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Admissions Criteria


Applicants are expected to have a bachelor's degree or its equivalent in a biological or physical science or in mathematics. Undergraduate class work should include one year each of physics, chemistry, calculus, additional biology or geology. Except under unusual circumstances a minimum undergraduate or postgraduate GPA of 3.0 is required for admission to any graduate program at UCSB. However, the IGPMS is very competitive and successful applicants typically have GPAs considerably higher than the minimum (>3.5). Applicants may apply for either the M.S. or Ph.D. degree program. However, the M.S. program is small and oriented toward research. Most students in the program work toward a Ph.D. A Masters degree is not required to enter the Ph.D. program.

Applicants to the Program must be accepted by a major professor with whom they wish to work and who has agreed to supervise the student's graduate training and thesis dissertation research. Therefore, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact individual faculty members in the Program whose research interests coincide with their own and to list potential advisors on their applications.

Admission decisions are based on intellectual potential and promise, competitiveness of the academic record, programmatic fit, and space availability.

All applicants must fulfill the general requirements for admission to graduate status at UCSB. Applicants should specify their general areas of interests within marine science on their application and provide a clear and focused statement of purpose.

Required Application Materials

  1. Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can best assess the applicant's academic and research potential (submitted in the online application)
  2. An official undergraduate transcript created by your university (submitted in the online application)
  3. Statement of Purpose, Personal Achievements/Contributions, and Resume or CV (submitted in the online application)

GRE Scores

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test scores (verbal, quantitative, analytical) are required of all applicants. The GRE scores should not be more than 5 years old. Students should take the GRE as early as possible in the fall prior to applying to insure that scores arrive by the December 15 application deadline. When you register for the GRE, please use the institution code for UCSB (4835).


All domestic applicants must also file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a part of the application process by March 2, within about 3 months after applying.


Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL or the IELTS.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - International students whose native language is not English must obtain a minimum score of 550 on the paper based or 80 on the internet based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) prior to admission. Exceptions to the TOEFL requirement are made for applicants who will have received an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited university in the United States by the time of enrollment.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) - The minimum IELTS score is an overall band score of 7. UCSB (institution code 4835) - No department code necessary.

Applications will be reviewed by an oversight committee of the Program and directed to appropriate faculty within the Program for consideration. Applicants will be notified regarding acceptance by April 15 at the latest.