Newly Admitted Graduate Students

Welcome Aggies!

Welcome - the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) is excited for you to join the Biological Systems Engineering graduate program (GBSE)! This page is designed to ensure our incoming students are aware of their next steps in the orientation process. Please read through all of the information on this page.

To Do Before Arriving

  • Office of Graduate Studies Checklist
  • Check the Graduate Studies Admitted Students page for important to-do items. Some of these items include creating your campus computing and email account, submitting your official transcripts, submitting your Statement of Legal Residence (due July 1, 2024), and the mandatory Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Prevention Workshop (you will get an email invitation to complete this training towards the end of the summer). 
  • Aggie 201 Graduate Student Orientation - required
  • The campus-wide graduate student orientation is called "Aggie 201" and it is designed to walk you through helpful information and resources. Aggie 201 is mandatory for all GBSE students. 

    More information on how to access Aggie 201 can be found here.
  • International Graduate Students
  • New international graduate students should check the Pre-Arrival Checklist on the SISS (Services for International Students and Scholars) website. Completing these items in a timely manner is very important. 

    Be sure to also check the Graduate English Language Requirements for new graduate students. Although an 80 TOEFL score is the minimum required for admission, additional English language testing may be required of admitted students with scores below 104. Students with TOEFL scores of 104 or below will be required to take an additional ESL examination once they start their graduate program here to determine their level of English ability and whether they would benefit from additional ESL coursework at UC Davis. If it is determined that you will be required to take additional ESL classes, these classes will improve your ability to succeed in your other coursework. Please register for these classes early as they fill up quickly.
    You will be emailed with any action needed, such as classes to register for or tests to take.

    Advice: Visit the SISS Resources website for helpful steps to get your Social Security Number (very important and timely), set up a bank account (here are some good banks and credit cards for international students), and more. Remember that US SIM cards may not be compatible with international cell phones, so make a plan to buy a phone, phone plan, prepaid phone, or SIM card here. Keep records of your admittance, employment (GSR or TA offer letters), and housing lease for things like entry into the US and getting your bank account set up.
  • Register for the Teaching Assistant Orientation
  • All new students, even if you will not be a TA in Fall Quarter, must participate in the campus-wide TA Orientation. There is an online and an in-person component. Biological and Agricultural Engineering students will attend the TA Orientation on Tuesday, September 24, 2024. Registration for the TA Orientation will open in May 2024, so please register at the TA Orientation website by the early September deadline.
  • Course Registration
  • You must be enrolled in at least 12 units every quarter for employment and fellowship eligibility. Please plan to register for courses by September 1st so that your fee remission can be processed. Note: You will need at least one letter-graded course (as opposed to graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) in the Fall to maintain good academic standing.

    Please register for at least the following courses on Schedule Builder:

    >EBS 200, 2 units – Research Methods in Biological Systems Engineering, CRN 28613
    >EBS 290, 1 unit – Seminar, CRN 28620
    >EBS 290C, 1 unit – Register for the section taught by your major professor. CRNs sent by email.
    >EBS 299, 1-8 units – Register for the section taught by your major professor. CRNs sent by email.
    >Any other courses recommended by your major professor. Please reach out to them regarding suggested Fall Quarter classes.

    If you are also registering for any undergraduate courses (course numbers 100-199), please note the following:
    >Waiting lists for classes that are full will open on August 21.
    >If the system is saying that you are missing pre-reqs, please do write a petition for exception, which will pop up when you attempt to register – this will save your spot in line.
    >Faculty and staff will not be able to start approving those petitions until after August 22, so please be patient.
  • All domestic students are expected to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. Having a FAFSA on file is a requirement for many federal loans, plus all domestic graduate students must file a FAFSA to receive internal fellowships or Graduate Program Fellowships (which includes supplemental funding if your TA position is under 50%) and work-study opportunities. If you have not already done so for the following year, please visit to complete yours.
  • Housing!
  • You are encouraged to start the search for housing as soon as possible. Most leases in Davis are for the full academic year, so be sure to do your research before signing a lease. Here are a few housing resources/websites to help you get started. 

    • UC Davis Graduate and Professional Student Housing
    • Community Housing Listing, operated by Associated Students of UCD. This site is especially helpful if you are interested in renting a room in a larger house.
    • UC Davis Graduate Studies Housing Options: Lots of links and helpful information here!
    • UC Davis Graduate/Professional Housing Facebook Group
    • UC Davis Housing/sublets/Rentals Facebook group
    • UC Davis Housing Facebook group
    • Davis Ecology-Social listserv. This email listserv is open to all UC Davis community members and is an effective way to find housing and even furniture and other items for sale. See full instructions for joining and participating in the listserv.
    • SISS Housing Resources (for international students)
    • The California Aggie: The campus student-run newspaper often carries classifieds and ads for housing.
    • Davis Enterprise annual Housing Day insert (not affiliated with UC Davis): Features individual listings and contact information for local rental management companies
    • (not affiliated with UC Davis). Some apartments, and room leases will be listed here.
    • (not affiliated with UC Davis). Like craigslist, has individual postings
    • (not affiliated with UC Davis). Includes reviews of apartments near Davis.
    • If you would like to send a housing inquiry or request to other GBSE Grad Students, email BAE Advising at and we can connect you with other students.

    Note: Always be cautious of scams or misleading information when searching for housing online.

  • Establishing California Residency
  • If you are a domestic, non-California Resident, you will want to begin establishing California Residency as soon as you arrive in the state. You will need a full year to establish California residence, and there are important deadlines to meet by the end of your first quarter here.

    Full residence policy: The UCOP (UC Office of the President) links include the full 32-page policy for residency. It is your responsibility to understand this policy in full. I encourage you to especially read pages 9-10 which explain ways to establish residency even further, Importantly, they also reference a deadline to gather these documents by the end of your first quarter here.

    Residency requirements: The basic requirements are: physical presence (366 days – with limited time allowed away from California), intent to remain in California (including severing ties with your previous state), financial independence, and status as a citizen or permanent resident of the US. Please read the additional important details at the link above, including how these are defined and when they are due. More information is also available at Office of the University Registrar California Residence for Purposes of Tuition.

    How to establish residency: Read this carefully now, as there are notes in here about deadlines. For example, you must get a Driver’s License (or ID card for non-drivers) by the 10th day of arrival, and register your car by the 20th day of arrival. Be sure to save your lease agreement as soon as you secure a place to live and any other documentation that shows when you arrived in California (for example, receipts for purchases made in the state as soon as you arrive). You should also document your physical presence in California during holidays and school breaks. Ask the residence deputies before leaving California for educational purposes, which sometimes requires special approval.

    Ten things graduate students should know about residency.

    In the summer before your second year you will need to submit a Petition for Classification to Resident Status. This is very important, as the GBSE Graduate program does not pay non-resident tuition for domestic non-California residents, meaning you would then be responsible for $5,034 in non-resident tuition each quarter until you establish residency.

    Legally, the only people who are allowed to answer residency questions are the Residency Deputies. If you have any questions or concerns about residency, please contact

  • Photo Roster
  • The department has a photo roster of grad students so that folks can learn names and faces. Please send a photo of yourself to BAE Advising at by August 31, 2024. The guidelines for a photo are similar to a passport or license photo: with your face filling out most of the frame, against a relatively neutral background, and high resolution.
  • BAE Safety Training
  • Safety training is coordinated with and initiated by your Major Professor. Your major professor will contact the BAE Safety Coordinators to initiate the process. This helps ensure you are given the necessary access to complete the appropriate safety trainings.

    If you do not have a Major Professor or your Major Professor is in another department, please contact the BAE Safety Coordinators at for more information.

Start-of-the-Year Events

  • Graduate Studies Resource Fair - highly recommended
  • In addition to online orientation, other graduate student in-person events occur near the start of the quarter like the Graduate Student Resource Fair, International Graduate Student Orientation (IGSO), and Holistic U, which are all optional but highly recommended.

    Graduate Student Resource Fair
    Date: TBD
    Time: TBD
    Location: North Lawn of the Graduate Center at Walker Hall, 300 Shields Avenue Davis, CA 95616

    See the Graduate Student Resource Fair page for more information. 

    International Graduate Student Orientation (IGSO)
    Date: TBD
    Time: various - see IGSO website for more information
    Location: various - see IGSO website for more information

    See the International Graduate Student Orientation page for more information. 

    Holistic U
    Date: TBD
    Time: TBD
    Location: TBD

    See the Holistic U page for more information. 
  • GBSE Graduate Program Orientation - required
  • This required graduate program orientation will take place on Monday, September 25, 2024, in Bainer Hall, room 2045.

    >9:00 am: Welcome to Biological Systems Engineering!

    >9:30 am: Overview of degree requirements

    >10:15 am: UC Davis 101

    >11:00 am: Safety Overview

    >11:30 am: Union Overview                             

    >12:00 pm: Lunch with BAE GSA & Graduate Advisors

    >1:30 pm: Bainer Hall/Lab Tours

    >~2:00 pm: Program Adjourns

  • TA Orientation - required
  • All new students, even if you will not be a TA in Fall Quarter, must participate in the campus-wide TA Orientation. There is an online and an in-person component.

    Date: Tuesday, September 24, 2024
    Time: TBD
    Location: TBD

Your First Few Weeks Here

  • 1. BAE Safety Training
  • Safety training is coordinated with and initiated by your Major Professor. Your major professor will contact the BAE Safety Coordinators at to initiate the process. This helps ensure you are given the necessary access to complete the appropriate safety trainings.

    If you do not have a Major Professor or your Major Professor is in another department, please contact the BAE Safety Coordinators at for more information.
  • 2. Keys and Building Access
  • Keys and Building Access are coordinated with your Major Professor. Please check wiht your major professor about getting keys before requesting them. More information can be found at

    If you do not have a Major Professor, please contact BAE Advising at for information about getting keys and building access.
  • 3. Desk Assignments
  • More information coming soon!

Summary of Important Dates

Bold = required

Learning About the Graduate Program

  • Graduate Handbook and Degree Requirements
  • If you haven’t already, save the website for all things GBSE Graduate Program at UC Davis: Here you can find information on, degree requirements, academic milestonesgraduate advisors and committeesgraduate coursesfinancial support and employment, resources for success, and more.

    We will review much of this information at the Graduate Program Orientation in September. Many of your questions can be answered on these webpages, although you’re always welcome to ask the Graduate Program Coordinator, your Faculty Mentor, or the Graduate Chair and Advisors any questions. We know there’s a lot of information and it can be confusing, so we’re here to help!

  • GBSE New Student Guide
  • General information about the department, including facilities, resources, and staff contacts, can be accessed through the Onboarding Guide (this link may not be active until later in the Summer). You don’t need to know all this information right away, but this guide can be used as a helpful reference when these questions come up.
  • Funding and Employment Information
  • Thoroughly read through the GBSE Funding a Degree webpage to learn about all the various different funding opportunities available to UC Davis students, including TA-ships, fellowships, employment, and financial aid.


For additional questions or assistance, please contact -- we are here to help you.