Graduate Groups

Graduate Groups

The Graduate Group Concept

Viticulture Graduate GroupAt UC Davis, a key concept of graduate education is the graduate group. UC Davis graduate programs are organized as interdisciplinary graduate groups, giving students intellectual freedom to transcend disciplines and areas of research.

The core elements of a graduate group include:
an emphasis on shared research interests among faculty and students; flexibility to grow and quickly change to reflect emerging areas of interdisciplinary knowledge and technology; and an acceptance that many research questions transcend traditional academic departmental boundaries.

Graduate groups embody the collaborative spirit at UC Davis by bringing together faculty from departments across campus that share common research interests, either in academic discipline or area of application. For example: the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology graduate group provides students with access to more than 133 faculty with research and instruction interests in both basic and applied sciences. These faculty members hold appointments in over 25 departments spanning the Colleges of Letters and Sciences, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, and the College of Biological Sciences. This is just one example of the unique graduate groups offered at UC Davis.

The graduate group concept has established a culture of interaction across departmental lines and has helped to shape the distinctive character of the campus. As part of a collaborative team, each student contributes his or her talent and expertise while learning from students and faculty across disciplines. The extensive use of graduate groups as a vehicle for administering graduate academic programs has expanded the scope and strengthened the quality of graduate education at Davis. More graduate groups are offered at UC Davis today than at any other campus of the UC system – currently it is an impressive 47 out of 87 total programs!

How it Works

If you are a member of a Graduate Group you are in a unique program. Initially formed to combine the talents and skills of faculty and students from a variety of broad areas in order to offer specialties in an interdepartmental subject, graduate groups have grown in size and importance. While a department has a physically permanent home, a group usually operates from the department in which the current chair is housed and as such its actual location may move around. Here are some hints on how to take advantage of this unique concept:

The chair of a graduate group is responsible for overseeing the operation of the group and is your contact when your adviser or the staff is unable to help you. Support staff serve as invaluable sources of information regarding your files, course work, progress and the services available to you, and for contacting the chair and adviser. Staff are often housed in a department not necessarily the same as that of the chair so it may take some searching to find the right person to help you. To find out who the graduate support staff person is for your group, look at the Graduate Programs directory and select the name of your group. The chair, advisers, and staff are listed.

Student Support Options

As a graduate group member you are eligible for departmental sources of funding, including Teaching Assistantships (TAs) and Research Assistantships (RAs). You can be appointed to one of these positions by a department or program within your group for which you have the appropriate skill and training. For information about student support, ask the staff person in your group, the adviser or the chair. Each department or group has its own application process for TA and RA positions, so you will need to contact them directly.