Graduate Admissions

Fall 2024 MAE Graduate Admissions

Applications for MAE Graduate Admission will open:

MS - September 6th, 2023- January 3rd, 2024

Ph.D.September 6th, 2023- December 6th, 2023

  • Admissions occur in the Fall Quarter only, and late applications cannot be accepted. 

  • Please see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below for answers to most questions.  

  • Students can apply directly to the Ph.D. program without an MS degree. 

  • We receive a high volume of Admissions questions via email. We do our best to respond to questions that are not addressed by the FAQs.

  • Prospective applicants are not required to have completed their undergraduate programs to apply. Nevertheless, in cases where an applicant's grades or preparation may be considered marginal, the department reserves the right to defer action on the application until additional supporting records or proof of degree completion are made available.

How to Apply
Application Requirements
Academic Records

Academic records from all post-secondary institutions attended since high school. 

Statement of Purpose

A Statement of Purpose. There is no MAE-specific prompt: please follow the guidelines set by UC San Diego Graduate Admissions. 

Letters of Recommendation

Three Letters of Recommendation from individuals who can attest to the academic or professional competence and depth of the applicant's interest in pursuing graduate study. Only online Letters of Recommendation will be accepted. To submit an online Letter of Recommendation, students must provide the email address of each Recommender in the application.


A Curriculum Vitae 

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) 
  • GRE - NOT REQUIRED for the 2024 Admissions Cycle
  • Applicants for Fall 2024 Admission to MAE Graduate Programs (MS and Ph.D.) will not need to provide a GRE score with their application. 
  • MAE has waived the GRE test requirement for all applications to our graduate programs (Fall 2024 Admission). If students want to submit GRE scores as a part of their application, that is acceptable. Applications are evaluated as a total package. Each application is evaluated for excellence and best fit via recommendation letters, research experience and interest, tenacity and curiosity, leadership abilities, and prior academic achievements.
  • MAE accepts self-reported (unofficial) GRE scores at the time of application and admissions review. If the applicant provides self-reported GRE scores, the official scores will be required once the applicant matriculates. Offers of admission are not binding until official test scores have been received and verified by the UC San Diego Graduate Admissions Office. 
  • Our graduate programs are GRE Optional, meaning that faculty admissions evaluators can see whether an applicant has submitted GRE scores and what the scores are when they are submitted. If the applicant has already taken the GREs and counts them as reflective of their abilities, they may submit the GRE scores. If GRE scores are not submitted, the application will not be viewed negatively.
  • GRE scores remain valid for five (5) years.
  • When ordering GRE score reports, please use UC San Diego's institution code of 4836. The department codes are not necessary. GRE score reports are typically received electronically within 5-7 business days from the order date.
  • More information about the GRE may be obtained from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website. 
  • Minimum Requirement: We do not have a minimum requirement. Ph.D. and MS applicants that are offered admission typically provide a quantitative GRE score within the 85-90 percentile and above.

We will accept unofficial transcripts at the time of application. The transcript MUST have the student name on it and the name of the institution, in English. If offered admission, students will be required to provide an official transcript at that time.

Minimum GPA

The MS and Ph.D. program have a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. However, the typical GPA for admission is 3.5 or higher.

English Language Proficiency

Demonstrated proficiency in the English language is required for all international applicants whose native language is not English.

  • Minimum Language Test Requirement: 
    • TOEFL internet-based test (iBT) - 85
    • TOEFL paper-delivered test - 64
    • IELTS Band - 7
  • The university-wide minimum score for the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition is the same as the in-person TOEFL iBT minimum. Information regarding the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition can be found on the ETS Website.
  • The university-wide minimum score for the IELTS Indicator is the same as the in-person IELTS minimum. Information regarding the IELTS Indicator can be found on the IELTS website.
  • Those with the status "permanent resident" do not need to take the TOEFL.
  • Test scores can be self-reported on the application website. If nominated for admission, the official scores must be sent to the UC San Diego Graduate Admissions Office, in order to receive the official admission offer.
  • For more detailed information, please review the UC San Diego Graduate Admissions Office English Language Proficiency website. 
  • UC San Diego accepts both in-person and internet-based English Language Proficiency test scores. 
  • Please review the ETS website for information on TOEFL testing locations. 
What does a complete application include?

Go to the online graduate application. Please read and follow all instructions. 

  • Academic records from all post-secondary institutions attended since high school.
  • A Statement of Purpose (there is no MAE-specific prompt: please follow the guidelines set by UC San Diego Graduate Admissions.)
  • Although not required, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) test scores may still be submitted to UC San Diego using Institution Code 4836.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation from individuals who can attest to the academic or professional competence and depth of the applicant's interest in pursuing graduate study. Only online Letters of Recommendation will be accepted. To submit an online Letter of Recommendation, students must provide the email address of each Recommender in the application.
  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • International applicants only: Scores for the TOEFL or IELTS exam to demonstrate proficiency in the English language.

All materials must be submitted online. Do not send hard copies of any of your materials to the Department. Once admitted, the UC San Diego Graduate Admissions Office will list any documentation/information still needed in the Application Status page of GradApply. 


Can I submit my test scores/letters of recommendation after the application deadline?

Yes. You can log back into your application and self-report your scores if you know them before the official scores arrive. However, be aware that your file will not be reviewed until you have included these in the online application.

What are the UC San Diego Institution and Department Codes for the GRE and TOEFL exam scores?

The Institution Code is 4836. The Department Code is no longer necessary. 

What is the minimum/average GRE score?

The GRE is waived for the 2024 Admissions Cycle.

What is the minimum/average GPA?

The University requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 or above (or equivalent). Most of our admitted students have a GPA in the range of 3.5 - 4.0. We rarely admit applicants with a GPA below 3.2. 

What is the minimum TOEFL score?

The following are the University-issued minimum TOEFL scores (they vary upon the type of TOEFL test taken): The minimum acceptable score for TOEFL iBT is 85. The minimum acceptable score for TOEFL (paper-delivered test) is 64.

What is the minimum IELTS score?

IELTS Band 7.

Where can I find out more information about the GRE and TOEFL?

These tests are not affiliated with UC San Diego. Please visit the Education Testing Services website for complete, detailed information about each exam.

When is the TOEFL waived?

The TOEFL is required of all international and non-native English speaking students. 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.

What if my undergraduate degree is not in engineering?

It is not a requirement to have an undergraduate engineering degree. Some of our students have degrees in math or physics. We do, however, require that you have a solid knowledge base in math and physics. 

Can I contact faculty about research opportunities?

Yes, you may contact faculty directly to ask any specific engineering questions, or to inquire about research opportunities. Please be aware that faculty are very busy and may take quite some time to return your emails and phone calls. 

Please reference our faculty list at:

How can I check the status of my application?

Log into your application at

Your "Application Status" page will show updates as soon as they are posted. If you are missing any part of your application, you will be contacted. If you think your submission didn’t go through or you are having technical issues, please email (remember to include specific information in the subject line ex: FA24 PhD Admissions Help.)


What is the timeline to hear a result? 

The review of applications will begin in January. Financial award packages will go out to the top Ph.D. candidates in late January or early February. We will continue to make admission offers until the end of April or, in some cases, May. MS students will typically be admitted between March and June.

Is financial aid/funding available?

Ph.D. students are typically funded through fellowships, Teaching Assistant positions, or Graduate Student Researcher positions (or a combination of these). The typical monthly salary for a Ph.D. student is approximately $3,300.00 per month plus payment of tuition and fees. MS students are not funded by the Department. Most MS students seek employment on campus as a TA or reader. However, these positions are extremely limited and very competitive.

Can you send me a brochure or literature on the program?

All of our information is on our website. You can also find helpful information on the Jacobs School of Engineering website. We no longer print materials.

Can you review my academic record to see if I am eligible for graduate admission?

Due to the high volume of inquiries into our graduate program, we are not able to respond to each email or assess your individual qualifications for our programs. All pertinent information is on the website at We encourage everyone to apply. Admission decisions are based on the overall file and not on one individual score or grade point average.

What is your contact information?

Mailing Address: 

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 

Graduate Admissions, 0411 UC San Diego 

9500 Gilman Drive La Jolla, CA 92093-0411 


Who can write a Letter of Recommendation?

There are no set guidelines from the UC San Diego Graduate Division or the MAE Department on who can write a letter of recommendation. You need at least three Letters of Recommendation for a complete application.  MAE advises that an applicant's letters of recommendation are provided by individuals who can attest to the academic or professional competence and depth of the applicant's interest in pursuing graduate study.

Previous Graduate Registration at UC San Diego 

If you are applying to an MAE Graduate program and were previously registered as a graduate student at UC San Diego, then you may start a new application. Please complete the application but do not submit it. Please contact to notify the team of your application. 

Second Degree in MS or Ph.D.

UC San Diego will not admit a student into the MS or Ph.D. program if the student already possesses an MS or Ph.D. in the same or a related field (engineering, physics, math, for example).

Please review the Duplication of Degree policy for more information. 


Housing is not guaranteed for graduate students. Please review the UC San Diego Graduate Housing Office or off-campus housing options. 

Admission and Registration

Official admission to graduate study at the university is contingent upon review of an applicant's record, receipt of a final undergraduate transcript showing degree(s) awarded, an affirmative recommendation by the Department, and action by the UC San Diego Division of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs (GEPA). The dean of GEPA or the Department may deny admission if an applicant's scholastic record is undistinguished, if the preparation is judged inadequate as a foundation for advanced work, or in the event that no further students can be accommodated for a given quarter. Only the official Certificate of Admission from the dean of GEPA constitutes formal approval of admission to a graduate program at UC San Diego.

Official notification of admission by the dean of GEPA will be emailed well in advance of the beginning of the quarter for which the application has been submitted. 

Admission to graduate standing does not constitute registration for classes. A student is not officially registered for classes until the entire registration procedure is completed each quarter. Please contact the Department for details.


Questions? Please contact and specify MS or Ph.D. in your email.