Your application for graduate study at UC Santa Cruz must be completed and submitted through our online application.

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, and, 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 through this email.

To make your online application experience smooth and successful, we have included some instructions and helpful tips for you as you complete the online application process.


To Begin: Go to and click "Start New Application."

    Step 1: Select your program

  • 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:

    - 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.

    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 to which you are applying before proceeding. It is important to verify that you have selected the correct program and quarter because you will not be able to change these selections without beginning a new application. Further, UC Santa Cruz does not allow applicants to submit multiple applications during overlapping admission cycles.

  • Step 2: Create an Account

  • 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.

  • Step 3: Complete the online application

  • 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:

    * Transcripts
    Official transcripts are not required at the time of application. Instead, you should upload a copy of your unofficial transcripts to your online application. This can either be a scanned version of your official transcript, or, if available, a downloaded PDF from your institution's online portal. If admitted, we will require that an official transcript be sent directly from your previous institution prior to enrollment at UC Santa Cruz. See Document Scanning Guidelines at the bottom of this page for more information. 

    * Personal History Statement: 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.  Recommended length is a concise 1-3 pages. 

    * Statement of Purpose: Please describe your plans for graduate study or research and for your future occupation or profession.  Include any information that may aid the selection committee in evaluating your preparation and qualifications for graduate study at the UC Santa Cruz.  Recommended length is a concise 2-4 pages. Some applications may ask you to respond to program-specific questions in your Statement of Purpose. Be sure to read the instructions provided on that page of the application carefully. 

    * Résumé: A résumé is required for some applications and optional for others. See the Supplemental Materials page of our website or the Résumé page your application to determine whether you are required to submit a résumé. 

    * Supplemental Materials: Some programs require additional materials 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. 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,, to their address book to ensure our email invitation is not accidentally marked as spam.

    Applicants who plan to apply for admission at multiple institutions may choose to use letter services, such as Letterbanc's Universal Reference (UniRef) service.

  • Step 4: Payment

  • The application fee is $80 for domestic applicants and $100 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
    - Diversity Forum (The California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education)
    - LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation)
    - Project 1000
    - MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers)
    - MBRS/IMSD (Minority Biomedical Research Support/Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity)
    - McNair Scholars Program
    - MIRT (Minority Biomedical Research Training Program)
    - Peace Corps
    - 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 $80 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: 

    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.

  • Step 5: Submit your application

  • 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

  • Step 6: Arrange to send any required supporting materials

  • * 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. 

    * Transcripts
    If you chose not to upload an unofficial transcript to your online application, you must have an official copy sent by your institution to the following address. It must arrive no later than the application deadline.

    Graduate Application Processing
    UC Santa Cruz
    1156 High Street
    Santa Cruz, CA 95064

Important Things to Remember

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.

Document Scanning Guidelines

  • 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.