How to Apply

Applications to the Ph.D. program are accepted for the fall quarter only. Admission is to the Ph.D. program only.

The Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences is an experimental psychology program that trains experimental psychologists for research and teaching positions in academic settings and for research careers in the private sector. If you are interested in a clinical, counseling psychology program, see the Graduate School of Education.

Application Information

You must apply directly online. Visit Graduate Division for more information on completing the application, fee waivers, and updating the application after it has been submitted.

International Applicants

International students from non-English speaking nations must demonstrate proficiency in the English language.

Application Deadline & Fee

All application materials must be submitted by December 1. Applications are only considered for the fall quarter of each year. No late applications will be accepted.

All applications require a non-refundable application fee of $105 for domestic applicants and $125 for international applicants. Graduate Division will not process your application until the application fee has been received. A limited number of application fee waivers are available to qualified U.S. citizens and permanent residents who demonstrate evidence of financial need or proof of participation in an undergraduate research program.

Required Application Materials

Submit ALL materials in the online application

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Personal Achievements & Contributions Statement
  • Resume or CV
  • GRE scores
  • TOEFL scores (if applicable)

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required. You will be asked to supply the name, email address, and current institution of each recommender. The online application will then provide instructions to each of your recommenders via email. Letters that include specific details of personal interactions with the applicant, particularly in classroom and research settings, are more informative than letters that include only abstract generalizations about the applicant. Letters of recommendation must be received by December 8. Applications that do not have three letters of recommendation will not be considered after this date. Do not wait until the last minute to request a letter.


You must submit transcripts from every higher education academic institution that you have attended. Final/official transcripts will be required for all applicants who are admitted and have indicated their intent to enroll at UCSB by submitting a Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). Remove your Social Security number by crossing/blacking out numbers before uploading (if applicable). Check with the Graduate Division website for more information on uploading transcripts.

Statement of Purpose

Give a brief statement outlining your reasons for undertaking a graduate program, your particular area of specialization within the major field, your past academic work, and your plans for future occupation or profession. Include any additional information that may assist the selection committee in evaluating your preparation and aptitude for graduate study at UCSB.

Personal Achievements & Contributions Statement

Describe any aspects of your personal background, accomplishments, or achievements that you feel are important in evaluating your application for graduate study. For example, please describe if you have experienced economic challenges in achieving higher education, such as being financially responsible for family members or dependents, having to work significant hours during undergraduate schooling or coming from a family background of limited income. Please describe if you have any unusual or varied life experiences that might contribute to the diversity of the graduate group, such as fluency in other languages, experience living in bicultural communities, academic research interests focusing on cultural, societal, or educational problems as they affect underserved segments of society, or evidence of an intention to use the graduate degree toward serving disadvantaged individuals or populations.

Resume or CV

List your positions of employment or volunteer work/community service since high school, either full or part-time, including the hours per week worked and the nature and dates of employment or service.

GRE Scores

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test scores (verbal, quantitative, analytical) are required of all applicants. Official GRE scores are those submitted directly from the Educational Testing Service. Official GRE test scores are valid for five years after the testing year in which the test was taken (July 1–June 30). Applicants must make arrangements to take the GRE directly with ETS and should instruct ETS to report scores to UCSB (the institution code is 4835). When completing the online application, you will need the test date and seven digit registration number found on your official Report of Scores from ETS to match your official scores to your online application.

TOEFL Scores

A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score is required for international students from non-English speaking countries, except those who have completed an undergraduate or graduate education at an institution whose primary language of instruction is English. The university minimum TOEFL score is 80 internet-based test, 550 for paper-based test or IELTS overall band score of 7. The UCSB institution code is 4835. The online application requires you to enter the test date and sixteen digit registration number found on your official report of scores from ETS.

How to Submit Documents

UCSB accepts PDF and Microsoft Word (.doc and .docx) documents for upload in the online application. The maximum file size allowed is 4 MB per document.

What Happens After I Apply?

You can check your application status online. Final decisions will be made by April.

Satisfaction of minimal standards does not guarantee admission. Since the number of qualified applicants far exceeds the number of places available, many well-qualified applicants cannot be accommodated.