The University of California, San Diego, is a public research university based in San Diego, California. It is one of the ten campuses of the University of California, and it is the southernmost one. It was established in 1960 and currently offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate programs.

UC San Diego is organized into seven undergraduate colleges, seven graduate and professional schools, and four academic divisions. UC San Diego is considered to be one of the best Public Ivys in the nation. This term refers to public universities that offer the same quality of education that a private Ivy League college would provide. UCSD graduates include several Nobel Prize winners, and other influential figures in various fields. In this article, we will be looking at the UC San Diego scholarships for international students.

International Students at UCSD

UC San Diego reports having a little over 8,800 international students. This is from a total of 38,000 students, meaning that 23% of the total student population comes from outside the US. Out of the 8,800 international students, 5,600 are undergraduates.

The Office of International Students and Scholars is dedicating to helping students coming from one of the 70 different countries that are represented in the school by helping them with any question they may have including help with the immigration process. Currently, the office doesn’t hold any in-person meetings but can be reached via e-mail, phone, or Zoom.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Tuition Fee at UCSD for International Students

Despite being a public university, UC San Diego is still very expensive, at least when it comes to non-California residents, which includes all international students. The tuition fee is $30,000 per year, and when taking into account other costs the amount can reach well over $50,000.

For international graduate students, the tuition fee Is $15,000, but you will probably need around $40,000 when all other costs are taken into account. You can find more information about graduate tuition fees on the official UC San Diego page.

International Admissions Guide at UC San Diego

Students can apply to UC San Diego directly from the university website. During the application process, students will be asked to provide accurate information about their previous academic experiences. Grades from the previous institution need to be entered without manually converting them into the US grading system, as the software will convert them automatically.

Students will also need to answer some personal insight questions during their application. International applicants will need to provide an English language exam certificate. Once admitted, students may need to attend preparatory courses related to their field of study.

Application Fee

The application fee at UC San Diego is $105. For international students who are applying for a graduate program, the application fee is $140.

Admissions Requirements at UCSD for International Students

The main requirement for international applicants at UC San Diego is having a GPA greater than 3.4, with no grade lower than a “C”. This requirement was set due to the significant competition for a spot at the university, but it still won’t guarantee that you will get accepted. SAT and ACT scores are currently not taking into consideration.

Depending on what you will be studying, you are required to take and pass UC College preparatory courses in certain subjects relevant to your field, and you will need to pass with at least a “C”. International applicants whose first language isn’t English will also need to provide TOEFL or IELTS exam results.


The US News University rankings currently place UC San Diego at the 35th spot on the national universities list, and number 8 when it comes to public universities. That being said, it is also worth noting that UC San Diego ranks among the top 10 in 7 different subjects, and among the top 20 in 11 study areas. Internationally, UC San Diego is placed just outside the top 20 universities in the world, currently occupying the 21st position.

Acceptance Rate

Since UC San Diego is a public university, the acceptance rate is significantly higher than some of the other top universities in the US. According to the official university website, the acceptance rate is currently 31.5%, Based on this, UC San Diego is a moderately selective university. Compared to other universities in the UC system it sits right in the middle, with the most selective one being UCLA at 12.3%.

UC San Diego Scholarships for International Students

Undergraduate Scholarships

1. Merit scholarships

The first-year merit scholarship is dedicated to entering students who have displayed significant academic achievements during the application process. This means that your application needs to impress the staff members. This UC San Diego scholarship is extremely competitive and only the best of the best applicants receive it. The scholarship doesn’t take the student’s financial situation into account.

Merit scholarships are also available for continuing undergraduate students. These need to be applied to via the Financial Aid Tool on the university website.

2. Restricted scholarships

Similar to merit scholarships, restricted scholarships are awarded based on merit or displayed academic excellence. However, they also take into account the student’s financial needs, leadership abilities, and field of interest. You will be asked to provide supporting documentation to verify your claims that you meet the restricted criteria.

Students can apply for restricted scholarships either as first-year students or as continuing students in the later years of their undergraduate studies. The amount of money received depends on the type of restricted scholarship, but usually ranges around $2,000 per year.

There are also other UC San Diego undergraduate scholarships for international students. You can check out the full list of scholarships here.

Graduate Scholarships

1. Fellowships

For the purpose of increasing campus diversity and exposing the students to a broad spectrum of ideas and different perspectives, UC San Diego offers fellowships to all of its incoming international students. Students will be tasked to work on various projects depending on their field of study, and in return, they will receive UC San Diego scholarships that they can use toward funding their tuition and living expenses.

2. Employment / Assistantships

UC San Diego offers plenty of employment opportunities for their graduate students no matter what they are studying as a form of UC San Diego scholarships. The way you find employment is by signing up for a position on the university website, and you will be notified when an opportunity comes up. Most positions are on-campus, but there are also some off-campus jobs that you can do as well.

As an example, there are plenty of teaching assistant positions that graduates can get involved in, which will not only help them financially but will also help develop them professionally and enable them to gain some valuable experience in their field. Salaries depend on hours worked.


I hope that this article on UC San Diego scholarships for international students was helpful. To know more information like this, check out the Available Programs for International Students!