Admissions Information

We accept applications to three graduate degree programs:

  • MA/PhD – for applicants who hold a BA or BS degree.  (NOTE:  The MA in this program is earned on the way to the PhD objective.  If you are interested in only taking an MA degree please apply to the MA Plan 2.)
  • PhD – for applicants who hold an MA degree in Religion or a related discipline.
  • MA Plan 2 – for applicants seeking rigorous exposure and training in the academic study of religion in preparation for further study, or for professional career enhancement.

Applying to the Graduate Program:

Applications are only accepted for Fall Quarter admission to the program.  For a successful application, the online graduate application, including the documents listed below, and the application fee must be submitted by December 15, 11:59 p.m. PST.

Applicants are admitted on a competitive basis; our admission policy is based on intellectual potential and promise, academic records, and programmatic fit.  Undergraduate GPA must be a minimum of 3.0.

In addition to departmental requirements, applicants for admission and candidates for degrees must fulfill university requirements described in the Graduate Education section of the UCSB General Catalog.

All applicants must complete the Online Graduate Application. Please carefully read the instructions on How to Complete the Online Application and within the eApp portal to ensure that you correctly complete each section of the application.

Need more information? Review our university Graduate Division’s FAQs for Applicants.

Required Application Documents:

  • Statement of Purpose
    • Give a brief statement outlining your reasons for undertaking a graduate program, your particular area of specialization within the major field, your past academic work, and your plans for future occupation or profession. Also include any additional information that may assist the selection committee in evaluating your preparation and aptitude for graduate study at UC Santa Barbara.*Your Statement of Purpose must be written in narrative (essay) form without duplicating content from your Personal History and Diversity Statement.
  • Personal History and Diversity Statement (PH&DS)
    • UC Santa Barbara is interested in a diverse and inclusive graduate student population. Please describe any aspects of your personal background, accomplishments, or achievements that you feel are important in evaluating your application for graduate study. For example, please describe if you have experienced economic challenges in achieving higher education, such as being financially responsible for family members or dependents, having to work significant hours during undergraduate schooling or coming from a family background of limited income. Please describe if you have any unusual or varied life experiences that might contribute to the diversity of the graduate group, such as fluency in other languages, experience living in bi-cultural communities, academic research interests focusing on cultural, societal, or educational problems as they affect underserved segments of society, or evidence of an intention to use the graduate degree toward serving disadvantaged individuals or populations.*Your Personal History and Diversity Statement must be written in narrative (essay) form without duplicating content from your Statement of Purpose. A minimum word count of 250 words is required. There is no maximum length requirement. Most statements are typically 1-2 pages.
  • Resumé or Curriculum Vitae
  • Three Letters of Recommendation (4th letter optional)
  • Writing Sample:
    • This is often a copy of a well-written term paper, and it should reflect favorably on your writing and research abilities. It is most helpful if the sample explores your area of academic interest. There is no specific length requirement, but it should be no longer than 15 pages. Applicants who have written a master’s thesis often submit an excerpt. Upload the writing sample in the Supplemental Documents section of the online graduate application.
  • Official Transcripts
    • You are required to upload an official transcript created by your university. This transcript will be used to review and evaluate your application.  Scan and upload all pages of your official transcript from this institution (including the grading scale, which may be on the back of the transcript).
  • Exam Scores
  • Departmental Supplemental Application  via Google form (required)

U.S. permanent residents who received a degree from a U.S. institution should follow the application guidelines for U.S. applicants. U.S. permanent residents who received a degree from an international institution should follow the instructions for international applicants.

*for departmental specifications, please visit this link.

APPLICATION DEADLINE:  December 15th , 11:59 pm PST