Your application for graduate study at UC Santa Cruz must be completed and submitted through our online application.
- Be sure to use the newest version of an internet browser that meets our campus's web browser security standards.
- Only one application may be considered from each applicant within a given admission-processing period (winter through fall of the same calendar year).
- Simultaneous applications to multiple departments are not accepted and any application fee paid for multiple applications will be forfeited.
- NOTE: Be sure to add our two email addresses, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, to your email address books so our messages don't get marked as spam by your email provider. You will be notified of your admission decisions from these accounts.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Important notes for all appilcants
To Begin: Go to https://gradapp.ucsc.edu/ and click "Start New Application."
When you first enter the online application, you are asked to select the program to which you wish to apply. As a UC Santa Cruz Graduate Studies applicant, you should be looking specifically for the following graduate programs and select that which is appropriate to you.
Please note that several programs allow non-degree (NDG) options for visiting and EAP students.
You will be asked to confirm the program and quarter (fall/winter/spring/summer) to which you are applying before proceeding. It is important to verify that you have selected the correct program and quarter.*
- Education Master's Applicants: Be sure to select summer quarter when you log in to your applciation, as the default quarter is "fall".
- UC Santa Cruz does not allow applicants to submit multiple applications during overlapping admission cycles.
- Anthropology: Ph.D.
- Applied Economics & Finance: M.S.
- Astronomy: Ph.D.
- Biomolecular Engineering & Bioinformatics: M.S., Ph.D.
- Chemistry: M.S., Ph.D.
- Computer Engineering: M.S., Ph.D.
- Computer Science: M.S., Ph.D.
- Digital Arts & New Media: M.F.A
- Earth Sciences: M.S., Ph.D.
- Ecology and & Evolutionary Biology: M.A., Ph.D.
- Economics: Ph.D.
- Education: M.A., Ph.D.
- Electrical Engineering: M.S., Ph.D.
- Environmental Studies: Ph.D.
- Feminist Studies: Ph.D.
- Film & Digital Media: Ph.D.
- Games and Playable Media: M.S.
- History: M.A., Ph.D.
- History of Consciousness: Ph.D.
- Latin American & Latino Studies: Ph.D.
- Linguistics: M.A., Ph.D.
- Literature: M.A., Ph.D.
- Mathematics: Ph.D.
- Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology: M.S., Ph.D.
- Molecular, Cell, & Developmental Biology: M.A.
- Music: M.A., Ph.D.
- Music Composition: D.M.A
- Ocean Sciences: M.S., Ph.D.
- Philosophy: M.A., Ph.D.
- Physics: M.S., Ph.D.
- Politics: Ph.D.
- Program in Biomedical Sciences & Engineering: Ph.D.
- Bioinformatics & Computational Biology track
- Mechanistic, Structural & Chemical Biology track
- Microbial Biology & Pathogenesis track
- Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology track
- Psychology: Ph.D.
- Science Communication Certificate
- Social Documentation: M.A.
- Sociology: Ph.D.
- Statistics & Applied Math: M.S., Ph.D.
- Technology & Information Management: M.S., Ph.D.
- Theater Arts: M.A.
- Visual Studies: Ph.D.*It is possible to change your application program once you have started the application online. Please note that while the majority of your application data will be moved to your new program's application, some pages are program-specific, including but not limited to the Statement of Purpose and Resume pages. Changing your program will result in the loss of any data or documents you've entered on those pages.
- Be careful to review your application prior to submission to ensure that all of your information is complete and relevant to your new program.
- Any recommenders that you've registered thus far will be moved to your new application; recommender invitations do not have to be resent.
You create an account by completing the requested information. Within the next few pages, you will be asked to supply additional personal, contact and residency information.
This information will create your official record in our student information system. Please follow the directions and complete all the appropriate information carefully as you would like it to appear on your official university records.
You will be asked to create an account password, which will allow you to save and access your application in the future.
Complete all required pages and items (marked by an asterisk). If you choose not to complete an optional page, be sure you click the "section not applicable" link on top of the page.
Application materials you may wish to prepare in advance:
You may upload a scanned copy of your unofficial transcripts to your online application, or send official copies to the Graduate Application Processing address:
UC Santa Cruz
Graduate Application Processing
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
Unofficial copies may either be scanned versions of your official transcript, or if available a downloaded PDF* from your institution's online portal.
Refer to the Document Scanning Guidelines at the bottom of this page for requirements and information about scanning and uploading your unofficial transcripts to the admissions application.
If you are admitted to UCSC, we will require that an official, sealed transcript be sent directly from your degree-granting institution prior to enrollment at UC Santa Cruz (transcripts are not required from universities/colleges where you did not earn a degree).
*Please note that Rights Managed PDF's are not uploadable. You must print and scan these documents before they can be uploaded to the application system.
Statement of Purpose
This should be a concise, well-written essay about your background and your reasons for pursuing graduate study in the field you have chosen. Selection committees place particular importance on the statement of purpose. It exhibits your ability to present ideas in clear, coherent language. The requirements for your Statement of Purpose may vary depending on the program to which you are applying, but in general, the statement of purpose should indicate:
- How knowledgeable you are in the desired field of study
- How your undergraduate studies and other experiences (work, community involvement, and so forth) serve as a foundation for graduate study
- How and why you intend to build on this foundation of knowledge and apply your graduate training to social or theoretical problems
Recommended length is a concise 2-4 pages, single-spaced.
Personal History Statement
The Personal History Statement is required of all applicants.This statement will be used in conjunction with your application for graduate admission and financial support. Please note that the Personal History Statement should not duplicate the Statement of Purpose.
UC Santa Cruz is interested in a diverse and inclusive graduate student population. In an essay, discuss how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Please include any educational, familial, cultural, economic, or social experiences, challenges, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how you might contribute to social or cultural diversity within your chosen field; and/or how you might serve underrepresented segments of society with your degree.
Recommended length is a concise 1-3 pages, single-spaced.
A résumé is required for some applications and optional for others. See the Supplemental Materials page of our website or the Résumé page in the online application to determine whether you are required to submit a résumé.
* Supplemental Materials:
Some programs require additional materials or writing samples be submitted with your application. For a summary of those materials by program, please see our Supplemental Materials page.
Letters of Recommendation
All recommendation letters are required to be submitted electronically through the online application. You must register a minimum of three recommenders, and as many as five, via the Recommendations page of the online application.
After registering a recommender through the online application, click the “Send Recommender Invitation Now” link to generate an email to that person with a unique, secure link with which they will access the online recommendation submission form. Your Recommendations page will not be complete until at least three recommenders have been sent their invitations.
You will not have the ability to edit recommender data after sending an invitation, so be sure the information is accurate and that the person you've registered is willing to provide you with a recommendation before sending their invitation through this page.
You will have the ability to rescind a recommendation request if needed.
You will be able to track receipt of their recommendation via the application; however, you should not wait for your letters to arrive before you submit your application.
You may wish to have your recommender add our email address, email@example.com, to their address book to ensure our email invitation is not accidentally marked as spam.
If you plan to use a letter service, please review that service's instructions before registering your recommenders in the online application; many services will provide you with a unique email address under which you'll register each recommender, allowing the service to electronically submit the letters.
The application fee for the 2016-17 academic year is $105 for domestic applicants and $125 for international applicants. This fee can be paid by credit card or e-check (the e-check option is only available if you have a U.S. bank account).
Fee Exemption: If you are a US Citizen or permanent resident of the United States who has participated in one of the approved programs listed below in the last academic year, you may be eligible for a fee exemption:
- ABRCMS (Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students)
- CAMP (California Alliance for Minority Participation)
- CBSE-RMI (Center for Biomedical Science and Engineering - Research Mentoring Institute)
- CfAO-RIM (Center for Adaptive Optics - Research Internships on the Mainland)
- CSU Pre-Doctoral Program (Sally Casanova Scholars)
- Diversity Forum (The California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education)
- LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation)
- Project 1000
- MARC (Maximizing Access to Research Careers)
- MBRS/IMSD (Minority Biomedical Research Support/Initiative for Maximizing Student Development)
- McNair Scholars Program
- MIRT (Minority Biomedical Research Training Program)
- Peace Corps
- PREP (Post baccalaureate Research Experience Program)
- SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science)
- STEPS Institute (Science, Technology, Engineering, Policy and Society)
- SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship)
- SURF-IT (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Information Technology)
- UC LEADS (University of California Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees)
- UC-HBCU Initiative (Historically Black Colleges and Universities Alumni for Campus Outreach)
To apply for a Fee Exemption: Navigate to the Payment section of the application, choose "Fee Exemption" and click "Next Step." Complete the information on the following page and click "Save Answer."
Fee Waiver: If you are a US citizen or a permanent resident of the United States, you may request an application fee waiver if you feel you are eligible. An Application Fee Waiver can be requested in one of two ways:
1) If you are currently receiving financial aid, you should ask your Financial Aid Office to complete the 2nd page of our Request for Graduate Application Fee Waiver form.
2) If your present financial situation makes it impossible to pay the application fee, you should send a letter accompanying page 1 of the Request for Graduate Application Fee Waiver form indicating your itemized monthly family budget, all income and all expenses, and stating reasons necessitating your request. (Do not send copies of income tax returns.)
The completed form and any accompanying materials should be sent to:
University of California, Santa Cruz
Attention: Admissions Coordinator
Graduate Application Processing
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
To allow time to process your request, make sure that your request arrives in the Graduate Admissions office at least five working days prior to your program's application deadline.
If you would like to send your materials via email, you may send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
When your request for a Graduate Application Fee Waiver has been reviewed, you will receive an email with further instructions. Please note: If you pay the application fee via e-check or credit card, your money will not be refunded to you.
After you submit your application, you may no longer change your record. You will still be able to log in to view your submitted application, confirm your fee payment status, and communicate with recommenders and your department.
For other changes or questions, please contact your department directly or email the Graduate Admissions Office at email@example.com.
* Test Scores
Official GRE scores must be sent from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to UC Santa Cruz, School Code 4860 (no department code necessary). Official scores must be received prior to the application deadline.
NOTE: Education MA/Credential, Digital Arts and New Media MFA, and Social Documentation MA applicants are not required to take the GRE.
If you are a non-native English speaker you will be required to take an English language competency exam. UC Santa Cruz accepts the TOEFL or IELTS test. Official scores must also be sent from the testing service to UC Santa Cruz, School Code 4860
You will be asked to provide self-reported scores within the application as well. Please fill them out to the best of your ability.
Applicants to graduate programs at UCSC may upload unofficial transcripts to the application system.
If you are offered admission, you must have an official, final transcript sent by your institution to the following address; transcripts must verify any degrees earned from higher education institutions (undergraduate and graduate-level) by displaying your degree title and date awarded. If your transcript doesn't indicate your degree title and/or date awarded, you must send an official degree certification to this address as well.
Graduate Application Processing
UC Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
Step 1: Select your program
Step 2: Create an Account
Step 3: Complete the online application
Step 4: Payment
Step 5: Submit your application
Step 6: Arrange to send any required supporting materials
1. When using the online application, you may save your work and return to the application at any time before submitting it. You do this by returning to the application and selecting "Continue Application" from the left-navigation bar.
2. Applicants may only submit one application per calendar year (winter-fall). Any application fee paid for multiple applications will be forfeited.
3. All materials submitted as part of your application for admission are the property of UC Santa Cruz and will not be returned to the applicant, nor shared with another individual, institution or organization under any circumstances.
4. Applicants are expected to complete the application accurately and completely. Read our Policy on Falsification and Accuracy of Application Materials.
- Scan the lowest dpi setting that results in a legible document-we recommend using 200dpi whenever possible.
- Ensure that your scanned copy is clearly legible and can print on letter size paper (8.5 x 11).
- Make sure that the uploaded document displays in the proper portrait or landscape format.
- When scanning your transcripts, please include a single copy of the transcript legend (the back page in most cases).
- If your Social Security Number (SSN) appears on any scanned document, make sure to remove or redact it before you upload the record. If we identify an uploaded document that includes a SSN, we will delete it and ask for re-submission. Be aware that this may delay the review of your application.
- Save your document as a PDF file.
- Make certain that the file size is less than 2.5 MB (2056 kB). Scanning in "gray scale" or "black and white" may produce the best results. If the scanned file is too large, make a photocopy first then scan the photocopy. Experiment with different settings until you find one that results in the smallest file size.