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UC Merced Extension - Students preparing to launch drone in the pastures behind UC Merced.

What Is It and Who Can Participate?

The Open University program allows students, and other individuals, to enroll in courses offered on the UC Merced campus without being formally admitted to a degree program. Open University (Concurrent Enrollment) students can take up to 18 units per semester.

This is an ideal program for individuals who want to:

  • Earn university-level credits.
  • Return to school, but who are not sure if they want to become full-time students.
  • Complete degree requirements at another institution with a course, or two.
  • Take a graduate course.
  • Gain up-to-date information in their professional field.
  • Enroll in a college course as an advanced high school student.

Community college students are also encouraged to take Open University (Concurrent Enrollment) classes, but they should first check into Intersegmental Cross Enrollment. Intersegmental Cross Enrollment is a separate program with lower fees and is administered by the community college and UC Merced.

View the UC Merced Course catalog or Current Schedule.

Information about the UC Academic Senate Regulations regarding the Extension program.


Open University

Requirements to Participate in Open University (Concurrent Enrollment)
  • Open University (Concurrent Enrollment) is based on available space, and class participation and assignments are the same as for regular students. The program is available during the fall and spring semesters.
  • All campus debts must be paid in full in order to participate in Open University. Failure to report outstanding balances on campus may result in application denial. Financial aid is not available.
  • UC Students must be in good academic standing with their home University of California (UC) campus. If currently on academic warning or probation, students are required to present written approval from the home UC campus in addition to the Open University application form. 
  • The academic records of Open University students are separate from the UC Merced academic record. Participation in Open University does not confer or suggest status as a regular UC Merced matriculated student, nor does it grant any priority to an applicant for regular admission.
  • Enrollment in Open University is on a term-by-term basis. This means that acceptance for one term does not guarantee acceptance in any future term. Applications are reviewed and students will be notified if there is an issue with their application.
  • Students are not eligible to complete courses through UC Merced's Open University Program if they can answer either of the following conditions:

*They have any financial obligations to the University of California.
*They have ever been barred from the campus by police or court order. 

  • Students on probation or dismissed from UC Merced at the end of their last regular semester will need permission of their School to enroll. 
  • Students who left UC Merced without completing an undergraduate degree will need the permission of their school to enroll.
  • Open University students do not have access to the full range of courses and services provided for students paying full tuition:
    • Enrollment in research or independent study is not allowed.
    • Open University students do not have access to campus health services or campus recreation facilities such as the gym.
    • You will need an official ID card (a $20 fee applies) in order to access on-campus resources, such as the library.
    • You may purchase a parking permit through the Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) office to park on campus, or you may use the parking permit dispensers to buy a permit daily.
  • Open University (Concurrent Enrollment) students must submit the Concurrent Enrollment application prior to the first day of instruction.
  • Any application submitted on or after the first day of instruction is considered late, and late fees will apply.
  • Open University students can enroll in courses beginning the sixth day of instruction but must enroll no later than the end of the third week of instruction. An Open University working with a course instructor may request access to the course webpage from the course instructor so they may access course materials until they can officially enroll in the second week of instruction. 
Students with Undergraduate Degrees
  • Students can take graduate-level classes with the approval of the graduate division.
  • An additional signature is required on the Instructor Approval Form.
  • Students can take undergraduate courses as prerequisites to graduate programs or possibly second baccalaureate programs. 


UC Merced Students Interested in Open University (Concurrent Enrollment)

UC Merced students taking the last course to graduate with an undergraduate degree are in a special category and will be required to obey certain rules and policies related to the Open University (Concurrent Enrollment) Program. While courses taken through the Open University Program can count toward a degree at UC Merced, those seeking a degree from this campus should contact an academic advisor in their school for approval before enrolling.

  • UC Merced students will need permission from their School Dean prior to enrolling in Open University. The school will determine how many Open University units and/or courses a student may apply to their undergraduate degree graduation requirements. Typically, this will not be more than two courses. 
  • All campus debts must be paid in full. Failure to report outstanding balances on campus may result in application denial.
  • A student must be in good standing. Students currently on academic warning or probation must present written approval from your school with the Concurrent Enrollment application form.
  • Grade point averages (GPA) for courses taken through Open University (Concurrent Enrollment) are not counted toward fulfilling requirements for the degree.

Students on the Education Leave Program and undergraduate students who left UC Merced and have not earned a degree can't enroll in Open University for two terms (fall/spring/summer) after the end of their last semester of enrollment as a degree-seeking student at UC Merced.

How to Apply
  1. Download the online application. Complete the application form and email the form to prior to the first day of instruction.
  2. The associated application fee will be applied to your MyBill once you are officially enrolled in a class(s). A Late Application Fee will be charged for applications submitted beginning the first day of UC Merced instruction or later.
  3. You will receive email notification of your application’s approval or denial. 
  4. If your application is approved, please email the course instructor. Let the instructor know you are an Open University (Concurrent Enrollment) student. The instructor may ask you to wait until they can determine if there will be space in the course after degree-seeking students have enrolled. You may request permission from the instructor to access the course webpage, but granting you access early is up to the instructor. Once you have received permission from the instructor to enroll, please forward that email to, with the subject line “Open University Student Enrollment”, and include your full name and UC Merced id number if you have one.
  5. Open University (Concurrent Enrollment) students can officially enroll in courses beginning the second week of instruction but must enroll no later than the end of the third week of instruction.
  6. Full payment of all fees on MyBill must be made within 48 hours of enrollment. Registration is only complete upon payment of all fees. Students who have not paid fees within 48 hours are subject to drop for non-payment.
  7. Once enrolled, withdrawals must be requested in writing to the Office of the Registrar. No refunds will be granted.
Enrollment and Payment
  1. Attend the first class meeting of the course(s) in which you wish to enroll. If the course is online or offered by remote means, this will require you to be in contact with the course instructor prior to the first course meeting.
  2. Communicate with your Instructor Approval Form prior to the first-course meeting and let the instructor know that you are an Open University (Concurrent Enrollment) student.
  3. The instructor may ask you to wait until they can determine if there will be space in the course after regular students have enrolled.
  4. Return the signed (virtual signatures are acceptable) and completed instructor approval form(s) to or to the Students First Center in person if they are open for in-person services.
  5. Payments can be made online here,

Courses are open for enrollment on a space-available basis. Fees are due immediately upon enrollment. Registration is complete upon payment of all appropriate fees and charges.

There are no refunds for Open University enrollment.

Fee Schedule
  • First Time Enrollee Application Fee: $55
  • Prior Open University (Concurrent Enrollment) Student Application Fee: $10
  • Late Application Fee (required beginning the first day of instruction): $100
  • Per-Undergraduate Unit Registration Fee: $419
  • Per-Graduate Unit Registration Fee: $523


University of California tuition and fee levels are set by the Regents of the University of California and are subject to change without notice.
Additional information may be found at the University of California, Office of the President webpage.