GBSE Application Requirements

Application Requirements

The application period for each academic year opens in September of the preceding year, and applications are due by April 1st for general admission, though we highly recommend applications be submitted by the January 15th priority admission deadline for fullest funding consideration. Application materials (ex. GRE scores, letters of recommendation) must be received by February 1st to guarantee full consideration. While we accept applications until June 1st, this is on a space available basis only, and your application is not guaranteed to be reviewed if submitted after the April 1st general admission deadline. Applications are submitted via the Graduate Studies online application. Application fees are $120 for domestic students and $140 for international students. Waivers may be granted to students who participate in a recognized graduate preparation program or who qualify for the College of Engineering's Equity Program. More information about application fee waivers can be found on the FAQs webpage. 

To ensure equity across applications, we cannot accept applications or additional application materials outside of the application system. 

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The GRE is no longer required. Please note, English language testing will still be required if English was not the sole language of instruction at your undergraduate institution. Further information regarding English language testing may be found below.
There are five main components of the application:
  • 1. GPA and Transcripts
  • The minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) required for admission to the University of California, Davis is a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from the undergraduate degree granting institution. If you have a GPA from a foreign university or a university that does not have a 4.0 scale, your GPA will be converted to the 4.0 scale by graduate program staff. We find that the most successful applicants to our program have a 3.25 or better from the last institution they attended. After submitting the application, you will be asked to digitally upload copies of your transcripts for review. Please remember to upload both sides of the transcript, even if it’s blank!
  • 2. Standardized Testing (GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, etc.)
  • GRE Testing:
    The GRE is no longer required and will not be reviewed or included in admissions decision if included in your application.

    English Language Testing:
    The TOEFL or IETLS exams are required of all international students, except those who have obtained a bachelor’s degree from a university where English was the sole language of instruction. Additionally, we recommend that applicants have a TOEFL Speaking Subset score of at least 26 in order to avoid additional English proficiency testing once you have arrived on campus. Students who do not meet the English as a second language requirements 
    as outlined by Graduate Council will be required to take two English language courses in their first year.

    At a Glance

    UC Davis accepts the below English Language tests and requires the following minimum scores.  

    Minimum Score: 80 
    Institution Code: 4834
    No department code.

    Minimum Score: 7.0 on a 9-point scale

    Duolingo English Test (Fall 2024)
    Minimum Score: 115*

    Please be aware that these scores are the minimum required by the university for admission, but each program may have different requirements that could require higher scores than the university minimums. View more details about each test below.

    More detailed information about English Language testing requirements can be found on the Graduate Studies English Language Examinations webpage.

  • 3. Letters of Recommendation
  • Applicants are required to obtain three letters of recommendation. Once you have started an application, you will be asked to provide the names and contact information (including email) for your letter of recommendation writers. The system will then send an automated email to the recommender prompting them to submit their letter. Unfortunately, due to the additional questions required of recommenders, we do not allow letters of recommendation to come from letter of recommendation systems, such as Interfolio. We recommend that you select letter writers that can speak to not only your ability to perform in the classroom, but that also showcase your research abilities, if applicable. Please note, letters of recommendation must be written in English.

  • 4. Statement of Purpose
  • The statement of purpose is an important aspect of the application for you to convey to us your research aims, future goals, and overall fit for our program. The directions for the statement of purpose are available year-round on the Graduate Studies website. It’s important to note that this section is limited to 4000 characters, including spaces. Our #1 tip for a successful statement of purpose – be sure to proofread!

  • 5. Personal History and Diversity Statement
  • This statement should complement and not duplicate what you have written in the statement of purpose. It serves as your opportunity to tell us more about you as an individual and how you will contribute to the overall diversity of our program. Like the personal statement, the essay directions available year-round and is limited to 4000 characters, including spaces.

Fellowship Application

As part of your admission application, you will also complete an incoming student fellowship application. This is an important aspect of your application. If you are admitted, you may be reviewed for university fellowships, such as the prestigious Dean’s Distinguished Graduate Fellowship. Additionally, you may receive a separate application from our College of Engineering to apply for our Towards Outstanding Postgraduate Success (TOPS) fellowship or our Preparing Engineering Graduate Students for the 21st Century (PEGS21) fellowship. We highly recommend that you apply for both fellowships if you receive the call.

Applying Without a Bachelor's degree in engineering 

Students without a background in engineering are welcome to apply to our program, but there are additional requirements that must be met in the form or prerequisite courses and deficiency courses. These additional requirements are in place to ensure that you are well prepared for lasting success in the program. The courses provide you with foundational knowledge that will serve you in the program and beyond. The prerequisites will need to be completed before applying and deficiencies can be completed after admission. Please see the Additional Requirements (PDF) for more information. 

  • Prerequisites
  • Prerequisites are courses that must be completed in order to apply. Reviewers will be looking for satisfactory completion of a full year of physics, chemistry and engineering-level math, including linear algebra and differential equations, having passed each with a letter grade. The equivalent UC Davis courses are:
    1. MAT 21A-D.
    2. MAT 22A-B.
    3. PHY 9A-D.
    4. CHE 2A-C.
  • Deficiencies
  • Deficiencies are courses that must be passed before graduation, but do not need to have been passed in order to apply. Students who do not have an undergraduate degree in engineering must pass with a letter grade any missing UC Davis equivalent engineering core specified by Graduate Advisor. In addition, students must take upper division engineering courses during their graduate program to meet the following requirement.

    1. Students must take the four (4) courses listed below:
    - Statics: ENG 35
    - Circuits: ENG 17 or ENG 100
    - Fluid Mechanics: ENG 103
    - Thermodynamics: ENG 105

    2. In addition, students must take three (3) courses from the courses listed below:
    - Circuits: ENG100
    - Dynamics: ENG102
    - Mechanics of Materials: ENG104
    - Heat Transfer: EBS125
    - Kinetics and Mass Transfer: EBS127
    - Modeling of Biological Systems: EBS130
    - Bioinstrumentation and Control: EBS165

For more information or assistance, see our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact us at