Preparing to Apply to GBSE

Applications for the Fall 2024 cycle will open in September. The application process is the same for all degree tracks, as are the application deadlines. In order to ensure that your application is reviewed, please apply by the General deadline noted below and for full funding consideration please apply by the Priority deadline noted below. Please submit all additional materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation, GRE scores) as soon as possible after application submission.

We also offer a space available deadline of June 1st for applicants who miss the general deadline. Applications are not guaranteed to be reviewed if submitted after the general deadline. Please contact before submitting an application to ensure that applications are still being reviewed.

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Important Application Deadlines

The Biological Systems Engineering graduate program application deadlines for admission are as follows:

  • Priority Deadline: January 15
    • Applications received by the Priority Deadline will receive full consideration for funding support, including departmental level funding and UC Davis internal fellowships. We typically fill all available positions from the pool of applications submitted by this deadline. Please note, the Priority deadline also serves as the Internal Fellowship deadline.
  • General Deadline: April 1
    • Applications received by the General Deadline will only be considered for departmental level funding. Department level funding is not guaranteed to be available after the Priority deadline. For full funding consideration, please apply by the Priority deadline.
  • Space Available Deadline: June 1
    The Space Available Deadline is provided for cases in which an opening becomes available after our normal review process is complete. Applicants who apply by the Space Available Deadline (but after the General Deadline) are not guaranteed to have their application reviewed by the graduate program. Potential applicants who miss the General Deadline should contact prospective faculty advisors to determine if they should submit an application.

Internal Fellowship Application
The Internal Fellowship Application is part of the online application for admission and must be completed as part of the application process. In the online application, when asked if you will be applying for fellowships, please answer “yes”. Internal fellowship applications are due by the Priority deadline. Learn more about the available internal fellowships you may be eligible for on the UC Davis Graduate Studies Internal Fellowships for Prospective Students webpage

Recruitment Weekend: The recruitment weekend will be in late February or early March. As part of the last step in the application process, a subset of applicants will be invited to join the Recruitment Weekend to visit the department, UC Davis campus, the City of Davis and the surrounding region. 

Application Timeline 

Below is our recommended, but not required, timeline for applying to our program. We strongly encourage all applicants to take standardized tests by October to ensure a timely submission of scores, as we are not able to make an admissions decision until all application materials have been received. We also highly recommend students begin reaching out to faculty they are interested in working with early in the process, October-November, to see if they are accepting students into their labs in the next year.  

  • Begin filling out the application online.
  • Begin reaching out to faculty mentors you are interested in working with to see if they are accepting new students into their labs. 
    • We are a direct admit program, so students are admitted directly to a faculty's lab and thus require faculty support at the time of admission. Students are encourage to discuss lab openings with faculty early on in and during the application process.
  • Upload transcripts to system. 
  • Periodically check application status via the online system to ensure that test scores and letters of recommendation have been received. 
  • File a FAFSA form (if applicable). 
  • Begin receiving notification of admissions decision.

You will be notified of an admissions decision as early as mid-January (if all applications materials have been received), but no later than mid-March. Waitlisted students will be notified of a decision on or before April 15th. 

Check out the below links for more information regarding applying:

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For more information or assistance, contact us at