How to Apply

Ph.D. Program

The Fall 2020 application will open on September 9.  The deadline is December 16.  The application site is

Scripps does not admit in the Winter and Spring quarters.

Exceptions for special circumstances will be considered by petition.


  1. Ph.D. applicants apply through the UC San Diego Graduate Application, Grad Apply, and select Scripps Institution of Oceanography as the department.
  2. Next, they select a degree major: Earth Sciences, Marine Biology, or Oceanography (SI76, SI77, and SI78 are the Ph.D. majors; SI80, SI81, and SI82 are the M.S. majors).
  3. Later in the application process, they will select a program: Climate-Ocean-Atmosphere (COAP); Geosciences of the Earth, Oceans, and Planets (GEO); or Ocean Biosciences (OBP).  Applicants may apply to up to two programs.  Applicants will be reviewed and considered by the curricular group that most closely matches their research interests.

The following documents are required for a successful application:

  1. Statement of Purpose
    • Submitted with electronic application
    • Maximum 2 pages, no smaller than 10-point font
    • State and justify your interest in research areas and Scripps faculty
    • Discuss why you are interested in these areas and how your experiences (academic or otherwise) are relevant to your continuing academic studies. Include any research experience or publications you have and list any skills not otherwise noted in your application.
    • Explain why you choose to become a graduate student and why you choose the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
    • Additional information.
  2. Official transcripts of all college-level work uploaded directly into the application as a PDF.  Do not mail hard copies at this time.
  3. Three letters of recommendation, submitted electronically, via the online application
  4. Checklist of courses (for applicants to the Ocean Biosciences Program only)
  5. Graduate Record Examination (GRE), general test score report
  6. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) subject test score (suggested for applicants to the Ocean Biosciences Program)
  7. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score report (international applicants only)
  8. Application fee ($120 for U.S. Citizens and $140 for International Applicants)

We encourage all prospective students to identify and contact faculty who are conducting research in their field of study. To browse Scripps faculty and researchers, please visit our research website.

It is also important to review the fellowships offered by UCSD's Graduate Division.

The GRE and TOEFL examinations must be taken no later than November for the scores to arrive before the application deadline.

Report GRE scores to:

Institution Code 4836 (UC San Diego).  Department code is not necessary, all departments access the same test scores database.

Report TOEFL scores to:

Institution Code 4836 (UC San Diego)

Demonstrated proficiency in the English language is required for all international applicants whose native language is not English and who have not 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.

Three English proficiency exams are accepted for graduate study at UCSD.  In addition to the TOEFL exam, the IELTS and Pearson Test will be accepted.  More information about the English proficiency exams can be found on the Graduate Division's website.

SIO Department Address

University of California, San Diego
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
SIO Department
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0208
La Jolla, CA 92093-0208

UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc. Address

8755 Biological Grade
Eckart Building, 2nd Floor
La Jolla, CA 92037

M.B.A/ Doctoral program

Concurrent degree students must first be admitted to the Ph.D. program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography through the normal admissions process. Once enrolled at Scripps, students may apply to the Rady School in the year preceding their desired commencement of MBA study. Prospective MBA students will need to fulfill all normal requirements in applying for the Rady MBA, including taking the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). More information can be found here.

Any other questions can be directed via email to the SIO Department Office at

SDSU Joint Doctoral program in Geology and Geophysics

Students must first apply to SDSU. 

If recommended for admission by SDSU, students are instructed to complete the UCSD application.

A joint graduate group from the Geophysics Program of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the Department of Geological Sciences at San Diego State University (SDSU) offer a Joint Doctoral Program in Geophysics. The complementary specialties and ongoing, vigorous collaborations between the two groups result in two focus areas: earthquake science and applied geophysics. Integrating geophysics at UCSD and SDSU will provide outstanding opportunities for students to develop the skills needed to address important local, regional, and global societal problems where geophysics can contribute to the solutions.

More information on SDSU's application process and deadlines can be found here.

General program information can be found here.