Prospective Student Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. I need to have my recommenders send letters as soon as possible. Should I have them submit PAPER letters?
Please note that your recommenders will receive an email request for letter of recommendation through the online application as soon as the recommendation page is compleated and saved. If you've missed the deadline, we encourage you to contact your recommender(s) and request the letter be e-mailed immediately or find an alternate recommender.
Yes, students can take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination instead of the TOEFL test. The minimum score accepted by UCSD is a 7. More information can be found here.
Q. Scripps Institution of Oceanography has 3 major codes. How do I figure out which one I should choose on the application?
The 3 major codes represent how the degree will read if you are admitted and complete the program. You may choose:
Please send your information to this address:
We usually offer admission to about 20% of the applicants
Applicants to the Ocean Biosciences Program are highly encouraged submit scores for a GRE Subject test of their own choice but it is not required.
GRE - Institution Code 4836 (UC San Diego) and Department Code 0211, 0508 or 0599 (all three will come to Scripps).
GRE scores are valid for 5 years after the date the test was taken. The TOEFL score is valid for 2 years. The TOEFL is only required for students whose native language is not English and whose undergraduate education was conducted in a language other than English. If you have received a degree in a native english speaking country, you do not need to take the TOEFL.
The Department does not have a minimum score requirement, but most admitted applicants score approximately 80% or better.
Paper-based test - 550
Q. I am interested in the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (CMBC) Interdisciplinary Training Program and/or IGERT. Where can I get more information on this program? And how do I apply?
All IGERT and CMBC Interdisciplinary students are UCSD graduate
students who apply to, and will graduate from, the Ph.D. program in
their respective UCSD department. The first step in application is to
apply to graduate school at UCSD in your department of choice.
Applications to graduate school at UCSD are accepted on the schedule
determined by the department of application and applicants must fulfill
all the specific application requirements of the respective UCSD
department. If you would like to apply for the CMBC Interdisciplinary
training program or IGERT, please write a sentence indicating your
interest in the "Enrollment Information" section of the
Students admitted into the program are typically offered 5 years of support (provisional on adequate progress each year). Financial support comes in the form of research assistantships, fellowships, teaching assistantships, and other funding sources.
Prospective students are encouraged to review and apply to the following UCSD and external fellowship opportunities, one of which (IGERT) can be found here. In addition, we also have a more extensive searchable database here where you can explore funding opportunities more extensively.
Q. I have already applied to the program and am waiting to hear back. When will I know if I am accepted?
You will be notified as soon as possible (via automatic email) regarding our decision. In February and March, some applicants will be contacted to visit our department. Most admissions decisions will be made by the end of April.
A personal visit is one way for faculty and students to meet and interact. Faculty are usually interested in meeting prospective students as a way to supplement the application. We encourage students who are invited to Open House to attend during that time. If you're not invited to visit, you can be proactive and arrange your own visit with faculty members you are interested in.
We only have a limited number of Open House invitation slots and therefore, we are unable to invite all the promising applicants. If you are not invited to Open House, this does not necessarily mean that your application is less competitive than students who have been invited. We encourage you to be proactive and arrange your own visit.
The various programs adopt different strategies for admission based on previous experience. It is quite likely that some of your colleagues who attend Open House have already been admitted to the program while several others have not. If you are confused about the status of your application during Open House, please feel free to contact the faculty admissions chair for your specific curricular group.
Q. I am interested in obtaining an MBA Degree with the Rady School of Management while still pursuing my PHD in Oceanography. How do I do this?
Students interested in pursuing an MBA would enter the Rady School no
earlier than after the completion of their departmental exam, and no
later than the fall quarter following their advancement to candidacy, in
line with specific plans developed with their SIO faculty advisers. If
they choose to enter the MBA program before advancing to candidacy, we
propose that the 4-year time limit for advancing to candidacy be
suspended for the length of time that they are enrolled at Rady. Regardless of the phasing of the MBA program relative to the advancement
to candidacy, the time spent at Rady would not count toward the limit on
how many years a student can be supported by Scripps since Scripps would
not be providing support for the MBA degree. As a prospective MBA
student however, you will need to fulfill all the normal requirements
including taking the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).
Q. How can I find out what research is being done at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and figure out which faculty members I may want to work with?
We encourage all prospective students to identify and contact faculty who are conducting research in your field of study. To browse Scripps faculty and researchers, please visit our research website. www.scripps.ucsd.edu/Research. The “Researcher Search” feature on the right side of the page can be used to identify faculty, researchers, and students working on projects in your area of interest.
Q. How can I find out from a graduate student what being a student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography is like?
The graduate students at Scripps have their own website. This should give you an idea about what being a student at Scripps is like. You can also use the research link above to find a student with research similar to your interests and contact them this way.
Yes, this website provides answers for Graduate students who are also parents.
Scripps graduate students are expected to qualify by the end of their third year. In these three years they are expected to take their departmental exam, take their qualifying exam, and form a doctoral committee.