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University of California, Santa Barbara

Program Overview 

Location: Santa Barbara, California
Culture: Collaborative, research-driven 
Neighborhood: Suburban, beachside
Housing: On-campus apartments
English level: Intermediate - advanced 

Deciding to attend University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) as an international student would be the beginning of an extremely rewarding experience. Attending classes that are held in wonderful facilities on the scenic and warm campus that lies along the southern California coast, would be ideal for many SAF Scholars.

UCSB offers a world-class academic study environment and an oceanfront campus considered one of the most beautiful in the world. The University is known for its collaborative culture, student-focused resources, and ground-breaking innovations across many disciplines of study.

UCSB enrolls more than 23,000 students, and its campus has an undoubtedly California vibe. The student body is diverse and active. Students regularly bike and skateboard to their classes, as well as surf, hike and swim off-campus. On-campus restaurants feature healthy options, tasty Latin fare and cuisines from across the continent of Asia.

Student Profile

This program is a good-fit for SAF Scholars who want an excellent experience of university life in the United States, as well as the opportunity to learn from professors, who are dedicated to teaching applicable skills, and gain knowledge for success in the global workforce of today. SAF Scholars who are beach or biking enthusiasts would enjoy the lifestyle at UCSB.

Other Programs at University

There are currently no other UCSB programs available to SAF Scholars.

Other Comparable Programs

University of California, Riverside; University of California, San Diego
Program Details

Program Dates by Term Availability

Fall (September - December)
Winter (January - March)
Spring (March - June)
Summer Session One (June–August); 6 weeks
Summer Session Two (August–September); 6 weeks

Progression or Concurrent Notes

There are currently no Progression or Concurrent options available at UC-Santa Barbara.

Program Strengths

The University Immersion Program (UIP) at UCSB allows SAF Scholars the opportunity to enroll in University academic and/or professional development courses in a wide variety of disciplines to accommodate diverse fields of study. SAF scholars will be immersed in rigorous, research-based course curricula in an exceptional learning environment.

# of Credits (per term)

A minimum of 12 credits is necessary to be considered a full-time student at UCSB.

Course Registration Policies & Procedures

University of California schools, including UCR, participate in a course registration process called ‘course crashing.’ Scholars will attend a class at the regularly scheduled time and will need to gain permission from the professor in order to enroll in the class.

Course/Departmental Restrictions

Some courses and departments have limited access. Therefore, SAF Scholars cannot enroll in the following courses prior to their arrival. However, if they choose, they can attend the course on their first day and check if there are any open seats and then obtain permission from the professor.
  • American/Canadian Studies
The following courses are impacted and are given priority to degree-seeking majors:
  • Digital Media/Arts
  • Film Arts/Studies
  • Media/Media Studies
The following subjects are only open to graduate students at their home university:
  • Earth Science
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Studies
  • Marine Science and Oceanography

Architecture classes are limited to the history of the discipline and not the practice. Students will not be able to take studio classes.

Some subjects are only available through the UCSB Extension school. Therefore, class choice is limited to only those courses offered at the school. Those subjects are:

  • Accounting
  • Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences
  • Business Management and Administration
  • Child Development
  • Criminal Justice/Criminology
  • Education
  • English as a Second Language
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Psychology

Graduate Courses

Graduate courses are available to qualified scholars with applicable prerequisites. 


Housing Type

Off-campus apartments


Student apartments will contain kitchens, which will allow students to prepare their own meals to their specifications. Grocery stores and markets are nearby for SAF Scholars to purchase food. Additionally, students will be living off-campus and will have more opportunities to integrate with the local community by eating at nearby restaurants and other establishments. If desired, students may also purchase a meal plan at their own expense to eat frequently on-campus.

Type of Room

Quad rooms
Student Life

Co-/Extra-Curricular Opportunities or Programs

The city of Santa Barbara is located 100 miles west of Los Angeles, and is a short bike ride or walk from the campus. Santa Barbara’s location on the shore of the Pacific Ocean provides extraordinary weather, making the city ideal for students who enjoy outdoor recreation, including surfing, hiking, swimming, biking, running and more. The city is a popular destination for tourists, given the cultural resources of the sophisticated city which include excellent shopping, seafood restaurants, movies and music.

Life on Campus

UCSB offers tons of activities that SAF Scholars have the privilege of participating in as international visiting students. The bustling academic community is complimented by the many activities, events and recreational facilities that are available on campus. There is something for every interest group and lots to do. UCSB offers a variety of cultural, entertainment and sports events weekly. The venues on campus include: Multicultural Center, Arts & Lectures, and the newly renovated state-of-the-art Recreation and Aquatics complexes.

Last Updated: 1/9/19