In addition to fulfilling the Graduate Division requirements for admission, the Department of Computer Science requires a bachelor's degree in some discipline of science, engineering, or mathematics.

Please see the information below for additional points to consider as you prepare your PhD application. For questions related to the online application, don't forget to check the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) provided by the UCSB Graduate Division.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Online Application

Applications to the UCSB Computer Science MS and PhD programs are accepted once per year. All applications should be submitted through the Graduate Division’s on-line application here.

Minimum Requirements for All Graduate Applications

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Grade-point Average

  • A minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA in undergraduate study. Note that we will do our best to place GPAs into context on a per-school basis for institutions that do not use a 4.0 GPA scale.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

  • PLEASE NOTE: The UCSB Computer Science department will not require the GRE requirement for Fall 2023 applicants. Because the GRE is not a requirement, this means we are prohibited from reviewing these scores for all applicants. Please do not attempt to upload GRE scores to your application as they will not be reviewed.
  • More information about the GRE can be found on the Graduate Division FAQ page, under Exam Scores.  

Non-native English Speakers (or ESL Students)

  • Students whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The department's minimum score for consideration is 100 on the Internet-based test.
  • The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is accepted as an alternative to the TOEFL. A minimum overall band score of 7.0 is required on the IELTS.
  • Exemptions are only considered for students who have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at an institution whose verified sole/only official language of instruction is English. Applicants must upload a copy of official transcripts to their application and the transcript must indicate both of the following: (1) the expected or actual completion of the degree program and (2) that English is the official and sole/only language of instruction at the institution. 
  • For additional information on TOEFL and IELTS please visit the Exam Scores section on the Graduate Division FAQ page

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Additional Information Specific to PhD Admissions

  • Students may apply directly to the PhD program without a Master's degree. A solid background in computer science or one or more fields of science and engineering is strongly suggested.
  • Applicants who are admitted to the PhD program generally have a grade-point average of at least 3.5 in their undergraduate study.
  • Students entering this program should be committed to completing a PhD. The department discourages students petitioning to switch to the Master's program; such petitions are approved only under exceptional circumstances.

Current UCSB Graduate Students

  • To switch to or add a Computer Science Masters of Science (MS) degree objective, please submit the Graduate Student Petition available on the Graduate Division website and supporting materials to the Computer Science Department Staff Advisor via email by the annual December 15 deadline. Do not complete the on-line application. Petitions & materials are reviewed along with the other graduate school applications received. Our department asks that you complete 3 of our CS graduate courses before applying to our MS program. CS graduate courses may only be added through approval codes by non-CS majors.
  • To switch to or add a Computer Science Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree objective, please complete the on-line application by the annual December 15 deadline. Do not complete the Graduate Division Graduate Student Petition. Only PhD applications and materials received via the on-line application portal will be reviewed. 

Financial Support

All PhD applicants are considered for campus and departmental fellowships, including but not limited to, the Doctoral Scholar Fellowship, Chancellor's Fellowship, Regents Fellowship, and the Eugene Cota Robles Fellowship.

Admitted PhD students are typically given guaranteed financial aid via student employment to fully support them throughout their studies, based on meeting our program requirements. PhD students may be funded by a combination of Fellowships, Graduate Student Researcher employment positions (GSRs), and/or Teaching Assistant employment positions (TAs).

Masters students may apply for TA positions each quarter and may be employed as GSRs upon agreement and availability with a faculty member.


Teaching Assistants (TAs)

The department accepts applications for Teaching Assistants each quarter. The application website is available approximately one month prior to the beginning of the quarter. Priority for employment is given to first and second year PhD students. TAs receive partial fee remission through their employment, and in addition the department will pay Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition (NRST) for PhD students who are international students or domestic non-California resident students for the first year. Domestic students MUST secure California residency prior to their second year. PhD students who are employed as TAs will only need to pay a portion of the campus-based fees. This amount is $237.03 for the 2021-22 academic year. TAs are responsible for paying this fee on time. MS students who are employed as TAs also receive partial fee remission. MS students who are TAs are responsible for paying their NRST fees and the required portion of campus-based fees by the fee payment deadline. The department does not pay for the cost of housing.

Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs)

It is anticipated that PhD students will transition to Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) positions during their second year. Students are hired by their research advisors to conduct research in the lab. GSRs receive full fee remission through their employment if employed at 35% time or greater.


There are several fellowships for which the department annually nominates students. These fellowships include the Microsoft Research Fellowship, the Google PhD Fellowship, the IBM PhD fellowship and a number of centrally administered university fellowships. Students interested in being considered for these awards should talk to their research advisors about a nomination. The Graduate Division offers a number of fellowships for which students may apply after the first year at UCSB. These fellowships include research grants and a dissertation year fellowship. Information about funding opportunities can be found at the Graduate Division website.