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 on a rolling admissions basis.

MAS-IA: Admissions deadlines are Oct. 30 (early) and Jan. 15 (standard), and after Jan. 15, applications are reviewed on a rolling admissions basis.

Ph.D.: Dec. 10
Applicants will receive notification of the 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? Must everything be submitted at once?

Application materials can be uploaded to your application, which must be completed by 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 final 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?

Yes, see requirements for MIA, MPP, MCEPA and Ph.D.

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

Ph.D.: GRE 

Standardized Tests Codes

What are the GPA requirements? (MIA, MPP and MCEPA only)

The University of California requires an overall 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale). Exceptions to the GPA requirement are rare and at the discretion of the admissions committee. 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 2017:
  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.4
  • Average GRE Quantitative Percentile: 71 percent
  • Average GRE Verbal Percentile: 70 percent
  • Average GRE Analytical Percentile: 52 percent
  • Average GMAT Overall Percentile: 71 percent
  • Average TOEFL: 102
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 an overall 3.0 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 a language test?

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, IELTS or PTE Academic.

  • The minimum TOEFL score required is a 90.
  • The minimum IELTS band score is 7.0.
  • The minimum PTE Academic score required is a 65.

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, IELTS or PTE Academic.

  • The minimum TOEFL score required is 85 on the TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) or 550 on the TOEFL paper-based test (PBT).
  • The minimum IELTS band score is 7.0.
  • The minimum PTE Academic score required is a 65.

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.

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 GPS Admissions.

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 someone who does not know you personally.

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

Are there any requirements for the statement of purpose?

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

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 also 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 your application. You will receive a confirmation number after your payment is cleared. Your application will not be reviewed until it is completed and your application fee is paid. 

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 or veterans

GPS also provides application fee waivers to:

  • Peace Corps and AmeriCorps volunteers
  • PPIA alumni
  • Rangel Fellow
All fee waivers are granted provisionally, and applicants are required to provide supporting information and documentation to finalize the waiver.

How many students are admitted to GPS?

We seek to enroll as many eligible and qualified students as space allows.
BA/MIA: typically 12 – 15 students; is open only to selected majors in International Studies at UC San Diego
MIA: typically 115 – 130 students

MPP: typically 55 – 75 students

MCEPA: typically 10 – 15 students
MAS-IA: typically 45 – 60 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 requirements for the BA/MIA. 
MIA, MPP and MCEPA: We do not accept transfer students to the program.
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, you 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. 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 listed on your application. Please make sure that you check your email inbox thoroughly, including junk folders.

Can I request an early decision?

MIA, MPP and MCEPA: you can receive an early decision if you submit a complete application by the early deadline. 

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:

  • Graduate Division may not have your official transcripts. While unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the purpose of admission committee review, Graduate Division requires official transcripts prior to matriculation. The Graduate Division will be in touch with you directly regarding missing official final 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 courses are designed to prepare students for the rigorous graduate-level coursework at GPS. Five types of prep classes are offered: English as a Second Language, Quantitative Methods, Economics and 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. You must complete the class(es) in residence at UC San Diego prior to the beginning of the fall quarter.

Prep begins in August and ends in mid-September. 

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, 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 after May 31.

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 25-30 percent of our incoming class will receive fellowships of varying amounts. Most award recipients are responsible for part of the cost of their graduate education.Learn more detailed information on financial resources here.

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. Approximately 35 percent of the class 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 the Fall quarter.

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, MCEPA, MAS-IA and GLI programs?

The MIA, MPP and MCEPA 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 of 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.