Structural Engineering

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Graduate Admissions FAQs

Please read through these Structural Engineering Department FAQs for Graduate Admission. 

When is the deadline to apply?

The application deadline for Fall 2023 is December 2022.

We only accept applications for a Fall quarter start date. 

What does a complete application include?
  1. 3 Letters of Recommendation (more are ok, but not necessary)
  2. Transcripts from all institutions attended [since high school] (Unofficial)
  3. General GRE Score (you may self-report) 
    The GRE test requirement is permanently waived for M.S. students. With that said, because the Department of Structural Engineering reviews all application materials in its entirety, GRE scores will also be considered if submitted.
  4. TOEFL or IELTS  (required for all international students)
  5. Statement of Purpose (Personal Statement)
  6. Curriculum Vitae (Resume)
  7. Application Fee Payment

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. OFFICIAL HARDCOPY DOCUMENTS ARE NOT NEEDED UNTIL YOU ARE ADMITTED INTO THE PROGRAM. We accept online unofficial test scores and transcripts until then.

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

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. Admissions is based on the overall file and not on one individual score or grade point average.


We accept online letters of recommendation only. For the online letter of recommendation process, you must provide the email address of each recommender. The online letters need to be submitted directly from the recommenders. If they are experiencing any technical issues, please have them email

Who can write a Letter of Recommendation?

Preferably, 2 Faculty members will write you a letter of recommendation. At least 1 Faculty member recommendation is highly encouraged. There are no set guidelines from Graduate Division or the Department of Structural Engineering on who can write you a letter of recommendation. You DO need at least 3 Letters of Recommendation for a complete application.

Do you accept recommendation letters after the deadline?

If you have listed a recommender on your application prior to submission we will accept the letter after the deadline. That said, we cannot guarantee that letters received after the deadline will be reviewed with your application. The admissions committee begins their review of applications immediately after the deadline. It is therefore possible your application could be reviewed prior to the receipt of your letters of recommendation which may put you at a disadvantage.


Unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended [since high school] should be uploaded to your application. 


If accepted into the SE program, currently, no deposit is required to hold your seat.

Can I submit my test scores after the application deadline?

Yes. However, be aware that your file may be reviewed before you have included these in the online application and it may count against you.

What are the UCSD 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? 

There is no minimum GRE score set by the University.

Is the GRE required? Where can I get information about the GRE?

The GRE test requirement is permanently waived for M.S applicants. With that said, because the Department of Structural Engineering reviews all application materials in its entirety, GRE scores will also be considered if submitted.

The GRE Exam is required of all applicants for the  Ph.D. application. For information about the GRE, please visit the official web site:

Applicants who are applying for admission to SE should take the GRE exam as early as possible. However, results of the exam can be reported in the online tool AFTER the application deadline. You CAN submit your application without test scores. Just know that your application cannot be reviewed without them.

If you have unofficial scores, please report them in the application. Once admission is offered, we will require the official scores. If you have the official results, please upload them into the application. You do not need to send official GRE scores to us until you are offered admission.

GRE scores are good for five (5) years.

This test is not affiliated with the University of California, San Diego. Please visit the Education Testing Services website for complete, detailed information about each exam.

What is the minimum TOEFL score?

The following are the University issued minimum TOEFL scores (they vary upon type of TOEFL test taken):

PBT (Paper-Based Test): 550

CBT (Computer-Based Test): 213

IBT (Internet-Based Test): 85

Am I exempt from the TOEFL requirement?

Usually, if a degree was obtained in an institution located within the U.S., applicants should be exempt from providing TOEFL scores. Applicants may be exempt from the TOEFL requirement if they studied at an institution meeting all of the requirements listed below.  

  • University-level accredited institution

  • Language of instruction is English 

  • In a country where English is the dominant language 

  • Studied at the institution full-time for at least one interrupted year and received at least a B average. 

What is the minimum IELTS score?

IELTS minimum score: 7

What is the minimum/average GPA?

The University requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 or above  on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent).

Is financial aid/funding available?

Top Ph.D. students are typically funded on scholarship, TAship, or Graduate Student Researchship. The typical monthly salary is $2,200.00 plus payment of tuition and fees. Top Ph.D. fellowship recipients may receive a monthly stipend up to $2,400/month, in addition to payment of tuition and fees.

M.S. students are not funded by the Department. Most M.S. students seek employment on campus as a TA or Reader. However, these positions are extremely limited and very competitive.


I already hold a Master's or Doctorate degree from another institution/university; may I apply for a duplicate/second degree?

The University does not permit duplication of advanced degrees. (A professional degree is not regarded as a duplication of an academic degree.) Holders of a Master's or Ph.D. are therefore advised not to apply for admission to SE for the same degree, regardless of the discipline of the first degree or the discipline to which they seek admission. 

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

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

There are no exceptions granted. If you're unsure if your current M.S. or Ph.D. fall within this, please ask us. 

May I apply for both the Ph.D. and M.S. program?

No. You must choose to apply to one degree program.

If I don't have an MS, can I apply for the PhD?

Students can apply directly to the Ph.D. program without an M.S. degree. Students admitted into the Ph.D. without an M.S. can obtain an M.S. degree during their studies at UCSD.

Applicants with previous Graduate Registration at UCSD 

If you are applying to an SE Graduate program and were previously registered as a graduate student at UCSD then you may start a new application. You can complete the application, but you should not submit it.

Please contact Graduate Advisors to notify them of your application. 

Contact Graduate Advisors

UCSD Graduate Transferring Credit Policy 

Please refer to the UCSD Graduate Transferring Credit Policy


I applied for an SE program last year and was not offered admission. If I wish to apply again this year, do I need to complete the online application again?

Yes. Applicants must submit a new application (and supporting materials) each year they apply.

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 and you are being considered for admission, you will be contacted.

If you think your submission didn’t go through or you are having computer problems, please email

What is the timeline to hear a result?

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and offers are made until late April and early May.  


Websites to Check

Things you can do immediately Return to Learn

Admitted Student Webpage Orientation 

Orientation, Registration, and other Helpful Information:

There will be department specific mandatory orientation.  More information will be sent to your UCSD email.  You will also receive information regarding your faculty mentor/advisor shortly before this orientation. 

Information regarding orientation, registration (enrollment for classes), campus ID, health insurance, planning your classes will be sent to you in an email by late July

If you have any VISA related questions, please contact the International Students & Programs Office.  You can request appointments here.

If you have any questions regarding Residence for Tuition Purposes, please contact the Residence Deputy.


For more FAQs about Application please see the Graduate Admissions FAQ page.

Graduate Admissions FAQ

If you still have questions not answered above or follow-up questions, please contact Graduate Admissions using the link below.

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