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UC Graduate Student Experience Survey (UCGSES)


What is the UCGSES?

The University of California Graduate Student Experience Survey (UCGSES) is an online survey administered at UC Davis and each of the other UC campuses. It asks students for their input around a broad range of academic and non-academic experiences. All UC Davis graduate and professional students are invited to participate. Spring 2021 is the first year of the survey, with follow-up administrations planned to follow every other year.

Thank you to all respondents to the 2021 UCGSES! More than $2,000 in prizes were awarded to students, and Graduate Studies will donate more than $600 to the GSA Student Pantry. More than that, your responses will inform decisions about graduate education in the years to come.

Read about the campus and systemwide results of the UCGSES in our November 2021 data summary.

Survey Content

The survey asks questions in the following topic areas:

  • Advising Experience
  • Professional Development
  • Progress to Degree
  •  Quality of Program, Faculty, and Curriculum
  • Program Climate
  • Financial Support
  • Well-Being
  • Satisfaction with University Resources
  • Basic Needs
  • Post-Graduate Career Plans
  • COVID-19 Remote Learning and Research  

Accessing the Survey

The 2021 administration of UCGSES has closed. Analysis and communciation of results is underway; check this site and the University of California UCGSES Site for updates.

Voluntary Participation

Participation in this survey is entirely voluntary. Your decision whether to participate in the survey will not affect your relationship with UC Davis, your academic program, or benefits to which you may otherwise be entitled.

Update: As of June 2021, more than 1,600 UC Davis students completed the survey, for a response rate of approximately 22%. 


While there may not be any direct benefit to you from participating, UCGSES gives students an opportunity to comment on the quality of the education they receive, student services, and other aspects of their experience that help the University evaluate and improve programs and services.


As an appreciation for your time and as an incentive for participation, UCGSES completers will be automatically entered into drawings for gift cards ranging in value from $25 to $200. There will be at least four prizes awarded per week for four weeks. The earlier you complete the survey the more chances you’ll have to win! The exact odds of winning a prize depends on the number of students who complete and submit a survey. Winners will be notified via their UC Davis email address about how to claim their prize. If you want to be entered into the drawings without submitting the survey, please email

Update: As of June 2021, more than $2,000 in prizes were awarded to graduate and professional students. 

Asking Questions and Reporting Concerns

The UCGSES engages sensitive topics around campus climate, including sexual harassment, discrimination, and student mental health. We need this information to understand and improve the environment on campus, but responses to the survey may not be reviewed immediately. If you have experienced or witnessed incidents that concern you, or if you need to take immediate action or disclose dangerous situations, you should contact the appropriate campus resource: 

Also, please keep in mind that University policy requires all reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence against students to be forwarded to the UC Davis Title IX office. Students who disclose that they experienced sexual harassment or sexual violence while students may be contacted by the Title IX office with information about reporting options and support services available to them. 

Protecting Your Privacy

The main purpose of this survey project is to gain a fuller understanding of the factors affecting the success of graduate and professional students and the campus climate. The design of the study requires that we also obtain background information about you from official campus records. This includes but is not limited to program, degree objective, whether you have advanced to candidacy, years of attendance, gender, race and ethnicity. With appropriate Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, the data may also be used in anonymized form for academic research.

Survey responses will be matched against student background information for aggregation and reporting purposes. Data that can identify you individually is limited to student ID, name, and email address, which are used strictly for the purposes of emailing survey invitations and reminders and for authentication into the survey. Please be assured that your identity will not be connected to your survey responses, your responses will be confidential and the results of the study will be reported only as aggregated (group-level) data. Any identifiable information that is obtained in connection with this study will remain confidential and will be disclosed only with your permission or as required by law.

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