General Information

Current graduate students who want to apply to a MFA or doctoral department (including a doctoral program in their home department) must use the Online Graduate Application. With these new procedures, students who add or change to a MFA or doctoral program you are eligible for central recruitment funding, including the International Doctoral Recruitment Fellowship (IDRF).

Current graduate students may only apply during the regular application cycle for the department.  Please note that applicants for winter or spring admission are not eligible for central recruitment funding, but may be eligible for other types of departmental funding. In the case where a terminal UCSB master's student has applied for and is admitted to an MFA or doctoral program that starts in the fall quarter, but finishes the master's degree in fall or winter of the previous year, the Graduate Division can consider an exception to move up the start date of the doctoral program so that there is no break in registration.

Please contact the department to which you wish to apply before applying. 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 suppor

When Do These Procedures Apply?

Currently enrolled UCSB master's students interested in entering a UCSB MFA or doctoral degree program, or UCSB doctoral students interested in transferring from one doctoral program to another doctoral or MFA program, please follow the application instructions below.

When Do These Procedures NOT Apply?

Current UCSB graduate students interested in adding a non-MFA master’s degree program or certificate should visit Academic Services for a different set of procedures.

Non-UCSB students and current UCSB undergraduate students applying for doctoral and/or master’s degree programs should visit the general admissions How To Apply page for a different set of procedures.

How to Apply

All doctoral and MFA 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. 

Begin an application by logging in with your UCSB Net ID in the section labeled Current UCSB Graduate Students. 

Learn more about the parts of the online application here.


Major and Degree Objective Selection

You will need to select a major and degree objective. Please contact the department to which you wish to apply before applying.


It is important to maintain current and accurate contact information 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.  Please be sure to update this section of your application if your address changes during the application cycle. 


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.

Education History

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. All schools at which you completed one or more full academic terms (or equivalent) should be reported on your application, including UC Santa Barbara. Documents and other information from previous applications may be accessed and uploaded. To access your previous applications you may login as an Existing User with your previous login information.

Selecting an Institution

After selecting the school location, select your institution from the drop down list that appears under School Name. If you do not find it, select Other and type in the name of your school exactly as it appears on your transcript.

Degree Dates

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, enter the last date that you will be enrolled there and then select "No Degree" in the Degree Awarded/Expected drop-down.

Completed Units/Credits

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.

GPA and GPA Scale

Please report your Cumulative Grade Point Average as listed on your official university transcript. Report your GPA on the scale used at your institution.

If your institution does not use a 4.0 scale, do not 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.

Degree Type

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. If you will not complete a degree at the institution, select "No Degree" in the Degree Awarded/Expected drop-down menu.

Uploading Transcripts

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 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 sent directly to UC Santa Barbara from the institution 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). If sending paper documents by mail, official transcripts must be sent to the UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division directly from the school in the institution's sealed envelope, with all official seals and stamps intact. If sending electronic ​documents, transcripts must be sent directly from the institution's official transcript or document delivery service to Final, official transcripts must be received before the first day of instruction of the quarter to which you are admitted.

International Applicants: If you have received your degree, please include your degree certificate within the same file as your transcripts. The uploaded document must include both the original language transcript and the 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.

Exam Scores

For all tests, UCSB reviews only the most recent and complete set of test scores reported.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Official GRE test scores are valid for five years after your test administration date. If you are not sure when your scores expire, please contact ETS directly to inquire. Some departments also require applicants to take the Advanced GRE Subject Area tests; check with the academic department for specific requirements.

If your department/program requires them, you must self-report your GRE General Exams and Subject tests​ in the online application​. You must provide your Test Date and seven-digit Registration Number as well as your self-reported scores (found on your official Report of Scores from ETS) in the Exam Scores section of your eApp. This information will allow us to match your official scores to your online application.

If your scores from your previous application are still valid, it is not necessary to ask ETS to send your scores again. Your official scores remain in our database until they expire.

Technology Management Program (TMP) Applicants

You may submit either Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores.

Official GMAT test score dates must be within five years from the day the applicant submits the online graduate application. Scores must be submitted directly from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) to the Graduate Division.

If your scores from your previous application are still valid, it is not necessary to ask ​GMAC to send your scores again. Your official scores remain in our database until they expire.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Applicants whose native language is not English are required to report the TOEFL or IELTS scores.  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. Please contact your department of interest if you have questions.

If your scores from your previous application are still valid, it is not necessary to ask ETS or the British Council to send your scores again. Your official scores remain in our database until they expired. 

TOEFL Reporting
The online application requires you to enter the Test Date and sixteen-digit Registration Number found on your official Report of Scores from ETS.

IELTS Reporting
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.

Statements and Supplemental Documents

In order to complete your graduate application, you will be required to upload the following three distinct documents in your online application:

  1. Statement of Purpose
  2. Statement of Personal Achievements/Contributions
  3. 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.

Personal Achievements/Contributions
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.

Resume 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 will need to lock each document to finalize your submission.

You may view and replace documents you have uploaded as long as you have not locked them. Once you click the "Lock" button, you will not be able to edit or replace what you have uploadedPlease 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 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.

Financial Information

The information you provide in this section is used by the department to determine if you are seeking financial support or if you have already obtained financial support.  Please indicate any fellowships or extramural funding you have already been awarded.

Application Fee

All applications require a non-refundable application fee of $​120 for domestic applicants, and $140 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.

Fee Waivers

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. Fee waivers are not available to international applicants.

You may apply for a fee waiver ​within the online application. Within your application click on the Payment Information tab and scroll-down to the fee waiver information. Submit your request online by selecting the option relevant to you and uploading your supporting documentation. You must submit your fee waiver request at least two weeks before the application deadline. Do not submit a fee waiver request the day before the application deadline​; it will not be processed and your application will not be reviewed.