Application Procedure

Applying to the program is a multiple-step process. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Be sure you meet the admission requirements before beginning the application process.

The Supplemental Program Application (Interfolio) and the Cal State Apply applications may be filled out concurrently.

1) Contact Us

  • Prospective applicants should email [email protected] stating interest in the program and await instructions PRIOR to beginning steps 2 to 4 below.

2) Submit the Cal State Apply Online Application between October 1, 2023 and December 15, 2023 to receive priority review for admissions.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Applications can continue to be submitted through March 2, 2024, however our program gives priority admissions consideration to complete applications that are submitted by December 15, 2023. Applications submitted after December 15, 2023 will be considered only if an admissions slot opens up between December 15, 2023 and March 2, 2024.

  • When applying through Cal State Apply, please select: “Interdisciplinary Research on Substance Use” as the major.
  • The application fee is $70
  • Within two weeks of submitting your Cal State Apply application, you will receive an email from San Diego State University that includes your SDSUid. Visit and select Login to my.SDSU. Enter your SDSUid and password, and select Sign In to log in to my.SDSU. You will be able to check your application status here.
  • Once you have submitted your Cal State Apply application, a prompt will be given to continue on to Interfolio. 

3) Submit Official Test Scores and Official Transcripts to SDSU Graduate Admission 

  • Official GRE (optional) and TOEFL (if applicable) test scores must be sent by ETS directly to SDSU (institution code 4682).
  • Physical or electronic official transcripts from all colleges attended must be mailed to 

SDSU Graduate Admissions 
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-8225

E-mail address:
[email protected]

PLEASE NOTE: As of 2020, applicants are no longer required to submit test scores to our program. Applicants can optionally submit scores for the GRE General Test (verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections) and/or an applicable GRE Subject Test. 

4) Submit the Supplemental Program Application via Interfolio.

  • Required Documents:
    • Statement of Purpose
      • Please limit your statement to no more than 2 pages, single-spaced, 11-point type.
      • In your essay, please state your purpose in deciding to pursue a PhD in substance use research.
      • Discuss your fit with this program, your research experience (including statistical and methods training), and your specific research interests. You are encouraged to indicate JDP faculty mentors with whom you would be interested in working during your graduate training.
      • Highlight the experiences you view as most relevant, formative, or illustrative of your potential and any aspects of your experiences that may not be summarized well on a CV or in a checklist.
    • Resume/CV
    • Unofficial Transcripts (for all colleges/universities attended)
    • Three Letters of Recommendation (requested through Interfolio)
    • Writing Sample

NOTE: Please DO NOT send any application materials to UC San Diego at this time. AFTER you are selected for admission to the Joint Doctoral Program you will be required to complete a UC San Diego application. Only those students who are admitted to the program and elect to come need to complete the UC San Diego application process. After formal notification from SDSU, students will receive material from UC San Diego.

5) International Applicants