How to Apply

California sea otter in Monterey Bay kelp. Art: Katie Bertsche

The application cycle will open October 1, 2023. The preferred application deadline for fall 2024 admission is January 16, 2024.

Before applying, first, watch this video to learn more about our program.

We request that interested prospective applicants send over the following brief self-introduction (in one email) to

  • Several sentences about your educational background and research experience
  • A few sentences about what draws you to science journalism
  • Unofficial transcripts (going back to frosh year - screenshots are fine)
  • A current resume/c.v.

We will offer an online program information session on October 19, 2023. The session will be recorded. Please contact Colt Hangen, , to be notified when we schedule the information session.

All UCSC graduate program applications are done electronically. You may access the instructions and links to apply through the UCSC Graduate Division website. Applications and letters of recommendation are accepted only through the online system. Be sure to read the current application instructions thoroughly. We strongly recommend that you include PDF copies of any published works that you would like us to review in the "Additional information" section of the application, to ensure that your work is accessible to our reviewers. There is also a writing test, which will be provided to you after you submit your application.

Also, please note: though the electronic system will inform your recommenders that their letters of recommendation are not due until March 31 (8:59pm, Pacific Time), your application is not considered complete until we receive these letters of recommendation. We strongly recommend that your recommenders submit their letters by our program's preferred application deadline of January 16.

While working on your application in the online system, remember to save often. Also, please send an email to let us know that you will be submitting an application, and feel free to ask questions: scicom (at)

Director Erika Check Hayden and director emeritus Robert Irion are available for phone conversations with serious applicants. Please send a request via the scicom email address above.

During admissions season, from February through April, we will offer two in-person visit dates to admitted students; check back at this page for details. We are not able to accommodate requests for in-person visits during admissions season outside of the scheduled admit days.

GRE scores are optional. See the Educational Testing Services (ETS) site for details on how to submit scores from the last five years. If you took the GRE subject exam as part of a prior graduate school application, you may submit that score as well. The program will accept old scores, but only if you have an original score report. Contact the program office for information on how to submit your report.

Applications and supporting materials must be submitted or postmarked by midnight on the deadline date. We may offer admission to as many as seven or eight students after our initial January 16 deadline, with the remaining decisions in April. If you wish to know the status of your application, contact the program office. The director interviews all finalists, preferably in person in Santa Cruz or at a conference.

The basics: GRE scores are optional, use school code 4860; three to five letters of recommendation (online only); transcripts from all colleges attended; UCSC Graduate Studies online application; and the application fee ($120 for domestic applicants; $140 for international applicants). The two required writing samples are included in the application as the Personal History and the Statement of Purpose. Be sure to list your research experience where indicated. Use the Additional Information section if you'd like to add more details, a longer list of publications, upload a c.v., write special notes to the reviewers, or include anything that wouldn't fit in the body of the application. See the FAQ section or the application instructions of the Graduate Division site for information on reactivating your application from the previous year.

Foreign students may be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Apply online through the UCSC Graduate Division

The application fee may be paid with a credit card when applying online. Please refer to the instructions at the application website. Transcripts and letters of recommendation that are not done through the online registration option should be sent to Graduate Application Processing at the address below.

Mail hardcopy materials (transcripts, official GRE scores) to:


Graduate Application Processing
UC Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

If sending materials using special carrier services, such as Express Mail, Federal Express or UPS overnight, be sure to include the office location of 2nd floor Kerr Hall, and the phone number: 831-459-5905.

ETS school code: 4860 for GRE scores. There are no department codes.

We do not recommend sending optional additional materials via mail (e.g., sample articles, unofficial/older test scores). You may reach out to us if you need to submit an item: .


SciCom phone: 831-459-4475
SciCom fax: 831-459-5052