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Admission Review Process

Admissions Committee

As specified by the Graduate Council, each graduate program has an admissions committee composed of at least three faculty members. The committee reviews applications and makes recommendations regarding admission.

The Graduate Council establishes the criteria for admission to graduate standing. Graduate programs may impose additional standards related to GRE scores, letters of recommendation, or other criteria. The admissions committee should review the application file and evaluate the applicant’s qualifications based on the Graduate Council’s minimum standards and the graduate program’s admission standards. However, all applications must be reviewed holistically, taking into account the entire record.

Admission decisions are based on faculty judgment of whether the record demonstrates a high likelihood that the applicant will succeed in the specific program at UC Davis.

The admissions committee can recommend admission, denial of admission or wait list. If the committee desires to make an exception to the Graduate Council’s minimum standards, the graduate admissions adviser must justify this recommendation for admission. The Dean of Graduate Studies will make the final decision.

Application Evaluation

The graduate admissions committee will determine if the applicant meets minimum admission requirements by using evaluation criteria approved by the Graduate Council. In addition, this committee will evaluate whether the applicant meets the admission criteria for the program, and will evaluate the application relative to the normal standards of the program as well as the other applicants in the pool. Recommendations to admit or deny must be based on a holistic evaluation of the application by the faculty and reflect faculty judgment as to whether the applicant is likely to succeed in achieving his/her degree objective. In addition, the program is expected to take into account the available resources for financial support and the availability of faculty to mentor the student in his/her own area of specialty within the program.

The graduate program submits the admission decision recommendations to Graduate Studies. The Dean of Graduate Studies has the final authority to decide admission or denial of an applicant. Graduate Studies will notify the applicant and the program of the final decision.

If an applicant does not meet minimum campus standards and the graduate admissions committee recommends admission, the graduate admissions chair or program chair must submit written justification for an exception to the minimum standards. The Associate Dean for Graduate Students will review these applications carefully and make a determination.

If a graduate program is not certain that an applicant is adequately prepared for graduate study but would like to give them the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to succeed at the graduate level, the program may recommend the applicant be admitted to “Coursework Only” status. Students may be in “Coursework Only” status for a maximum of three quarters. CWO students are not eligible for financial aid or fellowships and can only be employed in a student title for one quarter.  When the graduate program believes the student has adequately demonstrated their ability, the student will be allowed to update their degree objective using a Petition to Change Graduate Major, Degree Objective, or for Double Graduate Major.

Application Status

Graduate Studies provides applicants with access to an online system where they can check the status of their application materials at any time. An email with a link to this system is sent to the applicant approximately one week after their application has been submitted, in order to allow programs time to match materials to the application. However, programs may also choose to follow up with applicants to notify them of materials that are missing from their application.

If an applicant who has paid the application fee does not complete their application, the Admission Memorandum should be marked “Incomplete” due to missing items. The memorandum should also indicate which items are missing and the date(s) that that applicant was notified about the missing items. The application may then be forwarded to Graduate Studies with a recommendation to deny on the basis of missing items.

If an applicant has not paid the application fee, no action will be taken on their application record. An application may be canceled due to non-payment of the application fee if the applicant has been given a deadline to submit their application fee and has not met that deadline.

Notification of Admission

Graduate programs should make every effort to admit clearly desirable applicants, or reject those who are clearly unacceptable, as quickly as possible after the application package has been completed. However, all completed applications that are received prior to the program deadline must be given full consideration. Some graduate programs prefer to consider all applications as a group. In such cases, the graduate program should inform applicants of the procedure and provide an estimated date for admission decisions.

If faculty members are reviewing applications for an extended period, the applicants should be kept aware of their application status.  The Dean of Graduate Studies is responsible for notifying applicants of their admission or denial. The applicant must not be given information regarding acceptance or denial prior to formal notification by Graduate Studies. Although an applicant can be advised that s/he has been recommended for admission, Graduate Studies strongly encourages graduate programs to wait until the formal admission notification has been sent. Information regarding application status or admission decisions should not be shared with anyone except the applicant.

Graduate programs are urged to make final recommendations for admission of international applicants before May 1. This will avoid time and travel difficulties for students, particularly those who live overseas.

Statement of Intent to Register

When applicants receive an offer of admission from the Dean of Graduate Studies, they may complete their Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) by clicking a link at the bottom of their online admission letter. Programs can view the SIR status of applicants through the online review database GARD.

Process to Appeal a Denial of Admission

If an applicant appeals an admission decision and identifies that the denial of admission has resulted during the subjective review at the department/group level, then the appeal will be referred to the appropriate program graduate admission adviser for review.

If an applicant identifies that denial of admission occurred at the Graduate Studies level and/or has resulted from inconsistent procedures or bias in the admission process, the appeal will be reviewed by the Administrative Committee of the Graduate Council, through the Dean of Graduate Studies. A formal appeal should be addressed to the chair of the Graduate Council, who is also the chair of the Administrative Committee, and the Dean of Graduate Studies in a letter that provides a detailed discussion of the basis for the appeal. The Administrative Committee makes the final decision on admissions issues and advises the Dean of Graduate Studies. The Dean will take the recommended action and inform the applicant, as well as the graduate program, of the Administrative Committee’s decision.