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16 Things You Need To Know To TAG To A UC

16 Things You Need to Know to TAG to a UC

Post Series: By the Numbers

UC TAG for fall 2018 transfer applicants is now available online.

TAG, for the uninitiated, means Transfer Admission Guarantee — and yes, it means exactly what it says — guaranteed admission to one of six UCs:  Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara or Santa Cruz. (UC Berkeley, UCLA and San Diego do not offer TAG.)

So, here’s how guaranteed admission works (all relevant links are at the bottom of this page):


1. You must currently be attending a California Community College (CCC).

You can be a CA resident, an international student with a visa, or from out-of-state, but you must be directly transferring from a CCC.


2. You must fulfill the definition of a CCC student.


This means by the end of the final spring term, you must complete at least 30 UC-transferable semester (45 qtr) units from one or more CCC — and the last college attended in a regular year session must be at a CCC.


3.  TAG non-eligibility 

You are not eligible for TAG if you already have a Bachelor’s degree, a graduate degree, or a professional degree. If you were previously enrolled at a UC (not including summer) you cannot TAG the UC you attended. You also cannot currently be enrolled in high school.


4. Completing the TAG application

The TAG application is available online from Sept 1-30.  You choose one UC to TAG. Keep in mind you must also submit the regular UC application during its application window of November 1-30.


5. Which term does TAG apply?

It applies for the following fall term only.  (Exception is Merced, which also has a spring TAG with a May 1-30 application window. See bottom of page for details.)


6. TAG approval is conditional

Most of the six UCs let you know of conditional approval in early November. (Currently, Irvine does not send out notices.)  The approval is based on your fulfilling all the remaining coursework and GPA requirements per the TAG agreement for that UC.


7. Does conditional mean it’s not a guarantee?

TAG approval is a guarantee assuming you fulfill the contract stipulations through the end of spring term. Possible reasons for rejection might include: getting a D or F in any subsequent term; falling below the minimum cumulative GPA requirement for the specific TAG; not fulfilling major requirements; under 60 semester/90 qtr units by final spring term. (At the end of this page are links to each UC TAG contract. Be sure to study the rules carefully.)


8. What happens if I am rejected from TAG

If your TAG application is rejected you are funneled over into the regular application pool. And BTW, if you’re TAG is approved, you are not obligated to attend that UC.  


9. Majors excluded from TAG

Some UCs have majors that are excluded from TAG.

Davis – Landscape Architecture (you can apply via TAG but are accepted into pre-landscape architecture and it is not a guarantee you will be admitted into the major as there are additional requirements at Davis);  Textile and Clothing; and Fiber and Polymer Science
Irvine – Business Administration; Cognitive Science; Dance; Music; Nursing
Merced – English; Global Arts and Studies; Public Health; Spanish
Riverside – Art (studio)
Santa Barbara – all majors in College of Creative Studies and College of Engineering; plus Dance; Music; Theatre

(This list is subject to change to be sure to check the matrix, below.)


10. TAG unit limits

The total UC-transferable units from a CCC or any non-CCC (U.S.or international) cannot go over the ceiling limits set by each UC. If all your units by end of spring term are lower division, you will not hit the ceiling so don’t worry.  Upper division courses, however, can place you above the ceiling limits.  (See the Transfer Unit Maximums by UC..)  Keep in mind that Davis currently will consider more than 80 semester units for College of Engineering.


11. TAG pre-qualifications

In order to submit a TAG you must have completed 30 UC-transferable semester units (45 quarter) by end of summer before the TAG application. These courses can be entirely from a CCC or from any mix of colleges. AP credit also counts. Keep in mind, though, by end of spring term you need 30 UC-transferable semester units from a CCC.

Special Davis rule:  To TAG Davis you are required to be a full-time student (12 semester units) from the spring before the TAG through fall and final spring.  That’s three terms! They claim to allow exceptions at their discretion for working or similar situations.

I do not like this policy. TAG should not have vague loopholes. At their discretion is a loaded term. That’s not the purpose of TAG. All the other UCs have a crystal clear policy wth no gray areas. I have seen people get declined by Davis after being told on the phone by a Davis TAG rep that their part-time student status was fine. (Bring it on Davis – I have one set of records: 4.0 with all coursework and units completed, 30 hr work week, with the notice that rejection was due to part-time status.)  Rules should be clear, not arbitrary. My suggestion — if you are NOT a full-time student for three terms do not TAG Davis.

If you choose to TAG Davis and are a part-time student  be sure to note it clearly in the TAG application. TAGs, once declined, cannot be appealed.


12. Minimum UC-transferable units


By end of spring term after you TAG you must complete at least 60 semester/90 quarter UC-transferable units or your TAG (and regular UC application, for that matter) will be rejected. Summer courses after that final spring term do not count.


13.  Minimum GPA required to TAG

By the end of summer before you TAG in September you must meet the minimum cumulative GPA as established by each UC. Additionally, some selective majors have higher GPA minimums. These cumulative GPA’s must be held steady through the end of the final CCC term or you will lose the TAG. (See the rules by campus, below, to ascertain your minimums.)


14. The two English course requirement

Davis – Both English courses must be completed by the fall when you apply
Irvine –  End of summer prior to TAG application for the first; end of spring for the second
Merced – Fall for the first; end of spring for the second
Riverside – Fall for the first; end of spring for the second
Santa Barbara – Both English courses must be completed by the fall when you apply
Santa Cruz – Fall for the first; end of spring for the second


15. Math requirement

The required math course must be completed by fall for all six UCs.


16. Is IGETC required for TAG

No, it is not required, except for Riverside’s School of Business Administration, which requires IGETC as an admission requirement.



Stay alert:

Make sure the major you pick in your TAG application matches the major chosen for the same UC in the November application. If they don’t match, the TAG will be voided.


UC TAG Matrix

By campus:
Davis TAG
Irvine TAG
Merced TAG
Riverside TAG
Santa Barbara TAG
Santa Cruz TAG

This Post Has 44 Comments
  1. Good afternoon Lindy,
    I am a student currently enrolled at mira costa college. I have a 3.1 GPA and I would like to TAG for UC Davis but the minimum requirement is 3.2. I believe at the end of the semester My gpa will be high enough. I know I can only tag at one school so I was wondering if you think that it is worth it to try to TAG for davis? Will the check my GPA at the end of this semester or will they check what GPA I have right now? And if I am one point below the TAG GPA requirement will they still consider me?
    Thank you

    1. The 3.2 minimum is needed by end of this summer, so unless there is a lower grade in a non-transferable course that you’re counting and can be removed — thus boosting you to 3.2– you are not eligible to TAG Davis.

  2. Hey Lindy, I just a question.
    I submitted the TAG application for UC irvine for Fall 2020 term.
    I already completed the 60 transfer units and the campus requirements, but I am a little confused about one of the eligibility requirements for TAG which is “I will attend a California community college during my last regular (not summer) term before I enroll at UC for fall 2020.” Does that mean that I will need to be enrolled in classes for fall 2019 and spring 2020 before transfer, even though I am done with all the requirements since summer 2019? Also I
    called the UCI admissions and they said that I don’t need to take classes if I am already done with all the requirements.

  3. If I already submitted my TAG application, but I couldn’t register for a future class listed on my TAG application, would I be able to change my TAG application to include the class I will take in the winter?

  4. Hey Lindy, I also had a question. So I tagged to UC Davis under the non-selective major of Global Disease Biology. I know that when tagging to selective majors like Engineering, Biology etc. at Davis, you are required to meet GPA requirements in the pre-req courses you take at CC in order to be accepted for tag. On the UC Davis website it says “Earn at least a 3.20 GPA for all majors in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and in the College of Biological Sciences” I have met this GPA requirement. The website also says “Meet any additional GPA requirements for selective major courses.” But since my major is non-selective, I am not required to meet additional GPA requirements for the pre-req courses for Global Disease Biology, correct? The problem is that I got a D in Calc 2 this past spring. Calc 2 is a pre-req course for my non-selective major. I am retaking Calc 2 right now and will seek academic renewal for my previous grade. I had to report this D on the tag application however since I am in the process of retaking this class. Will this affect whether my tag is accepted or not. Thanks for the help in advance.

    1. As you know the current assist is messed up, but looking at the 2016-17 assist layout there are no additional GPA requirements for the major. So retaking the course with the D should not be an impediment to the TAG. Based on an updated Davis web page, there is nothing new added to the Global Diseases major.

  5. Hi Lindy, I wanna start by saying thank you for the article, it’s really helped clear a lot of things up for me regarding the transfer process. However, I am still confused about one thing. I applied for TAG to transfer to Davis for chemistry, and it got accepted today. Unfortunately, I could not get into a physics 1 class for the winter quarter of the CC I am currently attending, the same class which I had listed on the coursework for my TAG agreement. The class is the first of a three class series which I stated in my coursework agreement that I would finish by Summer 2020. Given that I wasn’t able to get into physics 1 and most likely will not finish the entire series at my CC, will this affect my TAG in any way? Thanks in advance!

    1. Thx for the kind words! Re physics, it depends on the requirements for the major. If it says complete as many courses as possible or the physics is recommended you will be fine. I would add the second in summer and then if you go to Davis you can ask what they prefer. Since they often like a physics series completed at the same place they might say just hold off until Davis.

  6. Hey Lindy!
    I have already been approved for the UC Davis tag (school of choice is UCI) but when I tagged, two of the courses I had listed (currently enrolled/planned) were inaccurate given they either weren’t represented or given the wrong name but same department. If I link my tap in the uc application will it automatically take place over the manual classes I inputted on the
    UC application? If not, then how will my TAG acceptance be accessed if I don’t link my tap?

    1. I’m not sure what you’re saying exactly but TAG uses the November app to verify, so will go off of that. It sounds like whatever got entered in the TAG application got corrected in the November application, so you’re good.😀

  7. Hi Lindy,
    Thanks for the informative article! My TAG was accepted for UC Davis but I’m a little confused as to which GPA they use to determine if you’re eligible or not and how many of my credits are taken into consideration for this calculation. On my TAG planner it says I have a 3.25 but my acceptance notice from Davis says they have me at a 3.20. I took Chem 101 and English 101 during this last fall semester and I received an A in english and a C in chemistry. Does this mean I dropped under the 3.20 requirement and I’m no longer eligible for TAG? Thank you for your help!

    -Maya

    1. It’s cumulative. So if you’re at 3.2 end of summer, they will factor in all the courses from fall. If it drops below, you will probably lose the TAG, but you will be filled into general admission.

  8. Hi Lindy, this is Andy.
    I have a several questions about TAG requirement. In the requirement, it said that you cannot get D or F a year before you apply for TAG, and I am trying to apply for the 2020-2021 TAG, but unfortunately, I got D in my Physics II in this Fall(2019). If I retake the class and get like B, does that still count as a getting D a year before I apply for TAG? or I can still satisfy the requirement because it’s more than a year before?

  9. Greetings Linda, I am glad for your website. Thank you. I have a bit of a complicated situation.
    Right now my GPA is an atrocious 2.1 and I have about 120 credits from international university and out-of-state community college. All of these accept 3 or 4 units are actually UC-transferable. To be specific, I want to go into a Biology major but all my units are political science. i am a senior for political science degree but a freshman for biology (I want to change life course and now do Biology as a major and not political science).

    Several questions here :
    I am currently enrolled at a CCC and taking UC transferrable science classes (bio, math, chemistry). I’m I considered a senior student or freshman/junior for the Major(biology) I want to hopefully transfer to even though I don’t have many units that are relevant to Biology??

    When would I need to approach a TAG application considering everything i need to do , like do a super transformation of GPA, complete all prerequisites etc. What is the timeline if I am even eligible?

    thank you kindly, Linda.

    1. To be honest I didn’t read the entire thing because you may run into issues with that many OOS/country units. And now you want a very high requirement major. You need to specifically talk with a UC rep. The units plus your low GPA (and I’m assuming most won’t be repeated as you are changing majors) may put you at a severe disadvantage.

  10. Hi Lindy,
    Great post and thank you for all the replies. I am eligible to tag Man Econ at Davis however my goal was to TAG Econ. When I met with a rep at my CC she said Econ will be adding calc 3 to the requirements to tag Econ by the time I apply. I was wondering would I be able to TAG Man Econ and then as a UC Davis student be able to transfer to an Econ major? Or even double major? Also if I tagged Man Econ would I be able to submit a regular application to UC Davis for Econ?

    1. Econ is a selective major so I’m not sure you can transfer into it. Having said that being in Man Econ may make it doable. At the end of the day it’s up to L&S or the dept.

      Once in at Davis you can double major but double majoring in Econ and Man Econ seems like an odd choice, and they might even prevent that combo, especially since so many req likely overlap.

      What I might suggest is taking calc 3 in summer after you’re admitted to Man Econ. It will put you in a better position if you want to attempt a switcheroo later.

  11. Hello Lindy,
    Thank you for writing this article. I am a sociology major who applied for TAG @ UCSB. For a sociology major at UCSB, they recommend you complete a cultural anthropology course & an American history course (alongside other socio prerecs). However, cultural anthropology and American history aren’t listed to be mandatory/required prerequisites on the UCSB Transfer website. I haven’t taken either of those courses, yet my TAG app was still approved and I’m now anxiously waiting for my acceptance/rejection. In your professional opinion, do you think not taking those 2 course will result in my TAG application being rejected?
    Thank you!

  12. Hello Lindy, I am very concerned on applying to Uc Davis. My community college gpa is 3.6 but my sat score is low. Would those scores negatively affect my chances? Also is Political science an accepted TAG major?

  13. Hi Lindy,
    I have applied to UC Irvine with TAG, meeting all the requirements. They put me on the waiting list for admissions, and I don’t understand why? As TAG is a guaranteed admission, why would I face this situation?
    Thank you in advance!

      1. Lindy ,
        Thank you for the prompt reply. How can I verify if I didnt meet the TAG requirement? I went over my application, and it seems that I should have met all the requirements.
        Thank you!

      2. Call the tag office or email them. If you have any AP that could be an issue as it might not have fulfilled a major requirement that you thought it would fulfill (although you probably would not have gotten on a waitlist). I don’t know. You need to ask because being on a waitlist implies you fulfilled the requirements for the major. So maybe minimum GPA, units by end of summer, or math/English deadlines.

        UPDATE: TAG excluded majors: Business Administration, Cognitive Sciences, Dance, Language Science, Music, Nursing Science, Psychology B.S., and ALL majors in the Donald Bren School of Information and CS

        First English and math must be completed by end of summer

  14. Hi Lindy, I was wondering if you had to be a full time student in the fall, winter, and spring quarter to tag to UC Irvine.

  15. Hi Lindy! Thank you for this post, it was very helpful. I am currently in my second semester at a CCC and planning to transfer using TAG. However, I’m having trouble deciding what school to TAG. I’m a biology major, and I hope to get into med school to study pediatrics! I was hoping you’d have a good recommendation on which school fits best for Biology?

    1. Well, ultimately, you need to go to the campus where you feel the best connection. Among Davis, Santa Barbara and Irvine, I’d probably go with Irvine or Davis as there are a lot of hospitals (more opportunities to shadow, etc). Breaking it down further, if pressed, I would probably choose Davis, but you can’t go wrong with either. Good luck!

  16. Hi Lindy,
    I was just wondering, if I end up declining my acceptance to UCR because I would not be able to get the 60 credits by the end of this semester, would I be able to reapply? If so, would I be able to reapply with TAG for winter session at UC Riverside and will they look upon my application less favorably because I declined their acceptance the first time? I know UCR accepts TAG for the winter session I just do not know if they would accept me because I had already applied once this year to tag.

      1. Hi Lindy,
        Thank you for the quick response. I went ahead and called them but they are only doing correspondence through email right now. I went ahead and asked whether I would still be able to have my summer classes counted due to the fact that my school cancelled two of my spring classes because of the virus. Again, thank you for the help!

      2. I don’t want to throw this out and have others get hopes up but admissions is sometimes lenient re the 60 minimum depending on the existing unit count. And now with coronavirus they are likely to be more lenient. Do NOT decline until you get feedback. Good luck!

  17. Hey Lindi,
    Thank you for this article and for all the helpful replies. I am planning to apply for TAG in this coming September for 2021 transfer. I will TAG UC Irvine. My question is, will Irvine let me know of my TAG approval? How will they let me know and when? I see in the article you have written Irvine does not send out notices, that is why I was confused. Thanks again for being so helpful and informative.

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Lindy King

Lindy is an independent UC admissions consultant, who works with both transfers and freshmen. She also has just completed her first novel, a supernatural thriller set in San Francisco.

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