International Application Information
Applicants that have attended recognized academic institutions outside the United States should have completed degree programs representing a minimum of 16 years of schooling with at least 12 years at the primary and secondary levels.
Students with foreign academic work are required to submit official copies of academic records directly from their school, college or university, along with a certified English translation.
In addition to the university admission criteria, international students are required to submit the following:
- 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 recently taken the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) examination. The minimum requirements are as follows:
- TOEFL: 550 on the paper test or 213 on the computer-based TOEFL test
- IELTS: a score of at least 7
The Educational Testing Service is developing a new TOEFL test to be delivered via the Internet. Internet-based testing (IBT) allows ETS to capture speech and score responses in a standardized, fair manner. UC Merced's overall score of 68 with minimum scores on each section are as follows:
- 18 / writing
- 17 / speaking
- 16 / listening
- 17 / reading
A minimum score of at least 26 on the speaking section is required to be appointed as a teaching assistant; therefore, the overall minimum requirement is 77. Some programs may require higher scores. Please check individual program Web sites for specifics.
NOTE: International and US Permanent Resident graduate students who are not citizens of countries where English is either the primary or dominant language, who wishes to be considered for appointment as a Teaching Assistant or Teaching Associate, MUST pass an approved oral English proficiency examination. There is NO EXCEPTION to this requirement.
For admission purpose only, the TOEFL may be waived for an applicant who has received an advanced degree from a U.S. institution or from a country where English is the language of instruction. This DOES NOT exempt the applicant from the English proficiency examination for Teaching Assistant or Teaching Associate appointment. For more information regarding the English proficiency examination please visit the Center for Research on Teaching Excellence website.
Resources for International Students:
For international students wishing to begin study at UC Merced, we are strongly urging you to complete your paperwork and make your plans well in advance. Given the U.S. consulates' more comprehensive review of individual student histories and situations, we anticipate that it will take a much longer amount of time for you to obtain your student visa and process related paperwork critical to your travel and study at UCM.
Please consider ways that you can have paperwork completed and contacts identified weeks in advance. For example, consider paying your visa fee in advance so that you have your receipt available for the day when you can officially submit your visa to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country.
Similarly, make sure you have all required documents and that complete your passport application, CIAQ, and other required forms in advance of when you think you might need them. This way, if you don't have information requested on the forms, you will have extra time to obtain needed information. Make yourself aware of all U.S. Immigration rules and regulations that will affect you as a visiting student. Planning ahead will save you precious time.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
As an exception, you can submit scores from the Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) designed by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate and administered by the British Council worldwide. You are responsible for providing us with an official Test Report Form (TRF) of your IELTS. Remember to order the TRF when you register to take the test. Your most recent overall BAND score must be at least 7 on a 9-point scale. To register for the IELTS, consult the IELTS Web site or contact the office of the test center where you plan to take the test, or contact the British Council.