How to Apply

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 regarding their scholastic qualifications and 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, preparation is judged inadequate as a foundation for advanced study, or 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.

Deadlines for Fall Quarter 2025

In order to be considered for the full range of financial aid opportunities, complete applications should be submitted by December 15, 2024. However, in rare circumstances, exceptionally strong candidates will be considered beyond this deadline, subject to financial aid availability. (The Mechanical Engineering Department ONLY accepts applications for Fall Quarter.) The deadline for Fall 2024 applications has passed.

Application Process

  • Apply via the web:
  • How to complete the online application
  • GRE scores are not required for admission to the ME graduate programs
  • Please note:
    • The minimum cumulative GPA for all applicants is 3.0.
    • The Mechanical Engineering Department ONLY accepts applications for the Fall Quarter.
  • Application period for Fall 2025: September 1-December 15, 2024

International students

  • The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) at UCSB serves the needs of international students and scholars, including assistance with visa status.  International students apply through the UCSB Graduate Division, and upon acceptance to the MS or PhD program, OISS will assist with immigration documents and procedures.

5-Year bs/ms students

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. Research interests formulated by the applicant and their programmatic fit with existing research areas in the department
  4. Letters of recommendation (3)

Admission decisions will be sent via the email listed on your application between January-early April

If your application is not advanced by the Mechanical Engineering program but deemed a potential fit to one of the Departments/Programs listed below, you may use the transfer permission form to consent for your application to be transferred for possible consideration by up to two other programs.  Complete the Transfer Permission Form and upload it with your application.

  • Biomolecular Sicence and Engineering (BMSE)
  • Bioengineering (BioE)
  • Dynamical Neuroscience (DYNS)
  • Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB)

Financial Support

Everyone who is admitted to graduate standing in our Department is automatically considered for various types of financial support which include fellowships, grants, teaching assistantships (TAs), and graduate research assistantships (GSRs). While it is not guaranteed all graduate students admitted will receive financial support from our Department, 90% of the Fall 2023 PhD incoming class received full financial support.


The Mechanical 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 (link is external)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(link is external).

For students who are not eligible for or are declined a fee waiver by the Graduate Division, the Mechanical Engineering Department has the ability to sponsor application fees for a limited number of applicants demonstrating strong potential for our program. To apply for a Department-supported fee waiver, email with “Department fee waiver request” in the subject line and you will be provided further detail of our process.