Changing your Program Level at UC San Diego

If you have been accepted into a higher program level (ie: bachelor's to master's or masters to Ph.D.) you must apply for and receive a program level change I-20 or DS-2019 prior to beginning your higher level program of study. 

Failure to request the program level change on your I-20 or DS-2019 in a timely manner may cause immigration issues.

F-1 students on OPT please see the note below.

Application Requirements

  • F-1 and J-1 students log in to
  • Go to "Services" tab
  • Select "Change of Program Level I-20/DS-2019"
  • Upload a PDF copy of your UCSD Admission or Petition Letter showing acceptance to higher program level.
  • Upload a PDF copy of your bank statement(s) or financial support letter(s) to show funding for the first 12 months of your higher program level (F-1 students) or for the entire duration of your your higher program level (J-1 students).

Approval of Program Level Change

  • A new I-20/DS-2019 reflecting the program level change and new program start and end dates should be ready within 10 business days.
  • You can check the status of your request anytime by logging in to iPortal and clicking on "My Requests" tab.
  • You will be notified by email when your document is ready.
  • You will be able to select in iPortal how you would like to receive your document.

Traveling over the Break

If you are planning to travel internationally over the break (winter, spring or summer break) in between your two program levels, you will need to use your graduate level I-20/DS-2019 to re-enter the US along with a valid F-1/J-1 visa.

For more information regarding travel, please visit our travel page:

Working over the Break

Off Campus

If you plan to work off-campus during the break in your lower level field of study, you will need the appropriate work authorization, in the form of Optional Practical Training.

For more information regarding OPT, please visit our OPT page:



If you plan to work on-campus during the break in between your two program levels, no authorization is needed from the International Students & Programs Office.

For more information on on-campus employment, please visit the following page: 


Note for F-1 Students on OPT

Your OPT will be completed at the expiration of your OPT or once the program level change I-20 is registered in SEVIS (the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System), whichever is earlier. SEVIS registration is generally completed up to two weeks prior to the start of the new program start date. If you are unclear on when the change of level I-20 will deactivate your OPT, consult with an international student advisor.