How To Apply

Fall 2025 application opens in September 2024.

Admission to the Vision Science Phd program is based on a variety of factors, including academic achievement and relevant experience. Because this program is designed to develop research scientists, it is important that applicants are familiar with an experimental lab setting. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of our program, we accept students with various backgrounds including psychology, optometry, engineering, computer science, physics, chemistry, biophysics, neuroscience, mathematics, molecular and cell biology and integrative biology.

Admissions Webinar

Please join our Vision Science Admissions webinar via zoom on Tuesday, December 12th at 4pm PST. Click the button below to register!

Admissions Webinar

Required Items

Please scroll down for detailed instructions on each required item.

  1. Online Application
  2. Application Fees
  3. Transcripts
  4. Test Scores
  5. Letters of Recommendation
  6. Essay Questions
  7. Faculty Adviser Selections


Fall 2025 application opens in September 2024.

Online Application

All applicants must fill out an application online. You will need to provide complete information about your academic and professional history. You will also be asked to upload your transcripts and provide the contact information for your recommenders.

Online Application

Application Fees

The application fee is not refundable. If you are a U.S. Citizen or current Permanent Resident, the application fee is $135; for all others, the fee is $155. U.S. citizens or permanent residents who can demonstrate financial need are eligible to apply for a waiver of the application fee.

Fee Waiver

GRE Test Scores

For the Vision Science PhD program, GRE scores are an optional part of the application. The admissions committee considers all aspects of each application in determining a candidate's overall potential to excel in the program. Nonetheless, we will consider GRE scores if they are submitted. Scores may be helpful for candidates who wish to document academic strength and potential that is not evident elsewhere in their applications. Scores must be no older than 5 years by the time of application.

Institution Code: 4833
Department Code: 0611

GRE Link


All transcripts need to be submitted via the online application. Please upload unofficial transcripts from all colleges you’ve attended since high school. If admitted to the program you will be required to submit official transcripts. Please do not send transcripts directly to the Admissions and Student Affairs Office.

Letters of Recommendation

We require 3 letters from persons who have supervised your research or academic work. Your recommenders will receive an email at the email address you provide when you apply and will be asked to follow a link to submit their recommendation. Please do not send letters directly to the Admissions and Student Affairs Office.


We require two essays. See description below. All essays need to be uploaded in PDF format to the online application.

Statement of Purpose (SOP) Essay

Please describe your aptitude and motivation for graduate study in Vision Science, including your preparation, your academic plans or research interests, and your future career goals. Please be specific about why UC Berkeley would be a good intellectual fit for you.

Personal History Statement (PHS) Essay

Please describe how your personal background and experiences influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree. In this section, you may also include any relevant information on the following:

- How you have overcome barriers to access higher education?

- How you have come to understand the barriers faced by others?

- Your academic service to advance equitable access to higher education for women, racial minorities and individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education.

- Your research focusing on under served populations or related issues of inequality.

- Your leadership among such groups.

Please note that the Personal History Statement should not duplicate the Statement of Purpose.

Faculty Advisor Selections

You will be asked to provide 3 potential Faculty Advisers in ranked order. In preparation for this, please research our faculty and reach out to them to discuss your interests. This is especially important because you will want to determine research matches and lab openings before you apply.

Find Faculty


If you have any questions about your application, please email or call us.