Application Requirements

Everything You Need to Apply

uc davis materials science engineering graduate application requirements
Research in Roopali Kukreja's laboratory. Photo: Reeta Asmai/UC Davis.

The application period for each academic year opens in September of the preceding year. Applications need to be submitted by January 15th and application materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.) need to be received by February 1st to guarantee your application is reviewed. Applications are submitted via the Graduate Studies online application. Application fees are $120 for domestic students and $140 for international students. Waivers will only be granted to students who participate in a recognized graduate preparation program or qualify for the College of Engineering's Equity Program. To ensure equity across all applications, we cannot accept any 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 is still 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 GPA (grade point average) required for admission to UC 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. Most successful applicants to our program have a 3.25 GPA or better from the last institution they attended. When submitting the application, you will be asked to digitally upload copies of your transcripts for review. You will also be given the opportunity to submit your transcripts after you have submitted your application. Please remember to upload both sides of the transcript, even if it’s blank. 

2. Standardized Testing (TOEFL, IELTS)


The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (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.  

We require a minimum score of 100 on the TOEFL and a 7.5 on the IELTS. Please note that this minimum requirement differs from the Office of Graduate Studies policy.  

We recommend that applicants have a TOEFL speaking subset score of at least 26 in order to avoid additional English proficiency testing once you arrive on campus. Students who do not meet the English as a Second Language (ESL) requirements as outlined by Graduate Council will be required to take two English language courses before advancing to candidacy.

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 of 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 to come from letter of recommendation systems such as Interfolio. We suggest that you select letter writers who will not only speak to your ability to perform in the classroom, but also showcase your research abilities. Please note, all letters of recommendation must be in English.

4. Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose is an important aspect of the application because it is your opportunity 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. Be sure to proofread. 

5. Personal History and Diversity Statement

This statement should complement, 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 statement of purpose, the personal history and diversity statement is limited to 4000 characters, including spaces. Directions are available year-round on the Graduate Studies website.  

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 because if you are admitted, you may be reviewed for university fellowships, such as the prestigious Dean’s Distinguished Graduate Fellowship. You may also 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 (PEGS 21) fellowship. We highly recommend that you apply for both fellowships if you receive the call.