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Freshman Eligibility Requirements

If you complete the requirements listed below and meet the minimum thresholds for grades and test scores, you will satisfy the university’s freshman eligibility requirements. Attaining eligibility is an important first step in gaining admission to the university, though eligibility alone will not assure admission to UC Santa Barbara. For information on important selection criteria, visit the Freshman Selection page.

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Subject Requirement

Students must successfully complete UC-approved courses in these "a-g" subject areas with a 'C' grade or better. Be sure that the classes you take are on your school’s UC CERTIFIED COURSE LIST. Obtain your school’s list from your counselor, or visit the official "a-g" Course List resource website.

Course Content
Course Requirement
a. History or social science
Must include U.S. history and world history/cultures/geography
2 years required
b. College-preparatory English
College-preparatory composition or literature
4 years required

c. Mathematics
At minimum: elementary algebra, geometry and advanced algebra
3 years required, 4 years recommended

d. Science
Must include two of these three areas: biology, chemistry and physics
2 years required, 3 years recommended

e. Language other than English
Must have two years of the same language
2 years required, 3 years recommended

f. Visual/Performing Arts
One year-long course from: dance, drama/theater, music or visual art
1 year required from a single discipline

g. College-preparatory elective(s)
One year in addition to those required from "a-f" categories
1 year required

Note: For online coursework, please refer to the UC list of Approved Online Course Providers.

Grade Point Requirement

Students must earn a minimum GPA of 3.0 (3.4 for non-California residents) in all a-g courses above.

Only the grades you earn in "a-g" subjects in the tenth and eleventh grades – including summer sessions – are used to calculate your preliminary GPA. Courses you took in the ninth and twelfth grades can be used to meet "a-g" Subject Requirements if you earned a grade of C or better, but they will not be used to calculate your GPA.

Examination Requirement

All applicants must submit scores from the ACT Assessment plus Writing or the SAT Reasoning Test with Essay.

UC no longer requires SAT subject tests, but certain programs recommend particular exams and you can use subject tests to satisfy the "a-g" requirements listed above or strengthen your application by showing mastery of a particular subject. Specifically, the College of Engineering recommends that all applicants take the Math Level 2 subject test.

Minimum Eligibility vs. Selection

While attaining minimum eligibility is an important first step in gaining admission to the University, minimum eligibility does not assure admission to your first choice campus. When UCSB cannot admit all eligible applicants, as has been the case among many UC campuses in recent years, we use standards to select students that are more competitive than the minimum requirements. These standards, which the university calls selection criteria, identify students who have demonstrated the capacity for high academic achievement and promise, and who have a variety of other qualities that can contribute to the strength and diversity of the campus community. Visit the Freshman Selection page to find out more.

UCSB Supplemental Applications

Certain departments at UC Santa Barbara require a supplemental application in addition to the University of California application, in which you select UCSB as a campus of choice.

College of Creative Studies

Applicants to the College of Creative Studies must submit an additional application and supplementary materials directly to the College. Although no additional fee is required to apply, admission to the College of Creative Studies is contingent upon receiving an admission offer from UCSB. Students may also apply to the college once admitted to UCSB. If you need the CCS application mailed to you, please contact the College by email at

Department of Dance

The supplemental application and audition requirement for the Department of Dance can be found here.

Department of Music

The supplemental application and audition requirement for the Department of Music can be found here.