PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS 2019-10-15T16:17:50-07:00

Who Should Apply

Students admitted to the Master of Science in Coastal Science and Policy and participating in the PhD Designated Emphasis Program come from diverse backgrounds and have interests that range across the coastal zone (from land to the sea).

The Coastal Science and Policy Program is interested in students with demonstrated experiences in and a passion for sustainability sciences, economics, and policy. Most will have completed a bachelor’s degree at a four-year university in a field relevant to coastal sustainability. Relevant fields are diverse and include biology, conservation science, earth sciences, chemistry, oceanography, environmental studies, social sciences, economics, human ecology, political science, sociology, engineering, and interdisciplinary programs. Specific additional requirements prior to admission include at least one course in statistics, as well as coursework in at least two of three emphasis areas: biological sciences, physical sciences, and the social sciences (including policy and economics). Students from underrepresented and diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, and disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

In order to ensure intensive interactions among students, faculty, practitioners and other CSP affiliates, cohorts will remain small. Based on financial need and program resources, CSP offers a limited number of fellowships for incoming Masters of Science students (packages may cover a portion or a combination of tuition, fees, or living stipend).

If you have questions regarding the application process for the Masters of Science Program or are interested in the PhD Designated Emphasis Program, please contact us at 

Note, prospective students interested in participating in the PhD Designated Emphasis Program must apply to another departments at UC Santa Cruz and will not apply directly to the Coastal Science and Policy Program.

How To Apply for the Master of Science

Applications for Fall 2020 open Tuesday, October 1, 2019 and are due Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 8:59pm PST.

Your application for graduate study at UC Santa Cruz must be completed, submitted, and paid for through the online application.

For prospective students, application packages submitted online will include:

  • Coastal Science & Policy statement of purpose
  • Personal history statement
  • Statement of Financial need (optional)
  • Resume/CV
  • College transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Writing samples (1-4)

To Begin an Application: Go to and click “Start New Application.” Choose “Coastal Science and Policy MS” Program to begin the application process.

Specific instructions for each component of the application package are provided in the application portal.

  • CSP applicants are not required to identify a faculty advisor in order to apply. 
  • CSP applicants are not required to submit GRE scores. These scores will not be considered as part of your application.
  • CSP seeks to provide its students with individual fellowships and thus students are not eligible for other forms of financial support from the university (e.g. Teaching Assistant or Graduate Student Researcher positions). If you would like to be considered for a CSP fellowship, please upload a one page Statement of Financial Need letter. 
    • Domestic students should also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
    • International students are encouraged to complete and upload the Affidavit of Student Support.
  • On the Financial Support page, applicants need to identify other fellowships or scholarships for which you have applied or that you have been awarded.
  • Where possible, CSP students are supported by individual fellowships and thus are not eligible for diversity fellowships from the university. In the application, select the “section not applicable” link on the Diversity Fellowships page.

Timely submission of your application and supplemental materials is critical for the application review cycle; please read the instruction guides provided to you before you begin your application so that you are familiar with the required elements of a complete application for admission. Once your application is submitted, you will receive a confirmation email (please verify receipt of this email). Applications are due Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 8:59pm PST and can not be reopened.

To apply for the Application Fee Waiver, you must:

  1. At minimum, have completed, uploaded, and submitted to your application the following items: statement of purpose, personal history statement, statement of financial need, and your resume.
  2. Not yet paid for your application to the University.
  3. Contacted stating why you are requesting a fee waiver.

If a fee waiver is appropriate, CSP will ask you to complete page one of the request form here. Submit this form AND a letter stating your monthly personal/family budget, including any income and expenses, and your reasons for requesting a fee waiver to the Graduate Division at and  ALL applicants, both international and domestic, are eligible to apply for the fee waiver and we encourage you to submit the request if you have a need. Note: The online application portal states that international students are not eligible, however the CSP program has made special arrangements with the Graduate Division to allow international students to apply for the application fee waiver if needed.

If you have questions regarding the application process, please contact us at

Graduate students are an integral part of UCSC’s research and learning community and we look forward to the prospect of your joining us.

  • Be sure to use the newest version of an internet browser that meets our campus web browser security standards.
  • Only one application may be considered from each applicant within a given admission-processing period (winter through fall of the same calendar year).
    • Simultaneous applications to multiple departments are not accepted and any application fee paid for multiple applications will be forfeited.
  • Be sure to add three email addresses,, and to your email address books so our messages don’t get marked as spam by your email provider. You will be notified of your admission decisions from these accounts.
  • Application fee payments to the UCSC Graduate Division are processed through UCLA’s payment center. Your application will only be delivered to UCSC.
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Visit the Graduate Division website for further instructions on how to apply.

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