Applying to UC Davis

Fernanda Munoz
Essay editor
Last updated,
June 7, 2023

UC Davis is one of the top public research universities in the United States, located in the heart of California's Central Valley. With a focus on academic excellence, innovation, and service to society, UC Davis has established itself as a leader in a wide range of fields, from agriculture and environmental science to engineering, medicine, and the humanities.

One of UC Davis's core values is its commitment to diversity and inclusion. With a student body that is over 30% underrepresented minorities and a faculty that is dedicated to promoting equity and social justice, UC Davis strives to create a welcoming and supportive environment for all students, regardless of their background or identity.

Another key aspect of UC Davis's reputation is its focus on sustainability and environmental stewardship. From its world-renowned Department of Environmental Science and Policy to its innovative research in sustainable agriculture and energy, UC Davis is committed to finding solutions to some of the most pressing environmental challenges facing our planet today.

In terms of specific programs, UC Davis is perhaps best known for its College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, which is consistently ranked as one of the top programs of its kind in the world. With a focus on sustainable food and agriculture, the college offers a wide range of majors and programs, from animal science and plant biology to food science and viticulture.

UC Davis is also home to several other highly regarded programs, including its College of Engineering, its School of Medicine, and its Department of Computer Science. The College of Engineering is particularly well-known for its research in areas such as robotics, materials science, and biomedical engineering, while the School of Medicine is recognized for its innovative approach to medical education and its commitment to improving health outcomes for underserved communities.

The UC Davis Application Process

There are two main application options: the Common Application and the UC Application. The Common Application is a standardized application used by many colleges and universities across the country, while the UC Application is specific to the University of California system, which includes UC Davis.

Both applications require similar information, such as personal and academic information, test scores, and essays. However, the UC Application also requires additional information, such as your coursework and grades, and it has a different format than the Common Application. You can choose to apply to UC Davis using either application, but it's important to carefully review the requirements and deadlines for each option before making your decision.

Components of the UC Davis Application

Regardless of which application option you choose, there are several components that are required as part of the UC Davis application process. These include:


Transcripts are a crucial component of the application process, as they provide a comprehensive record of your academic performance. You will need to submit transcripts from all high schools and colleges you have attended, including any dual-enrollment or summer courses. It's important to request these transcripts well in advance of the application deadline, as it can take several weeks for them to be processed and sent to UC Davis.

UC Davis does not have a specific minimum GPA requirement, but the average admitted student has a GPA of around 4.0. When applying to UC Davis, it is recommended to take challenging courses in high school, particularly in math and science.


The essays are a critical component of the UC Davis application, as they provide insight into your personality, goals, and experiences. There are two essay prompts for the UC Application, and you must respond to both. The Common Application also has essay prompts, but you only need to respond to one. It's important to take the time to carefully craft your essays, as they can make a significant impact on your application.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are not required for the UC Davis application, but they can be a valuable addition to your application. If you choose to submit letters of recommendation, they should come from teachers, counselors, or other individuals who can speak to your academic or personal achievements. It's important to choose recommenders who know you well and can provide specific examples of your strengths and accomplishments.

Test Scores

UC Davis requires applicants to submit either SAT or ACT scores, as well as any SAT Subject Test scores.

The minimum test scores required for admission vary depending on the specific major or program, but generally, UC Davis looks for a combined SAT score of at least 1200 (or an ACT composite score of at least 24) and a minimum of two SAT Subject Test scores. However, it's important to review the admissions criteria for your intended major or program to determine the specific requirements.

UC Davis Admissions Criteria

UC Davis evaluates applicants based on a holistic review process, which means that they consider a variety of factors when making admissions decisions. These factors include academic performance, test scores, essays, extracurricular activities, and any special circumstances or challenges you have faced. It's important to review the UC Davis admissions criteria to understand how they evaluate applicants and what they are looking for in a successful candidate.

In addition to the general admissions criteria, some majors or programs at UC Davis may have additional requirements or prerequisites. For example, the College of Engineering requires applicants to complete specific math and science courses in high school, while the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences requires applicants to demonstrate a strong interest in the field. It's important to carefully review the admissions requirements for your intended major or program to ensure that you meet all of the necessary criteria.

Timeline for the UC Davis Application Process

The UC Davis application process has several important deadlines that you need to be aware of. The application deadline for fall admission is November 30th, and the application deadline for winter or spring admission is September 1st. However, it's important to note that some majors or programs may have earlier deadlines or additional requirements, so be sure to check with your intended program for specific details.

In addition to the application deadline, you will also need to submit your transcripts, test scores, and any other supporting materials by specific deadlines. It's important to stay organized and keep track of these deadlines to ensure that your application is complete and submitted on time.

Tips and Advice for Prospective Students

As you navigate the UC Davis application process, there are several tips and recommendations that can help you succeed. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Need Support to Get into UC Davis?

The UC Davis application process can be challenging, but it's also an exciting opportunity to showcase your achievements and potential. By carefully reviewing the requirements and deadlines, preparing your application materials, and taking advantage of support services, you can increase your chances of success and achieve your academic and career goals at UC Davis.

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Fernanda Munoz
Essay editor
Last updated,
June 7, 2023

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