Prospective Graduate Student FAQ

Prospective Student FAQ Page

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Q: What do I need to apply?
A: Applicants will need to submit the following:
1) Completed Online Application: Please note that a completed online application includes paying the Application Fee. Please click here for more information on the fee and here for fee waiver information.

2) Bachelor’s Degree Transcripts: Applicants must submit one set of pfficial transcripts from all institutions they attended prior to graduating with a B.S. degree.

3) Master’s Degree Transcripts (if applicable): Applicants must submit one set of transcripts for any graduate-level work completed.

4) Official GRE General Test Scores: Applicants are not required to take GRE subject tests.

5) Official TOEFL or ILETS scores (if applicable): Applicants who are international students or permanent residents who earned a degree outside of the U.S. are required to submit a TOEFL or ILETS test scores. Please click here for more information about this requirement and about exceptions to this policy.

6) Three (3) Letters of Recommendation: We recommend that at least two letters be from academia. The third could be another letter from academia, a supervisor, a mentor, etc.

Please also refer to the application checklist.

Timing and Process

Q: When does the Fall application become available?
A: The application will open on September 1st for submissions.

Q: When is the Fall application deadline?
A: You will need to check with the department/program you are applying to for specific deadlines. You can find updated information at For programs that will accept applications after a certain date on a rolling basis should check with their intended department or program about submitting applications later than the priority deadline since the application window can close any time after that date.

Q: Do you accept applications for Winter and Spring quarters?
A: Depending on the program or concentration, we do accept some Winter and Spring applications. However, prospective applicants should check with the specific program they are interested in to see if a Winter or Spring application would be considered before relying on this option. In addition, you should be aware that funding opportunities are more abundant when applying for Fall admission. Please also note that the Ph.D. Housing Guarantee is not offered for Winter or Spring admission. Lastly, some departments require students to be recommended by a current faculty member for Winter or Spring admission.

Q: I would like to do a M.S. and a Ph.D., can I apply directly to the Ph.D. program?
A: Yes, you can apply directly to the Ph.D. program, but you will be required to earn a M.S. along the way.

Q: Can I defer my admission?
A: You can request to defer for up to 3 quarters (1 year), but each program has different deferral policies so you will need to check with them directly as it is not guaranteed. If approved, any funding offers you received are not guaranteed when deferring.

Q: I have been out of school for quite awhile. Does that matter?
A: No, it does not matter. However, at this time we do not offer a program that would be convenient for working professionals. While M.S. students can attend part-time, the courses might not be offered in convenient time slots and we advise you coordinate a flexible work schedule ahead of time should you decide to continue working while pursuing your degree.

Q: If I get denied, is there hope of being admitted in the future?
A: Yes. If, for instance, your GRE scores were not competitive with the pool, you may be advised to retake the test. If your grades are not within the admissibility standards for the pool, you may attempt to take a limited amount of graduate level courses through ACCESS UCI (within UCI Extension). Successful completion of this coursework will provide evidence that you are able to handle the rigors of graduate school. Please contact the Graduate Student Affairs Office if you’d like to explore ideas of how to strengthen your application following a denial decision.


Q: I have a 2.8 Cumulative GPA? What are my chances of getting in? Am I qualified?
A: The admission committee in each department takes many factors in to consideration: An upward grade trend in the last two years of your B.S., solid grades in your upper-division major coursework, your GRE scores, strong letters of recommendation, internship experience, undergraduate research, extracurricular activities, a personal statement aligning your future goals and interests with the school, evidence of successfully completing any graduate-level coursework while an undergraduate. That being said, UC policy states that students must have earned a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA during their undergraduate degree program in order to be eligible for admission. As such, admitting students with a GPA below 3.0 is considered an exception to policy.


Q: What is the minimum GRE score to be eligible for admission?
A: There is no specific minimum or cut-off for most programs. However, for Biomedical Engineering (BME) the minimum recommended score is 310 (quantitative plus verbal) total. Please note that GRE scores are only valid for 5 years.

Q: I have a 680 quantitative GRE score. Should I retake the GRE?
A: Our Fall 2014 admitted GRE average score for the quantitative portion was 70-80th percentiles. For the new version of the GRE, the admitted GRE average score ranged from 160-165. You might want to get as close to the average as possible; however, we take many things into consideration when reviewing your application.

Q: What are the TOEFL admission requirements for The Henry Samueli School of Engineering?
A: The minimum TOEFL scores to be eligible for admission are: At least 550 on the paper-based and 80 on the internet-based test. Please note that TOEFL scores are only valid for 2 years.


Q: What documents do I need to submit to be considered for funding?
A: All domestic students should fill out the FAFSA (Federal Application for Federal Student Aid) to become eligible for fellowships and to become eligible for loans, if necessary. Aside from the FAFSA, there are no separate aid applications required and all applicants will be reviewed for any available funding at the time of their admission review. This review includes all fellowships, teaching assistant positions, research positions, etc.

Q: Do you offer funding for Ph.D. students?
A: While funding offers are not guaranteed, we certainly make every effort to fund as many of our incoming students as possible. Ph.D. applicants can receive funding in the form of fellowships, Teaching Assistantships, Graduate Student Researcher appointments and reader/grader appointments.

Q: Do you offer funding for M.S. students?
A: While funding offers are not guaranteed, we certainly make every effort to fund as many of our incoming students as possible. Funding for M.S. students is limited and competitive, but M.S. students can receive funding in the form of fellowships, graduate student researcher appointments, teaching assistant positions, reader/grader positions, or CODE mentor fellowship.

Q: Do you offer funding for international students?
A: While funding offers are not guaranteed, we certainly make every effort to fund as many of our incoming students as possible. International students are eligible for the same funding that non-international students are eligible for.

Q: How do I contact a professor to be considered for funding and for a place in his or her lab?
A: While it is not mandatory that you contact any faculty members prior to applying to our programs, the best way is to begin with emails and perhaps phone calls. Introduce yourself and let him or her know that you would be interested in working with the professor because the research is aligned with your goals. If you are domestic and able to visit, it would be a good idea to get familiar with the labs, tour the campus, and/or meet some current students and professors. If you are an international student, the best strategy would be to contact faculty by email.


Q: Do you guarantee housing for graduate students?  
A: UCI does offer a Ph.D. Housing Guarantee. Ph.D. students are guaranteed housing for their normative time to degree. This equates to 5 years for students entering the Ph.D. program with only a B.S. and 4 years for students entering with a M.S. If you are admitted as a Ph.D. student, you will be contacted with more information about this program. UCI is unable to offer a housing guarantee to M.S. students at this time.  However, all students can still apply for housing by following the directions at

Q: What does graduate housing cost?  
A: Graduate housing ranges depending on number of roommates, type of housing, etc. Please find more information on cost at



Q: Do you accept transfer courses?
A: You could be eligible to transfer a very limited numbers of units towards your M.S. or Ph.D. degree program. However, there are very strict guidelines surrounding this. As such, please contact the GSAO to discuss this further.

Q: How many units do I need to take in order to be considered full-time?
A: Full-time consists of at least 12 units per quarter. This typically equates to 3-4 courses.

Q: Do you offer part time programs?
A: Currently, we do not offer a part time program specifically for working professionals. However, we do allow you to attend an M.S. program on a part time basis (if you have a flexible work schedule). Ph.D. students are not eligible for part-time study.

Q: How many units do I need to take if I am attending on a part-time basis?
A: Part time registration is between one and eight units (but the registration fee is a flat rate).