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Graduate Admissions







Thank you for your interest in the UC San Diego Chemistry & Biochemistry Graduate Program. We have over 300 bright and talented graduate students with diverse backgrounds from all over the world. We offer programs for the Doctoral, Masters Thesis, Masters Comprehensive, and Joint Doctoral degrees. Below you will find information on the needed application materials and criteria.

Application Deadlines

  • PhD Admissions Deadline for Fall 2020 is December 5, 2019
  • MS Admissions Deadline for Fall 2020 is March 4, 2020
  • MS Thesis Admissions (for UCSD undergrads that already have a MS Thesis Advisor)
    • Winter 2020 is October 10, 2019
    • Spring 2020 is January 16, 2020
  • JDP applicants are nominated by San Diego State University Chemistry Admissions Committee in June

Online Application

UC San Diego currently utilizes a Web-based application to apply for graduate study. You may work on your application a bit at a time, and then submit it once it is complete. The site is secure, and your application information and credit card payment will remain confidential. To submit an online application or to check the status on your application, please visit

Applicants will be required to pay the application fee or to request a fee waiver at the end of the online application.

Winter 2020/Spring 2020 application fee:

  • US Citizens and Permanent Resident Applicants: $105.00
  • International Applicants: $125.00

Summer 2020/Fall 2020 application fee:

  • US Citizens and Permanent Resident Applicants: $120.00
  • International Applicants: $140.00

We recommend you submit your online application after you have at least uploaded your transcripts, entered your GRE exam scores, have at least two letters of recommendations, and submitted your personal statement

Our Admissions Committee review PhD files continuously from late November through January, and applicants are notified by email as decisions are made (be sure to regularly check your junk/spam folder as well). If you have yet to hear from us, your file is still pending a final decision.


For application review purposes (only), scan and upload copies of transcripts for all institutions attended after high school. In the online application, you will be prompted to upload a PDF of your scanned documents. Please upload both the front and back sides of the transcript, even if the back side is blank. Uploaded transcripts should be recent and include the following: your name, the institution name, dates of attendance, grades/marks received, credits, and grading legend.  If no transcript is available, please upload a statement explaining the circumstances. Please do not mail official hard copies until provisionally admitted. Visit the Graduate Division Academic Records and Transcripts for more details.

Statement of Purpose

Focus your Statement of Purpose on the reasons you are interested in attending UC San Diego Chemistry and Biochemistry Graduate Program. For more detailed information, please visit the Graduate Division Statement of Purpose page.

Letters of Recommendation

We require three letters of recommendation. If you have any research experience, we would like to see a letter from your research advisor. UC San Diego students applying for the MS program need to submit at least two letters, one of them from a professor in the Chemistry & Biochemistry department.

If your letter writer missed the online letter of recommendation request email, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Log into online application
  2. Click “Update Application”
  3. Go to “Letters of Recommendation” page
  4. Click “Resend” next to the name of the recommender

GRE Scores

All applicants must provide official GRE general test scores (verbal, quantitative and analytical). The institution code is 4836 and the department code is 0301. There is no hard cut off since the committee looks at all aspects of your application. To help you submit your scores on time, we do accept self-reported scores for reviewing purposes only. GRE score reports are typically received electronically within 5-7 business days from the order date.

GRE Subject

Not Required

Research Experience

Feel free to uplaod PDF copies of your research experience your online application. There are four slots with 4MB amount of space to work with.

Fee Waiver Programs

There are various fee waiver programs offered by the UC San Diego Graduate Division and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Please inquire with to learn more about your fee waiver options!

Commitment to Diversity

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry welcomes all applicants. The university and department have a long-standing commitment to increasing diversity within STEM fields from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic populations. Our commitment to diversifying the scientific workforce also includes LGBTQ+ populations, socio-economically disadvantaged populations, and individuals with disabilities.

English Proficiency Exams (International Applicants Only)

International students must have their official report of their TOEFL iBT or TSE scores from ETS. The university-wide minimum TOEFL score required for consideration for graduate admission is 550 for the paper based test (PBT), and 85 for the internet based test (iBT).

The minimum score we will accept for the IELTS Academic Training exam score is 7. The minimum PTE Academic score acceptable is 65.

Applicants that have recently studied full-time for one uninterrupted academic year at a university-level institution in which English is the language of instruction and in a country in which English is a dominant language, are exempt from this requirement. Demonstrated proficiency in the English language (TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE) is required for all other international applicants whose native language is not English.

Note: Applicants should either have a minimum TOEFL iBT Speaking subscore of 23 and above, or IELTS Speaking subscore of 7 and above, or PTE Speaking subscores of 65 and above.

MS Thesis Agreement (MS Thesis Applicants Only)

For UC San Diego undergraduate students applying to the MS Thesis program currently doing research with one of our research advisors, the MS Thesis Agreement Form is highly recommended. It is an agreement between you and your research advisor. Please have your research advisor fill it out, print, sign, and then upload to your application or send it to the Chemistry & Biochemistry Student Affairs Office

Outreach Conferences

American Chemistry Society Graduate School Fair

August 25 | San Diego Concention Center

American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)

October 10 - 12 | Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Northern California Diversity Forum

October 12 | Sonoma State University

Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)

October 31 - November 2 | Honolulu, Hawai'i 

Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)

November 13 - 16 | Anaheim, California

Southern California Diversity Forum

April 18 | UC Los Angeles

Online Application

Fall 2020 PhD Deadline:

Dec 5, 2019

Jeff Rances
Phone: (858) 534-9728
Fax: (858) 534-7687

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