Frequently Asked Questions

View some of our graduate program's frequently asked questions.

What is the application deadline?

December 15, 2023 by 11:59 PM PST.

When are my application materials due?

December 15, 2023 by 11:59 PM PST.

Where can I get answers to my application questions?

For general admission, technical problems, payment issues, and application questions you can contact the Admissions & Outreach team via email at

For department specific questions email

How many applicants do you receive?

In 2023, we received 1,043 applications.

Do you accept materials via mail, email or fax?

All application materials must be submitted via your online application.

I have my fall grades, can I submit updated transcripts?

No, we do not accept updated transcripts, once they have been uploaded to the online application.

What is the difference between the Statement of Purpose and the Personal History and Diversity Statement? Are all three required?

Review the Statement of Purpose guidelines located on the How To Complete the Online Application page. The length of your Statement of Purpose can depend on the individual departmental requirements, though approximately two pages or more is typically recommended.

In addition to the Statement of Purpose, applicants are also required to submit a (1) Personal History and Diversity Statement and a (2) Resume or Curriculum Vitae.

For the Personal History and Diversity Statement, the minimum word count is 250 words. 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.

Instructions for each document are located in the Statements and Supplemental Documents section of the online application and on the Graduate Division’s How to Complete the Online Application page. Note that applicants are required to respond to different prompts/questions for each statement.

Yes, all three documents are required.

How can I check if my application is complete?

Your application status is available on the UCSB Graduate Application page. You can login using the email address you used and the password you created when you started your application.

Can I apply for the master’s program?

You can only apply for the PhD program.

Can I apply for Winter or Spring admission?

You can only apply for Fall Quarter.

If I am an international applicant, can I apply for an application fee waiver?

Fee waivers are not available for international applicants.

Where can I find answers about waivers and other TOEFL/ELTS/Duolingo questions?

Please visit this page about these exams.

Do I need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

All students who are admitted to UCSB must have completed the FAFSA by the early March deadline. Only students who have completed the FAFSA are eligible to receive UCSB Graduate Division central fellowships. Starting 2023, international students are eligible for President's Work Study.

Is there a pre-application? Will someone review my materials before I apply?

No. The Physics Department does not require any students to submit a preliminary application. No, the department does not review application materials before application.

Where can I find more FAQs?

Please visit this link for the Graduate Division’s comprehensive list of FAQs.