How to Apply

Degree Offerings

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Review Faculty Profiles and Research

Applicants are strongly encouraged to identify individual faculty members whose research interests align with their own early 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.


If applicants have specific research questions, they should submit an inquiry to, rather than individual faculty members.  Please note that Biological Engineering PhD students complete a series of lab explorations and rotations during their first year before they are accepted to a specific lab. We do not use a direct lab admit model. As such, graduate students are admitted to our department and not to specific research groups. After being admitted, however, we strongly encourage prospective students to engage faculty to learn more about their research opportunities.


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.

Application Material Requirements

  • Online application

  • Statement of Purpose, Personal History and Diversity Statement, and Resume or CV (submitted in the online application)

  • Three Letters of Recommendation (submitted online)

  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended (submitted online)

  • English Language Exam Scores (if applicable): TOEFL Internet-Based Test (IBT) total score of 80, or TOEFL Paper-Based Test (PBT) total score of 550, or IELTS Overall Band score of 7, or Duolingo English Test total score of 120, or higher

  • Final/Official transcripts will be required for all applicants who are admitted and have indicated their intent to enroll at UC Santa Barbara by submitting a Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). UC Santa Barbara reserves the right to require official transcripts at any time during the admissions process, and rescind any offer of admission made if discrepancies between uploaded and official transcript(s) are found.

  • Training grant statement of interest form (optional, but strongly encouraged)

  • Transfer Permission (optional)  

Transfer Permission (optional)

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 as a supplemental document.

  • Biomolecular Science and Engineering (BMSE)
  • Chemical Engineering (ChE)
  • Chemistry and Biochemistry (DCB)
  • Dynamical Neuroscience (DYNS)
  • Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE)
  • Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science (IGPMS)
  • Materials 
  • Mechanical Engineering (ME)
  • Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology (MCDB)

Application Deadline

December 15th



* We do not offer departmental fee waivers; extenuating circumstances might be considered. 

 Graduate Advisor