How to Apply

Degree Offerings

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Review Faculty Profiles and Research

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact individual faculty members whose research interests align with their own early in the application process and to list potential advisors on their applications. It is very important to indicate in your Statement of Purpose which faculty member(s) you are interested in working with and to be specific about which research areas you are interested in.

Academic Preparation

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. Students should have a working knowledge of both biology and of engineering concepts and analyses. Pre-requisite courses are listed below:

  • Physics (minimum of electromagnetism and mechanics)
  • Biology (a course covering basic cell biology, molecular biology, genetics and biochemistry)
  • At least 1 chemistry course
  • Math (through differential equations)
  • Programming course or equivalent experience

A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is required for admission to any graduate program at UCSB. Applicants should specify their general areas of interests and faculty member interest within their application.

Training Grant Consideration

Biological Engineering houses two training grant programs which provide first year fellowship funding and support throughout the PhD for professional development. The NIH funded T32 Mechanobiology training program and the NSF funded NRT in Data Driven Biology (DDB). To be considered for these grants, please submit a statement of interest as part of your PhD application. Complete the Statement of Interest_T32 and/or Statement of Interest_ DDB and upload with your PhD application.

Please note, you must be a US citizen or permanent resident to be eligible for the fellowships.  Feel free to contact the Program Coordinator, Nicole Becker (, for any questions.  

Transfer Permission

If your application is not advanced by the Biological 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 Science and Engineering (BMSE)
  • Dynamical Neuroscience (DYNS)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology (MCDB)

 Application Deadline

December 15th



* If your fee waivers is declined by the Graduate Division, please contact us about the possibility of a departmental fee waiver

 Graduate Advisor