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For Prospective Students

Thank you for your interest in UC San Diego! Before you apply, please review the information below. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the International Exchange office at your home institution. Additionally, you can email UC San Diego's Global Exchange Program Advisor Alisha Harris at

Apply to a Global Exchange Program

We can't wait to see you on campus!

Apply Here!

The Global Exchange Experience

Jack Booth, a member of the first cohort to participate in the UC San Diego- University of Southampton Global Exchange Program, created a video featuring highlights of his time in the U.S. during Fall 2021 Quarter. Watch the video to see a glimpse of all the amazing opportunities UC San Diego has to offer to exchange students!

Participating Universities

UC San Diego has established academic year exchange agreements with the following universities:
Some of the exchanges are specific to certain majors and academic departments. Check with your study abroad or international exchange office to ensure you are eligible to participate in the program. 
For students who are not enrolled at one of the partner universities listed above, below are other opportunities to study at UC San Diego:
For Students Interested in Short-Term Programs:
UC San Diego Extended Studies- International Programs
University of California Education Abroad Program (select universities only)

Nomination and Application Deadlines

Before applying, students must be nominated by their home universities. Any students who are interested should contact the study abroad or international exchange office at their home university to learn about the nomination process.
For the 2024-2025 Academic Year, partner universities must nominate their students by the following dates:
  • For Fall 2024 Quarter (Sept 23 to Dec 14) - Thursday, February 15, 2024
  • For Winter 2025 Quarter (Jan 2 to Mar 22) - Wednesday, May 15, 2024
  • For Spring 2025 Quarter (Mar 26 to June 13) - Sunday, September 15, 2024
Once nominated, a student can apply to the Global Exchange Program. The application deadlines are:
  • Fall 2024 Quarter - Friday, March 1, 2024
  • Winter 2025 Quarter - Saturday, June 1, 2024
  • Spring 2025 Quarter - Tuesday, October 1, 2024

Required Documents for Application

The application form will ask you to submit certain documents. You must submit all required documentation for your application to be considered.
  • Evidence of English Proficiency -  See the UC San Diego International Admissions Page for the tests that are accepted and the minimum scores needed. If English is an official language of your country of citizenship, you do not have to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. 
  • Copy of Passport Biodata Page - When traveling to the U.S., it is recommended to have a passport that is valid for up to six months after your planned departure. At the time of application, please upload your current valid passport. If you receive a new passport, contact to find out how to upload your new passport details.
  • Unofficial Academic Transcript from Home University - Please provide a document from your university that shows what courses you have taken so far in your degree program. This assists the UC San Diego faculty to determine if you meet any pre-requisites. If the transcript is not English, please provide a translated copy. 
  • Proposed Enrollment Course List - Please provide a list of courses that you wish to take for each quarter that you study at UC San Diego. See the Course Information and Full-Time Study section below on how to find courses. Please note that you must consult with your academic advisor at your home country to ensure that the courses you choose will count towards degree requirements. 
Due to high-demand and limited courses per quarter, we cannot guarantee placement in a desired course.
  • Letter of Support from UC San Diego Faculty (GRADUATE STUDENTS ONLY) - If you plan on taking graduate courses, please provide a letter of recommendation from a UC San Diego faculty member stating that they support your application. Our office can assist you in identifying a faculty member.
Any questions from a student or adviser should be directed to Alisha Harris at

Term Start and End Dates

UC San Diego operates on a quarter rather than a semester system. Exchange students can come in the Fall, Winter and Spring quarters to UC San Diego. The Global Exchange Program does not cover summer courses. For start and end dates of every quarter, holidays and final examination periods, please review the UC San Diego Academic Calendar for your period of study.

Course Information and Full-Time Study

Full-Time Enrollment: International students are required to enroll in at least 12 units for each academic quarter to maintain their visa status. It is strongly recommended to not take 16 or more units per quarter.
Students can find information on all courses via the Course Catalog. For undergraduate students, please see the specific department website for the courses usually offered for each quarter. For graduate students, available courses can be found through the program's website.
Please note that the course catalog for each quarter isn't finalized until much closer to the start date of the quarter. Therefore, when looking for courses use the course offerings for the current academic year as a guide to decide which courses you want to take and in which quarters they are offered. There is usually very little variation with course offerings in different academic year. Should a course be unavailable, consult with your academic advisor at the time of enrollment to review alternative courses and which would count towards your degree requirements at your home university. 
After you apply, our offices will contact you when the enrollment period begins.
Due to high-demand and limited courses per quarter, we cannot guarantee placement in a desired course.
FEES: Though tuition is waived for global exchange students, some courses might charge nominal fees such as materials fees or lab fees. Fees will be charged to your student account prior to the start of the quarter. We cannot waive these required fees for certain courses.


Housing, especially on-campus housing, is not arranged or guaranteed for exchange students. Our offices will try to assist exchange students in providing as many housing options, but ultimately housing and all costs associated with housing are the responsibility of the student. 
On-Campus Housing: The Office of Housing, Dining and Hospitality (HDH) manages all campus residence halls. If you want to stay on-campus, please visit the HDH website for information, applications and deadlines.
Off-Campus Housing: Should you want to live off-campus, please visit the Off-Campus Housing Website for resources to help you find suitable accommodation in the San Diego area. 

Cost of Living

Please note that UC San Diego is located in an affluent neighborhood in San Diego. Therefore, the cost of living is high even by California standards. Please keep this in mind when considering UC San Diego as a study abroad destination.
The International Services and Engagement Office keeps an updated estimated cost of living breakdown to provide you with more information to make your decision. 


The most common visa for exchange students is the J-1 (Exchange Visitor) Student Visa. If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you do not need a student visa. 
Visit the exchange students information page to learn more about requesting immigration documents to apply for your visa. 

Health Insurance

All students are automatically enrolled into the UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP) and are responsible for paying for their coverage for the program. Students who are currently covered under a private health plan and do not wish to be covered by UC SHIP may submit an online application to opt out of (waive) the UC SHIP. Visit UC SHIP. For more information about paying for your UC San Diego insurance and fee’s please see the Student Account resources from Student Financial Services (SFS).
Review more health, wellness and recreation resources available to you at UC San Diego.

Disability Support Services

UC San Diego's Office for Students with Disabilities provides all students with resources, support and services for documented disabilities. Should you require any additional accommodation during your exchange period, please inform the exchange coordinator at your home university so our staff and the exchange coordinator can evaluate and reach out to the appropriate contacts at UC San Diego.

Student Life and On-Campus Engagement

  • Research Opportunities- Global Exchange Program students, particularly graduate students, can conduct research while studying. However, it is entirely at the discretion of the faculty member who is responsible for the lab. If you would like to conduct research, please indicate this in your application and provide which lab or labs you are interested in.
  • Mentor/ Buddy Program- UC San Diego offers multiple peer mentor programs for exchange students. 
  • iEvents Calendar- UC San Diego hosts many activities and events for international students. Visit the Programs & Workshops page for more information.
  • Center for Student Involvement (CSI)- There are literally hundreds of student organizations and clubs for a multitude of interests. Visit for more information.
  • Athletics- UC San Diego is a Division I school, which is the most competitive tier of U.S. collegiate athletics. Visit for information on on-campus sporting events.
  • Recreation at UC San Diego- UC San Diego has multiple facilities for physical fitness. Recreation also organizes excursions for students including hiking, backpacking, snorkeling, paddleboarding, and more. Visit for more information on memberships.