Ph.D. Program Admissions

All prospective graduate students apply through the UCI Graduate Division Online Application for Graduate Admissions. Use the detailed directions within the online application and on the Graduate Division admissions website to submit.

The Ph.D. in Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy (UEPP), is one of four doctoral degree programs offered within UCI's School of Social Ecology. After you submit your online application through Graduate Division, the Social Ecology Graduate Services office prepares application files for review by the programs' admissions committees. Review the school's Application Instructions to learn more about the general requirements for all Ph.D. applications. 

Faculty enthusiasm is a critical component in our admissions decisions. We admit students who meet UCI’s general criteria for admission*. Students are invited to explore the research of our faculty members to help them determine if our program is right for them. Most admitted students have three or four faculty members who have an expressed interest in working with the student. Students may mention faculty who they think can provide them academic mentorship, if admitted.

* Applicants are not required to reach out to faculty, but are invited to explore the research of faculty members. Students admitted to our PhD program are selected by a committee. The committee evaluates the strengths of the application pool and selects a cohort of students taking into consideration research interests and faculty members ability to advise and mentor this cohort.

We suggest that prospective applicants read the department’s faculty profiles and contact those with research that aligns with yours. Please contact faculty directly via email. Most of the time our faculty respond quickly. If you don’t hear back from them within a couple of weeks, please try again - people do get busy. When you make contact, let the faculty member know that you are considering applying to the Ph.D. program, that you’d be interested in working with him/her, and provide reasons, including details about how your research interests overlap or intersect with theirs.

* Among general criteria for admission, the statement of purpose indicating your interest in and preparation for Ph.D. research is a particularly important element in the UEPP Ph.D. admission committee’s selection process. While we take grade point averages from previous university or college experience and test scores into consideration, these are weighed in relation to relevant work experience and your expression of research interest.

International applicants: In addition to completing the minimum UCI graduate student English Proficiency Requirements please see, Admissions Requirements. Our program looks for evidence of substantial English language skills, such as having completed a degree program in English, clarity in the application’s written statements, and TOEFL or IELTS scores above the minimum requirements for admission. Applicants who earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an institution at which English was the sole language of instruction according to the World Higher Education Database are no longer required to demonstrate English proficiency for admissions consideration.

Additionally, in order to be appointed as a teaching assistant, the Graduate Division requires, without exception, that international students demonstrate oral English proficiency indicated by score on the speaking portion of either the TOEFL, IELTS, or other UCI-designated speaking test measure. Details and specific minimum scores for each test type are available in the UCI Graduate Division Policies and Procedures Manual.

For other information or questions regarding Ph.D. program admissions, please contact:

María G. Rendón
Faculty Director, Ph.D. Program
(949) 824-5880
Jessica Renteria,
Graduate Coordinator
Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy
(949) 824-9849
Irice Castro
Assistant Director of Graduate Student Services
School of Social Ecology

If you have technical difficulties or receive an error message while trying to complete the online application, email or call (949) 824-6363.

For other questions about the online graduate application, contact UCI Grad Division admissions.

The School of Social Ecology Graduate Services unit offers a variety options for prospective students to visit campus, participate in an information session, or speak with an admissions representative. Click the button below to find out more.  

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