The Department of Earth Science is renowned for involving students in cutting-edge research, often involving extensive field experience in exciting and remote locations. The department offers programs leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Earth Science within a diverse array of specializations, including: geobiology, geochemistry, geochronology, geomorphology, geophysics, paleoclimatology, paleoceanography, paleobiology, petrology, Quaternary geology, sedimentology and stratigraphy, seismology, structural geology, and tectonics.

The Department of Earth Science adheres to the University of California Diversity Statement which emphasizes the importance of educating a diverse population.

Mailing Address

Department of Earth Science
University of California, Santa Barbara
Webb Hall, Room 1006
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9630


Department Phone Number
(805) 893-3329

Degree icon Degrees Offered

Address iconDeadlines

Fall Only:

  • January 3, 2024 (by 11:59 PM PST)

Requirements Icon


  • Online application:
  • Statement of Purpose, Personal History and Diversity Statement, sample of your analytical writing (such as an assignment or term paper from a class you’ve taken), and Resume or CV (all material submitted in the online application)
  • Three Letters of Recommendation (submitted online)
  • Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended (submitted online)
  • English Language Exam Scores (if applicable): TOEFL Internet-Based Test (IBT) total score of 80, or TOEFL Paper-Based Test (PBT) total score of 550, or IELTS Overall Band score of 7, or Duolingo English Test total score of 120, or higher
  • 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). 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.
  • International Applicants: Please send a pre-application email to the graduate program coordinator (, providing the following information: GPA, TOEFL score, degree objective (i.e. PhD or MS), area(s) of specialization, and name(s) of faculty you would like as principal advisor(s).
  • Questions you should address in your Statement of Purpose (500 words max. for the entire statement):
    • What are your current research interests and why?
    • Which faculty members at UCSB would you like to work with?
    • What would you like to do after graduate school? 
  • Questions you should address in your Personal Achievements/Contributions Statement (1,250 words max. for the entire Statement): 
    • Diversity (optional). If applicable, please describe any experience of 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 any uncommon or varied life experiences that might contribute to the diversity of the graduate group, such as fluency in other languages, experience living in bi-cultural communities, academic research interests focusing on cultural, societal, or educational problems as they affect under-served segments of society.
    • Service (optional). If applicable, please describe any efforts you have made to serve disadvantaged individuals or populations. (250 words max)
    • Motivation. Describe how you tackled or overcame a challenge.  What was key to your success? What strategies would you use in the future to deal with challenges in graduate school? (250 words max)
    • Curiosity, breadth, creativity. Please write about another interest(s) of yours not directly related to your proposed graduate school pursuits. This could include other academic areas or non-academic hobbies. How did you become interested in them? (250 words max)
    • Collegiality, collaboration, teamwork. Tell us about a time you worked as part of a team or collaboration. What role did you play? What were the challenges of working together, and how did you overcome them? (250 words max)