Applying to the Ph.D. or Masters Programs


The 2021-2022 (Fall 2021) deadline for applications for either the Masters Plan I (thesis tract), Masters Plan II (course based), or Ph.D. programs must be completed and submitted through the UCSC online application system–including submission of recommendation letters–by December 10, 2021. Applicants are notified of decisions made by the Graduate Admissions Committee by approximately mid-April. Application instructions and requirements may be found on the Division of Graduate Studies website here

In addition to the specific requirements listed on the Ocean Sciences Masters and PhD web pages, the Graduate Admissions Committee will evaluate the qualifications of prospective students using the following criteria:

  • Prior academic performance (including grade point average and the nature of the undergraduate academic program and/or Masters or other degree),
  • An evaluation of three letters of recommendation in support of the applicant,
  • The Graduate Record Examination scores (verbal, quantitative, and analytical) are not required. While not required, taking the subject test in a major discipline is recommended,
  • Related research experience,
  • Statement of purpose, and
  • Availability of suitable sponsor. Please contact one of the Ocean Sciences Core or Affiliated Faculty in your area of interest prior to applying. 

For application process questions, please contact Graduate Admissions (, 831-459-5905). 

Questions about the Ocean Sciences Graduate program may be sent to the Graduate Program Coordinator at:

Department of Ocean Sciences
Room A-312 Earth & Marine Sciences Building
University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
(831) 459-4730