Preparing to Apply

Learn About Our Application Process

Applying to any graduate program requires adequate planning and preparation to ensure that your application is successful. Our timeline for applying includes the recommended timing and steps to take when planning your application. Since many of our applicants and current students come from non-materials science and engineering backgrounds, we have also outlined recommended coursework to be completed prior to applying to our program.

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Applying Without a Materials Science and Engineering Background 

Depending on the degree track, students without a materials science and engineering background are welcome to apply to our program. Reviewers will be looking for satisfactory completion of coursework in the following subjects:


UC Davis Equivalent Courses

Single variable calculus

MAT 021A, MAT 021B

Multi variable calculus

MAT 021C, MAT 021D

Linear algebra

MAT 022A

Differential equations

MAT 022B

Classical mechanics

PHY 009A, PHY 009B


PHY 009C

Quantum mechanics and condensed matter physics

PHY 009D

General chemistry

CHE 002A


CHE 002B

Kinetics and electrochemistry

CHE 002C

Applicants who have completed at least a portion of the following coursework would be especially well-suited for a graduate degree in our program:


UC Davis Equivalent Courses

Properties of engineering materials

ENG 045

Thermodynamics of materials

EMS 160

Structure and characterization of materials

EMS 162

Kinetics of materials

EMS 164

Functional properties of materials

EMS 172

Mechanical properties of materials

EMS 174

Applicants who have completed the equivalent of UC Davis's ENG 45 and/or upper-division materials science and engineering courses are especially well-suited for a graduate degree in our program.

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.  

  • Begin filling out the application online.                                  

  • Upload transcripts to system. 

  • Periodically check your 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.