Information for Prospective Graduate Students

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Environmental Studies Graduate Admissions Information:

Students are admitted into our doctoral program directly under the sponsorship of a particular faculty member. This means that you must establish a relationship with an appropriate faculty member (or members) who is/are willing to serve as your major professor. We strongly suggest that you read the professor's web page and peruse some of their publications to see where you would fit into their labs before emailing faculty about applying to work with them. The Division of Graduate Studies (also known as “Grad Division”) has a list of all of the application deadlines set by each graduate program. Typically, applications for the Environmental Studies Ph.D. are due in early December for admission to the Fall quarter of the following year.

Most students who are successfully admitted to our program have had several substantive interactions by email, telephone, or in person with their major professors before applying to the program, and most come to visit the department. If you are planning a visit to the department we suggest visiting for a day or so in Fall or early in Winter (January) before admissions decisions need to be made. Mondays are often excellent days to visit because we have our department seminars that day.

Most, but not all, of our students come into our program either with a Master's degree or several years of significant professional experience. Students are required to be in residence for their first full year and most of their second year to complete required coursework and to work with faculty toward their pre-qualifying and qualifying exams. The next several years are dedicated to dissertation research. Most of our students complete their Ph.D. by the sixth year of their program.

Financial Support:

Graduate students typically are financially supported through a combination of funding. Newly admitted students are offered fellowships including a stipend (salary), and teaching assistant (TA) or graduate student research (GSR) positions - these positions are available to graduate students throughout their careers in the program. Competitive campus scholarships and fellowships are also available to new and/or continuing graduate students, including “minority fellowships.” Most importantly, faculty advisors work diligently with students to secure outside funding: 96% of graduate students have been able to secure at least some external funding. All ENVS graduate students have been continuously funded through completion of their degrees.

UCSC’s 5-year / 50% Program promise: UC Santa Cruz currently offers all eligible new and continuing Ph.D. students funding packages of 5 years with a minimum level of support equivalent to a 50% teaching assistantship for the fall, winter, and spring academic quarters.

Housing Supplement: The campus offers an annual housing supplement of $2,500 for doctoral and MFA students who are enrolled full-time and are in good standing through the Office of Financial Aid until additional campus graduate student housing is available.

Connecting with a Prospective Faculty Advisor:

You are encouraged to visit faculty web pages and contact them directly about availability of space and appropriate fit into their programs. Some faculty also have specific statements or pages on their research websites devoted to prospective students. If there is no specific information provided by faculty regarding what materials to provide when contacting them, it is recommended that you provide at least a curriculum vitae (or resumé) of your relevant experience and education, a statement regarding your research interests and experience, and a statement about why you want to work specifically with that particular faculty member and at UC Santa Cruz.

Please continue reading our website for additional information about the doctoral program in Environmental Studies. Questions about application requirements should be sent to the ENVS Graduate Program Coordinator at

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