UC Merced Entrance Requirements

Fernanda Munoz
Essay editor
Last updated,
June 7, 2023

According to U.S. News & World Report, UC Merced is ranked #1 among public universities in the United States for overall social mobility and #67 among public universities overall.

Additionally, the university is recognized for its commitment to sustainability and has been named one of the greenest universities in the country.

UC Merced is also a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, a group of leading research universities in the United States. Overall, UC Merced is a top choice for students seeking a high-quality education and a supportive, inclusive community.

UC Merced values academic excellence, diversity, and social responsibility. The university is committed to providing students with a high-quality education that prepares them for successful careers and lifelong learning.

UC Merced is also dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusivity and offers a variety of programs and resources to support students from diverse backgrounds.

Additionally, the university is focused on making a positive impact in the local and global community through research, outreach, and service. By emphasizing academic excellence, diversity, and social responsibility, UC Merced is cultivating a community of engaged and well-rounded individuals who are prepared to make a difference in the world.

The UC Merced Application Process

There are two main application options: the Common Application and the UC Application. The Common Application is a standardized application used by many colleges and universities across the country, while the UC Application is specific to the University of California system, which includes UC Merced.

Both applications require similar information, such as personal and academic information, test scores, and essays. However, the UC Application also requires additional information, such as your coursework and grades, and it has a different format than the Common Application. You can choose to apply to UC Merced using either application, but it's important to carefully review the requirements and deadlines for each option before making your decision.

Components of the UC Merced Application

Regardless of which application option you choose, there are several components that are required as part of the UC Merced application process. These include:


You will need to submit transcripts from all high schools and colleges you have attended, including any dual-enrollment or summer courses.

UC Merced does not have a specific minimum GPA requirement, but the average admitted student has a GPA of around 3.6. When applying to UC Merced, it is recommended to take challenging courses in high school, particularly in math and science.


The essays are a critical component of the UC Merced application, as they provide insight into your personality, goals, and experiences. There are two essay prompts for the UC Application, and you must respond to both. The Common Application also has essay prompts, but you only need to respond to one. It's important to take the time to carefully craft your essays, as they can make a significant impact on your application.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are not required for the UC Merced application, but they can be a valuable addition to your application. If you choose to submit letters of recommendation, they should come from teachers, counselors, or other individuals who can speak to your academic or personal achievements. It's important to choose recommenders who know you well and can provide specific examples of your strengths and accomplishments.

Test Scores

UC Merced requires applicants to submit either SAT or ACT scores, as well as any SAT Subject Test scores.

The minimum test scores required for admission vary depending on the specific major or program, but generally, UC Merced looks for a combined SAT score of at least 1200 (or an ACT composite score of at least 24) and a minimum of two SAT Subject Test scores. However, it's important to review the admissions criteria for your intended major or program to determine the specific requirements.

Timeline for the UC Merced Application Process

The UC Merced application process has several important deadlines that you need to be aware of. The application deadline for fall admission is November 30th, and the application deadline for winter or spring admission is September 1st. However, it's important to note that some majors or programs may have earlier deadlines or additional requirements, so be sure to check with your intended program for specific details.

Tips and Advice for Prospective Students

If you're interested in applying to UC Merced, there are several insider tips that can help you navigate the application process and increase your chances of being admitted.

First, it's important to start the application process early. Give yourself plenty of time to gather all the necessary materials, such as transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation. Be sure to carefully review the application requirements and deadlines for your intended major or program, as some programs may have earlier deadlines or additional requirements.

When crafting your essays, be sure to provide specific examples and anecdotes that highlight your unique perspective and experiences. The essays are an opportunity to showcase your personality and passion, so don't be afraid to be creative and authentic.

If you're nervous about submitting your application, consider reaching out to current UC Merced students or alumni for advice and guidance. They can provide valuable insight into the application process and share their own experiences and tips.

UC Merced offers a variety of programs and services to help students navigate the application process, including workshops, webinars, and one-on-one advising. By utilizing these resources and staying organized and motivated, you can set yourself up for success and achieve your academic and career goals at UC Merced.

Need Support to Get into UC Merced?

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Fernanda Munoz
Essay editor
Last updated,
June 7, 2023

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