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New Graduate Students

Welcome to UCSB! Making the transition to graduate school can be an exciting but also anxious time. Check out the information and resources on this website to learn more about the community of scholars that you will be joining and how you can set yourself up for success.

You can click the buttons below to navigate to a specific section of the page:

Key Resources to Get You Started

Getting Oriented to Campus

Access cards, Registration, and Residency

Living & Getting Around in Santa Barbara



Key Resources to Get You Started

Click below to download our 2022-23 How to Navigate Through Graduate School guide

How to Navigate Through Graduate School thumbnail

Also check out our New Grad FAQs to see additional questions submitted by incoming students just like you. You can also submit your own questions!

Many of your questions on how to get started in grad school will likely be answered by several specific campus offices, including your home department. Here are some important resources to connect with from the get-go:

Your Graduate Program Faculty and Staff
Every department has designated faculty and staff that oversee the graduate program and assist graduate students in a variety of ways – from academic advising to employment and fellowships to registering for classes. Be sure to connect with your department's graduate program faculty and staff early on!

Academic Services (Graduate Division)
Find out what you need to know about academic policies and procedures related to graduate school, including forms, petitions, deadlines, degree requirements, interdisciplinary emphases, and academic accommodations. The Graduate Division also offers academic counseling to provide holistic support for students on their academic journey.

Financial Services (Graduate Division)
The Financial Support unit administers fellowship programs and certifies student eligibility for fellowship funding and graduate student academic appointments. You'll also find information on student fees, tax information, and parenting accommodation policies related to graduate employment.

The Graduate Student Resource Center and the GradPost (Graduate Division)
The GradPost is the digital outpost of the Graduate Student Resource Center (GSRC) and serves as the primary source for news, funding, professional development, advice, events, and more related to graduate student life at UCSB. You can access the event calendar for the GSRC and its associated centers on Shoreline. (Note: you will need to log in with your UCSB Net ID.) Sign up for the daily digest from the GradPost and follow the GSRC on Facebook for the latest information. You can also find out more about the GSRC staff and peer advisors here.

Graduate Student-Led Organizations (Office of Student Life)
UCSB has a number of student-led organizations just for graduate students. Check out Shoreline, UCSB's student org management platform, to find out more. (Note: you will need to log in with your UCSB NetID.) You can also check out some of the organizations we recently highlighted in our Graduate Student Organization Series.

Graduate Student Association
The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is the elected representative government that ensures graduate student concerns are addressed in the University's on- and off-campus policy decisions. They offer activities, grants, and other opportunities for grads to get involved on campus.

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Getting Oriented to Campus

Every year, the Graduate Division hosts a number of events to help incoming graduate students get oriented to campus. See below for an overview; more information about each of these events is shared with incoming students via email.

Grad Success Series logo

Our popular workshop series is back! We will be hosting these events virtually during the week of September 12-16. Information on specific sessions is available for incoming grad students via Shoreline. If you are having trouble accessing the sign-up sheets, please email Shawn Warner.

Workshop topics include: Navigating the Academy for Diverse Student Populations, Academic Success in Grad School, Getting to Know the UCSB Library, and Planning Your Career Trajectory in Grad School

New Grad Student Convocation logo

Our revamped convocation program will be held in-person this year in Campbell Hall on Wednesday, September 21, from 1:00-2:30pm. This event will feature: a welcome from campus leaders, short presentations by key campus organizations, and a panel discussion with a diverse group of current graduate students.

The Convocation program will be followed by a welcome reception at Mosher Alumni Hall.

Campus Resource Fairs logo

This year, we will host two in-person resource fairs:

Campus Centers & Student Services
Thursday, September 22, 12:00-2:00pm
Student Resource Building front lawn

Student Organizations
Friday, September 23, 12:00-2:00pm
Location TBD

*Grab-and-go lunch will be served at both of these events

Other new student events logo

We are also planning a number of other in-person social events for new graduate students including welcome receptions, campus tours, and opportunities to visit the Marine Science Institute’s REEF touch tanks.

Stay tuned for more details!


*Please note that this information is subject to change; please contact the host departments directly for the most up-to-date information.

CALI (Cultural Awareness, Laws, and Immigration) Training for International Students
This training is provided by the UCSB Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS). Registration and attendance is required for all new international graduate students.

English Language Placement Exam (ELPE)
This exam is administered by the UCSB English for Multilingual Students (EMS) Program. All international students whose first language is not English are expected to take the exam unless exempted. There is also a list of FAQs about the ELPE.

Campus-Wide Orientation for New Teaching Assistants and Readers
This orientation is hosted by Instructional Development. Attendance is required of all first-time Teaching Assistants and Readers with secured appointments at UCSB, even if duties will not begin until Winter or Spring Quarters.

Department Orientations
Check with your department for information about orientation sessions and other pre-quarter activities for new graduate students.

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Getting Access, Registering for Classes, & Establishing Residency

NetIdSetting Up Your UCSB NetID (you can do this 1-2 days after submitting your Statement of Intent to Register)

Activating Your UCSB Umail Account

Getting a UCSB Access Card (this is your official University ID and used to access essential campus services)

How to Enroll in Courses

GOLD (UCSB's online registration and information portal)

BARC (UCSB's online portal for paying tuition and fees)

Information About Statement of Legal Residence

How to Establish Residency
Watch a recording of the recent webinar "UC Residency for Tuition Purposes (Grad Students)" offered by the UCSB Office of the Registrar, and access the slides here
; if you have questions you can email or Join the Line to set up an appointment for a phone call with a residency analyst

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Living & Getting Around In Santa Barbara

Check out UCSB's new interactive campus map that covers all of the university's premises in Isla Vista and Goleta in addition to the main campus! (And read more about the features of the map in The Current.)

ucsb map

On-Campus Housing Guide
Off-Campus Housing Guide
Transportation Guide

Have questions? Please reach out!

Shawn Warner, Director of Professional Development, UCSB Graduate Division

Baron Haber, Assistant Director of Professional Development, UCSB Graduate Division