Prospective Graduate Students

Admission to UC San Diego's graduate program in Biological Sciences is highly competitive with only 35-40 students joining the Ph.D. program each year. New students are admitted for Fall Quarter only.

Competitive applicants must demonstrate excellent undergraduate training in the biological sciences and a strong commitment to research.

We encourage students with exceptional achievement and diverse backgrounds to apply. UCSD does not discriminate on the basis of nationality, race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, sex, citizenship or disability. See more about the division's commitment to diversity.

Approximately 30% of our incoming class consists of international students. As such, qualified international applicants are also encouraged to apply.

We offer full financial support (including a monthly stipend and paid university tuition/fees) to all Ph.D. students.

Fall 2019 Application Will Open September 4, 2018

Deadline: November 15, 2018

Interviews dates: To be determined 

All transcripts, supporting documents and letters of recommendation must be submitted through the online application by the deadline in order for your application to be considered in the review process.

See below for more details on how to apply.

Test Score Reporting Codes (GRE/TOEFL)

  • GRE
    • School/Institution Code: 4836
    • Department Code: 0203
    • School/Institution Code: 4836
    • Department Code: 35
TOEFL and Graduate Record Examinations should be taken no later than October 29, 2018

Application Information

To apply to the Ph.D. program in Biology, use the UCSD Application for Graduate Admission. UCSD uses a web-based application to apply for graduate study. You may work on your application a bit at a time, and then submit it once it is complete. The site is secure, and your application information and credit card payment will remain confidential.

Applications are evaluated by the Admissions Committee (which is comprised of representatives from both the faculty and graduate students) November through January.

The Admissions Committee evaluates applicants based on their past academic performance. Important factors in the evaluation of an application include:

  • The nature and quality of the applicant's undergraduate degree program
  • Preparation in the physical sciences and mathematics
  • Previous laboratory and/or field research experience
  • Statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Scores on the Graduate Record Exam
  • English Proficiency Exams (International Applicants Only)

Required Documents

In addition to the application forms, we also require the following documents:

  • A copy of your Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores*
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • A copy of your most recent academic transcript(s)**
  • Statement of purpose

*The general GRE test is required while the subject test is recommended. You must take the GRE early enough to ensure that your test scores will be received in time for review by the Admissions Committee

**To expedite the processing of your application, the Biology Admissions Committee recommends that you upload PDF versions of your official or unofficial transcripts directly into the UCSD online application system. You will find more information on this process once you are in the online application system.

If you are an international student and English is not your native language, you must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. The TOEFL/IELTS requirement is waived for international students who have studied for at least 1 continuous year in an English speaking country.

Applications are processed in order in which they are submitted. Screening of applications will begin in late November. We recommended that you submit your application well before the deadline to be considered for on-campus interviews. All transcripts, supporting documents and letters of recommendation must be submitted through the online application by the deadline in order for your application to be considered in the review process.

It is particularly important for foreign applicants to complete their application well before the deadline, as it has been our experience that delays in processing their applications seriously limit the financial aid the applicant can hope to obtain.

Campus Visits and Interviews

Selected applicants will be invited to visit the campus and participate in faculty interviews in late January and early February. The interviews consist of meetings with both faculty and graduate students, as well as the opportunity to visit the UCSD campus and the surrounding research community.

Based on the results of the interviews, offers of admission in most cases will be made before the end of February. All applicants will be notified of the Division's decision no later than March 15. Again, we urge you to complete your application well in advance of the FALL deadline.

Contact Information

Graduate Admissions Coordinator
Division of Biological Sciences, 0348
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla CA 92093-0348
(858) 534-7396