How to Apply

Questions about admissions?

Please first check our Frequently Asked Questions.  Send further questions to

UCSB Graduate Division
3117 Cheadle Hall
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-2070
(805) 893-2277

Graduate Program Application Process

Students seeking admission to graduate status at the University of California must hold a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an institution of acceptable standing. The program of preparation should be substantially the same, both in the distribution of academic subject matter and in scholarship achievement, as the requirements for a comparable degree at the University of California.

Applicants for admission are evaluated by the prospective major department and the graduate dean in terms of their scholastic qualifications and their preparation for the proposed field of study.

The graduate dean makes the final decision, guided by the recommendation of the major department. The dean may deny admission if the applicant's scholastic record is undistinguished, if preparation is judged inadequate as a foundation for advanced study, or if the department's facilities are already filled to capacity. If the undergraduate background of an otherwise qualified applicant is found to be somewhat deficient in fundamental training, the student may be admitted with the provision that certain specified undergraduate courses be completed. No credit toward an advanced degree will be allowed for such courses.

Please note: The Chemical Engineering Department ONLY accepts applications for Fall Quarter.

Deadline for Fall Quarter 2025

The deadline for all applications is December 10, 2024.

Application Process


The Chemical Engineering Department is committed to training and supporting graduate students from diverse identities and backgrounds, recognizing our commitment to serving the greater community and the critical role that diversity plays in innovation.  We strongly encourage applications from first-generation, low-income, systemically marginalized, disabled, and/or underrepresented groups in chemical engineering and other STEM fields. 

While our admissions process requires an application fee, it should not prevent qualified applicants from considering our program.  The UCSB Graduate Division grants fee waivers to students that meet at least one of three criteria:

  • Affiliated or participated in any of a number of research & professional programs and organizations, such as CAMP, Gates Millennium Scholars, MARC, McNair Scholars, NSBE, SACNAS, etc.
  • Received significant financial aid from their current university.
  • Demonstrated household income below thresholds specific to family size.

We strongly encourage qualifying students to apply.  All details of the above eligibility requirements, as well as fee waiver application instructions, are available at the Graduate Division website.

For students that are not eligible for or are declined a fee waiver by the Graduate Division, the Chemical Engineering Department has the ability to sponsor application fees for a limited number of applicants demonstrating potential for our program that meet at least one of the criteria below:

  • Participated in a UCSB diversity-oriented research training program.
  • Participated in a domestic diversity-oriented research training program.
  • Participated in a major domestic diversity-oriented professional program, conference, or organization, including those not listed on the Graduate Division’s website (e.g., SWE, oSTEM) 

To apply for a Department-supported fee waiver, email with “Department fee waiver request” in the subject line.  The email should include:

  1. Evidence of a declined fee waiver request by the UCSB Graduate Division, OR explanation of ineligibility for a Graduate Division fee waiver.
  2. An explanation detailing the rationale for the request and how you meet one or more of the criteria above.
  3. A brief confirmation statement on official letterhead from a program director OR program administration staff, OR a faculty mentor/member verifying your participation in one of the activities listed above.
  4. A PDF of your current C.V.

Requests will be evaluated on an individual basis by the Department Graduate Admissions Committee, and are not guaranteed.   Requests will only be considered if submitted at least three weeks prior to the application deadline.

Admissions Committee

The admissions decision is based on a comprehensive assessment of the applicant's intellectual potential and promise, involving a review of the following criteria:

  1. Applicant's undergraduate education and records (and MS education and record, if applicable)
  2. Past research experience
  3. Description of research interests at UCSB
  4. Letters of support from faculty references

Financial Support

All students admitted into our Ph.D. program are guaranteed financial support that is continued throughout their studies as long as they remain in good academic standing. This includes fellowships, grants, teaching assistantships (TAs), and graduate research assistantships (GSRs). 


Due to the sheer volume of applications, we are unable to provide individual feedback on prospective applicants' portfolios and likelihoods of success. However, some excellent articles are available on the web, and include:
Choose the Right PhD Program (AIChE ChEnected)
How Not to Apply to Graduate School (Science)
Planning for Graduate Work in Chemistry (ACS)
Choosing a Graduate Program (C&EN)