Graduate Groups

The Graduate Group Concept

More than half of the UC Davis graduate programs are organized as interdisciplinary graduate groups, giving you freedom to explore your interests across disciplines, engage in various areas of research, and reach new heights of knowledge. Graduate groups combine the talents and skills of faculty and students from a broad range of research areas which allows you to contribute your expertise while learning from a network of scholars across campus.  Students have the unique opportunity to take courses, conduct research, and explore epistemologies and research modalities outside traditional department structures.  For this reason, graduate group students represent diverse backgrounds, skill sets, focuses, and techniques. 

Unlike departmentally based programs which house a core faculty from a single major, graduate groups include faculty from a variety of departments who affiliate with the group.  Faculty affiliates are responsible for teaching graduate group courses, serving as advisors and student committee members, and participating in group admissions and administration.  To identify if a program is departmentally based or a graduate group, click on a program on the graduate programs page and review the Program Type. 

Graduate Group Roles

Contact information for graduate group chairs, graduate advisors, and graduate coordinators is listed on each of the graduate program pages under the People section. Graduate groups may not be located in a single building or area on campus as the chairship rotates between affiliate faculty from various departments.

  • Graduate group chairs are responsible for administration and oversight of group operations and development. 
  • Graduate advisors serve as mentors and advisors to current students and applicants.  Some graduate advisors may be the primary contact for group admissions or for specific research areas.
  • Graduate coordinators serve as invaluable sources of information regarding admissions, degree requirements, graduate policies/forms, and student resources. Graduate Coordinators are usually the first point of contact when navigating graduate study. 

Student Support Options

Student in graduate groups are eligible for program funding, including fellowships, Teaching Assistantships (TAs), and Graduate Student Researcherships (GSRs).  Most often, TA and GSR positions are appointed by departments and programs affiliated with your graduate group.  A student's skills and academic background will help determine which programs are the best fit for employment.  For example, a student in the Cultural Studies Graduate Group may TA in History one quarter and in Chicanx Studies the next. For information about graduate group student support, contact the Graduate Coordinator, a graduate advisor, or the chair.