Henly gate UCSB

Academic Preparation

A Bachelor's degree or its equivalent in a Biological Science or a Science Degree with a biological context (with an upper-division grade point average of 3.0 or better). Average applicant GPAs are 3.5 or higher.

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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.

Statement of Purpose and Supplemental Documents

  • Statement of Purpose (SoP)
  • Personal History and Diversity Statement
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV)

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

The Statement of Purpose (SoP) should address your past research experience and accomplishments, your reasons for applying to our graduate program, and your particular areas of interest. For the research experiences, we are particularly interested in the questions you were addressing, how you chose your approach, and what you learned from the experience. We want to know why you want to pursue a graduate degree, how you know that (through your specific experiences), and why our program appeals to you. You may also include names of UCSB MCDB faculty whose research field interests you most.

UC Santa Barbara is interested in a diverse and inclusive graduate student population. Please describe any aspects of your personal background, accomplishments, or achievements that you feel are important in evaluating your application for graduate study. For example, please describe if you have experienced economic challenges in achieving higher education, such as being financially responsible for family members or dependents, having to work significant hours during undergraduate schooling or coming from a family background of limited income. Please describe if you have any unusual or varied life experiences that might contribute to the diversity of the graduate group, such as fluency in other languages, experience living in bi-cultural communities, academic research interests focusing on cultural, societal, or educational problems as they affect under-served segments of society, or evidence of an intention to use the graduate degree toward serving disadvantaged individuals or populations.

Your Personal History and Diversity Statement must be written in narrative (essay) form without duplicating content from your Statement of Purpose. A minimum word count of 250 words is required. There is no maximum length requirement. Most statements are typically 1-2 pages.

GRE Scores and Grade Point Average

The GRE is no longer a requirement to apply to the MCDB Graduate Program. Average applicant GPAs are 3.5 or higher, with an upper-division grade point average of 3.0 or better.

International Applicants

International students from non-English speaking nations must demonstrate proficiency in the English language.

Application Deadlines

PhD: Dec. 4, 2023
MS:  February 26, 2024


Anthony Galaviz
Graduate Advisor

Ruth Finkelstein
Faculty Graduate Advisor

 Open House



  • GRE is no longer required

Admissions Timeline

Anytime Before Application Deadline

Prospective students should feel free to contact the Graduate Advisor and faculty of interest.


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


  • All PhD application materials must be submitted by Dec. 4, 2023.
  • Applications are only considered for starting in the Fall quarter of each year.


  • PhD interview date: TBD.
  • All MS application materials must be submitted by March (TBA), 2024.
  • Applications are only considered for starting in the Fall quarter of each year.

Late February / Early March

Admissions and financial notifications distributed to prospective students.


Statement of Intent and Financial Deadline – April 15, 2024.