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Tuition and Finance

What does a UCSB Bren School graduate education cost?

The cost of a graduate education at UC Santa Barbara is comparable to other world-class universities. At the Bren School, we take an interest in the financial well-being of every one of our incoming students. We strive to help them find the financial aid, scholarships, fellowships, or job placements they need to make affording grad school possible. And while they're here, we provide as much access to resources as possible so that students can focus on their Bren education.

A comprehensive summary of quarterly fees and expenses is available from the UCSB Office of the Registrar. The UCSB Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships offers a cost of attendance calculator which takes into account tuition and housing expenses.

Financial Opportunities for MESM Students

The Bren School strives to provide our graduate students with opportunities to afford their Bren education apart from student loans and grants. The Bren School is able to offer General Recruitment Fellowship funding to 25-40% of its incoming MESM students.

Diversity Fellowships are also available to master's students from underrepresented groups, economically disadvantaged backgrounds, first generation to attend college, veterans, refugees, citizens of underdeveloped countries or rural areas or those who have completed service or intend to serve disadvantaged populations.

Typically, over 60% of MESM students obtain academic student employment for at least one quarter which pays a salary, regular tuition, and health insurance for the quarter they are employed. (Tuition remission for Academic Student Employment does not cover Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition (NRST) or Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition (PDST)). Bren students secure a number of academic employment positions, primarily TA positions, in departments across campus.

MESM students meet a substantial portion of their educational costs through personal funds, federal loans, work-study, extramural fellowships, and/or self-generated employment. Check out UCSB Graduate Division Financial Support for additional information.

MESM Program Costs 

Quarterly fees and tuition costs for 2024-2025 are listed below. Note that the MESM degree is a 6-quarter program. Fee and tuition costs are subject to change at the discretion of the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) and the PDST is anticipated to be raised by 3% annually.

Estimated Quarterly Fees + Tuition Costs

The Master of Environmental Science and Management is a 6-quarter program.

California Residents Non-Residents International Students
Academic Fees + Tuition $4,672 $4,672 $4,672
Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition $3,642 $3,642 $3,642
Campus-based Fees $370 $370 $370
Health Insurance (UC SHIP) $2,891 $2,891 $2,891
Year 1 Non-resident Tuition - $4,082 $4,082
Year 2 Non-resident Tuition - - if residency is established $4,082
Total Cost of 2-year (6-quarter) program $69,450 $81,696 $93,942

Health Insurance

Health insurance is mandatory for all registered UCSB students and is a condition of enrollment. All full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students are automatically enrolled in and charged for the University of California Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP) unless they choose to submit an online insurance waiver confirming they have acceptable health insurance coverage. 

California Residency

To determine whether you qualify as a California resident, please review the University of California Office of the President (UCOP)'s residency requirements and other information on the UCOP Understanding Residency site.

If you are currently not a California resident but attended high school in California for at least three years and graduated from a California high school, you may be eligible for in-state rates. Learn more about residency for tuition purposes.

Financial Aid and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens may apply for need-based loans and work-study awards. For details, a list of criteria for eligible non-citizens, and information about how to apply for financial aid, please visit the UCSB Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

These financial aid programs are based entirely on demonstrated financial need. Students' eligibility for aid is determined by comparing the "Estimated Student Budget" with the individual student's actual resources. Assistance from the Financial Aid Office is usually offered as a combination package of work study and direct loans.  

At UCSB, financial aid in the form of federal work-study and federal subsidized and unsubsidized direct loans are handled by the UCSB Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, not by individual units, such as the Bren School. You will need to work with the financial aid office, not the Bren School, to obtain information about aid available to you through federal financial aid programs.

The Bren School expects all prospective and current domestic students to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available online or at the financial aid office of any college or university in the United States. The FAFSA is required in order to be considered for any federal, University, or Bren School-based financial support. The FAFSA is used to compile a “need analysis” in determining distribution of all financial support packages, including grants, fellowships, work-study, and loans. While you can submit a FAFSA at any time, the annual priority deadline is March 2 for the subsequent academic year.

California Veteran College Tuition Waiver

The College Fee Waiver for Veteran Dependents benefit waives mandatory system-wide tuition and fees at any State of California Community College, California State University, or University of California campus. This program does not cover the expense of books, parking or room and board. There are four plans under which dependents of veterans may be eligible. The CalVet College Fee Waiver website has more information about the four plans, eligibility, contact information, FAQ’s and additional resources.

Not all fees are waived under this program. Fees which are eligible for exemption at UCSB campus include: tuition and student services fee. Once you submit the authorization letter, and once your fees are assessed prior to each quarter, the waiver will automatically apply to your BARC billing account waiving the tuition and student services fees.

Other Funding Resources

There are many public and private fellowships and scholarships available to graduate students. The UCSB Graduate Division provides a list of extramural funding databases and resources for graduate students. You can also see additional scholarship opportunities on the UCSB Financial Aid and Scholarships website

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