Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

When is the application deadline?

BA/MIA: April 22
MIA, MPP and MCEPA: Dec. 4 (early) and Jan. 15 (standard), and after Jan. 15, applications are reviewed in the order received on a rolling admissions basis.

MAS-IA: Admissions deadlines are Oct. 30 (early) and Jan. 15 (standard), and after Jan. 15, applications are reviewed in the order in which they are received and will be considered until May 31, contingent upon space availability.
All applicants will receive notification of decision within four to six weeks of receipt of a complete application.

What is the difference between the early and the standard admissions deadline?

The early admissions deadline allows you to receive notification of your admissions status earlier.

Do the application materials need to be postmarked with the deadline date?

All materials must be received or postmarked by the deadline date for which you are applying. The online application and supporting online materials must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on the day of the deadline. Hard copy materials must be postmarked by the deadline. If the date should occur on a weekend or holiday, the next business day will apply.

What do I need to submit, and must everything be submitted at once?

Most application material can be uploaded to your application, which will need to be completed before the deadline and reviewed by the admissions committee. 

Learn about BA/MIA, MIA, MPP, MCEPA or MAS-IA application details here.

Do I need to submit translations of my official documents?

Yes. All foreign documents, such as official transcripts and letters of recommendation originally written in another language, must be translated by an official translator and notarized as authentic translations by a notary public. Transcripts do not need to be converted to a U.S. grade scale.

Is a standardized test, such as the GRE or GMAT, required for admission?

Applicants may self-report scores, including registration number, in the application. The admissions team can review an application with self-reported scores as long as the test was taken before an application deadline but cannot make a final decision until the official scores are received by the testing service. Tests taken after a deadline will be reviewed in the following round of reviews.

BA/MIA: No standardized tests are required for admissions to this program.
MIA, MPP and MCEPA: Yes, we accept only the GMAT or GRE examination.
MAS-IA: No standardized tests are required for admissions to this program.

Ph.D.: GRE required

Standardized Tests Codes

What are the average or minimum GRE scores and GPA requirements? (MIA, MPP and MCEPA only)

The University of California requires an overall 3.0 upper division GPA (on a 4.0 scale). Some exceptions can be made for applicants who are close to the minimum requirement. However, these exceptions are rare and at the discretion of the admissions committee. Bear in mind that there are a variety of factors that influence the admissions decision. GPA and test scores are important, but not decisive. Each year, the applicant pool changes and admissions decisions are made by comparing each applicant with their peers. Academic preparation, relevant work experience, the statement of purpose and the letters of recommendation are all taken into consideration when considering an applicant for admission.
Statistics for the entering class of 2016:
  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.5
  • Average GRE Quantitative Percentile: 71 percent
  • Average GRE Verbal Percentile: 70 percent
  • Average GRE Analytical Percentile: 52 percent
  • Average GMAT Overall Percentile: 71 percent
  • Minimum TOEFL: 90
Average years of professional experience: 2.2

What are the minimum admissions requirements? (MAS-IA only)

Applicants interested in pursuing the MAS-IA degree must have earned a four-year bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an institution of comparable standing to the University of California with a overall 3.0 upper division GPA (on a 4.0 scale).
Applicants must also have a minimum of five years of professional experience and relevant international experience. The requirements for international experience may be met in a number of ways: 1) foreign work experience or work experience with a multinational enterprise, government entity or nonprofit with foreign operations, 2) extended residence abroad 3) professional experience with international populations or 4) other relevant international experience considered on a case-by-case basis.

Do I have to take the TOEFL or IELTS?

MIA, MPP and MCEPA: All international applicants whose native language is not English and who have not studied for one uninterrupted year at a university-level institution in a country where English is the official language must take the TOEFL or IELTS. The minimum TOEFL score required is a 90. The minimum IELTS band score is 7.0.
MAS-IA: All international applicants whose native language is not English and who have not studied for one uninterrupted year at a university-level institution in a country where English is the official language must take the TOEFL or IELTS. The minimum TOEFL score required is 80 on the TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) or 550 on the TOEFL paper-based test (PBT). The minimum IELTS band score is 7.0.
Arrangements for taking the TOEFL may be made through the nearest U.S. Embassy or the Educational Testing Services.

I have completed coursework at a variety of universities. Do I need to submit official transcripts from all of them?

Yes. Submit transcripts from all college and universities that you attended as part of your post-secondary education, whether you received degrees from these institutions or not.

Whom should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?

We prefer to have at least one letter from a direct supervisor who can comment on your skills as an employee. We also request at least one of your letters comes from a professor who can comment on your academic performance and potential. The third letter can be from either of those areas or perhaps from a volunteer supervisor, if applicable. We discourage you from submitting letters of recommendation from a family member or high-ranking official who does not know you personally.

Letters must be submitted online or mailed to GPS in a sealed, signed envelope directly from the recommender. The School cannot accept letters sent by applications. 

Can I have my recommendations sent by my college's letter file service?

Yes. These letters are acceptable. Please keep in mind that we would like to see at least one letter from an employer. If letters are sent directly to the admissions office by your college, you will not be required to send UC San Diego's letter of recommendation forms.

How do I submit letters of recommendation?

As part of the online application, you will provide your recommenders' contact information. An email with instructions will be sent to your recommenders so that they can upload their recommendations. Alternatively, recommenders can submit their recommendations in writing, using official company or university letterhead. If submitting by mail, recommenders must sign the flap of the envelope and send the letter directly to us.

Are there any requirements for the application statement of purpose?

There is no word length or required format for the statement of purpose. Applicants may choose to include details that provide the admissions committee with information on why you have decided to apply to the university. A statement of purpose can range from 1-3 pages in length.

Is an interview part of the application process?

The admissions committee does not interview all applicants. If an interview is needed, we will contact you directly. Interviews are required for international applicants requesting a waiver of the English language exam (TOEFL or IELTS).

How do I pay the application fee?

You must use one of the following (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, JCB) to submit an electronic application. The company that provides the online application service will not forward your application to UC San Diego until you pay the fee. You will receive a confirmation number after your payment is cleared.

Can I request an application fee waiver?

Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents may request a waiver of the application fee. Waivers are provided to applicants who are:
  • currently receiving need-based financial assistance from an undergraduate or graduate institution
  • claiming financial hardship based on current federal tax return income data
  • participating in selected federal, state and private graduate school preparation programs
  • U.S. military active duty and veterans

GPS also provides application fee waivers to:

  • Peace Corps and AmeriCorps volunteers
  • PPIA alumni
All fee waivers are granted provisionally, and applicants are required to provide supporting information and documentation to finalize the waiver. The fee waiver request is done online.

How many students are admitted?

We seek to enroll as many eligible and qualified students as space allows.
BA/MIA: typically eight – 10 students; is open only to selected majors in International Studies at UC San Diego
MIA: typically 115 – 130 students

MPP: typically 25 – 35 students

MCEPA: this is a new degree program
MAS-IA: typically 40 – 50 students

Do you accept transfer students?

BA/MIA: The program is open only to selected majors in International Studies at UC San Diego. Many of our applicants have transferred into UC San Diego from a community college. You must complete INTL 101 and INTL 102 at UC San Diego before applying to the program. Please meet with an International Studies Program academic advisor to discuss class requirements. 
MIA, MPP and MCEPA: Yes, we will admit students transferring from another program. If admitted, you might be able to waive some of the courses, but you will still be responsible for completing 98 units of graduate coursework. The application process and requirements are the same as for non-transfer candidates. Please contact us should you have further interest in transferring.
MAS-IA: We do not accept transfer students to the program.

I was not accepted or declined my offer. Can I reapply?

If you declined your offer of admission or were not offered admission, all individuals reapplying must submit a new application, pay the fee and adhere to any new application requirements. Certain materials such as test scores, transcripts and letters of reference may be used again. Please keep in mind it is the responsibility of the applicant to verify test scores have not expired and that letters of recommendations are up to date. You may notify us in writing and indicate which documents, if any, you wish to reuse.

Waiting for the Decision and Responding 

I have submitted everything. Now what?

We understand you are eager to obtain a decision on your application and will work diligently to make decisions as quickly as possible. We will send you a notification when your file is complete and being sent to the admissions committee for review.

When will I find out if I have been admitted and how will I be notified?

All students are notified via email, with the email address provided on your online application. Please make sure that you check your email address thoroughly, including junk folders.

Can I request an early decision?

The only way to get an earlier decision is to apply by the "early decision" deadline.

How do I accept my offer?

You can accept your offer online. Further communication will be provided by the admissions team as needed.

Can I defer my admission?

BA/MIA: Not applicable

MIA, MPP and MCEPA: You must submit a written request for deferral to the admissions office. If deferral is granted, you must pay your seat deposit and a $1,000 deferral fee. Both will be credited to your account upon enrollment the following academic year. Any fellowships and scholarships awarded by the School do not carry over.

MAS-IA: A written request must be submitted. If deferral is granted, you will be required to pay your seat deposit.

I was admitted provisionally. What does this mean?

Most admitted students have provisional admission, which can mean one of two things:

  • The Graduate Division may not have your official transcripts. While unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the purpose of admission committee review, the Graduate Division requires official transcripts prior to matriculation. The Graduate Division will be in touch with you directly regarding the missing documents.
  • Your provisional admission may be due to preterm prep class requirements.
  • You may not have submitted proof of required innoculations or health testing.

BA/MIA: not applicable

What is prep and why might I have to take it?

Prep classes are offered from early August to mid-September and are designed to prepare students for the rigorous graduate-level coursework. Five types of prep classes are offered: English as a Second Language, Quantitative Methods, Economicsand Analytical Writing.

Depending on your academic background you may be either required or recommended to take prep courses. If you lack upper division quantitative or economics coursework from your undergraduate degree, have low test scores/grades or have been out of school for a while, you may be required/recommended to take a prep class. If you are required to take prep, you will receive a letter from admissions, and you must complete the class(es) in residence at UC San Diego prior to the beginning of the fall quarter.

What is an admit packet and when will I receive mine?

We send every admitted student an admit packet that contains a welcome letter from the dean and information about curriculum, student organizations, important dates, prep courses and much more. If admitted, you should receive your admit packet within a few weeks of receiving your official admissions email from the Graduate Division.

What is the waitlist and when will I get a final answer?

Given the limited number of new student seats each year, we often have more qualified applicants than we can admit. This can result in some of our applicants being wait-listed. As we get a clearer picture of how many new students confirm their acceptance to the program, we are able to determine if there will be additional openings for students on the waitlist.

If you are on the waitlist you are not automatically guaranteed admission, nor does it mean that you have to accept our offer of admission, should we extend it. We will let you know if you are on the waitlist and request that you inform us of whether or not you wish to continue to be on this list.

The School begins clearing the waitlist if seats are available in May. 

I was not admitted and would like some feedback. How can I obtain that?

We are happy to provide constructive feedback on how to prepare a stronger application. Please submit your request via email, and we will respond as soon as we are able.

Financial and Fellowship Information 

How much does it cost to attend?

Learn more about degree program latest cost estimates

How do I apply for federal student aid?

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens and residents complete the FAFSA shortly after Jan. 1 and submit by March 2. You must complete a FAFSA to be considered for federal loans. Learn more detailed information on financial resources here.

Is it possible to receive a fellowship for my first year?

BA/MIA and MAS-IA: not applicable

MIA, MPP and MCEPA: Typically 25 percent of our incoming class will receive fellowships of varying amounts; however, most award recipients are responsible for part of the cost of their graduate education.

In addition to fellowships, are there opportunities to reduce the financial burden of my education?

Many students find employment on campus as interns, research assistants, teaching assistants, tutors or readers. During any given quarter, approximately 35 percent of our students hold teaching assistant or graduate student research positions throughout a variety of campus departments. Interested parties are encouraged to meet with the student affairs staff after completing one quarter of graduate study.

Additionally, all U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents not currently considered to be a California resident are strongly encouraged to establish California residency for their second year of study. Students who establish residency will receive a waiver of out of state tuition. Our student affairs staff offers information and workshops to help students establish residency.

Once I have accepted my offer, will I need to pay a deposit?

BA/MIA: no deposit required

MIA, MPP, MCEPA and MAS-IA: $500 deposit that it credited to your student account upon enrollment and is nonrefundable.

Questions about the Degrees

Do you offer a Ph.D. program?

We offer a joint Ph.D. degree with the UC San Diego Department of Political Science. The program is extremely competitive and purposely kept small. We typically accept one to two new students each year.

How long are the programs?

BA/MIA: A five-year degree program offered with the UC San Diego International Studies Program. This one-of-a-kind program is open only to UC San Diego students of selected majors in the International Studies Program. Transfer students or students who choose to study abroad may require additional time to complete the program.

MIA: A two-year, full-time program consisting of 98 units of coursework.

MPP: A two-year, full-time program consisting of 92 units of coursework.

MCEPA: A two-year, full-time program consisting of 96 units of coursework.

MAS-IA: The curriculum consists of a total of 12 courses (48 units). Students enrolled fulltime complete the degree in a nine-month academic year (holders of F or J visas must study full-time). A part-time enrollment option (two academic years) is also available to professionals with flexible work schedules.

What courses are required?

Learn more about the BA/MIA, MIA, MPP, MCEPA or MAS-IA core curriculum.

Can I study part time?

BA/MIA, MIA, MPP and MCEPA: full-time study only

MAS-IA: a part-time enrollment option (two academic years) is available for professionals with flexible work schedules

We also offer classes through the Global Leadership Institute, which is a great alternative for executives looking to sharpen their skills.

Do you offer evening courses?

While some courses are held in the evening hours, most of the classes are during the day.

Do you have an online or distance-learning program?

No. We do not currently offer online or distance-learning courses or programs.

Can I take courses at other departments within UC San Diego?

With advance approval from both departments, elective coursework may be taken through other departments at UC San Diego.

Can I study abroad?

BA/MIA and MAS-IA: not applicable

MIA and MPP: students occasionally study abroad

What is the difference between the MIA, MPP, MAS-IA and GLI programs?

The MIA and MPP are two-year, full-time programs that lead to a master's degree.

The MAS-IA program requires a minimum of five years of relevant, full time professional work experience, may be completed in one year (fulltime) or two years (parttime) and leads to a master's degree.

Our Global Leadership Institute (GLI) is designed for working professionals seeking additional exposure to the various areas of international management, international relations and comparative public policy. The program's duration ranges from 10 weeks to two years. Upon completion, the participant receives a certificate of study.

What does APSIA stand for and what does it do?

The Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA) comprises member schools around the world dedicated to the improvement of professional education in international affairs. APSIA members work to promote excellence in professional, international affairs education worldwide by sharing information and ideas among member schools and with other higher education institutions, the international affairs community and the general public. serves as a clearinghouse of information for prospective students and employers.