How to Apply
To be considered for admission, applicants must have:
- Received a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited university prior to the quarter for which the applicant seeks admission
- At least a B average in undergraduate coursework
Additionally, each department has its own criteria for admission. Please visit Departments and Programs for requirements.
Satisfaction of minimal standards does not, however, guarantee admission. Since the number of qualified applicants far exceeds the number of places available, many well-qualified applicants cannot be accommodated.
Types of Applications
Some departments and programs require a Pre-Application. Visit International Applicants to determine if you required to complete a Pre-Application.
For specific information about eligibility and application requirements, see International Applicants - Required Academic Preparation.
If you applied for graduate study at UCSB during the last application period, and you were admitted but did not register, please contact the admitting department prior to applying again. You have to submit a new online graduate application, but it may not be necessary to re-submit everything.
Current UCSB Graduate Students
Students who wish to change or add another degree objective or transfer to another department must submit the Graduate Student Petition.
Students who have allowed their registration to lapse must submit a Petition for Reinstatement.
If you are submitting either type of petition, please contact Graduate Academic Services for assistance. Do not submit a new graduate application as we will not be able to refund your application fee.
Current UCSB Undergraduate Students
If you are a current undergraduate pre-screened and approved to apply to one of our 5-year programs, you must submit the online application in order to advance to graduate standing. Please read Five-Year Instructions before proceeding. When you submit your application, select the fee waiver option. Do not pay the application fee, as we will not be able to process refunds.
Multiple Applications Policy
Only one application may be submitted at a time. Simultaneous applications to multiple programs are not accepted. The application fee is non-refundable.
All components of the application, including the application fee, must be completed and paid by the appropriate department deadline in order to be processed. Applicants who applied the previous year but were not admitted are considered new applicants.
Non-Degree/EAP Reciprocity Applicants
In exceptional circumstances, applicants who do not wish to study for a degree may be admitted to graduate status on a non-degree basis. Graduate EAP reciprocity students should apply as non-degree applicants.
The admissions requirements and procedures are the same as those for prospective degree candidates. The applicant must specify the major and justify in the statement of purpose that the plan of study has a definite scholarly or professional goal.
A non-degree student is accepted for a maximum of one academic year. Students in non-degree status are not eligible for fellowships, nor are their courses ordinarily accepted for credit toward an advanced degree at UCSB should they later decide to apply for admission into a master's or doctoral program.
Current non-degree students wishing to apply for admission into a master's or doctoral program must submit a new graduate application; a Graduate Student Petition is not acceptable for adding the degree objective.
Project 1000 Applicants
Students applying through the Project 1000 program should consult the Project 1000 office as well as their prospective department for assistance in applying to UCSB. Project 1000 applicants must complete the UCSB Online Graduate Application. The Project 1000 application cannot be used in place of the UCSB application. In some cases, additional application materials will be required, such as a writing sample, departmental application, etc. Each department has its own criteria for admission. Please visit Department and Programs for your prospective department's requirements.
Supplemental application materials (such as transcripts) sent by the Project 1000 program office will be treated as official documents and processed accordingly. Fee waivers are also available for Project 1000 applicants and will be issued upon receipt of the Fee Waiver Request Form along with a letter from the Project 1000 program coordinator confirming participation.
Vietnam Education Foundation Applicants
Fee waivers are available for Vietnam Education Foundation applicants and will be issued upon receipt of the Fee Waiver Request Form along with a letter from the Vietnam Education Foundation program coordinator confirming participation.
Completing the Application
All applicants must complete the Online Graduate Application. Please carefully read the instructions below to ensure that you correctly complete each section of the application. We recommend that you keep personal copies of all application materials.
Major and Degree Objective
You will need to select a major and degree objective. You can find a complete list of graduate degree programs and application requirements on Department and Programs. Please note that most of our graduate programs accept applications for fall admissions only.
Each department has its own application deadline. A complete online application and all supporting documents must be submitted by the deadline in order to be considered for admission and fellowship support.
It is important to inform us of changes to your address throughout the application cycle. You will be able to return to the Address section to make updates even after you have completed and submitted your online application.
The questions in this section will help us to determine if you will need a visa to attend graduate school, and if you may be considered a California resident for tuition purposes.
If you are currently a U.S. Permanent Resident visa holder, please be sure to select the Permanent Resident visa on this page.
List the school awarding your undergraduate degree as the first Undergraduate Institution. List other schools in order of most recent attendance by adding additional Undergraduate Institutions.
Selecting an Institution
After selecting the school location, begin typing in the full official name of your institution into School Name. You may select your institution from the drop down list that appears or, if you do not find it, type in the name of your school as it appears on your transcript.
Please indicate the date you received your degree, or date you expect to receive it. If you will not receive a degree at a particular institution, you may enter the last date that you will be enrolled there, and then select "No Degree" in the Degree Awarded/Expected drop-down.
Report the Units/Credits that you have completed to date. Do not enter the total number of credits required for your degree program if you have not finished all of them at this time.
Please report your Cumulative Grade Point Average as listed on your official university transcript. You may report your GPA on the scale used at your institution.
If your institution does not use a 4.0 scale, you do not have to convert your GPA to a 4.0 scale. For instance, if your university grades out of a maximum of 100%, and you have a cumulative average of 80% for your coursework to date, enter 80% as your Cumulative Grade Point Average, and 100% as the GPA Scale. The same approach can be used for 10.0, 8.0, or other GPA scales.
If your degree type is not listed in the Degree Awarded/Expected drop-down menu, you may select Other Degree, and then type in the name of your degree.
You are required to upload an official transcript created by your university. This transcript will be used to review and evaluate your application.
Scan and upload all pages of your official transcript from this institution (including the grading scale, which may be on the backside of the transcript). The uploaded transcript must be an official transcript, produced by the university with all appropriate seals/stamps. Remove your Social Security Number by crossing/blacking out numbers before uploading (if applicable).
Final/Official transcripts will be required for all applicants who are admitted and have indicated their intent to enroll at UC Santa Barbara by submitting a Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). Official transcripts must be sent to the UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division by mail directly from the school in the institution's sealed envelope. Final/Official transcripts must be received before the first day of instruction of the quarter to which you are admitted.
International Applicants: Please include your degree certificate within the same file if you have received your degree. Uploaded document must include both the original language transcript and certified English translation. English transcripts are required and must be a complete, exact and literal translation of the original transcripts. English translations must be provided by the school or an official agency.
Tips for uploading transcripts:
- Scan a copy of your current transcript
- Ensure that your document is saved as a PDF and that its size does not exceed 9 MB
- Color documents are not necessary
- Ensure that the institution name and all other identifying marks are visible and clearly legible and that your scan can print on letter-size paper - 8 ½ by 11 in (21 ½ by 30 cm)
- Be sure to include a copy of the transcript legend or university key for each institution (usually found on the backside of the official transcript or in the school's general catalog or website)
- Click the "view document" button to verify whether the uploaded document is legible, if it is not legible, try again
- If you need assistance, please note that public libraries, office supply stores (Kinko's, Office Max, Office Depot, Staples, etc.), and other services can create scanned documents for you
UC Santa Barbara reserves the right to require official transcripts at any time during the admissions process, and rescind any offer of admission made if discrepancies between uploaded and official transcript(s) are found.
For all tests, UCSB reviews only the most recent and complete set of test scores reported.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
The GRE is required for all graduate degree programs, except Art Studio. Official GRE scores are those submitted directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Official GRE test scores are valid for five years after the testing year in which the test was taken (July 1–June 30). Some departments also require applicants to take the Advanced GRE Subject Area tests; check with the academic department for specific requirements.
Applicants must make arrangements to take the GRE directly with ETS and should instruct ETS to report scores to UCSB (the institution code is 4835). You do not need to provide an ETS department code when sending your scores, but if you do provide a department code we will still receive your scores.
While the Graduate Division does not have a general minimum GRE score for applicants, individual departments are free to establish minimum GRE test score requirements.
For GRE General Exams and Subject tests, we will need the Test Date and seven digit Registration Number found on your official Report of Scores from ETS to match your official scores to your online application.
Teacher Education Program (TEP) Applicants
You may submit either Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) scores.
Official MAT test score dates must be within five years from the day the applicant submits the online graduate application. Scores must be submitted directly from Harcourt Assessment Inc. to the Graduate Division.
While the Graduate Division does not have a general minimum MAT score for applicants, TEP is free to establish minimum MAT test score requirements. Only the most recent test score report will be reviewed for admission.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
An excellent command of written and spoken English is required prior to enrollment at UCSB.
Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL or the IELTS. The university minimum TOEFL score requirement is 550 when taking the paper based test (PBT) and 80 when taking the internet based test (IBT). The university minimum IELTS score for consideration is an Overall Band Score of 7. Departments may require a higher minimum score for either test. Official test score dates must be within two years from the day the applicant submits the online graduate application.
Exemptions will be considered for students who have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at an institution whose official language of instruction is English. Applicants must provide final/official transcripts indicating (1) completion of the degree program and (2) English as the official language of instruction. Please contact your department of interest at UCSB if you have questions.
Applicants taking the TOEFL must make arrangements directly with the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Instruct ETS to report scores to UCSB at institution code 4835. The online application requires you to enter the Test Date and sixteen digit Registration Number found on your official Report of Scores from ETS.
Applicants taking the IELTS must make arrangements directly with IELTS for testing and score reporting.
UCSB prefers paper test reports from IELTS. Please have paper test reports sent to the Graduate Division:
UCSB Graduate Division
Attn: Graduate Admissions
3117 Cheadle Hall
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-2070
If you choose to have you scores reported electronically you must email email@example.com with a notification that your scores have been reported online. Provide your Centre Number, Candidate Number, and Test Date in your email.
The online application requires you to enter the Centre Number, Candidate Number, and Date found on your Test Report Form from IELTS.
Letters of Recommendation
Three letters of recommendation are required as part of your application. You will be asked to supply the name, email address, and current institution of each recommender. Once supplied, the online application will provide instructions to each of your recommenders via email.
If you are using a Letter Service (such as Interfolio or a university career center) to submit one or more letters, you will be able to indicate this information within the recommender profile. UCSB needs a rating on our rating scale from each recommender you indicate. If the letter will come from a letter service, we will only request the necessary rating from your recommender.
Letters Submitted via Postal Mail
Online submission is the preferred method for submitting letters of recommendation. If your recommender is unable to submit a letter online, a letter of recommendation may be sent directly to your prospective academic department. A Letter of Recommendation Coversheet must accompany the letter. You must still add the recommender's information to your online application.
Statements and Supplemental Documents
In order to complete your graduate application, you will be required to upload the following three documents in your online application:
- Statement of Purpose
- Statement of Personal Achievements/Contributions
- Résumé or Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Statement of Purpose
Give a brief statement outlining your reasons for undertaking a graduate program, your particular area of specialization within the major field, your past academic work, and your plans for future occupation or profession. Also include any additional information that may assist the selection committee in evaluating your preparation and aptitude for graduate study at UC Santa Barbara.
UC Santa Barbara is interested in a diverse and inclusive graduate student population. Please describe any aspects of your personal background, accomplishments, or achievements that you feel are important in evaluating your application for graduate study. For example, please describe if you have experienced economic challenges in achieving higher education, such as being financially responsible for family members or dependents, having to work significant hours during undergraduate schooling or coming from a family background of limited income. Please describe if you have any unusual or varied life experiences that might contribute to the diversity of the graduate group, such as fluency in other languages, experience living in bicultural communities, academic research interests focusing on cultural, societal, or educational problems as they affect underserved segments of society, or evidence of an intention to use the graduate degree toward serving disadvantaged individuals or populations.
Résumé or Curriculum Vitae
List your positions of employment or volunteer work/community service since high school, either full or part-time, including the hours per week worked and the nature and dates of employment or service.
Additional Supplemental Documents
Some departments require that you upload additional supplemental documents, such as a writing sample, information sheet, or unofficial transcript, to your online application. For departmental supplemental documents requirements, please see Departments and Programs. Do not upload additional documents that are not required by your prospective department. If necessary, please redact your social security number before uploading transcripts.
Document Upload Specifications and Requirements
UC Santa Barbara accepts PDF and Microsoft Word (.doc and .docx) documents for upload in the online application. The maximum file size allowed is 4 MB per document.
You may view and replace documents you have uploaded. Once you click the "Lock" button, you will not be able to replace what you have uploaded. Please preview each document carefully to ensure you have uploaded the correct documents. Graduate Division and departmental staff will not be able to replace documents for you once you have locked a document.
Documents must be uploaded to the online application absolutely no later than 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time on your departmental application deadline. Documents received after 11:59 PM on the departmental application deadline may be considered ineligible for review, and your application may be marked as Incomplete, and therefore unreviewable, by the department. The application fee is non-refundable for Incomplete applications.
The information you provide in this section is used by the department to determine if you are seeking financial support. This section does not constitute an application for specific UCSB fellowships or federal financial aid.
All applications require a non-refundable application fee of $90 for domestic applicants, and $110 for international applicants. No application will be processed until the application fee has been received. This fee can be paid by credit card or with a check/money order using the Check/Money Order Submission Form found on the last page of the application.
A limited number of application fee waivers are available to qualified U.S. citizens and permanent residents who demonstrate evidence of financial need or proof of participation in an undergraduate research program. To apply for a fee waiver, submit the Fee Waiver Request Form. More information is listed on the form.
There are no fee waivers for international applications.
Updating the Application
It is important that proposed departments are notified of any changes in your address, phone number, or e-mail address during the application process. Otherwise, important notifications regarding applications, missing supporting materials, or admissions decisions may be seriously delayed or lost. Departments will notify the Graduate Division of any changes.
Please note that once your application has been submitted, you cannot make changes to the content of your online application. Please review your application carefully before submitting and print out a copy for your files.