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Doctor of Philosophy in Marine Science

PhD (ISCED 2011 level 8)


Entry level Bachelor
Cost CA Resident Tuition Fee $12,570 Non-Resident $15,102

The Interdepartment Graduate Program in Marine Science provides broad interdisciplinary training leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Marine science encompasses many disciplines including biology, geology, chemistry, physics and engineering. We recognize the intrinsic interdisciplinary nature of modern marine science and the necessity for cross-disciplinary graduate-level training through a graduate program that brings together a broad range of marine faculty from eight different departments. Students also build depth-biological, chemical, and physical oceanography, marine optics and remote sensing, marine geology and geophysics, marine biology, paleoceanography, ocean engineering and marine policy can all be pursued by students in IGPMS.

Structural components
Laboratory training
Practical/Field work
Research Project

Application procedure

Academic Preparation

Applicants are expected to have a bachelor's degree or its equivalent in a biological or physical science or in mathematics. Undergraduate coursework should include one year each of physics, chemistry, calculus, additional biology or geology. Except under unusual circumstances a minimum undergraduate or postgraduate GPA of 3.0 is required for admission to any graduate program at UCSB. Applicants may apply for either the M.S. or Ph.D. degree program. A Masters degree is not required to enter the Ph.D. program.

All applicants must fulfill the general requirements for admission to graduate status at UCSB. Applicants should specify their general areas of interests within marine science on their application and provide a clear and focused statement of purpose.

 Review Faculty Profiles and Research

Applicants to the Program must be accepted by a faculty advisor with whom they wish to work and who has agreed to supervise the student's graduate training and thesis dissertation research. Therefore, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact individual faculty members in IGPMS whose research interests coincide with their own early in the application process and to list potential advisors on their applications.

Admission decisions are based on intellectual potential and promise, competitiveness of the academic record, programmatic fit, and space availability.

Grant opportunities

The Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science aims to fully support its students in good standing for the duration of the student’s studies through a combination of the resources.

IGPMS Student financial support includes graduate student research, teaching assistantships, fellowships and work study / financial aid.


 Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required for a completed application.


Scanned official transcripts (watermark or seal) from institutions where you have completed 12 units or more must be uploaded to your application.

 Statement of Purpose and Supplemental Documents *

  •  Statement of Purpose
  •  Personal Achievements/Contributions Statement
  •  Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV)

* There is no page length requirement for the three components of the Statement of Purpose

 GRE Scores and Grade Point Average

There are no minimum GRE scores required. GRE scores should not be more than five years old. Use the institution code for UCSB (4835) when reporting. We receive a large number of international applications each year; as a guideline, we consider the following scores and grade point average to be competitive:

  •  Verbal: 80% or above
  •  Quantitative: 80% or above
  •  Writing Assessment: Approximately 5.0+
  •  Minimum TOEFL Score Accepted: 650 (paper-based: PBT) / 102 (internet-based: IBT)
  •  Minimum IELTS Score Accepted: Overall band score of 7 or higher

ISCED Categories

Policy and governance
Marine Geology
Physical and chemical oceanography