Application Deadline

December 1st, 2023

Fee Waiver Deadline

UCSB waives application fees for eligible graduate applicants. Apply for waivers at least two weeks before application deadline.

Prepare Academically

A Bachelor's degree is required. Students should have taken basic courses in biology, but keeping in mind the interdisciplinary nature of much of science, additional coursework in chemistry, physics, and math, with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better recommended. Research experience is helpful.

Explore Degree Offerings

Master of Arts (MA), Master of Arts/Doctor of Philosophy (MA/PhD), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Review Faculty Profiles and Research

Admission decisions are based on intellectual potential and promise, competitiveness of the academic record and research experience, programmatic fit, and space availability. Applicants to the Department 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 should contact individual faculty members in the Program whose research interests align with their own and to list potential advisors on their applications.

Contact Potential Mentors

The graduate program in EEMB does not accept graduate students without support from a faculty mentor. Prospective students should contact faculty whose research interests align with theirs to begin a conversation about joining their lab. Reaching out to faculty is a very important part of the process of applying to graduate school. Some faculty want to meet with prospective students several times before encouraging them to apply. Other faculty may not be planning on taking new students but do not clearly advertise that on their websites. So, making early contact (not just before the application deadline) with a prospective faculty mentor is very important.


Application Requirements


Scanned official transcripts (watermark or seal) from institutions where you have completed 12 units or more must be uploaded to your application.

Letters of Recommendations

Three letters of recommendation are required for a completed application. Letter writers should be familiar with your academic and creative potential to succeed in graduate school. Letter writers are asked to rank applicants on academic potential, writing ability, communication skills, and creativity. It is also recommended that you discuss your future aspirations with your letter writers and have them help explain any shortcomings in your application package (e.g., a semester with a lower GPA).

Statement of Purpose and Supplemental Documents

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Personal Achievements / Contributions Statement
  • Resume / Curriculum Vitae (CV)

There is no page length requirement for the three components but we recommend 2 pages maximum each.

The Statement of Purpose should address 1) your reasons for applying to the Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology Graduate Program, 2) your past research experience and accomplishments in preparing for graduate school, and 3) specific areas of interest that overlap with existing research programs. For the past research experiences, we are interested in not just what you have done, but also in learning about your academic motivations and what you have learned through these experiences. What scientific questions drive you? How did the past experiences shape your current goals? Why are you interested in pursuing a graduate degree? It is highly recommended that applicants peruse the webpages of individual faculty in the department and explicitly articulate potential future research directions within the framework of a faculty’s research program in their statements.

The Personal Achievements and Contributions Statement should describe aspects of your personal background, accomplishments, or broader societal impacts that you feel will help you become a productive contributor to the global scientific community with your graduate degree. We are interested in learning what makes you a unique individual and how you will contribute to building a diverse, vibrant intellectual community at UCSB. We are especially interested in stories that provide evidence of your problem-solving skills, cognitive flexibility, perseverance through challenges, internal aspirations, involvement in building diversity, underrepresented perspectives in the sciences, and leadership qualities. As an example, you may describe a particular challenge you faced in your academic career or personal life and what you learned about yourself from this experience that solidified your path to graduate school. You may also share unique cultural backgrounds or life experiences, such as fluency in non-English languages, living abroad, and academic interests outside the sciences. You may also use this opportunity to explain any shortcomings in your application materials (e.g., a particularly difficult academic term due to personal or financial hardships). We are also interested to learn any goals outside of academia pertaining to your motivations in attaining the graduate degree, such as using your graduate degree toward serving disadvantaged individuals or populations. We also use these application materials to assess an applicant’s writing skills and thought process.

EEMB no longer considers the GRE for admission.

Admissions Timeline

Admissions Notifications

Spring and Summer

Prospective students should contact Faculty of Interest.

Late August/Early September

Graduate application available through UC Santa Barbara’s Graduate Division.


Departmental admissions deadline - December 1st.

Late February/Early March

Admissions and financial notifications distributed to prospective students.


Statement of Intent and Financial Deadline – April 15th.