Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions 

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Application Process

  • What is the online application due date?
  • General Deadline: January 15: To be considered for financial support, all application materials (including online application, recommendation letters, transcripts, TOEFL scores) must be submitted before this deadline. All U.S. citizens and permanent residents are encouraged to file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Space Available: June 1: Permitting available space, applications without financial support are accepted until this deadline.
  • How much does it cost to apply?
  • $120 for domestic applicants; $140 for international applicants. Please see the application for payment details.
  • Can I apply for a fee waiver?
  • PhD applicants selected for participation in the COE Equity program are eligible for an application fee waiver for Fall 2023 admission. Please visit here for more information and accessing the Waiver Request Form. We strongly encourage applications from underrepresented communities.
  • Will you consider applicants for Winter or Spring Quarters?
  • Applicants may only apply for fall quarter. If you are accepted, you may request a deferral of admission by 1-3 quarters. Deferral requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • When are admissions decisions made?
  • Typically we make our admissions decisions between March and May.
  • What should I write about in my Personal Statement?
  • Please describe your motivation for graduate study at UC Davis. You should describe your academic plans and research interest, your specialization within your academic field, your research experiences and your career goals.
  • What should I write about in my Personal History Statement?
  • In an essay, discuss how your personal background forms your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Please include any educational, familial, cultural, economic or social experiences, challenges or opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how your life experiences contribute to the social, intellectual, or cultural diversity within your chosen filed; and/or how you might serve educationally underrepresented segments of society with your degree.
  • What happens if I exceed the 4000-character limit?
  • The online system will only accept 4000 characters, so please take care to limit the length. Your application reviewers will not see anything beyond the 4000th character.
  • How many students typically apply for UC Davis ECE graduate programs? How many are offered admission?
  • In 2014, 1160 students submitted applications to our graduate programs (398 Ph.D. and 760 M.S.). Of those, we admitted 169 (133 M.S. and 36 Ph.D.).
  • How can I check my status online?
  • Upon submission of your application, you will receive an email with a link to your personalized tracking portal.
  • What about transcripts?
  • UC Davis requires academic records from each college-level institution you have attended.  You will be instructed to upload scanned copies of your transcripts after you have submitted your online application.  For more details, visit
  • How do I submit letters of recommendation?
  • Letters of recommendation must be submitted by the referrer electronically through the online application. Hard copy of letters of recommendation are no longer accepted by the ECE department.
  • Will the recommender be notified about the letter of recommendation?
  • Yes, the online application will automatically notify the referee and provide instructions on how to submit their letter. Due to our new online system there have been some difficulties. There are two reasons that seem to be causing this problem. One, the referrer has a email address (we are not sure why this is a problem, but it appears to cause conflict) and two, the automatically generated emails are being filtered out as spam or junk mail. Please ask your referrer to check their junk mail setting so this does not happen, and you will need to contact the online application system (there is a help tab or hotline linked to the application) and request them to resend the email.
  • What are the GPA requirements? 
  • A grade-point average in upper-division technical courses is expected to be at least 3.2/4.0 and in graduate courses to be at least 3.5/4.0. 
  • What are the typical GPAs of admitted graduate students?
  • ♦   Average undergraduate GPA of Ph.D. student admitted in 2012 was 3.65 (out of 4.0). In 2011, it was 3.55.
    ♦   Average undergraduate GPA of M.S. student admitted in 2012 was 3.56 (out of 4.0). In 2011, it was 3.58.
    ♦   Average graduate (as applicable) GPA of Ph.D. students admitted in 2012 was 3.69 (out of 4.0). In 2011, it was 3.79.
  • Can I apply directly to the ECE Ph.D. program, even if I have not yet obtained an M.S. degree?
  • Yes, applicants intending to pursue a Ph.D. degree should apply directly to this program, even if an M.S. degree has not yet been obtained.

GRE Information

  • What are the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) requirements?
  • The minimum scores expected are 500 (new exam 163) on the verbal section and 700 (new exam 155) on the quantitative section. We do not have hard and fast cut-offs since applications are reviewed holistically. GRE is required for applicants to MS program. GRE is not required for applicants to PhD program.
  • How do I submit GRE scores?
  • Please request that ETS send official scores to: Institution code 4834; Department code 1203.
  • What are the typical GRE scores of admitted students?
  • Average GRE scores for all students admitted in 2012, was verbal 619 (new exam 153), quantitative 794 (new exam 165) and analytical 3.5. 
  • How long are GRE scores acceptable? 
  • GRE scores are good for 5 years from the date of examination. 

TOEFL Information

  • What are minimum TOEFL scores required?
  • At least 550 on the paper-based test, 213 on the computer-based test or 80 on the internet-based test. OFFICIAL scores must be sent directly from ETS. In order to be eligible to apply for teaching assistant positions applicants, students must meet one or more of the following requirements: achieving a minimum score of 26 on the Speaking subset of the TOEFL IBT; achieving a minimum score of 8 on the Speaking subset of the IELTS; achieving a “Pass” on the UC Davis’s Test on English Proficiency (TOEP).
  • How can I tell if my academic records are eligible for a TOEFL waiver?
  • Please reference UC Davis’s requirements in the International Academic Records section on the Office of Graduate studies admissions page at
  • How do I apply for a TOEFL waiver?
  • TOEFL waivers are granted during the transcript evaluation process. You do not need to submit a separate waiver application. Please note that the waiver will be noted internally to the admission committee and will not be visible in your tracking portal.
  • Do I need to submit TOEFL scores?
  • Yes, if the applicant graduated from an institution in which the language of instruction was not English, you are required to submit a TOEFL score. No, if the applicant received a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree from an accredited school where the language of instruction was English, then you do not need a TOEFL score.
  • How do I submit TOEFL scores?
  • The department strongly suggests that you submit your TOEFL scores electronically, directly to UC Davis. This is the best way to ensure that your scores and your application are correctly matched. Institution code is 4834; department code is 66.
  • What is the typical TOEFL score?
  • Due to different types of tests, we do not have an average of TOEFL score for admitted students, but typically our students meet the minimum requirements stated above.
  • How long are my TOEFL scores acceptable?
  • TOEFL scores are good for two years from the date of examination.
  • Will you accept an IELTS score instead of a TOEFL score?
  • Yes. Your most recent overall BAND score must be at least 7 on a 9-point scale.

Financial Aid Information

  • What do I need to be considered for fellowships, research positions, teaching assistantships and other types of financial aid?
  • UC Davis recognizes necessity of financial aid in helping recruit the best students.  The top students given offers of admission to our graduate program will also be offered financial aid packages. In order to be considered, please make sure your admission and fellowship applications (both online) are received along with ALL supplementary material by January 15.
  • What types of financial aid do you offer?
  • The types of funding offered to applicants vary year to year depending on availability. Find out more.
  • Do you have fellowships for M.S. applicants?
  • ECE has limited fellowships available for master’s applicants. The majority of ECE’s master’s students are self-funded or apply for teaching assistant positions.

Other Information

  • I don't have an ECE bachelor's degree. Can I still be part of the UC Davis ECE graduate program?
  • Yes. Find out how.
Do you have further questions? Please contact us at with your queries to receive a prompt answer.