Q: I am an international student. How do I make financial arrangements with UCSB?
All applications to UCSB require a non-refundable application fee of $110 for international applicants. No application will be processed until the application fee has been received – see http://www.graddiv.ucsb.edu/admissions/how-to-apply#application-fee for methods of payment. After your admission to UCSB, the Office of International Students and Scholars will need documented evidence of your ability to pay all required fees and expenses for the first twelve months of your program in order to issue the required immigration forms needed to obtain your visa from an American embassy or consulate. All international applicants who submit an application for graduate study are encouraged to contact the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) for current information regarding international student expenses, visas, and other non-admissions questions you may have. Once admitted to UCSB, OISS will contact you with additional assistance. Refer to the Office of International Students and Scholars: http://www.oiss.ucsb.edu/; Telephone: (805) 893-3942.

Q: I am an out-of-state student – how will that affect my graduate funding?
Academic appointments are the single largest component of graduate student support at UCSB. Appointments are also a key element of graduate training and an opportunity for mentorship by UCSB faculty. Graduate student titles include: Graduate Student Researchers (GSR), Teaching Assistants (TA), Associates, and Readers. Out-of-state students will likely have to TA their first year (while California residency is being established) in Geography so that their fees will be covered by the university instead of the Department; see http://www.geog.ucsb.edu/student-handbook/financial-support.html#employment.

Q: How do I fund my graduate education in Geography?
The Department has control over a moderate level of support for all admitted applicants (including international students), which it distributes on the combined factors of merit and need; see http://www.geog.ucsb.edu/graduates/student-handbook/financial-support.html for details. You also can obtain financial support information on the internet via the Graduate Division’s Web homepage: http://graddiv.ucsb.edu/financial/. There you will find information about campus competitions and deadlines, National Fellowship Competition Announcements, hot links to funding sources and databases, and access to the IRIS database, including search capability. All applicants are considered for financial support unless they indicate they wouldn’t need it (because they already have a fellowship, for example).

Q: I have heard that the cost of living in Santa Barbara is very high. Where can I find information about how this will affect me as a grad student?
The cost of living in Santa Barbara is among the highest in the U.S. and is an important consideration. For information about housing for grad students, see http://www.housing.ucsb.edu/community/graduate-student; general information about the local cost of living is easily accessible on the Internet.

Q: What are the differences between the MA program, the MA/Ph.D. program, and the Ph.D. program in Geography?
Students that apply to the Geography graduate program without a Master’s degree will normally apply to the MA or MA/Ph.D. program. If your final degree objective is the Master’s, you would apply to the MA program. If your final degree objective is a Ph.D. or you are unsure, you are encouraged to apply to the MA/Ph.D. program. If admitted, you will start in the MA program until you complete it, at which time your thesis committee Chair will submit a recommendation to the Department regarding admission to the Ph.D. program. Based upon this recommendation, the Department Graduate Committee will decide if you can continue in the Ph.D. program. If you get a favorable recommendation and if you are interested in pursuing a Ph.D., you will move into the Ph.D. program. If you initially applied for the MA program but at the time of filing your thesis you would like to continue with the Ph.D., you can submit a petition to add the Ph.D. degree objective, assuming the Graduate Committee decides favorably about your admission in the Ph.D. program. There is not a big difference between applying to the MA or the MA/Ph.D. program, but if your final objective is the Ph.D., it helps the Graduate Committee keep that in mind when they are deciding on admissions. See http://www.geog.ucsb.edu/graduates/student-handbook/ for more.

Q: When can I expect to know if I have been admitted to the Geography graduate program or not?
Admissions decisions are communicated to applicants through the online Application Status Page. The UCSB Graduate Division and departments cannot communicate admissions decisions via email or telephone. Admissions recommendations are made by the Department of Geography to Graduate Division who processes the decision and makes it official. Admitted applicants will receive an official letter from Graduate Division offering admission. Once the applicant accepts and does the SIR, admission is final. The Department’s selection process goes on between late January and early April, and most admission decisions will be finalized by the end of March or early April. We ask that applicants be patient during this period; they will be notified as soon as a decision is made about their application, one way or the other. If you have additional questions or concerns pertaining to a submitted online application, please refer to the Application Status Page

Q: May I apply after the deadline?
Do not apply after the deadline unless you receive advance permission from the Graduate Program Assistant (GPA) in Geography. The Department must notify the Graduate Division of the approval to process your late application. If you do not receive permission from the Department to apply after the deadline, do not apply. Your application fee will not be refunded, and your application will not be reviewed.