Academic Course Catalogs

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Admission to USD is based upon evidence of the applicant’s fitness to succeed in, benefit from, and contribute to the university community. Consideration is given to past academic performance, test scores, recommendations, a personal essay, and other information the candidate provides on the application for admission.

Admission to Freshman Standing

Admission to freshman standing is based on the following factors:

  1. Graduation from secondary school or completion of a General Education Diploma (GED).
  2. Performance in secondary school. Applicants are expected to present a well-balanced secondary school program of at least four academic subjects each year (including college preparatory courses in English, foreign language, mathematics, laboratory science, history, and social science). Both the content of the program and the quality of the performance will be considered.
  3. Scores on the SAT I or ACT. Students should plan to take this test in their junior year, early in their senior year, or at least nine months prior to their planned university enrollment. For both tests, students are required to take the writing section.
  4. Academic recommendation from high school faculty.
  5. Personal essay.
  6. Evidence of leadership, talent, service, or other qualities which will lead to success and meaningful participation in college and the larger community.

Additional, prior preparation is strongly recommended for students planning to pursue a major in engineering. For further information, see the Engineering section in the School of Business Administration portion of this course catalog.

Advanced Placement (AP) and Credit for Advanced Work

The purpose of advanced placement and credit is to recognize advanced work of quality already accomplished by certain students, to preclude duplication of courses, and to provide increased opportunity for the exceptional student to take elective work in his or her undergraduate program.

Advanced placement college credit may be granted for advanced placement courses taken in secondary schools when such courses are completed with scores of 3, 4, or 5 on appropriate Advanced Placement Tests given by the College Entrance Examination Board. (Higher scores are required on certain tests. Go to for a current listing).

Students who have been given the opportunity by their secondary schools to take college courses prior to high school graduation will be given college credit if such courses were taken after the sophomore year.

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

College credit may be granted, within certain limitations, for the subject examinations offered through the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) of the College Entrance Examination Board when satisfactory scores have been earned. Units earned in this manner require extra payment.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

The University of San Diego recognizes the International Baccalaureate (IB) as a rigorous college preparatory program. The university will award credits to students having successfully passed the individual IB higher level examinations with scores of 5 or higher. Satisfaction of specific university requirements by IB credit is decided in consultation with individual departments. Credit is also awarded to students who have successfully passed selected IB SL examinations with scores of 5 or higher. Go to for a current listing of credits awarded.

Admission to Advanced Standing

The university normally accepts transfer students from other colleges and universities who were admissible to the university as freshmen and present a strong record in their previous college work.
Candidates who were not eligible for admission to the university as freshmen will be considered if they present a balanced academic program of at least 24 semester units of transferable academic work with a strong record.

Students who did not graduate high school or complete the GED, should have successfully completed an AA degree before applying.

Students who have left the university without an approved leave of absence should seek readmission through the Office of the Registrar.

Candidates for advanced standing, in addition to the application procedures listed, must present official transcripts of all college work attempted and a letter of recommendation from the previous college.
Transfer credit is officially evaluated by the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences following the student’s acceptance and submission of the commitment deposit. No official evaluation can be made before that time.

Application Procedure

  1. A candidate should obtain the Application for Admission from the Office of Admissions website and return the completed form with the fee of $55 (non-refundable).
  2. A candidate should ask the registrar of his/her high school (and colleges, if any) to send the official transcripts to the university. Definitive acceptance depends on the report of the final examinations of the secondary school and the statement of graduation from high school.
  3. Reports of the SAT I, including writing, of the College Entrance Examination Board, and/or ACT with writing results, should be forwarded to the university at the request of the student.
  4. The applicant should arrange to have sent directly to the university the recommendation as indicated on the Application for Admission form.
  5. When the above data are filed, undergraduate admissions will inform the student of the action taken on the application according to the calendar published on the Undergraduate Admissions website.
  6. Admitted candidates are required to send a commitment deposit before the deadline noted in their letter of acceptance. Commuting students should send a $300 deposit and resident students should send a $500 deposit/room reservation fee.
  7. The university observes the announced national candidate’s reply date. This means that candidates who have been informed of their acceptance to the university are not required to make any non-refundable deposit prior to May 1.

The University of San Diego is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling and subscribes to the Statement of Principles of Good Practice of that organization.

Information for International Students

The University of San Diego welcomes international students who can demonstrate their ability to undertake college work successfully in the United States.

Applicants for admission from other countries must give evidence of eligibility for college entrance by furnishing official records covering all secondary and collegiate work and academic and personal recommendations. All non-English records must be translated into English and certified as accurate by the school, a consulate official, or an official translator. Evaluation of international transcripts often requires several weeks. Students presenting such transcripts are therefore urged to have them forwarded as early as possible.

Students from non-English-speaking countries are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) administered by the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey 08541. The SAT or ACT with writing is optional for international freshman applicants. The SAT is administered throughout the year worldwide. To obtain SAT registration materials, go to It is the responsibility of the international student to see that all credentials for admission to the fall semester are received by January 15.

All international students accepted by the university who require a F-1 or J-1 Visa must provide for their financial support from non-university sources. They must submit adequate proof of financial responsibility for all obligations for the full period of time for which they are making application. Accepted resident students should send a tuition deposit/room reservation fee of $500, and commuting students should send a tuition deposit of $300 when accepted. These non-refundable deposits are credited to the student’s account. No evaluation of a student’s academic status or registration information can be sent until receipt of the deposit.

USD is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students. The applicant must be accepted as a full-time student working toward a degree before he or she is eligible for a Certificate of Eligibility Form I-20. The Form I-20 will be sent to the student after acceptance and upon receipt of an affidavit of support indicating the amount and source(s) of finances.

Veterans Benefits

The Unviersity of San Diego welcomes veterans, dependents and members of the U.S. Armed Forces. All eligible veterans, service members and dependents may now apply for benefits online at For more information, contact the USD Veterans Affairs Coordinator at the Registrar’s Office, Founders Hall, Room 117.

Yellow Ribbon Program

The University of San Diego is a participant in the Department of Veterans Affairs: Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program. This program provides contributions to eligible veterans, spouses and/or children with unmet tuition costs. In addition, the VA will match the USD Yellow Ribbon scholarship funds offered by USD. For additional information regarding application for the program, contact USD’s Veterans Affairs Coordinator at the Registrar’s Office, Founders Hall, Room 117.