CSE Graduate Application Checklist

Updated December 2023


Fall 2024 Application opens on Wednesday, September 6th 2023 until December 20th, 2023.

Below is a list of the required materials that must be submitted as part of the graduate application to the MS or the PhD program.

CURRENT OR FORMER UCSD STUDENTS who wish to TRANSFER from their current graduate program to a different program (e.g., MS to PhD), should follow instructions below* or contact their student affairs staff advisor for questions on that process.  Current UCSD CSE undergraduate majors who wish to pursue a CSE masters should consider the Bachelors/Masters program.

1. Online Application: UCSD Application for Graduate Admission

  • Applicants should review the Graduate Division's Applying to Graduate Admissions website prior to submitting their application. 
  • The Fall 2024 application is open September 6th, 2023 until December 20th, 2023.
  • **All application documents are submitted online to the UCSD Application for Graduate Admission at https://connect.grad.ucsd.edu/apply/ (please do not mail documents to the department). 
  • PhD Applicants Only: The CSE department has a limited number of application fee waivers available for international students. Our department will be granting these waivers to students based on factors that include: contributions to diversity; social justice experience; overcoming adversity. Unfortunately, we are not able to grant application fee waivers on the basis of financial need alone. If you would like to request a CSE department fee waiver, please fill out the Fee Waiver Application. (CLOSED on December 1st  for Fall 2024 admission)
  • Application Status Checks: All applicants will receive a final decision via the online application by April. Applicants may check their online application for updates. Due to the high volume of inquiries, emails requesting application status updates will not receive responses.

2. Transcripts

  • Unofficial transcripts should be uploaded online to the UCSD Application for Graduate Admission. This is all that is required for the application process.
  • Review the Graduate Division transcript instructions carefully - Academic Records and Transcripts
  • Please do not mail any documents to the department. If offered admission, students will mail the official transcripts to the Graduate Division.
  • If a student is offered admission to the program: Official transcripts of record from each university-level institution attended must be provided. A summary of credit transferred from an institution previously attended and recorded on the transcript issued by the school granting the degree will not suffice. Applicants should request that official transcripts of all previous academic work, including certification of degrees received or documentation of status upon leaving each institution, be mailed to the Graduate Division. Only official records bearing the signature of the registrar and the seal of the issuing institution will be accepted.
  • Applicants who attended any campus of the University of California, including UCSD, must provide official transcripts of the UC coursework. Transcripts from UCSD may be ordered by an applicant from the Office of the Registrar. There is no charge for UCSD transcripts of record sent to departments in support of an application for graduate study.
  • International applicants: 
    • If a student is offered admission to the program: True copies, facsimiles, or photostatic copies of foreign academic records will be accepted if, after the copies have been made, they have been personally signed and stamped by an educational official who certifies that they are exact copies of the original document. Properly certified and signed copies should be sent instead of irreplaceable original documents. Academic records must be in the language of the institution and should be accompanied by an official English translation. Foreign academic records must show all courses attended each year, examinations passed, seminars completed, and grades or marks received at all institutions where formal records are maintained.

3. Statement of Purpose

  • The statement of purpose must be submitted online through the UCSD Application for Graduate Admission.
  • An applicant's statement of purpose is very important and is given careful consideration in the selection process. For additional guidelines, please refer to Statement of Purpose. There is no specific word limit, but be concise and specific in preparing your statement, giving information that demonstrates your level of preparation and potential for success in graduate school. Applicants should address past accomplishments within the realm of computer science and engineering, why they are qualified for the program, and goals they wish to pursue while in graduate school.
  • NOTE: Requests to update the Statement of Purpose are not granted after submission. Please carefully double-check edits prior to official submission. 

4. Three Letters of Recommendation

  • Three (3) letters of recommendation are required. Additional letters may be submitted, however, you must submit a minimum of three (3) letters.
  • LORs are submitted via the online application only. For additional information about the procedures and policies for letters of recommendation, please review the UCSD Graduate Division guidelines at Procedures for Letters of Recommendation.
  • It is important that letters of recommendation be completed by individuals who are in a position to analyze your abilities and academic promise. References generally hold an academic position. Letters from research or project advisors are also acceptable, as well as LORs from a professional/industry referee. 

5. GRE Score Report

  • The GRE is not required for PhD and MS applications for Fall 2024.  Applicants may still submit valid scores if they have already taken the test.
  • Applicants with valid test scores should request that ETS submit the scores directly to the UCSD institution code 4836. The department codes are not necessary. Information about the GRE is available from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website. 

6. English Language Requirements (International Applicants Only)

  • Demonstrated proficiency in the English language is required for all international applicants whose native language is not English. Either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) OR the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required for international applicants whose native language is not English and who have not studied full-time at a university-level institution where the sole language of instruction is in English.
  • Non-native English language speakers may be exempt from this requirement if they have earned or will be earning a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree from either:
    • A regionally accredited U.S. college or university where English is the sole language of instruction, or
    • A foreign college or university which provides instruction solely in English. You may verify whether your institution meets this requirement by looking up your institution in the IAU World Higher Education Database (WHED). If English is not the sole language of instruction listed, if no language is listed at all, or if the institution does not appear on the WHED website, you are required to submit English proficiency exam scores. No other documentation (e.g. letters, language certificates, school websites) may be used in place of WHED as a means to obtain an exemption from the English proficiency requirement.
  • The TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition will be accepted for admission at both the Master's and PhD levels. However, the TOEFL ITP Plus for China Solution cannot be used to substitute for a standard TOEFL iBT test.
  • The UCSD TOEFL Institution Code is 4836. The university minimum TOEFL score required for admission is 550 for the paper-and-pencil version, 213 for the computer-based test, or 85 for the internet-based test (iBT).
  • The university minimum IELTS score required for admission is Band Score 7. To submit official test scores to UC San Diego Graduate Division, applicants must contact the IELTS test center where they took the test to request their official test results to be sent to the address below. UC San Diego does not accept unofficial copies of IELTS Test Report Forms from students. An institution code is not required.
    • University of California, San Diego Graduate Admissions
      9500 Gilman Drive #0003
      La Jolla, CA 92093-0003
  • For more information on the TOEFL, visit the TOEFL website. An official ETS-reported score must be submitted for an applicant to be admitted into the graduate program. The Test of Spoken English (TSE) is not required. 

7. Resume/CV:

  • A resume or curriculum vitae should be uploaded to the online application under the Resume/CV section.
  • Requests to update Resumes and/or the Statement of Purpose are not granted after submission. Please carefully double-check edits prior to official submission.

8. Currently Enrolled UCSD Students

  • UCSD Student PID #: Please enter your UCSD student PID in the application. 

*Attention: Current/Former UCSD Students Seeking PhD Admission. If you are a current or former UCSD student and wish to continue or transfer to the PhD program, please follow these steps:



  • Complete the UCSD Application for Graduate Admission by the general application deadline for the year you are seeking admission. Please note that admission is only offered in the Fall quarters.
  • Your application will be reviewed alongside those of external PhD applicants for that admissions cycle.


  • MS to PhD students must complete their application online.
  • Important: Do not click on the "submit" button after completing your online application


  • After completing your online application, send an email to csegradinfo-phd@ucsd.edu to notify the admissions team about your application.
  • In the subject line of the email, please include "MS to PhD Transfer Application Submission."


  • Ensure you have provided all the necessary supplemental materials required for the graduate application. For a detailed list, please visit our Graduate Application Checklist.
  • Required materials only for MS to PhD Transfer Application: 
    • Transcripts (please submit an unofficial copy of your UCSD Graduate transcript)
    • Statement of Purpose (see #3 above)
    • Three Letters of Recommendation  (see #4 above)
    • Resume/CV  (see #7 above)

**Note: MS to PhD transfer students, as a current/former UCSD student, you will not be charged an application fee.**

Contact Information

If you still have questions for which you could not find an answer on our website, please email either one of the following:

PhD Admissions at csegradinfo-phd@ucsd.edu

MS Admissions at csegradinfo-ms@ucsd.edu

The University of California, San Diego does not discriminate on the basis of race, color,  national origin, religion, sex, disability, age or sexual orientation in any of its policies,  procedures, or practices, including but not limited to academic admission, financial aid, educational services, and student employment.