The University of California, Merced, also known as UC Merced, is an open research institution that is a part of the University of California system (UC system). It was established on September 5, 2005, and is the tenth–also the latest–campus in the UC system, a public land-grant research university system in the state of California. UC Merced is regarded as the first American research university of the 21st century. 

The university’s first class for undergraduate courses was held in 2005. Its first graduate class was held in 2009, and Michelle Obama, the Former First Lady of the US, gave the commencement address. UC Merced is also the only university in the US whose campus includes buildings certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a prestigious green building rating certification. 

US News & World Report 2021 ranked the University of California, Merced among the top 100 universities in the country and placed it 38th among all public universities. UC Merced was also ranked 4th in Social Mobility for Students on the same survey.


UC Merced has a total enrollment of nearly 9,000 students. UC Merced has 3 schools. These schools offer 24 undergraduate majors and 25 minors. 

  • School of Engineering
  • School of Natural Sciences
  • School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts

Graduate students may choose to join one of the 18 graduate groups supervised by more than 200 full-time academics who have served in some of the most esteemed universities both domestically and overseas. Visiting professors and lecturers from a variety of backgrounds complement the full-time faculty. It is interesting to note that 75% of UC Merced students are first-generation learners. 

Admission Requirements for International Students

Admission to UC Merced for both undergraduate and graduate students is held completely online. The University of California, Merced’s acceptance rate is 85%–much higher than several of its contemporaries. However, students must have an average SAT score between 960-1140 or an average ACT score of 19-24 if they wish to seek admission to this university. 

Undergraduate Admission

International students must visit UC Merced’s official website and review the complete list of eligibility and admission prerequisites before applying to the university. Below are some of the requirements: 


You qualify as a first-year applicant if you meet the following criteria:

  1. You have graduated from secondary school with excellent grades and also have a completion certificate that entitles you to admission to a university in your own country.
  1.  After finishing high school, you did not enrol in a regular session at any institution or university.

Academic prerequisites

You must meet the UC Admissions basic requirements in order to be considered for admission to UC Merced. Some of them are: 

  1. A secondary school diploma with a GPA of 3.4 or higher.
  2. The 15-year academic programme must be completed with a 3.4 GPA under the following conditions:
  • 2 years of background in your country’s history.
  • 4 years of composition and literature in your instructional language.
  • Three years (four years is usually recommended) of college-preparatory mathematics, including basic and advanced algebra as well as two- and three-dimensional geometry, are required.
  • Two years of biology, chemistry, or physics laboratory courses OR two years of integrated science
  • a second language for 2 years.
  • 2 semesters (or 1 year) of visual and performing arts instruction.

Note: For additional information on country-specific requirements, you must visit the page related to admissions on the university’s official website.

3. First-year applicants may choose to include their SAT or ACT results with their application for 2022. If applicants fail to submit their SAT or ACT results, they will not be excluded during the admission screening process. 

Note: SAT Subject Tests are not required if you demonstrate your mastery over a subject through academic scores.

4. Candidates must demonstrate a high level of English language proficiency on English proficiency exams like the IELTS or TOEFL.

Graduate Admissions

Candidates from outside the United States must possess a bachelor’s degree or above. Based on the applicant’s academic transcript, the Graduate Admissions Office will determine the equivalence of grades. 

All academic records such as degree certificates and marks cards must include crucial information such as enrollment dates, the courses taken, a description of the grading system that was followed, the class rank (if applicable), and the degree granted or the expected date of conferral.

Candidates must also attempt one of the English proficiency exams such as IELTS, Duolingo, and TOEFL, among others, and submit their scores at the time of application. Below are the scores expected on the exams in order to be able to apply to UC Merced. 

  • TOEFL: 550 (pen and paper mode) or 80 on the TOEFL iBT (internet-Based Testing).
  • IELTS: a score of 6.5 or above

International applicants must also provide letters of recommendation and GRE scores based on the department they apply for.

Courses Offered

There are 18 graduate fields of study offered by the UC Merced Graduate Division.

  • Applied Mathematics 
  • Bioengineering 
  • Chemistry and Chemical Biology 
  • Cognitive and Information Sciences 
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science 
  • Environmental Systems 
  • Interdisciplinary Humanities 
  • Management of Complex Systems 
  • Master of Management Professional Degree 
  • Materials and Biomaterials Science Engineering 
  • Mechanical Engineering 
  • Physics 
  • Political Science
  • Psychological Sciences 
  • Public Health 
  • Quantitative and Systems Biology 
  • Sociology 


Scholarships for international students are awarded based on academic merit. Depending on the relative merits of the accepted applications, the amounts granted to individuals may differ from each other. 

It is predicted that scholarship award levels will range from $2,500 to $5,000 for the school year 2022–2023 (Note: the continuation of the scholarship in 2022–23 and subsequent years is dependent on its continued funding). 

UC Merced offers exceptional prospects for faculty and staff roles, as well as student employment. Research opportunities, student-centric teaching methods, and a dedication to diversity, unite the community at UC Merced. We hope that this article has helped you learn about this institution and aids you in making an informed decision about seeking admission to it. All the best!


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