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Frequently Asked Questions

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The Department of Materials Science & Engineering can not grant application fees waivers. Please see the College of Engineering Equity Program and Graduate Preparation Programs Eligible for Fee Waivers.

Application Requirements 


  • Is the GRE required?
  • No, the GRE is no longer required and will not be considered as apart of your application if submitted. 
  • Am I required to contact a faculty member before submitting my application? 
  • No, you are not required to contact a faculty member, but it can be helpful to research our program’s current faculty research interests to ensure that there are a few faculty members you would be willing to work with. It doesn’t hurt to reach out and ask what someone is working on. 
  • 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 there are a few projects you would be interested in working on. It’s never a bad idea to reach out to a faculty member to see what their current projects are, as their research interests are ever-changing.  


  • Where do I send my transcripts? 
  • Though your official transcripts are not required until after you are admitted to our program, you are required to upload unofficial or official copies of your transcripts to our application system. You will be given the opportunity to upload your transcripts both when submitting your application and after submission.

    If you choose to upload your transcripts after submission, the link will be sent to you in an automated email. The link to upload these transcripts will be sent to you in an automated email approximately 24 to 48 hours after you submit your application. Please upload these transcripts as soon as possible after you receive this message so we can review your application and respond quickly with an admissions decision. 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. 
  • How do I pay the application fee?  
  • The application fee is paid through our application system via credit card.
  • Are there application fee waivers? 
  • Yes, application fee waivers are available for applicants who have participated in a recognized graduate preparation program, such as McNair Scholars or UCLEADS. Once you select that you have participated in one of those programs, the application fee will automatically be waived. Waivers for the GRE may also be available from the university’s financial aid office. 
  • Can I include extra papers, letters of recommendation or a CV with my application? 
  • Unfortunately, we are not able to accept any application materials beyond what is required, in order to ensure equity across all applications. However, please be sure to list any publications or awards you have received in the corresponding section of application.  
  • 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 unable to consider any extra materials or evaluate the likelihood of admittance over email or phone.  
  • If miss the general deadline of January 15th, will my application still be reviewed? 
  • We offer a space-available deadline of June 1st, so if you submit your application after January 15th, it may or may not be successful depending on the application pool. We recommend checking with a staff advisor to see if applications are still being reviewed before submitting your application. 

International Students

  • Do I need to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score if I went to a school in the U.S.? 
  • Applicants who have earned, or will be earning, an undergraduate degree from a U.S. institution or an institution where English was the sole language of instruction do not need to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score.  

    If you earned, or will be earning, a master’s degree from a U.S. institution, but your undergraduate institution was not located in the U.S. or English was not the sole language of instruction, you will still be required to take the TOEFL or IELTS. 
  • Are there additional requirements to serve as a teaching assistant (TA) at UC Davis? 
  • Yes, you must have a TOEFL speaking subset score of 26 in order to serve as a TA with no additional testing. If you have a score of less than 26, you should plan to take a language proficiency exam once you arrive on campus. For information about the exam, visit International and Academic English
  • Will I need to take additional language proficiency courses once I arrive in Davis? 
  • If your TOEFL score is 104 or below or your IELTS score is a 7.0 or below, you will be required to enroll in an English language course (either UWP 225 or UWP 226) before taking your qualifying exam. You may be exempted if your TOEFL writing subset score was a 24 or higher and your TOEFL speaking subset score was 23 or higher. 
  • I’ve been admitted. How do I start the process of obtaining my IS-20/D-2019? 
  • If you have decided to attend, you should first submit your statement of intent to register (SIR) as “yes” through your official Graduate Studies admission letter. You should then follow the instructions on our Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) website. This office handles all immigration and immigration status-related issues, problems and questions that may arise during your time at UC Davis. They also offer a number of engagement programs to help international graduate students make connections with other students on campus. 
  • 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.

After Applying

  • What are my chances of being admitted? 
  • Since we review applications holistically and the application pool changes every year, we cannot speak to your chance of being admitted. However, most successful applicants 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-February. Admission decisions for the master’s programs are usually made by late February to mid-March. All remaining decisions should be made by mid-April. 
  • How will I be contacted about an admissions decision?
  • All applicants who have paid their application fee will be sent an email from the Dean of Graduate Studies stating the admission decision. Admitted applicants will receive a link to submit a statement of intent to register (SIR) at the bottom of this email. There is no cost to submit a statement of intent to register (SIR). 
  • 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 final 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 M.S. student. Can I still transition to the doctoral degree track once I’ve enrolled? 
  • Yes, the M.S. curriculum follows the same path as the doctoral curriculum for the first year. At the end of the first year, you should plan to take the preliminary exam if you have your major professor’s consent and a qualifying GPA of 3.25 or higher. If you pass the preliminary exam, you can complete the M.S. degree requirement and then move to the Ph.D. program, or move directly in to the Ph.D. program, depending on your major professor’s preference. There is no time-to-degree added for someone who transitions from the M.S. to the Ph.D. degree. 
  • My application was denied, but I would like to appeal my decision. How do I proceed? 
  • Appeals must be submitted within 30 days of the date of your email denial and should be submitted as a formal letter to our graduate program staff advisors. Per UC Davis Graduate Council policy, you can only appeal your admissions decision based on one of two criteria: 

    1. Bias in the admission process
    2. Due process not followed in the admission proceedings.

    Appeals based on academic qualifications or judgments will not be considered by the Graduate Affairs Committee. We also cannot accept additional application materials or extraneous information regarding the case. Only the original submitted application may be considered.