General Requirements for Admission

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Candidates for admission should have a bachelor's (BS) or master's degree in one of the physical, biological, or earth sciences; in some cases a degree in mathematics or engineering science is accepted.

A scholastic average of B or better (3.0) in upper-division courses, or prior graduate study, is required.

The student's preparation could include:

  • Mathematics through differential and integral calculus.
  • Physics, one year with laboratory (the course should stress the fundamentals of mechanics, electricity, magnetism, optics, and thermodynamics, and should use calculus in its exposition).
  • Chemistry, one year with laboratory.
  • An additional year of physics, chemistry, or mathematics.

All international applicants whose native language is not English and whose undergraduate education was conducted in a language other than English must take the TOEFL and submit their test scores to the UC San Diego Office of Graduate Admissions.

To apply, please visit our How To Apply page or go directly to the UC San Diego Graduate Application.

Program-Specific Requirements for Admission

Applied Ocean Science (AOS)Students are admissible with a strong background in physical science, engineering science, or mathematics. Three years of physics or applicable engineering and three years of mathematics at college level are expected.
Biological Oceanography (BO)

Two years of chemistry, including general and organic chemistry, and a year of general biology are required. Physical chemistry requiring calculus may be substituted for physics requiring calculus where a more elementary physics course was taken. Zoology or botany may be substituted for general biology.

Preparation should also include a course in general geology and at least one course in each of the following categories: systematics (e.g., invertebrate zoology), population biology (e.g., ecology), functional biology (e.g., physiology).

In special cases, other advanced courses in mathematics or natural sciences may be substituted. Biological oceanography applicants are encouraged, but not required, to submit scores of the biology subject test of the GRE

Climate Sciences (CS)Students are admissible if they satisfy the requirements of the physical oceanography, geophysics, or marine chemistry and geochemistry curricular programs. Biology and geology majors may also be admissible if the Scripps faculty feel that they have a sufficiently strong background in mathematics and physical science.
Geosciences (GS)A major in one of the earth sciences and undergraduate physical chemistry and calculus are required. Preparation beyond the minimum requirements in mathematics, physics, and chemistry is strongly recommended.
Geophysics (GP)A major in physics, mathematics, earth sciences, or equivalent training, is required.
Marine Biology (MB)

A major in one of the biological sciences (or equivalent), with basic course work in botany, microbiology, or zoology; two years of chemistry, including organic chemistry, is required. Training in one or more of the following areas is strongly recommended: cellular biology, molecular biology, comparative physiology, genetics, developmental biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, vertebrate and invertebrate zoology, microbiology, and/or botany.

Biochemistry and physical chemistry will be expected of students in experimental biology, although the student may, if necessary, enroll in these courses at UC San Diego after admission.

Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry (MCG)A major in chemistry, geology, biochemistry, or related field, is required.
Physical Oceanography (PO)A major in a physical science, including three years of physics and mathematics, is required.

Special consideration occasionally can be given to candidates with outstanding records who do not meet all required preadmission criteria.