International Applicants

The University of California, Davis, welcomes applications from students with strong academic credentials. Students with U.S. bachelor's degrees or equivalent degrees from institutions of recognized standing in other countries may apply for admission to Graduate Studies. Assessment of a foreign degree is based on the characteristics of the national system of education, the type of institution attended, and the level of studies completed.

All international applicants must complete the same application requirements as U.S. applicants. The information below is intended to provide additional guidance on specific topics to our international applicants.

Expected Level of Study

Visit our Expected Level of Study page to see the minimum level of study expected of international applicants prior to graduate enrollment at UC Davis. Successful applicants generally rank high in their graduating classes and have excellent test scores. Not all well-qualified applicants may be offered admission due to the limited number of spaces available in highly competitive programs. Official offers of admission are made only by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

View International Student Expected Level of Study

Applying for Admission

Application for admission to graduate study at UC Davis includes a completed online Application for Admission for International Students, a $155 application fee, transcripts of all college work, a Statement of Purpose, and a Personal History and Diversity Statement. Some programs have additional requirements such as Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, examples of written work, or résumé. Some programs have earlier deadlines than that of Graduate Studies. In these cases, your application must be received no later than the date specified by the program concerned. Consult the complete listing of all graduate degree programs offered at UC Davis for information about specific deadlines and requirements.

It is your responsibility to ensure your application meets the application deadline.  

International Academic Records

UC Davis graduate programs are no longer accepting paper transcripts as a part of the application process. Instead, all applicants must upload PDF versions of their transcripts or academic records directly to our system. For details about that process and what documents are required for applicants who have attended international colleges and universities, visit our Submitting Your Transcripts and Academic Records page.

If you are selected for admission to a graduate program at UC Davis, you will be required to submit official paper academic records to Graduate Studies. Official records are defined as original documents issued by the institution which bear the actual signature of the registrar and the seal of the issuing institution and, if your original documents are not in English, accompanied by certified English translations. You will receive additional instructions for providing these documents if you are selected for admission.

English Language Requirement

Applicants must submit official TOEFL or IELTS examination scores unless they have earned or will be earning a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree from either:  

  • A regionally accredited U.S. college or university where English is the sole language of instruction, or 
  • A foreign college or university which provides instruction solely in English. UC Davis Graduate Studies will only approve waivers for foreign colleges and universities which list English as the sole language of instruction in the IAU World Higher Education Database (WHED). If English is not the sole language of instruction listed (or if no language is listed at all), or if the institution does not appear on the WHED website, the waiver will not be approved. No other documentation (e.g. letters, language certificates, school websites) will be reviewed or accepted.

UC Davis does not offer conditional admission for applicants who have not earned a passing TOEFL/IELTS score. The score report is required before application processing can be completed. Contact us if you have questions.

View English Language Testing Requirements

Student Visas

To apply for a visa, take your passport and Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 or DS-2019, usually issued by UC Davis Services for International Students and Scholars after you are admitted by Graduate Studies), plus proof of adequate financial resources for your studies and living expenses to a U.S. Consulate or Embassy. The types of visas available to you are the F-1 student visa and the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa.

The F-1 student visa is ordinarily given to individuals qualified to pursue a full course of study at an academic institution which is authorized to admit international students. The J-1 visa is sometimes given to students who are supported substantially by funding from any source other than personal or family funds, for example the U.S. Government, the students home government or an international organization. UC Davis Services for International Student and Scholars (SISS) can advise you on the appropriate visa for you.

Graduate students in F-1 or J-1 status must carry a minimum of 12 units or the equivalent of a full course of study as certified by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Non-immigrant students are not permitted to work outside the University without work authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. They are only allowed to work within the University on a part-time basis.

Before a U.S. Consulate will grant a visa, you must prove that you will have sufficient financial resources to meet all your expenses while studying in the United States. You must show documented evidence of the source of your funds and guarantee that you will receive them while at UC Davis. Unless you show written evidence of having resources for your entire degree program, you will not be granted a student visa.

International Student Services

The office of UC Davis Services for international Students and Scholars (SISS) assists international students in their pre-arrival preparation and issues the I-20 or DS 2019 document needed towards obtaining your student visa. They also provide immigration advice, financial information, general advising and counseling, and host a variety of cross-cultural activities. If admitted to graduate studies at UC Davis, please go to the SISS website and access the information for newly admitted students.

For more information useful for our international students, consult the Internship and Career Center's International Resources.

  • Financial Facts

  • International students are eligible for certain fellowships, scholarships, or grants during their first year at UC Davis. There is no waiver of nonresident tuition or fees. However, graduate programs may offer merit-based Nonresident Tuition Fellowships to international students. Graduate programs may offer academic research or teaching appointments to graduate students their first year; however, there is no certainty that such appointments will be available in subsequent years. Unless you receive a definite offer of appointment or support in writing from the University, you must plan to pay your own expenses for the entire length of your degree program. Students who arrive in Davis without adequate financial resources may be unable to complete their degree programs.

    International students who receive a Nonresident Tuition Fellowship should read carefully the new policy on reduction of nonresident tuition for doctoral graduate students who have advanced to candidacy.

    Teaching and Research Assistantships
    To apply for appointment as a teaching or research assistant, contact the department in which you wish to study or work at the same time you apply for admission to UC Davis. An application for an assistantship is separate and in addition to the application for admission. Earnings from assistantship appointments are subject to United States and California income taxes. Students appointed to assistantships should be aware that their first paychecks would be received five weeks after the beginning of the quarter. Therefore, plans should be made to pay initial expenses, including nonresident tuition, from your own resources.

    Living Expenses

    Graduate Student expenses are detailed at the Financial Aid site. Travel expenses to and from the University are NOT included in these costs. It is critically important that you obtain an adequate, reliable, continuing source of funding before you come to the U.S. to study.

    Total expenses typically increase 5%-10% per year and are subject to change without notice.

    Every student is responsible for having sufficient funds for initial expenses. You will need the amount of your tuition and fees, plus the initial down payment for housing (landlords often ask for the first and last month's rent plus a security deposit), books, etc. Students should have with them at least $5,000 in traveler’s checks (with $500 in small denominations) rather than in a bank draft. Davis banks will hold your bank draft for up to two weeks before the money is released for your use. An alternative, and cheaper, method is to use an automated teller machine (ATM), but students should check compatibility and maximum daily allowances before relying solely on this method of retrieving funds.

  • Health Insurance

  • Health insurance is a mandatory UC Davis enrollment requirement, and upon registration, students are automatically enrolled into the University of California Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP).

    UC SHIP is a major medical insurance plan administered by Student Health and Counseling Services. Primary care services at Student Health and Counseling Services complement the healthcare resources of UC SHIP for UC SHIP enrollees. UC SHIP also includes dental coverage provided by Delta Dental.

    You may opt out of UC SHIP if you have comparable health insurance coverage. You may complete or download the waiver application online. Please note that you must file a waiver application each year.

    Student Health and Counseling Services' plans are supported by student fees to provide low student rates for primary healthcare services independent of UC SHIP. All registered students may use the healthcare services whether or not they waive UC SHIP enrollment.

  • Housing

  • The UC Davis Student Housing Office has information about on-campus housing. The Community Housing Listing can assist you in locating off-campus housing.

    Community housing cannot be reserved in advance of your arrival. You are advised to arrive in Davis two to four weeks before the quarter begins in order to find off-campus housing. Housing on campus is limited. If you wish to apply for on-campus housing, request an application from the UC Davis Student Housing Office, and be certain to observe the deadline dates.


More International Applicant Questions

  • When do I submit the proof of financial support needed to obtain a student visa?
  • Proof of financial support is not required until after you have been offered admission to a UC Davis graduate program. If you are admitted, you will be provided with additional instructions for obtaining your student visa, including where to send your financial documents. Do not send financial documents to the graduate program or the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • When I fill out my online application, should I convert my grades to a U.S. 4.0 or A-F grading scale?
  • No - you should not attempt to convert your grades to a U.S. grading scale. The "Academic History" section of the online application includes fields where you can enter information about the grading scale used by your university. Be certain to complete that section thoroughly, but do not convert your grades to a U.S. scale.
  • Does UC Davis have any special partnerships with universities or fellowship agencies in different countries/regions?
  • UC Davis Graduate Studies currently has partnerships and fellowship agreements available to applicants from Chile, China, Mexico, Taiwan, and Vietnam. For more information about these programs, visit the International Fellowships & Partnerships page on our website.
  • Does UC Davis offer conditional admission to any graduate programs on the basis of future English language ability? Can I satisfy the English requirement after I've been offered admission?
  • No. Applicants who are required to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo (Fall 2023) must provide official scores before they can be considered for admission.