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Admissions Criteria and Requirements

Admission decisions are based on a combination of factors, including academic degrees and records, the statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, test scores, and relevant work experience. We also consider the appropriateness of your goals to the degree program in which you are interested and to the research interests of the program's faculty. In addition, consideration may be given to how your background and life experience would contribute significantly to an educationally beneficial blend of students.

Please check the information provided by each emphases area for any additional admission requirements applicants must meet.  For additional information regarding admission requirements, please visit UC Merced Graduate Division site for Prospective Students


Applicant Admission Criteria:

Each successful applicant must:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution, with a major appropriate to the proposed graduate program. This degree must represent the completion of a program equivalent both in the distribution of academic subject matter and scholarship achievement comparable to that offered at the University of California.
  • Have a satisfactory scholastic average; usually a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 (B) is required.
  • Provide standardized test scores (Graduate Record Exam). UC Merced graduate program requires only the general test. Applicants should arrange to have GRE scores sent electronically to the UC Merced Graduate Division office. GRE scores are valid for five years after the testing year in which you tested.  You can contact the ETS directly via e-mail at More information is available at the GRE Website

The GRE institution code for UC Merced is 4129.

Application Requirements

The following is a list of materials required to complete the UC Merced Graduate application for both master’s and doctoral programs:

  • Application Fee: The application fee must be submitted when you apply.  No application will be processed until the application fee has been received.  The application fee is not refundable under any circumstances. You may pay using a credit card when applying online.  
  • Fee waiver: Graduate application fee waivers are available for eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents based on program participation or demonstrated financial need. A fee waiver may be requested on the admission application.  *Note: if you apply for a fee waiver, do not pay the fee unless you are contacted by the Graduate Division.
  • Transcripts: Submit one official transcript for all college-level academic work including community college, summer session, and study abroad.  Official transcripts must be submitted in a sealed envelope issued by the originating institution.  Transcripts can be mailed to the University of California, Merced, Attn: Graduate Division, SSB 310, 5200 N Lake Road, Merced, CA 95343.
  • Graduate Record Examination scores: The general test of the GRE is required for admission to graduate study at UC Merced. Applicants should arrange to have GRE scores sent to the UC Merced Graduate Division Office.  GRE scores are valid for five years after the testing year in which you tested.  The GRE institution code for UC Merced is 4129.
  • TOEFL or IELTS Scores: All graduate applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English, must show evidence of having taken the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or TOEFL-Internet Based Test or the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) examination within the past two years. Note: Some programs require higher scores, please check the website for details.
  • Three letters of recommendation: Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation.  On the admissions application you will be asked to enter the email addresses of three recommenders.  Your recommenders are asked to give their personal impressions of your intellectual ability, your aptitude in research or professional skills, your character, and the quality of your previous work and potential for future productive scholarship. Applicants may waive the right to inspect their letters of recommendation on a voluntary basis. We reserve the right to verify the authenticity of any and all letters of recommendation.
  • Statement of purpose: A statement of purpose is required to help determine whether your academic objectives can reasonably be satisfied in the graduate program to which you seek admission.
  • Personal history and achievement/contributions: The Personal History and Achievements/Contributions statement is required and provides admission committees insight into an applicant’s background, accomplishments, achievements or contributions that are important in evaluating the applicant for graduate study.  Relevant information includes educational, familial, cultural, economic, or social experiences, challenges, or opportunities pertinent to the applicant’s academic journey.
  • Individual program submissions: Although not a requirement, you may submit examples of prior academic work, writing samples, or statements about research experience.
  • International students: Students applying from foreign countries should refer to the requirements and regulations for international students.