Application and Admission

General Qualifications of the Applicants: Each year we receive over 150 applications. Of these, we accept 15 into our program. The majority of successful applicants have an undergraduate degree in chemistry or biochemistry with strong classroom performance. While we require the GRE General Test, and recommend the Graduate Record Examination, we do not employ a threshold for consideration. A research background in chemistry is very helpful, but research experience in any field is valuable. We look for strong letters of recommendation and read the "Statement of Purpose" and "Personal History Statement" carefully. Our goal is to identify enthusiastic students who are well-prepared to thrive in an exciting research environment, and who will make the best use of the particular strengths and opportunities in our department.

To be considered for admission to the University of California, Santa Cruz:

• One must have received a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited university prior to the quarter for which admission is sought

• Applicants with a three-year Bachelor’s Degree must also hold a post graduate diploma, Master’s Degree, or a higher degree. 

• Have at least a B average in last two years of undergraduate coursework.


Questions? Check our FAQs

Applications are available beginning October 1. The deadline to apply for the Ph.D. program is December 15 for acceptance the following fall quarter. As our classes are sequential, we admit only in the fall quarter. All applications to the graduate programs must be submitted on-line.

For instructions on how to apply, visit the Division of Graduate Studies.

A complete application consists of:
1. Submitted on-line application

2. $105.00 application fee ($125 for International applicants) (pay through the online application)
3. Unofficial transcripts from each college-level institution attended (official transcripts will be required upon accepting)

4. Three letters of recommendation (submitted on-line). Enter name and email of each recommender in the online application. Recommenders will automatically be sent a link and password. Paper, email or faxed letters will not be accepted.

5. Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores. Scores must be reported by ETS and are valid for five years. UCSC’s school code is 4860 (no department code necessary). Applicants are encouraged to take the GRE by October 31, so that we will receive your scores by the application deadline.

6. (International Students) Applicants from countries where English is not the primary language must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test. Scores are valid for two years and must be submitted directly to UCSC by the testing service. Minimum TOEFL score is 89, minimum IELTS score is 8.

**TOEFL/IELTS waivers for admission purposes may be requested by applicants who have completed a four-year bachelor's degree at an English-speaking institution. If you plan to request such a waiver, you must select a back-up method of examination on the admission application in case your request is not approved. Indicate a future testing date and explain your desire and qualifications for a waiver of this requirement on the English Language Competency section of the online application.**
7. (Optional) Graduate Record Examination subject test is recommended but not required. Not taking it will not penalize your application. 


Application files missing any of the above items will not be reviewed. Several days after your application is submitted online you will be assigned a login and password for your UCSC portal, where you can check on missing items. This information will be posted beginning in early November and updated as materials are received. It is your responsibility to make sure all items have been received by checking your portal frequently.

You may 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. See the Document Scanning Guidelines for information about scanning and uploading your unofficial transcripts to the admissions application. Once admitted, one official transcript from the Registrar of each institution listed (including university correspondence or extension divisions), or a statement of good standing, if work was not completed, is required. (Request that your transcripts be sent to you.) Each transcript should be in an envelope sealed and signed by the Registrar. To expedite the processing of your application, send your transcripts (leaving each sealed envelope intact) and other required hard-copy materials together in the same envelope to:

U.C. Santa Cruz
Graduate Application Processing
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

If you attended UC Santa Cruz as an undergraduate, you must also request and pay to have an official transcript sent to Graduate Application Processing from the Registrar's Office. Transcripts submitted to UC Santa Cruz will not be returned to the applicant, nor will copies be forwarded to any other persons or agency. To qualify for graduate study at UC Santa Cruz, you must present official evidence that you have received a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education. (However, verification of UC Santa Cruz bachelor's degrees can usually be accomplished electronically.)

Application fee waivers are available on the online application for Graduate Opportunity Program applicants and for hardship cases. The university does not waive the application fee ($110.00) for international applicants.

Departmental financial support is based on merit. The university does not offer need-based financial aid to international applicants. The evaluation process depends on a review of your completed application, the strength of the overall applicant pool, and our target enrollment number. We have in the past offered full support to Ph.D. applicants in the form of teaching assistantships and fellowships. Some amount of funding may be available to M.S. applicants. We let you know if you have been given financial support at the same time we notify you of an admissions decision.

The review of applications is generally completed by March 1. Most offers of admission are prepared and mailed by March 15. Denial letters are sent thereafter. By a general agreement to which UC Santa Cruz and most graduate schools in the United States are signatories, admitted applicants have until April 15 to reply with their acceptance of fellowship offers.

For further information, please contact:

Karen Meece, Graduate Program Coordinator
University of California, Santa Cruz
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
Phone: (831) 459-2023
Email: kmeece@ucsc.edu