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Spotlight on UC Santa Barbara Engineering

Prodigy Finance - March 24, 2020

Ready to learn everything you need to know about engineering and STEM masters degrees at University of California at Santa Barbara? You're in the right place!

Prodigy Finance UC Santa Barbara Engineering spotlight

Right on the Pacific coast, Santa Barbara is very much the vision many have of California. But, UC Santa Barbara has a lot more than beaches and beautiful weather; the school can trace its roots back to the 1880s when it was a trade school. 

Formally incorporated into the University of California system in 1944 and now boasts 6 Nobel laureates and an engineering department with an unparalleled research focus. 

UC Santa Barbara fast facts

Public university

University enrollment: 25,057

Living alumni: 220,000+

Graduate students: 2871

Engineering grad students: 784

Engineering masters students: 179

International masters students: 48.6%

Countries represented: 79

Most represented countries: China, India, Iran, Taiwan (China), Turkey

Where is UC Santa Barbara?

  • City: Santa Barbara, California (CA)
  • City population: 91,930, with a county population of 423,895
  • Region: West
  • Climate: Mediterranean-like: winters are cool to cold and wet (Dec avg: 19°C/52°F), though snow is extremely rare; summers are warm to hot and dry (Aug avg: 11°C/66°F)
  • Nearest airport: Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA) - for domestic connections; international students are likely to use Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Time zone: PST from November-March (GMT -8); PDT from March to November (GMT-7)

What can you study at UC Santa Barbara College of Engineering?

Although the College of Engineering at UC Santa Barbara doesn’t offer a huge variety of masters degrees, the programmes they do have receive plenty of accolades. 

US News Rank: no rank available

Degree options:

  • MS in Computer Science

  • MS in Computational Science & Engineering

US News Rank: 22

Degree options:

  • MS in Electrical & Computer Engineering

US News Rank: 28

Degree options:

  • MS in Mechanical Engineering

Technology Management

US News Rank: no rank available

Degree options:

  • Masters in Technology Management

UCSB engineering job placement

On average, UCSB hosts 3 career fairs and some 330 companies participate. The school works hard to continually attract new employers and 92% of those that recruit on campus are happy with the number of students they see. In addition, they’re overwhelmingly positive about students’ job preparedness. 

 You’ll find a lot of focus on preparing students for interviews, help with creating job search tools and the university even provides a no-cost career assessment to ensure you’re looking in the right places for your skills and degree. 

What's it like to live at the University of California at Santa Barbara?

At UC Santa Barbara, international students are guaranteed on-campus housing as long as they adhere to the guidelines. The Community Housing Office also assists students who prefer off-campus accommodation. However, the on-campus options are varied and typically less expensive, so you may want to check that out first.

There are also meal plans available that suit just about any budget or on-campus plans for food.

International students can participate in the iBuddy programme which links participating students to local students for language practice, general study sessions, or just figuring out how to get around and what’s available in the area.

Cars are generally a hassle for short trips around town as parking is limited. If you want anytime transportation of your own, the weather is definitely nice enough to get a bicycle. But, you’ll find that most students take advantage of the free, unlimited use of the local MTD bus system.

How to get into UC Santa Barbara Engineering

UC Santa Barbara takes a lot of pride in the quality of its research. And they should; they’re in top position for engineering research impact by a public university.

Applicants that feel strongly about attending UC Santa Barbara should spend a lot of time considering the professors and research areas active in the graduate school before drafting their Statement of Purpose essay (SoP). 

In addition to the SOP essay, applicants to UCSB engineering will need to submit at Personal Achievements/Contributions statement. Given the small size of the programmes and the sincere emphasis on research, you’ll probably want to spend some time going over your research contributions to date.

And, while there are certain minimums provided for undergraduate GPA, as well as GRE and TOEFL scores, the engineering department is ready to be flexible for the right candidates; you’ll just need to showcase your other skills and strong points.

  • Average undergrad GPA: 3.54
  • Average GRE scores: 154 verbal, 162 quantitative, 3.9 analytical writing
  • Mean TOEFL score: 104 iBT

UC Santa Barbara Engineering applications

Fall admission deadline: 15 December

Application fee: $125

Resume or CV: required

Required essays: Statement of Purpose and Personal Achievements/Contributions statement

Recommendations: up to 4, completed online (check restrictions on paper references)

GRE test: required, no strict min score; some departments may have a minimum

GPA: 3.0 is the specified minimum, though a low GPA may be overlooked for otherwise strong applications

Language test: required for non-native English speakers unless undergrad or grad education was undertaken in an English-language institution; TOEFL and IELTS tests are accepted; min scores may vary by department

  • Min TOEFL score: 550 pBT, 80 iBT 
  • Min IELTS score: 7.0

UC Santa Barbara engineering cost of attendance (for 19/20 academic year)*

Tuition: $27,672

Campus based fees: $954

Rent: $9789

Food: $6129

Utilities: $1335

Books and supplies: $390

Healthcare allowance: $4119

Personal expenses: $2025

Transportation: $2110

Telephone/cell phone: $236

Total CoA for 1 year: $54,759

*These are estimated expenses only

Does the UC Santa Barbara offer scholarships to international students?

The biggest form of support for international graduate students at UCSB takes the form of fellowships, as well as research or teaching assistantships. These positions, however, are highly coveted and are snapped up quickly.

While you can check the general financial pages for scholarship information, your best bet might just be to connect with the professors you would be interested in assisting while on campus. To qualify, you’ll need exceptional proficiency in English in addition to a desire to work in a specific area.

Prodigy Finance international student loans for University of California at Santa Barbara

Prodigy Finance offers loans for international masters students at the College of Engineering at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Students from supported countries pursuing masters programmes that can be completed in less than 2 years are eligible to apply.

  • Maximum loan amount: up to 100% of the school-provided cost of attendance (tuition plus living expenses)
  • Minimum loan amount: $15,000
  • All loans disbursed directly to the university according to due dates

Prodigy Finance also supports loans for University of California at Santa Barbara students pursuing masters degrees in these schools:

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Ready for a UC Santa Barbara Engineering masters?

Prodigy Finance provides loans to international masters students pursuing their masters degrees at top universities, including the College of Engineering at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Prodigy Finance Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. 

Post updated for accuracy and freshness on March 24, 2020. Originally published on May 28, 2018.


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