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First Year (Freshman): Admission Requirements

First YearFirst year applicants are students who are currently in high school (with or without college coursework completed), or students who have graduated high school and have taken no college coursework post-high school. 

We encourage all eligible students to apply. To be considered for admission to UC Merced, you must satisfy the following minimum UC Admissions requirements:

1. Academic Requirements

2. Course Requirements

Complete a minimum of 15 college-preparatory courses, with at least 11 finished prior to the beginning of your senior year. These courses must be completed with grades of C or better.  For courses completed during Winter 2020 through summer 2021, UC will also accept a grade of CR (credit) and P (pass). Courses completed during this time with Pass (P) or Credit (CR) grades will satisfy appropriate A-G requirements.

A. History/social science = 2 years
B. English (or language of instruction) = 4 years
C. Mathematics = 3 years (4 years recommended)
D. Science = 2 years (3 years recommended)
E. Language other than English (or other second language) = 2 years (3 years recommended)
F. Visual and performing arts = 1 year
G. College preparatory elective = 1 year

Be sure that the classes you take are on your school’s “a-g" Course List. Obtain your school’s list from your counselor or University of California "a-g" Course Lists.

SAT/ACT Test Scores

UC Merced will not consider SAT or ACT scores for admission or scholarship purposes.

If you choose to submit test scores as part of your application, they may be used as an alternative method of fulfilling minimum requirements for eligibility or for course placement after you enroll.


California Residents:

Local Path | Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC) 

  • If, when you submit your application, you discover you are designated in the top 9 percent of your class, submit an application to our campus. Being designated in the top 9 percent of your class is a characteristic UC Merced values.

Statewide Path

  • Complete a minimum of 15 college-preparatory “a-g” courses, as detailed above. Meeting the statewide path is a factor UC Merced values.

Alternate Paths

  • If you are a home-schooled student and you do not meet the traditional admission requirements you may still be considered for “Admission by exception”. Factors UC Merced considers in determining admission via an alternate path are discussed on the Selection Process page.