Frequently Asked Questions

Carefully read the information below for admissions and application FAQ's.

Admissions Checklist:

The Online application includes the following mandatory items:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Personal History Statement
  • 3 letters of recommendation submitted online
  • GRE scores - General is required and Subject is strongly recommended (if not taken, please explain why in your personal statement)
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores - International applications only
  • Transcripts from each institution you have listed in your application (you will scan and upload them yourself)
  • $105 fee for U.S. Applicants and $125 USD fee for International Applicants

General Questions

  • How many applications do you receive?
    • We receive about 400 applications each year.
  • How many students are in an entering class?
    • We aim for 25-30 PhD students. We typically have 2 entering Master's students each year as well.
  • How long does it take to earn a Ph.D.?
    • Approximately 6 years: two years of coursework and 4 years to complete the dissertation.
  • How many graduate students are there in the department?
    • About 150.

Application

  • When are applications due?
    • Applications completed by January 5th will receive full review. We begin to read applications and admit students after this date. All applications received by January 5th will receive full review. All application materials (letters of recommendation, transcripts, test scores) must be received by the deadline. We cannot admit students with incomplete applications. Applications can be submitted until June 1, 2018, but after January 5th they will be reviewed only if space remains available in the program.
  • How can I check my application status online?
    • You can track the status of your application through the application website. It takes up to 72 hours to update new information.
  • How much does it cost to apply?
    • $105 for domestic applicants, $125 for international applicants. See the application for payment details.
  • Can I apply for a fee waiver?
    • Fee waivers are only available to US citizens and Permanent Residents.
  • Will you consider applicants for Winter or Spring quarters?
    • Applications are considered for Fall quarter only.
  • When are admissions decisions made?
    • The main round of acceptance letters will be sent in mid-February. All admissions decisions will be made by June 30, 2018.

Transcripts

  • Do I need to submit multiple transcripts?
    • You must submit one transcript for each university or college you have listed in your on-line application.
  • What if my transcripts are missing my final grades?
    • Many students apply before while still in school, so many transcripts are incomplete. Please submit the transcript as is. If you are admitted, then before beginning studies at UC Davis you will be required to submit final official transcripts, including proof that you received your bachelor's degree.

Letters of Recommendation

  • How do I submit letters of recommendation?
    • Letters of Recommendation must be submitted electronically by your recommender through the online application.
  • Can I submit hard copies of letters of recommendation?
    • No, hard copies of letters of recommendation will NOT be accepted.
  • Will the recommender be notified about the letter of recommendation?
    • Yes, the online application will automatically notify the recommender and provide instructions on how to submit their letter.

GPA

  • What are the GPA requirements?
    • UC Davis requires that all applicants have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
    • The average GPA for admitted students is about 3.7.

GRE

  • What are the minimum general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores required for the Physics program?
    • The department does not have a minimum score cutoff, but admitted students average about 75th percentile verbal and 90th percentile quantitative. We put little stock in the analytical (writing) score.
    • Applicants who wish to be considered for fellowships should plan to take the GRE no later than November 15.
  • How do I submit GRE scores?
    • Please submit your GRE scores electronically directly to UC Davis.
  • What is the institution code and department code for the GRE?
    • Institution code 4834
    • Department code 0808
  • How long are my GRE scores acceptable?
    • GRE scores are good for 5 years from the date of examination.
  • Do you require the subject test for the GRE?
    • No, but the subject GRE is strongly recommended (if not taken, please explain why in your personal statement). The average score for admitted students is about the 65th percentile.

TOEFL

  • What are the minimum TOEFL scores required?
    • UC Davis requires a minimum score of 80 on the internet-based TOEFL, 550 on the paper-based TOEFL, or 7 on the IELTS.
  • Do I need to submit TOEFL scores?
    • Yes, if your native language is not English and you graduated from an institution in which the language of instruction was not English, then you are required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score.
    • No, if you received a Bachelor's degree or Master's degree from an accredited school where the primary language of instruction was English, then you do not need a TOEFL or IELTS score.
    • No, if English is your first language, then you do note need a TOEFL or IELTS score.
  • How do I submit TOEFL scores?
    • Submit all TOEFL scores electronically through ETS.
  • What is the institution code and department code for the TOEFL?
    • Institution code 4834
    • Department code 76
  • How long are my TOEFL scores acceptable?
    • TOEFL scores may be submitted up to 2 years from the date of examination.