Prospective Graduate Students

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For additional information please contact
Jessica Stoller
stoller@cs.ucdavis.edu
Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Computer Science
2063 Kemper Hall
PH: (530) 752-7224
FAX: (530) 752-4767


Graduate Admission Requirements

Our primary goal in selecting students for our graduate program is to find individuals who have demonstrated academic achievement (average undergraduate GPA of those admitted is 3.60), a solid academic background in computer science (completion of an undergraduate program comparable to the undergraduate program at UC Davis) and the potential to tackle the complex thinking and writing that graduate study requires. We evaluate this by looking at specific coursework in computer science and we also use your statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores.

The average scores for the Revised GRE (2011 onwards) for those admitted are:

TestAverage ScoreAverage %% Median% Mode
Verbal15665%66%62%
Quantitative16589%91%98%
Analytical445%35%14%

The averages for the General GRE (pre-2011) for those admitted were:

TestAverage ScoreAverage %MedianMode
Verbal59062%88%93%
Quantitative75084%94%94%
Analytical73992%91%97%
Written Analytical4.968%
CS Subject78868%

Admission to the Graduate Group in Computer Science is highly competitive. On average, we receive over 600 applications for admission and generally admit the top 15%.

The GGCS admissions committee is primarily looking for individuals who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement in computer science. However, we know that a student with an undergraduate major in a related field (electrical engineering, mathematics, physics, etc.) may have the ability to do well in our program. In addition, in the past truly exceptional students with a background in a field not related to computer science have been admitted to our program. The latter students have demonstrated their academic potential through their undergraduate experience, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation. The likelihood of admission to the program in any year depends on the applicant pool. In recent years, the applicant pool has become increasingly competitive. Very few students without a solid academic background in computer science are currently able to put forth a competitive application. At the very minimum, students without a degree in computer science must complete the courses listed in Appendix A of the Graduate Degree Requirements, though completion of this list of courses is rarely sufficient to gain admission.

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Instructions for Applying

All applications must be submitted online and all transcripts must be received by January 15th. Applications received after January 15th may not be considered and the application fee will not be refunded. We do not mail paper applications and we also do not accept paper applications.

All applications must include the following materials in order to be considered complete. An application will not be reviewed until it is complete.

  • The application fee is $80 for domestic and $100 for international applicants. We do not process any application materials until the application fee has been paid. The fee may be paid by credit card or e-check. The fee must be paid before the application will be considered as complete, and the fee must be paid for each application submitted.
  • Completed application form including statement of purpose. The online application will become available to applicants every September for admission for the following academic year. The application URL is:https://app.applyyourself.com/AYApplicantLogin/fl_ApplicantConnectLogin.asp?id=ucdgrad. In your online application, please explicitly state your area(s) of interest as we will use this information to distribute your application to faculty in these areas for review. Be specific – avoid entries such as “see hardcopy” or “Computer Science.” Suggested (non-exclusive) areas may include: algorithms, architecture, bioinformatics, compilers, computational biology, computational geometry, cryptography, databases, data analysis, data management, data mining, distributed systems, e-commerce, graphics, information systems, knowledge representation, networks, operating systems, P2P, parallel computing, programming languages, security, scientific computing, scientific data management, software engineering theory, visualization, virtual reality, wireless networks. You may enter one or more areas. You may also enter more specific areas than what is listed above.
  • Letters of Recommendation must be submitted electronically through the online application. Do not have recommenders send letters in hard copy. Only letters of recommendation submitted electronically will be accepted.
  • Transcripts from undergraduate and graduate level (if applicable) attended since completion of high school.Do not send secondary or high school transcripts or certificates from practical training courses. Submit your transcripts AFTER your application has been marked complete and submitted. Submit only one transcript for each university or college you have attended. Transcripts will be made available to faculty in each graduate program to which you have applied, as well as for the review of the fellowship application.
    Send your transcripts directly to the graduate program to which you have applied; in the case of multiple applications, applicants should send only one transcript to their first choice of graduate program or with the first completed graduate program application. Mail all transcripts to:Graduate Group in Computer Science
    One Shields Avenue
    Davis, CA 95616 USAIf you wish to verify the receipt of these materials, please make arrangements with the mail courier you use to obtain confirmation of delivery from them.
  • GRE Score report. Since GRE scores must be included with your application, it will be necessary to take the exam prior to late November. If you cannot take the exam in a timely manner, we will be unable to process your application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to report GRE and TOEFL scores electronically directly to the institution.
  • TOEFL is required from all international applicants except those who have been granted a post-secondary degree from a US college or university, or those who attended an international university where the language of instruction was English (this includes applicants from India).

All applications must be submitted online and all transcripts received by January 15th. Applications received after January 15th may not be considered and the application fee will not be refunded

We are no longer mailing paper applications, and we also no longer accept paper applications.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Application

Admissions

GRE

Financial

Newly Admitted Students


Application

How do I apply?

The application URL is: https://app.applyyourself.com/AYApplicantLogin/fl_ApplicantConnectLogin.asp?id=ucdgrad

Besides an application form, what kind of supporting materials are required?

The supporting materials that are required for the graduate application are:

  • Transcripts for all college or university courses taken. If your transcripts are not in English, Graduate Studies requires official translations of all transcripts. Do not send high school transcripts or certificates of training courses.
  • Electronic submission of your GRE score report.
  • Statement of Purpose: The statement of purpose plays a critical role in the review of an application. It should be well written and free from technical errors and second language interference. It should define your background, and the interests and experiences that qualify you for graduate study. It must explicitly state your areas of interest for graduate study and detail how the program at UC Davis will help you attain your educational and research goals. It would be helpful to describe how your plans fit the on-going research in computer science at UC Davis.
  • Three letters of recommendation. The referees must submit all letters of recommendation electronically. The online application will automatically notify the referee and provide instructions on how to submit their letter. Please do not send hard copies of letters. Only letters submitted online will be accepted.
  • TOEFL score: International applicants from countries where English is not the language of instruction generally need to provide TOEFL scores. TOEFL is not required from students who have earned a degree from a US institution. Scores must be submitted electronically.
  • Application fee. We do not process any application materials until the application fee has been paid. The fee may be paid by credit card or e-check. The fee must be paid before the application will be considered as complete, and the fee must be paid for each application submitted.

How can I determine if my application materials have arrived?

You will receive a confirmation email once your application is complete.

I don’t have the application fee. Can I pay the fee after I have been admitted?

No, we do not process any application until we have received an application fee.

How long will it take to find out if I have been accepted into the program?

Once a completed application and all supporting materials (transcripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, TOEFL (when required) and the application fee have been received, the application will be submitted to the our admissions committee. Based on a review of application materials, a recommendation is made to accept or decline an applicant’s request for admission. That recommendation is forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies for verification of admission requirements. Notification of admissions decisions will be communicated in writing by Graduate Studies. Neither Graduate Studies, or the CS graduate program will respond to telephone or email inquiries for admissions decisions.

The admissions committee does not begin reviewing applications until late January. Generally, most applications submitted by the January 15th deadline will be reviewed prior to mid-February, though some applications are held for later consideration. Most decisions are communicated by early spring.

How can I check the status of my application?

You can check the status of your admissions application by logging back into the webpage where you originally applied.  The Office of Graduate Studies reports decisions after they have been communicated by the department.

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Admissions

What qualities do you look for in a good candidate?

Our primary goal in selecting students for our graduate program is to find individuals who have demonstrated academic achievement (average undergraduate GPA of those admitted is 3.60), a solid academic background in computer science (completion of an undergraduate program comparable to the undergraduate program at UC Davis) and the potential to tackle the complex thinking and writing that graduate study requires. However, we also welcome outstanding students from a variety of backgrounds as long as they have a good grounding in computer science.

We evaluate this by looking at specific coursework in computer science and we also use your statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores.

Average GRE scores of those admitted are:

TestAverage ScoreAverage %MedianMode
Verbal59062%88%93%
Quantitative75084%94%94%
Analytical73992%91%97%
Written Analytical4.968%
CS Subject78868%

Admission to the Graduate Group in Computer Science is highly competitive.  We generally receive over 600 applications and admit the top 15 percentile.

My undergraduate degree is in another major. What options do I have to get into the program?

The GGCS admissions committee is primarily looking for individuals who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement in computer science. However, students with a related major (electrical engineering, mathematics, physics, etc.) may have the ability to do well in our program. In addition, truly exceptional students with a background in a field not related to computer science have been admitted to our program. These students demonstrated their academic potential through their undergraduate experience, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation. The likelihood of admission to the program in any year depends on the applicant pool. In recent years, the applicant pool has become increasingly competitive. Very few students without a solid academic background in computer science are currently able to put forth a competitive application. At the very minimum, students without a degree in computer science must complete the courses listed in Appendix A of the Graduate Degree Requirements, though completion of this list of courses is rarely sufficient to gain admission.

Although I don’t have an academic background in computer science, I have considerable professional experience. Will this improve my chances for admission?

While work experience will augment your application materials, the application review is concerned mostly with your academic qualifications, and your preparation to succeed in a rigorous, theoretical, research-based, academic program.

Can you give me an idea of my chances for admission?

Because the applicant pool varies from year to year, we are unable to do this. The answers to some of the following FAQs will help you determine if you meet the requirements for admission. In general, if your undergraduate record is excellent and your GRE scores are high (90th percentile and above for all tests) we would encourage you to apply. (See information above for admission statistics). Please remember that in a large and competitive applicant pool, some applicants who meet all requirements will not be offered admission.

What are the prerequisites for graduate study in computer science at UC Davis?

The GGCS requires that students demonstrate a high level of proficiency in five key areas: Theory, Computer Architecture, Programming Languages, Operating Systems and Mathematics. For specific UC Davis courses that fulfill these requirements, see Appendix A of the graduate degree requirements.

I don’t have the necessary undergraduate preparation for admission (I haven’t taken the classes listed in Appendix A).

All students accepted into the GGCS are screened for fulfillment of undergraduate proficiencies. Very few applicants are admitted prior to completion of the majority of these courses.

If I have professional work experience in the computer industry, can I use that to fulfill my undergraduate proficiencies?

Students who are prepared through professional experience may take a graduate level course (see Appendix B of the Graduate Degree requirements) to fulfill both the undergraduate proficiency and satisfy a graduate course requirement. Approval to do this is made after consultation with the faculty graduate adviser. In general, industry experience does not replace academic preparation.

How competitive is admission and obtaining aid?

Admission to the Graduate Group in Computer Science is highly competitive.  We review more than 600 applications every year and admit only the top 15 percentile.  Financial assistance for graduate study comes in the form of fellowships, Teaching Assistantships (TA’s) and Graduate Student Research (GSR) positions.  Approximately 70% of those PhD’s who chose to attend have a guarantee of support for at least a year.  MS students generally do not receive an offer of support.

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GRE

Is the GRE required?

The GRE general test is required for all applicants.

Is the Computer Science Subject Test required?

The Computer Science subject test is strongly recommended, but not required. A strong computer science subject test score can enhance an applicant’s chance for admission.

The GRE exam format changed in October of 2002. Will you still accept scores from tests taken prior to October 2002?

We now require all applicants to submit GRE scores that include the new written analytical test score.

f I don’t provide original GRE and/or TOEFL scores with my application, will I still be evaluated for admission?

The department can review an applicant’s file based on photocopies of the examinee’s score report sent to you by ETS. However we must receive original scores before an admission decision can be communicated to you.

What are your Institution and Department Codes?

GRE
Institution: 4834
Department: 0402

TOEFL
Institution: 4834
Department: 78

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Financial

How do I apply for financial aid?

All domestic applicants MUST file a FAFSA. This application is essential in order to qualify for many types of financial assistance including any departmental or campus fellowship. The application can be filled out on-line athttp://www.fafsa.ed.gov. This application is necessary to qualify for many types of financial assistance including most departmental awards.

Information about student loans and Cal Grants can be obtained from the Financial Aid Office athttp://faoman.ucdavis.edu/.

New Financial Aid Website: http://financialaid.ucdavis.edu.

We also encourage all applicants to file an application for fellowship (http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/ssupport/internal.html) prior to the January 15th deadline. This application is necessary to qualify for non-resident tuition waivers and other departmental fellowships.

What forms of financial assistance are available?

The standard form of Ph.D. graduate student support in a 50% TA position for the first three quarters and either a 50% TA or 45% GSR position for the remainder of a student’s academic career. The amount and type of aid that the department can offer varies from year to year depending on the number of TA and GSR positions that are available, the fellowships that the department is authorized to award, and the number of students requesting financial assistance. It has become increasingly difficult to provide funding for M.S. students.

Fellowships. We strongly encourage all qualified applicants to apply for many external fellowships offered by both government and private agencies. Recipients of fellowships such as NSF, NPSC, and DOE fellowships are highly regarded as applicants. However, the deadline for some of the most prestigious and highly competitive fellowships is generally the first week in November, so an early start on the application process is essential.

A complete list of external fellowships and their respective deadlines can be found athttp://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/ssupport/external.html

What are the estimated yearly expenses for a graduate student?

Here are two websites that may offer information about the cost of attending UC Davis:

http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/prospective/admissions.html#8

http://www.ormp.ucdavis.edu/studentfees/

Are Teaching Assistantships (TA) and Graduate Student Research (GSR) positions available?

Many graduate students serve in one of these two positions for all or most of their graduate student career. These positions offer professional development, research opportunities and significant financial rewards. In addition to a monthly salary, these positions provide a full or partial fee waiver.

We currently offer most qualified graduate students a TA position during the first year of study. Students entering with a strong background in computer science may be offered a GSR position if there is a good match between a research program and a student’s background.

The rapid increase in Ph.D. enrollments in the past two years has significantly decreased the likelihood of TA or GSR funding for M.S. students.

How do I apply for an assistantship?

When you submit your application the department automatically considers all qualified full-time program applicants as candidates for TA positions. As applications are reviewed we compile a list of potential TA’s and send offers to applicants that we are certain we will have a position for and give a deadline to make a decision to accept or decline our offer. Sometimes these awards are made in “rounds” with the most highly qualified students given the first offers.

Is there funding available for non-resident tuition?

Students at the University of California, who are not California residents, are required to pay non-resident tuition. Each year we have a limited number of non-resident tuition fellowships (NRTFs) to award. In order to be a competitive candidate for this type of fellowship, all your application materials MUST be filed no later than January 15. Domestic applicants must file a FAFSA to be awarded a NRTF.

Is it possible to establish California residency?

Domestic students (US citizens and permanent residents) are usually eligible for California residency after one year if certain requirements are met. After residency is established, a student no longer pays non-resident tuition. All students, regardless of residency status, pay educational fees. All questions regarding California residency must be directed to the Residency Deputy in the Office of the Registrar. For information, visit:

http://registrar.ucdavis.edu/UCDWebCatalog/appendix/residency.html

Certain non-resident students may qualify for in-state fees and a waiver of non-resident tuition if they attended at least three years and graduated from a California high school.

International students on F-1 or J-1 visas cannot establish California residency and therefore are assessed non-resident tuition the entire time they are a graduate student. Some students on H-1B visas may qualify for California residency after 12 months, but full time student status may violate visa provisions. All visa questions should be referred to Services for International Students and Scholars (siss@ucdavis.edu).

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Newly Admitted Students

I’d like to visit campus before I decide if I want to attend UCD. How do I arrange a visit?

We strongly believe one of our best recruiting tools is a visit to our campus, so we welcome visitors! The Graduate Group in Computer Science holds a graduate recruitment event in early March of each year for admitted Ph.D. applicants. The Department of Computer Science invites qualified applicants who have been recommended for admission to spend a day meeting faculty and current graduate students, touring the research facilities and familiarizing themselves with the Davis community. The department reimburses some students for a portion of their travel expense. Information about this event is sent to invited students during mid-February.

If you cannot join us for our applicant visit event, we encourage you to contact us regarding a visit to UC Davis at another time. We try to arrange appointments with representative faculty and a tour of our research facilities for each interested candidate. In addition, we attempt to arrange some time for applicants to meet with current graduate students.

How do I register for classes?

In late June, the Office of the Registrar mails registration materials to each domestic student who has indicated their intent to register. International students receive registration materials when they arrive on campus. While most new graduate students will enroll in the graduate core courses offered in their first quarter, course selection should be made with consideration of the undergraduate proficiencies that must be fulfilled. For specific advice on your program of study for your first year, contact your Research Advisor.

What assistance is available for students looking for housing?

The following websites contains information about the housing market in Davis.

http://www.housing.ucdavis.edu/

How do I contact faculty if I have questions or need some assistance before I arrive?

Send all questions to the Graduate Program Coordinator (stoller@cs.ucdavis.edu). From there, questions will be routed to someone who can adequately answer your query.

When should I plan to arrive in Davis?

Most leases in Davis begin the first of September, but the academic quarter does not begin until the end of September. It is strongly recommended that you arrive in Davis well before Orientation Week. You will need time to settle in to your new home, find a bicycle, figure out where things are, and, if applicable, spend some time preparing for your TA duties before classes begin.

I’m an international student. Where can I get information for international students?

Please visit: http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/prospective/internat.htm and http://siss.ucdavis.edu


Office of Graduate Studies

http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu

 

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