Special Circumstances

Coursework Only Status

Coursework Only (CWO) status may be recommended for an applicant whose academic record does not meet regular admission standards but who shows promise of succeeding in the program. CWO provides the student with an opportunity to demonstrate his/her ability to succeed in graduate level work before being admitted to degree-seeking status.  

Criteria for CWO status may include: low GRE scores; insufficient support in letters of recommendation; GPA is less than 3.0 in an undergraduate degree program, but there are other admissible aspects of the applicant’s file; inadequate preparation in the major; or poor GPA in specific courses.

Graduate admissions advisers may recommend that the Dean of Graduate Studies admit an applicant to CWO status. The dean may also recommend to the graduate program that an applicant be admitted to CWO status rather than to a degree-granting program. Students in CWO status normally have three quarters to demonstrate their capability of doing graduate work.

Wait List Status

Programs may recommend Wait List status for applicants who meet the minimum admission criteria for graduate study, but for whom the program does not wish to offer admission immediately due to uncertainty over the availability of financial support or a major professor.

Once an applicant’s status has been updated in Slate to “Wait List,” an electronic letter will be sent to notify the applicant. Graduate programs are encouraged to limit the number of applicants they add to Wait List status. All applicants under Wait List status must be admitted or denied by the program no later than June 30. Any applicants for whom a final admission decision has not been issued by June 30 will have their status updated to “Denied,” and will receive an official denial letter detailing this update from Graduate Studies.

Double Major

Students who would like to have a double major must submit the Petition to Change Graduate Major, Degree Objective, or for Double Graduate Major. The signature of the graduate admissions advisor indicates a student’s acceptance into the second program and the graduate advisor’s approval of the student’s plan to work in two programs simultaneously.

Students may share up to 12 units from one UC Davis program with another, provided they have approval of their graduate adviser and the Dean of Graduate Studies. To meet the Graduate Studies residency requirements, students must spend at least two quarters in regular graduate standing in their second master’s program. The student must also complete a separate thesis or examination in accordance with the approved program requirements.

Students currently enrolled in a self-supporting master’s degree program may be approved for a double major, but they will be charged tuition and fees for both programs. In the case of a double major with a professional degree, it is the student’s responsibility to notify Graduate Studies when he/she has completed his/her professional degree. Upon completion of the professional degree, Graduate Studies will change the student’s primary curriculum to reflect the academic graduate degree. It should be noted that the School of Medicine makes its own changes, so students must notify the School of Medicine directly about any changes.

When professional students add an academic major, they must complete a regular, online graduate admission application, including all required materials – application fee, letters of recommendation, and official transcripts of record along with the Petition to Change Graduate Major, Degree Objective, or for Double Graduate Major.

Individual Ph.D Program


Under very rare circumstances, enrolled students may be admitted to the Individual Ph.D. Program. The number of students admitted to this program is extremely limited. Students must demonstrate the unique qualifications that make their success likely in a very demanding individual program rather than a regular graduate program to which they have been admitted. Before applying, students must consult with the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, who serves as the graduate adviser for the Individual Ph.D. Program.

The following five restrictions apply to applicants of this program:

  • The research topic the student desires must be one that cannot be accommodated within the university’s existing structure. An applicant will not be accepted into an individual program at Davis if an equivalent course of study may be undertaken in an established graduate program on some other campus of the university.
  • The proposed program must include a strong and broad base in a well-defined field with additional work in areas that are especially appropriate to the student’s interest.
  • The campus must have sufficient faculty and resources available in the proposed fields of study so that the program will clearly lead to a high-quality degree.
  • The applicant’s proposal must be endorsed by at least three members of UC Davis faculty who are active participants in doctoral level graduate education.
  • If the proposal is approved, the Dean of Graduate Studies will appoint a Guidance Committee, which ordinarily consists of the three faculty members who have endorsed the student’s proposal. This committee will be in continuous supervision of the student’s performance and will report to Graduate Studies at least once a year concerning the student’s progress.

University Employees

University career staff employees admitted as graduate students are eligible for the Employee-Student Reduced Fee program.  A voting member of the Senate may be recommended for a higher degree by a Senate Division of which he or she is not a member provided that the voting member has fulfilled all the requirements of that Division. No voting member of the Senate shall be recommended for a post-baccalaureate degree by a department or program in which s/he has an appointment unless, prior to the date of final action on the member’s appointment to a rank carrying the voting privilege, the dean of the member’s Graduate Division has certified to the appropriate authority that the member has met all the requirements for that degree. Such appointments may be retroactive. In addition, degree candidates who are voting members of the Senate may not be members of committees nor be in positions of administrative authority that have influence or control over the resources, funding, degree granting, and academic personnel actions of the degree granting department or program unless they are able to excuse themselves from any decisions/actions involving the said department or program (Academic Senate Regulation 600B).