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Graduate Studies

250 Mrak Hall
530-752-0650; http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu

UC Davis offers advanced degrees in nearly 100 graduate programs. A student’s graduate study is guided by either departments or graduate groups. Graduate groups are composed of individual faculty members from multiple departments with similar academic interests. The group structure, used extensively at UC Davis, permits faculty to be affiliated with graduate programs in more than one discipline and offers students an interdisciplinary graduate experience that crosses the administrative boundaries of the various departments, colleges, schools, and sometimes campuses. In keeping with UC Davis' progressive spirit, the group structure also allows for evolution of established degree programs and facilitates the development of new ones. More than half of the graduate programs at UC Davis are organized as graduate groups. You will find a complete list of graduate degrees under Degrees Offered By UC Davis.

Graduate study is governed by the Graduate Council, a standing committee of the Davis Division of the Academic Senate and by the dean of Graduate Studies. A university-wide Coordinating Committee on Graduate Affairs determines general policies and establishes common procedures.

Preparing for an Advanced Degree

Admission to a graduate program at the University of California requires a bachelor's degree that is comparable in quality to a degree from the University of California both in distribution of academic subject matter and in scholarly achievement.

The primary requirement for admission to any program is evidence of intellectual achievement and promise. Your application will be evaluated first on the basis of your transcript to assure that your qualifications meet minimum standards as set by the university and UC Davis Graduate Council. Generally, you must have a minimum B average in undergraduate course work from an institution of acceptable standing to be considered for admission. UC Davis also requires a Statement of Purpose and a Personal History Statement from each applicant. International applicants must demonstrate the ability to understand and use English by submitting TOEFL or IELTS scores. Graduate programs frequently require submission of additional materials such as Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, letters of recommendation, and portfolios or examples of written work to assist in selecting from among many highly qualified applicants. Admission to graduate study is limited by the number of spaces available in major programs. Not all eligible applicants can be admitted.

UC Davis is committed to maintaining excellence, preserving fairness and promoting diversity in its student population. In addition to an applicant's past scholastic achievement, admissions criteria include an applicant's potential for service in the field, keeping in mind the needs of our society and of underrepresented and disadvantaged communities. Evaluation criteria also attempt to take into account any prior disadvantages applicants have overcome that may bear on future achievements and services.

Applying for Admission

To apply for admission, please see https://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu.

Each program to which you apply must receive a complete application, including the nonrefundable application fee of $90 (U.S.) or $110 (international).

To apply for fellowship, please see https://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu.

For application deadlines, please go to the Graduate Studies website at https://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/prospective-students/admissions-application/deadlines. It is also recommended that you check the website of the program to which you are applying for their application deadlines. No applications are accepted after the published program-specific deadline.

About Admissions

Applications are accepted for fall quarter only. You may apply for admission to graduate study at http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu.

You should begin the application process as early as possible in the academic year since many programs have early deadlines. In addition, your chances for appointment as a teaching assistant or graduate student researcher, or of receiving financial support, are enhanced by applying early. The application deadlines are available on the Graduate Studies website as noted above or until your proposed graduate program is full, whichever occurs first.

The Graduate Admissions Advisory Committee for the program will submit its recommendation and evaluation to the Office of Graduate Studies; final admission decisions rest with the Dean of Graduate Studies. This approval procedure applies to all applicants, including those seeking a transfer to UC Davis from another UC campus.

Applications for the degrees of Juris Doctor, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Master of Business Administration, Master of Professional Accountancy, and Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine must be filed directly with the appropriate professional school.


If you were formerly registered at UC Davis as a graduate student and wish to return to pursue the same degree objective in the same major, you must apply for readmission and pay the readmission application fee of $70. The readmission application must be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies by the tenth day of instruction of the quarter. If you are seeking to return to a new degree program and/or new major, you must apply for admission along with other new applicants. Apply athttps://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu. Transcripts of any college-level coursework undertaken since you were last registered in graduate status at UC Davis must be presented with the application. There is no assurance of reentry, as applicants for readmission will be considered in competition with other applicants for the program.

International Students


Assessment of a foreign degree is based on the characteristics of the national system of education, the type of institution attended, and the level of study completed.

If you are an international student with credentials from universities outside the U.S., you should begin the application process as early as one year in advance. The Office of Graduate Studies will determine your eligibility using U.S. guidelines for credential evaluation. International students are also required to complete the online application process and pay the nonrefundable application fee. International students must apply at https://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu.

English Requirement. Applicants whose native language and language of prior instruction is not English must take the TOEFL or IELTS. The minimum score required for admission to graduate study at UC Davis is total score of 550 for the paper test or a total score of 80 on the Internet-based test for TOEFL, or band score of at least 7.0 on a 9-point scale for IELTS. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years only. Some programs require higher scores; for more information, see https://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/programs. UC Davis does not offer conditional admission on the basis of future English language test scores. TOEFL scores must be reported electronically by ETS. The score report is required before application processing begins.

TOEFL Scores. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is given by Educational Testing Service (ETS), TOEFL Services, PO Box 6151, Princeton NJ 08541-6151, 609-771-7100. Request information from toefl@ets.org or see http://www.ets.org/toefl.

IELTS Scores. The Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are designed by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate and administered by the British Council worldwide. You are responsible for providing us with an official Test Report Form (TRF) of your IELTS. Remember to order the TRF when you register to take the test. To register for the IELTS, see http://www.ielts.org or contact the IELTS Subject Officer, University of Cambridge, Local Examinations Syndicate, 1 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB1 2EU, United Kingdom.

Visas. If you need a certificate of eligibility for a student visa issued by UC Davis, you will be required to complete a certification of finances form showing the availability of sufficient funding for your graduate program. For complete details, see Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS).

Program of Study

New students are assigned an adviser within the appropriate department or graduate group who assists them in planning a program of study. The program will depend to some degree on the student’s undergraduate training and may include undergraduate courses to remove deficiencies. Each student must satisfy the degree requirements as stated by the program and found at https://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/programs.

Additional requirements for study may be established by the department or group and approved by the Graduate Council. These requirements often include a core of required courses, but considerable flexibility is permitted to suit individual needs. Undergraduates at UC Davis who plan to pursue graduate study should consult with their major adviser at the end of their junior year or the beginning of their senior year to guarantee adequate preparation.

A graduate degree is awarded to recognize a student’s command of a wide range of knowledge in an academic field. It is not awarded merely for fulfillment of technical requirements, such as residence or the completion of specific courses.

Master’s Degree

Students working toward a master's degree must be registered for at least three full-time quarters. Two regular six-week Summer Sessions may count as the equivalent of one quarter. Usually, all work for the master's degree is done in residence on the UC Davis campus; however, some work taken elsewhere may be credited toward your degree with the consent of the graduate adviser and the Associate Dean for Graduate Students. The limit for such transfer credit is 6 units from another institution, or 12 concurrent units (Open Campus enrollment), or up to one half of the unit requirement if the courses were taken at another UC campus-providing the units were not used to satisfy requirements for another degree.

A master's degree may be awarded upon completion of one of two basic plans in which either a thesis or a comprehensive examination is required.

Doctoral Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy degree, as granted at the University of California, means that the recipient possesses knowledge of a broad field of learning and has given evidence of distinguished attainment in that field; it is a warrant of critical ability and powers of imagination and synthesis. It means, too, that the candidate has presented a dissertation containing an original contribution to the knowledge in the chosen field of study.

Students working toward a doctorate must be registered for a minimum of six full-time quarters. Experience indicates that it takes considerably longer than this to complete a degree program. Two consecutive regular Summer Sessions may count as the equivalent of one regular quarter.

There is no university unit requirement for the doctoral degree. However, individual programs have course requirements that must be completed before admission to the Qualifying Examination.

The Qualifying Examination is administered by a committee appointed by the dean of Graduate Studies. The examination is intended to demonstrate critical thinking ability, powers of imagination and synthesis and broad knowledge of the field of study. Upon recommendation of the Qualifying Examination Committee, and with the approval of the Graduate Council, the examination may be repeated one time.

After successful completion of the Qualifying Examination, the student must file for Advancement to Candidacy for the degree. At this time, a committee is appointed to direct the research problem and guide in the preparation of the dissertation.

Graduate students in certain doctoral programs may participate in a Designated Emphasis, a specialization that might include a new method of inquiry or an important field of application that is related to two or more existing doctoral programs. The Designated Emphasis is awarded in conjunction with the doctoral degree and is signified by a transcript designation; for example, “Ph.D. in History with a Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory.” Programs approved as Designated Emphases include African American and African Studies, Biology of Vector-borne Diseases, Biophotonics, Biotechnology, Classics and Classical Receptions, Critical Theory; Feminist Theory and Research; International and Community Nutrition; Native American Studies; Organism-Environment Interaction; Reproductive Biology; Second Language Acquisition; Stem and Progenitor Cells; Studies in Performance and Practice; Translational Research; and Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies.

Intercampus Exchange Program

A graduate student registered on any campus of the University of California may become an intercampus exchange student with the approval of the graduate adviser, the chairperson of the department or group on the host campus, and the Dean of Graduate Studies on both the home and the host campuses.

An intercampus exchange student has library, health service and other student privileges on the host campus, but is considered a graduate student in residence on the home campus. The grades obtained in courses on the host campus are transferred to the home campus and entered on the student's official graduate transcript.

Application forms may be obtained from the Office of Graduate Studies website (https://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu) and must be submitted five weeks before the beginning of the quarter in which you wish to participate in the program. Petitions received after the first day of the quarter will not be processed.

Fellowships, Assistantships and Loans


Financial support for graduate study at UC Davis is available in several forms: teaching and research assistantships, financial aid and fellowships/scholarships. For more information, see http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/ssupport.

Financial aid is awarded on the basis of demonstrated financial need and is administered by the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office. Federal financial aid includes student loans, grants and work-study funding. You may apply for financial aid before you have been admitted. To be considered for financial aid, or for any awards based on financial need, you must file a "Free Application for Federal Student Aid" (FAFSA), at http://www.fafsa.gov no later than March 2, prior to the fall quarter enrollment. Your application will be used to determine financial need only. Contact the Graduate Financial Aid Office for information regarding loans, grants and work-study at http://financialaid.ucdavis.edu/graduate.

Graduate fellowships are awarded primarily on the basis of scholarly accomplishment and promise of outstanding academic and professional achievement. Fellowship awards can include a stipend, fees and/or Nonresident Supplemental Tuition. Considered in evaluations are the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, undergraduate and graduate grade point averages, academic transcripts, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation and other documentation such as publications or awards. The minimum cumulative undergraduate or graduate grade point average required for a stipend, Nonresident Supplemental Tuition fellowships or in-state fee award is 3.000 (A =4.000).

UC Davis has a single online application system for the admission application and for the student fellowship application. To apply for fellowship, see https://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu.

For fellowship application deadlines, please go to the Office of Graduate Studies website at https://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/prospective-students/admissions-application/deadlines. It is also recommended that you check the website of the program to which you are applying for their fellowship application deadline.

Graduate Academic Certificate Program

A Graduate Academic Certificate (GAC) program is a structured sequence of courses and requirements that focus on a specialty or area of expertise not offered by a regular graduate degree program. GACs are administered by a UC Davis instructional unit (professional school, department, graduate group or a designated emphasis program) and are an additional sequence of training and expertise for graduate students enrolled in a degree program.

GACs consist of a minimum of 12 units of graduate level instruction and are recognized by transcript notation and an official certificate issued by UC Davis with the gold seal of the University of California. GAC programs include Air Quality and Health, Conservation Management, Development Practice, and Second Language Acquisition.

For more information, see https://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/programs/graduate-academic-certificates.

Graduate Certificate Program for Engineers

For engineers who already have a degree, the College of Engineering offers Graduate Certificate Programs in various fields of Engineering. The certificate programs consist of course work in selected engineering subjects and require fewer units than the degree programs. The purpose of the Graduate Certificate Program is to provide practicing engineers with an opportunity to develop additional expertise in specific areas and to explore new fields of technical interest.

General requirements for the programs are:

  • 15 or 16 units of specified graduate course work, or a combination of specified graduate and undergraduate course work.
  • Admission to Graduate Studies.

Further information on the Graduate Certificate Programs may be found within the graduate programs of the College of Engineering; see http://engineering.ucdavis.edu/graduate.

Seminar On College Teaching

Center for Educational Effectiveness

The Seminar on College Teaching (2 units, S/U grading) introduces graduate students to the research-based principles and practices of effective teaching. Using engaging activities, discussions, and readings, participants will develop essential skills for designing, teaching, and assessing effectives courses. The seminar covers a broad range of topics related to college-level teaching, including: objectives of higher education, how students learn, facilitating active learning, meaningful forms of assessment, integrating technology, creating positive learning environments, and fostering diversity.

Participants meet for weekly two-hour sessions. Participants select and complete several assignments that are designed to be practically useful for participants own teaching as well as for an academic job search. Sample assignments include preparing a lesson plan, micro teaching session(s), designing a syllabus, and writing a teaching philosophy statement.

All participants who complete all course requirements will earn a certificate of completion that is appropriate to include in a teaching portfolio and curriculum vitae. The course is also open to postdocs, who can earn a certificate for participating instead of course credit.

Graduate Student Deadlines*

Graduate Student Deadlines

* Deadlines are subject to change without notice.

Page content manager can be reached at Catalog-Comment@ucdavis.edu.

Updated: November 21, 2017 12:17 PM