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Application/Evaluation Process

To apply, applicants use the UCSD Application for Graduate Admission. UCSD uses a web-based application (Slate). 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 and credit card information will remain confidential.

Applications are evaluated by the Admissions Committee (which is comprised of representatives from both the faculty and current Ph.D. students) immediately following submission, through March.

Holistic Evaluation Factors

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

  • Nature and quality of undergraduate degree program
  • Preparation in physical sciences and mathematics
  • Previous laboratory and/or field research experience
    • Description of role in experience(s) (300 characters max for each experience)
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)
    • Recommended Length: 2 Pages
    • No length, font, spacing, etc. requirements
  • Letters of Recommendation (LORs) (3)
  • CV/Resume
  • EDI and Adversity Questions (Optional)
    • "List any outreach activity in which you have participated to promote equity, diversity and inclusion in science, in 300 words or less." (300 words or less)
    • "If you have overcome major adversity or hardship, please describe your experience." (300 words or less)
  • Description of Additional Experiences (Optional)
    • Selectable types of experiences: Leadership, Overcoming Adversity, Community Involvement, Social Justice Experience, Personal or Professional Ethics, Research, Other
    • Each type of experience selected will ask for a 3 - 5 sentence response
  • Interest in program and faculty
    • Explanation of interest in faculty of interest should be in SOP
  • Interviews
  • English Proficiency Exams (International Applicants Only) (TOEFL Code: 4836)
  • Publications (Not Required)
  • Personal Statement for addressing any impacts due to COVID-19 (Not Required)


GRE scores are not required nor taken into consideration.

SHORE (Student Housing)

SHORE is a very limited campus housing program that guarantees graduate student housing for the length of your graduate program, up to six years. SHORE students are housed without having to wait on the waitlist and are guaranteed housing by start of Fall Quarter. All spots are filled by early Spring Quarter. No additional spots are available after Spring Quarter. If selected, students will be notified. Answers to SHORE questions are optional and do not affect application evaluation.

Application includes the following Yes/No questions:

"Would receiving a SHORE housing offer influence your admission decision?"

"Would you like to be considered for SHORE housing?"

If Yes is selected for wanting to be considered for SHORE, a text prompt will appear:

"Our department receives a limited number of SHORE spots. Please briefly explain why you are a good candidate for a SHORE nomination."