Reciprocity students attend UC in a "non-degree" or "coursework only" (CWO) status for an academic year or less. At the end of your UC exchange period, you are expected to return to your home university.

If you are accepted as a Reciprocity student, you will enjoy the same services as UC students, enroll in courses and receive a UC transcript at the end of your studies.  

Most UC departments accept applications for the fall term only, as faculty committees meet only once to consider new applicants for the following year. Course scheduling and registration are also geared to full-year students. Many courses, particularly in the sciences, are taught in sequential order. Furthermore, not all courses are offered each term of the year, so starting mid-year may prevent access to some courses.

It is possible for students to start mid-year at a few campuses and departments. Department and Graduate Division websites will note any mid-year application deadlines. Check online before applying, as there is no guarantee that an exception will be granted. 

Campus(es) Multiple Applications Permitted?
UC Davis Application to more than one department is permitted.
UC San Diego Application to more than one department is permitted but students may not apply to more than one specialization within the same department. 
UC Los Angeles
UC Riverside
Application to an alternate department may be submitted only if the first application to that campus has been denied. The applicant must ask for the application to be directed to an alternative department. 
UC Berkeley
UC Irvine
UC Merced
UC Santa Barbara
UC Santa Cruz
One application per term is permitted. 


Not all UC schools and departments accept applications from UCEAP Reciprocity students. UCEAP does not have the authority to change an individual school’s or department’s policy on their acceptance of non-degree students. 

The fields of law, business management, medicine and veterinary science are taught in UC professional schools. Most UC professional schools are not open to UCEAP Reciprocity applicants. Journalism, psychology, performing arts, and information science are often not able to host non-degree students.

Units earned while on the Exchange will not allow you to earn a degree or certificate at the University of California. UCEAP cannot guarantee that your home university will recognize coursework completed at UC and count it toward your current degree program. If you have questions about whether or not you will receive credit for UC coursework, contact your home university academic advisors.

Acceptance is not guaranteed. Graduate departments reserve the right to select students for their programs, and cannot always accommodate all UCEAP non-degree applicants. UCEAP is not able to change denial decisions.

Acceptance of graduate-level applicants is a two-step process: 

  • applicant is recommended by the department for acceptance
  • recommendation must be approved by the Graduate Division 

Approval of the department’s recommendation is not guaranteed. Acceptance is not final until confirmed by the Graduate Division.

Notification of an acceptance or a denial is sent directly to you from the campus of application by email and/or is accessible online using your graduate application account secure log-in. Decisions are usually announced in March through May.

Contact the UC liaison and UCEAP if you do not receive an official admission letter or email from the Graduate Division office within a few weeks of receiving notification of acceptance from the UC department.

The minimum graduate acceptance requirements are:

  • a bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent 
  • a satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale and
  • enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.

Satisfying minimal standards, however, does not guarantee your acceptance, as the number of qualified applicants exceeds the number of places available. Many departments have additional requirements, including the GRE, English-language score minimums, and GPA minimums.

Decisions are based on many factors, including the size of the department, the match or focus of department curricula with the student’s stated interests, lab space, and availability of faculty in an applicant’s specialization. 

Even though you will be an exchange student, the department will want to see that you are on the same level as your UC peers and will be a contributing member of the UC academic community.

UCEAP Reciprocity applicants are not eligible for UC teaching and research assistantships, UC scholarships, or UC financial aid. Acceptance to the program is based on the understanding that you will be responsible for your living expense costs while at UC.

If you are offered a UC teaching or research assistantship by a UC department, confer with UCEAP. Graduate departments are not always aware of the campus employment policies for international non-degree students.

If you have scholarship support from your home country, include an official letter describing the amount of the scholarship, and the dates of the award with your financial documentation.

Notify UCEAP if you are a Fulbright scholar. The DS-2019 for Fulbright scholars’ J-1 visa application will be issued by Fulbright, not by your UC host campus international office.