FAQs for Prospective Graduate Students
- Can I receive an application fee waiver?
Yes, all applicants are eligible to apply for an application fee waiver through one of the methods outlined below. Please note, this does not mean that all applicants will receive an application fee waiver.
1. All applicants:
-Graduate Studies Graduate Preparation Programs Fee Waivers: Applicants who are affiliated with one or more of the UC Davis recognized Graduate Preparation programs are eligible for graduate application fee waivers. More information about these programs and application process can be found at https://grad.ucdavis.edu/graduate-preparation-programs-eligible-fee-waivers.
2. US Citizen and Permanent Resident PhD applicants:
-COE Equity Program Fee Waiver: Applicants must seek admission to a PhD program administered by the College of Engineering. Applicants for MS programs are not eligible for a fee waiver through this program. Only US citizens or current permanent residents are eligible to receive a fee waiver through this program. More information can be found at https://engineering.ucdavis.edu/graduate-students/admissions/coe-equity-program.
3. All applicants:
GBSE Application Fee Fellowship: The GBSE program accepts fee waiver requests for those experiencing financial or personal hardships. To apply for a departmental application fee waiver, complete the following application https://ucdavis.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1F99MZ4rTHZKZFk.
- Is the GRE required?
- We are no longer accepting the GRE and it will not be considered a part of your application if you submit it.
- Am I required to contact a faculty member prior to submitting my application?
- Because we directly admit students to labs, we strongly encourage prospective PhD and MS Plan I applicants to reach out to faculty members they are interested in potentially working with before the application deadline to learn more about their research and to ensure the faculty member is accepting new students.
- Am I required to list faculty in the department who I am interested in working with?
- Yes, you are required to list faculty that you are interested in working with as well as your top four research area interests. We recommend that you review faculty profiles on our website and check out their lab pages to ensure that there are a few projects you would be interested in working on. As faculty research interests are ever-changing, it’s never a bad idea to reach out to a faculty member to see what they are currently working on.
- Where do I send my transcripts?
Official transcripts are not required until after you are admitted to our program. However, we will require you to upload unofficial or official copies of your transcripts to our application system. The link to upload these transcripts will be sent to you in an automated email approximately 24 to 48 hours after you submit your online graduate application. We request that you upload transcripts as soon as possible after you receive this message to expedite our application review process. If you do not upload your transcripts by February 1st, there is a chance your application may be denied on the basis of being incomplete.
- Will UC Davis accept TOEFL MyBest™ scores?
- No, UC Davis will not accept the TOEFL MyBest™ score. All valid, submitted TOEFL scores will be considered when they are sent to UC Davis by ETS, but they will only be reviewed using each separate instance of the exam taken on a given date.
- If my test scores expire after I submit my application, will those scores be accepted?
- Yes. If your test scores are valid at the time of application submission, but expire after you've submitted your application and before an application decision is provided, the scores will still be accepted.
- How are applications reviewed?
Admission into the Biological Systems Engineering Graduate Program is competitive, and scores and metrics are just one component of applications. All applications are reviewed in their entirety regardless of scores, in order to assess applicants holistically. Here are a few things that the Admissions Committee consider when assessing your application:
1. Your Undergraduate and Graduate GPA. Students with below a 3.0 GPA are rarely accepted, and the average is higher than this. Good grades in upper division courses and subjects related to the graduate program of interest are more important than those in other subjects. Extenuating circumstances that affected your overall GPA can be outlined in your Personal History.
2. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores. There is no minimum score for the GRE.
3. Research experience. Almost all applicants have laboratory experience prior to applying to graduate school. Working independently on a discrete research question is ideal. You should be knowledgeable about the research you conducted, the hypothesis tested and the rationale for the approach taken. This is better than simply being familiar with lab techniques.
4. Recommendations made by your References. Seek individuals who can comment on your research (such as a research supervisor) and academic ability (such as a course professor) for the letter of recommendations (LOR).
5. Evidence of publication and presentation of your research data. Though not required, publications and presentations will enhance your application. Current undergraduates are encouraged to look for all opportunities to present and publish their work.
6. Your academic and professional goals. This can sometimes indicate if you have the ‘right’ motivation for graduate school, are realistic in what can be accomplished, and if the department is the right fit for you.
7. Your ability to write. Your statement of purpose and personal history may convey this, but comments from your recommender may also be helpful.
- Where do I send my transcripts?
- Official transcripts are not required until after you are admitted to our program. However, we will require you to upload unofficial or official copies of your transcripts to our application system. The link to upload these transcripts will be sent to you in an automated email approximately 24 to 48 hours after you submit your online graduate application. We request that you upload transcripts as soon as possible after you receive this message to expedite our application review process. If you do not upload your transcripts by February 1st, there is a chance your application may be denied on the basis of being incomplete.
- Can I send you my transcript, CV or personal statement in advance to see what my chances of being admitted are?
- Please do not send any materials to us outside of the application system. We are not able to consider any extra materials or evaluate likelihood of admittance over email or phone. Only materials submitted through the official online graduate application will be considered and reviewed.
- I've missed the general deadline of January 15th. Will my application still be read and accepted?
- Submitting your application after the January 15th deadline but before the space available deadline of June 1st, may or may not be successful depending on our application pool. We recommend that you check in with a staff advisor to see if applications are still being reviewed before submitting your application.
- What are my chances of being admitted?
- We cannot speak to the chance of being admitted to our program as we conduct holistic reviews and the pool of applications changes every year. Most successful applications have a GPA of at least 3.25, a GRE Quantitative score of 160, and a well-executed personal statement and personal history and diversity statement.
- When can I expect to hear back about my admission decision?
- Most admission decisions for the doctoral program are made by early to mid-April. Master of Engineering and Master of Science decisions are usually made by late April. All remaining decisions should be released by mid-May.
- How will I be contacted to know the outcome of my application?
- All applicants who have paid their application fee will be sent an email from the Dean of Graduate Studies stating the admission decisions. Admitted applicants will receive a link to submit a statement of intent to register (SIR) at the bottom of this email. Please note, there is no cost to submit a statement of intent to register.
- I've been waitlisted. When will I know if I've been admitted? Is there anything I can do in the meantime to increase my chances of admission?
- If you have been waitlisted, you should receive a decision on or before April 15th. Unfortunately, there is no additional action that can be taken to improve your chances of being admitted off of the waitlist.
- I applied as a doctoral student, but I've been admitted as a Master's student. Can I still transition to the doctoral degree once I've enrolled?
- More information coming soon!
Check out the below links for more information regarding applying:
- Preparing to Apply
- Application Requirements
- Learn more about our program by reading the GBSE overview.