New Grad Student FAQs
Here is a collection of the frequently asked questions from new graduate students. You can submit your own question using this form. Click on a link below to jump to a particular section:
Funding | On Campus | Student Life | Academics
Career | Wellness | Around Town
Where can I find funding resources and support?
Many central fellowships are awarded on a department level. Continuing grad students can apply for a number of central fellowships administered by the Graduate Division. There are also other sources of campus funding including travel grants, childcare grants, dissertation awards, and fellowships offered by other UCSB centers and units. The UC system offers funding opportunities available to UC faculty, researchers and graduate students.
See the GradPost Money section and the Graduate Division Extramural Funding section. The Graduate Division hosts regular Finding Funding workshops throughout the year, so check out the GradPost Events section to find out when the next one will be.
Email the Graduate Division Funding Peer Advisor.
Where do I go if I have questions about my financial aid?
Visit the Financial Aid website to learn more about cost of attendance, grants, and loans.
Where are my classes located?
Use the Interactive Campus Map and type in the building and room number for your class. Also, here’s a printable map.
How do I find more information about on-campus parking?
Visit the Transportation page.
Are there any unisex, single-occupant or gender-neutral bathrooms?
Here is a list of all-gender bathrooms located on the UCSB campus.
Are there piano rooms that we can access on campus? Can students access them on a daily basis for practicing and at what time?
The Music Department has piano rooms, but they are technically only for students enrolled in the department or in piano classes. You would want to check with the Music Department’s operations manager, Patrick Chose, to see if they will allow access to non-Music students.
Many of the residence halls also have pianos.
What are the library hours?
Library hours vary depending on the time in the academic year. The first two floors of the library are open to students 24 hours most of the academic year. Check the current schedule here. Click here to find out more information about how graduate students may use the library.
Can you tell me more about campus diversity?
The campus has an office of Diversity, Equity, and Academic Policy. Their website has a lot of resources related to diversity on campus.
The MultiCultural Center hosts a number of events throughout the year including lectures, panel discussions, films and videos, musical, dance, and dramatic performances, and poetry readings that feature and celebrate diverse cultures.
The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) sponsors diverse cultural programming through the African Diasporic, American Indian, Chican@/Latin@, Middle Eastern, and Asian American cultural resource centers. EOP provides cultural programs that facilitate interaction/collaboration between students of all cultural/ethnic backgrounds, allowing them to gain an understanding of and appreciation for similarities and differences in each other and themselves. EOP Cultural Services helps to create an environment that celebrates and promotes the history, contributions, intellectual heritage, education, and growth of students.
The UCSB Campus Profile lists the numbers for both undergraduate and graduate students by ethnicity, country of origin, age, and gender. Some departments also offer their own statistics, fact sheets, and job placement rates.
How do I pay fees on campus (such as tuition and housing)?
Almost all fees on campus are processed by BARC, the Billing Accounts Receivable Collections unit. You can log in to view and pay fees here.
Where can I get a student ID (Access Card)?
Get a student ID card at the Access Information Desk on the main level of the UCen (map). Access Card/Information Desk: M-F, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 805-893-2464. Free b&w option or pay $20 for a color ID that can also be used as a debit card. Used as your library card, bus pass, Recreation Center access, and for student discounts. The bus stickers are available at the Associated Students Ticket Office Window at the University Center. (Check out the Transportation page for more information about how you can ride the city bus for free.)
Are all the student clubs and organizations on campus available to graduate students to join or are some of them just for undergraduates?
Graduate students can join any student organizations, unless they are explicitly designated as undergraduate-only orgs. You can browse a list of student orgs (including ones specifically for graduate students) and then join OrgSync to learn how to get involved.
Does UCSB have any sports clubs?
Yes, they have many nationally recognized sports clubs. Check out the sports clubs webpage.
Are there any social and networking events for graduate students?
The Graduate Students Association hosts weekly bagel hours and monthly social hours. Many departments and centers host their own social events, such as Graduate Student Housing and the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity. Also, be sure to check out the Life section of the GradPost for other fun events on campus and in the community.
How do I register for courses?
You may register for classes through the GOLD website when you are within one of your registration pass times. For more information about the registration process, visit the Registrar’s website.
Can graduate students register for courses in other departments?
Yes, you can register for courses in other departments. Faculty often recommend that you take classes outside of your department/discipline to branch out from your research focus. You can also take undergraduate courses. However, you will need to speak with the course instructor if you want course credit - instructors often require graduate students to do additional work to receive course credit.
How do you add an interdisciplinary emphasis?
See the Graduate Division’s Interdisciplinary Emphasis and Certificate Programs webpage.
What classes are mandatory?
Each department sets its own course requirements. You can check the degree requirements in the General Catalog. Your department should also have a current Graduate Student Handbook that outlines degree requirements and other department policies.
How should I go about selecting courses?
You should consult your faculty advisor to select your courses. You can also check the degree requirements in the General Catalog.
How do I petition something?
The Graduate Division's Academic Services unit handles all graduate student petitions. You can also check with the staff graduate program assistant in your department for more about submitting petitions.
Who are my advisors?
Each department has at least one faculty graduate advisor and at least one staff graduate advisor. You will also have a personal faculty advisor, who will be your thesis and/or dissertation committee chair. How advisors are assigned depends on the department.
Graduate Division also has a team of academic advisors. They can help with processing petitions, committee nominations, advancement to candidacy, filing theses and dissertations, conducting the degree checks, and navigating academic performance and progress. Advisors are available during business hours (M-F, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.) to take calls, emails, and walk-ins.
How do I find part-time on-campus jobs?
Career Services has an online job portal called GauchoLink that lists current on-campus jobs as well as opportunities for internships and on-campus interviews with outside employers. You can also visit UCSB’s Human Resources page to learn about part-time staff positions.
The GradPost Career section also lists current calls for applications for a variety of on-campus positions.
How do I find out about available Teaching Assistant (TA) and Research Assistant (RA) positions?
TA positions are assigned by each academic department. The staff graduate program assistant in your department can provide you with information about how TA positions are assigned in your department. If you have subject expertise outside your department, contact the staff graduate program assistant in the relevant department to see if there are open opportunities.
RA positions are more often available from specific professors or researchers. The best way to learn about these opportunities is to talk to your faculty advisor and other faculty in research areas of interest about open opportunities for now and in the future. These positions can open up at any time in the year.
Is there a student employee union?
UAW Local 2865 is the Union representing over 12,000 Academic Student Employees (ASEs) – Readers, Tutors, TAs, and others – at the 9 teaching campuses of the University of California.
What does the health insurance cover?
Find out more about Gaucho Health Insurance here.
Do graduate students have any dental insurance?
All students who are enrolled in the Gaucho Health Insurance have dental insurance covered by Delta Dental. Student Health has its own Dental Care Office. Book your appointments early, sometimes it takes 2-3 months to get a teeth cleaning appointment.
Do we get campus gym privileges?
Graduate student fees include gym membership as long as you are enrolled. There is a separate fee for summer gym membership for graduate students who are not enrolled in courses. It is usually $60 and covers access for July, August, and September. Graduate students living in San Clemente and in Family Housing have the option of purchasing a membership to the Santa Ynez student apartments' fitness center. The cost is approximately $27/year.
What gym and swimming facilities are available?
Access to all of the campus recreation center (Rec Cen) buildings and equipment, including the pools, is included in the fees you pay each quarter. You can start going to the campus Rec Cen during the first week of classes. You will need to show your Access card (student ID) to get in. You also get a discount on rec classes. Visit the Recreation website for hours and other information about the facilities. You can find information about aquatics here.
What recreational activities are available to grad students?
For fitness and other recreational classes (pottery, guitar, wine tasting, etc.) check out the Rec Cen class list and the Wellness & Fitness Programs. Check out GauchosPlay for info about sports teams, intramural sports, and adventure programs. Many student orgs also offer recreational activities like dance and outdoor sports. You can also sign up to participate in Exercise & Sports Studies courses (e.g., intro to basketball, soccer, sailing, bowling) for 0.5 units, or join group fitness classes for a discounted price.
How do you balance grad school, mental, physical and emotional well-being and relationships?
Graduate school is hectic, busy, and can be overwhelming. Definitely use some kind of organizational tool (e.g., use a calendar program that you can access on multiple devices and input classes, events, work, homework, and any other relevant to-do’s on your calendar with reminders). Put your social events and breaks into your calendar, otherwise you may forget about them or think that they are not as important as everything else.
Find a social group - whether that is a student organization, sports team, or your cohort in your department. Being part of a community really helps you deal with the stresses of graduate studies.
Let your friends and family know that graduate school is a full-time job and that you will be dedicating much of your time to studying, researching, and learning new things.
What are some tips for combating "impostor syndrome"?
Impostor syndrome is recognized as “the feeling that you are not really a successful, competent, and smart student, that you are only imposing as such” (click here for further information about the specifics of this definition). Impostor syndrome is a recurring character in the lives of many graduate students. Luckily, there are quite a few available sites that discuss this feeling and talk about ways to deal with it.
Where can I get free condoms?
The Women Gender and Sexual Equity Center in the Student Resource Building offers free condoms. Health and Wellness also sometimes provides free condoms at their events.
What resources are available for student parents?
See our Parent Resources section on this page.
What are some good restaurants and bars that we can go to without running into undergrads?
Don’t go out after 10 p.m. on Thursdays and don’t go to Isla Vista.
Here are some good grad options in Goleta:
And in downtown Santa Barbara:
Also check out the Funk Zone area downtown – it’s an industrial neighborhood that houses most of the wine tasting rooms in town (many are open late on the weekends) as well as several bars and some upscale restaurants.
Visit the Life Section of The GradPost for other fun things to do on- and off-campus.
What organizations or facilities are in the area that can complement campus resources?
Check out the Visiting Santa Barbara page for more information on getting around, things to do, and other resources.
Broken links or something not quite right? Email Shawn Warner-Garcia.
Have your own question that you'd like answered? You can submit it using this form.