Frequently Asked Questions

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What do I need to apply?

Applicants will need to submit the following:

  1. Completed Online Application (Please note that a completed online application includes paying the Application Fee)
  2. Statement of Academic Purpose
    • Students should show the progression of interest in engineering, research experience (if applicable), research interests, career goals, what they will bring to UCI, what we will bring to them, etc.
  3. Personal History Statement
    • Students should discuss major life experiences that have shaped them, hurtles they’ve overcome, etc.
  4. Transcripts
    • Applicants must submit ONE set of transcripts from all institutions they attended since high school. 
  5. Official GRE General Test Scores
    • Depending on the program, applicants may be required to take the GRE General test. Please note, GRE Subject tests are not required.
  6. Official TOEFL or IELTS scores (if applicable)
  7. 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.

Application Checklist


Does undergraduate research enhance my application?

Yes, it does. It provides evidence to the faculty that you were able to successfully work on a research problem in a lab setting under the direction of a professor and graduate students. It also provides evidence that you have had exposure to research in a given area that might be related to what you desire to study in graduate school.

Timing and Process

When does the Fall application become available?

The application will open on or around October 1st for admissions for the following Fall quarter.

When is the Fall application deadline?

Depending on the program or concentration, application deadlines can vary. We strongly suggest you view the application deadlines for the specific program on the Graduate Division Admissions website under Henry Samueli School of Engineering:

Do you accept applications for Winter and Spring quarters?

Depending on the program, 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.


I would like to do a M.S. and a Ph.D., can I apply directly to the Ph.D. program?

Yes, you can apply directly to the Ph.D. program, but you will be required to earn a M.S. along the way.

Can I defer my admission?

You can request to defer for up to 3 quarters (1 year). However, any funding offers you received are not guaranteed when deferring.

I have been out of school for quite awhile. Does that matter?

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.

If I get denied, is there hope of being admitted in the future?

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 Concurrent Enrollment under the Division of Continuing Education. Successful completion of this coursework will provide evidence that you are able to handle the rigors of graduate school.

Please contact the Graduate and Professional Studies at if you’d like to explore ideas of how to strengthen your application following a denial decision.



I have a 2.8 Cumulative GPA? What are my chances of getting in? Am I qualified?

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.

What is the minimum GRE score to be eligible for admission?

There is no specific minimum or cut-off for most programs. However, some programs or concentrations have recommended score minimums so applicants should check the specific program's website for additional information. Please note that GRE scores are only valid for 5 years.

What are the TOEFL admission requirements for The Henry Samueli School of Engineering?

The minimum TOEFL score to be eligible for admission is 80 on the internet-based test. Please note that TOEFL scores are only valid for 2 years.


What are the IELTS admission requirements for the Samueli School of Engineering? 

As an alternative to the TOEFL, you may submit scores from the Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). An overall minimum score of 7 for admission, with a score of no less than 6 on any individual module.


What documents do I need to submit to be considered for funding?

All domestic students should fill out the FAFSA (Federal Application for Federal Student Aid) by the beginning of March the year before graduate school begins 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.

Do you offer funding for Ph.D. students?

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.

Do you offer funding for M.S. students?

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.

Do you offer funding for international students?

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.

How do I contact a professor to be considered for funding and for a place in his or her lab?

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.


Do you guarantee housing for graduate students?

Incoming students who accept their offer of guaranteed on-campus housing may remain in housing for a minimum of three years, with the possiblity of lease renewal thereafter.  The housing application deadline is May 1st and housing offers are completed through the summer months.  Find information on Graduate Guaranteed Housing offer Terms & Conditions here. 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

What does graduate housing cost?

Graduate housing ranges depending on number of roommates, type of housing, etc.

General Enrollment


Do you accept transfer courses?

You could be eligible to transfer a very limited numbers of units towards your M.S. degree requirements and/or waive certain courses from your Ph.D. degree requirements. However, there are strict guidelines surrounding this. As such, please contact the Graduate and Professional Studies to discuss this further.

How many units do I need to take in order to be considered full-time?

Full-time consists of at least 12 units per quarter. This typically equates to 3-4 courses.

Do you offer part time programs?

Currently, we do not offer a part-time program specifically for working professionals. However, domestic M.S. students are able to do their program on a part-time basis (if you have a flexible work schedule). Ph.D. students are not eligible for part-time study.

How many units do I need to take if I am attending on a part-time basis?

Part time registration is between one and eight units (but the registration fee is a flat rate).