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Academic and Application Requirements

Graduate Admissions at UC Merced

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 graduate program for any additional admission requirements applicants must meet.


Applicant Admission Criteria:

  1. 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.
  2. Have a satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) is required.
  3. 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 gre-info@ets.org. For additional information, please visit the GRE website www.ets.org/gre/ .

The GRE institution code for UC Merced is 4129.

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General Requirements

The following is a list of materials required to complete the UC Merced Graduate application for M.A./M.M./M.S. and Ph.D. 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.

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  • Fee Waiver: Graduate application fee waivers are available for eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents based on program participation or demonstrated financial need.

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  • 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:

University of California, Merced
Attn: Graduate Division, SSB 310
5200 N Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343

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  • 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. You may report self-reported scores on the application, however, official scores are required to complete your application.

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  • 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 2 years. Note: some programs require higher scores, please check the program for details.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Individual Program Submissions:

    Although not a requirement for most programs, all applicants may also submit examples of prior academic work, writing samples, or statements about research experience if they wish.

Please Note: The Interdisciplinary Humanities program requires a writing sample of all applicants.

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