an acceptance letter in late March-early April. 

If one doesn’t receive an acceptance letter, they can opt-in to the waitlist by May 15th. 

Once final transcripts are submitted on July 1st, and any IB/AP exam scores are reported on July 15th, transfer students should be all set to enroll in one of the most beautiful, exciting, and academically stimulating universities in the country. 

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