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University of California, Merced - 2016

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Admissions Information

Graduate Admission to the College of Engineering

Hold a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution with a major appropriate to the proposed graduate program. This degree must represent the completion of a program equivalent both in the distribution of academic subject matter and scholarship achievement comparable to that offered at the University of California.

Have a satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) is required.

Provide standardized test scores (Graduate Record Exam). UC Merced graduate program requires only the general test. Applicants should arrange to have GRE scores sent electronically to the UC Merced Graduate Division office.

Foreign students must complete the TOEFL or IELTS; minimum TOEFL scores are 550 (paper) or 80 (internet); the minimum IELTS score is 7.0

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Graduate Admission to an Engineering Department

Students with undergraduate degrees in areas of engineering, natural sciences and physical sciences normally have backgrounds that are well suited to the doctoral and master's programs in Environmental Systems. Applicants with other degrees will be examined on a case-by-case basis. Students are expected to have proficiency in undergraduate chemistry, physics and calculus.

BEST encourages applications from all students interested in graduate study towards Ph.D. or M.S. degrees in this exciting multidisciplinary area. Applications are invited from students with undergraduate degrees from any relevant discipline, including the life sciences, the physical sciences, engineering and mathematics. An essential part of the admission process is to find a good match between the interests of the prospective student and BEST faculty member's research area, so we encourage interested students to begin the application process by contacting the BEST chair or any BEST faculty whose research interests them.

In addition to campuswide criteria, the EECS Admission Committee evaluates applicants’ backgrounds in computer science and electrical engineering. The successful applicant is supposed to demonstrate an adequate preparation in numerous areas, including, but not limited to, computer architecture; operating systems; computer networks; programming languages; data structures and algorithms; mathematics (linear algebra, differential equations, numerical methods, probability and statistics); systems and signals; circuit design; control theory; and communications. An applicant to EECS can be granted conditional admission pending remedial classes that would allow the student to take EECS graduate classes.

As a guideline, ME graduate students should have adequate background in Mechanical Sciences, which typically involve higher division classes in Fluid Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, and adequate Mathematics background (Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, Numerical Methods, etc.). A graduate student in ME can be granted conditional admission pending remedial classes.

Prospective graduate students should submit the following materials

The complete official application form;
The application fee;
All official university/college/junior college transcripts;
An official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score report. Only the general tests are required;
Three letters of recommendation from instructors or supervisors who can comment on the applicant’s scholarly ability and promise as a researcher;
Official score reports from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) if the applicant’s native language or language of instruction is other than English;
Current curriculum vitae.

Entrance Requirements for Foreign Students

Students with credentials from universities outside the United States should begin the application process well in advance of the deadline date. Official copies or certified copies of all transcripts in English and in the original language are required.

Applicants whose native language or language of instruction is not 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. More information for international student requirements can be found on our website. The English Language Institute (ELI) facilitates the university’s compliance with state mandates for incoming international teaching assistants through various services.
The minimum requirements are as follows:
TOEFL: 550 on the paper test or 80 on the TOEFL iBT (internet-Based Testing)
IELTS: a score of at least 7

UC Merced's TOEFL iBT score requirements for admission consideration is an overall minimum score of 80. The minimum scores on each section are as follows:
19 / Writing
26 / Speaking
17 / Listening
18 / Reading

NOTE: International and U.S. Permanent Resident graduate students who are not citizens of countries where English is either the primary or dominant language MUST pass an approved oral English-proficiency examination to be considered for appointment as a Teaching Assistant or Teaching Associate. There is NO EXCEPTION to this requirement.

Information on the TOEFL is available online at and IELTS information at These requirements are waived for applicants who have received an advanced degree from a U.S. institution or from a country where English is the language of instruction.

International applicants must certify that they have sufficient funds to cover fees, tuition and living expenses for the first year of their study at UC Merced. Financial verification must be provided before visa forms can be issued.

Entrance Requirements for Non-Resident Students

Requirements do not differ for CA residents and Non-residents.

Admissions Requirements for Transfer Students

For questions regarding graduate education at UC Merced, contact the Graduate Division at (209) 228-4723 or email us at