International Applicants

International Applicants

The University of California, Davis, welcomes applications from students with strong academic credentials. Students with U.S. bachelor's degrees or equivalent degrees from institutions of recognized standing in other countries may apply for admission to Graduate Studies. Assessment of a foreign degree is based on the characteristics of the national system of education, the type of institution attended, and the level of studies completed.

Before reading the information below, please make certain that you have read and understood our Steps to Applying.  All international applicants must complete the same application requirements as U.S. applicants. The information below is intended to provide additional guidance on specific topics to our international applicants.

Expected Level of Study

The following guidelines indicate the level of study expected of international applicants prior to graduate enrollment at UC Davis.

  • China
  • Bachelor’s degree and higher
  • United Kingdom
  • Bachelor’s degree and higher
  • Australia/New Zealand
  • 4-year bachelor's/bachelor honours degree, graduate/postgraduate diploma or master’s degree
  • France
  • Diplôme (duration of eight semesters or more), Maîtrise, Magistère or Ingénieur
  • Canada
  • A bachelor's degree with honors, or a bachelor's degree requiring at least four years
  • Germany
  • Diplom, Staatsexamen or Staatsprufung, Magister Artium/ Master or degree from higher education institution requiring at least eight semesters
  • India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal
  • BS. Agr., BS. Hort., B.Tech., B.Engr., B.Med., B.Vet. Med., B.Arch., BFA.; master's degree in other fields
  • Mexico/Latin America
  • Licenciado/Licenciatura, Professional title or higher degree

Successful applicants generally rank high in their graduating classes and have excellent test scores. Not all well-qualified applicants may be offered admission due to the limited number of spaces available in highly competitive programs. Official offers of admission are made only by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Applying for Admission

Application for admission to graduate study at UC Davis includes a completed online Application for Admission for International Students, a $110 application fee, transcripts of all college work, a Statement of Purpose, and a Personal History Statement. Some programs have additional requirements such as Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, examples of written work, or résumé. Some programs have earlier deadlines than that of Graduate Studies. In these cases, your application must be received no later than the date specified by the program concerned. Consult the complete listing of all graduate degree programs offered at UC Davis for information about specific deadlines and requirements.

It is your responsibility to ensure your application meets published deadlines, which are available on the online application or from the Graduate Studies Web page Programs of Study.

The UC Davis General Catalog is now available online, or for purchase through the Office of the Registrar.

International Academic Records

Official academic records from each college-level institution you have attended are required.

Official records are defined as original documents issued by the institution which bear the actual signature of the registrar and the seal of the issuing institution. In the case of non-U.S. institutions, do not send the original of an academic record that cannot be replaced.Instead, obtain a properly certified copy. True copies, facsimiles, or photocopies of academic records will be accepted only if the photocopies themselves have been personally signed by an academic official who has certified that they are exact copies of original documents. Each attested copy must also bear the seal and title of the authorizing official. Uncertified photocopies are not acceptable. Official records in their original language must be submitted with the authorized, complete and exact English translations.

Transcripts must show dates of enrollment, subjects taken, and grades awarded each year of attendance to date. Rank in class should be also be provided whenever possible. They must include a description of the institutional grading scale, with maximum and minimum marks indicated. Grades must be shown exactly as assigned by your university – DO NOT convert your grades to the U.S. system of grading. A certified photocopy of your university diploma, showing title of the degree and date of conferral, must also be submitted. When reference is made to the degree awarded, the term used by the institution (such as Licence, Ingénieur, Vordiplom, etc.) must be specified.

The countries listed below generally issue transcripts that are significantly different from U.S. transcripts. The following documents are required for evaluation:

  • China
  • Applicants must provide transcripts and, if a degree has already been earned, both the diploma and the degree certificate. Records must be received in the original language with accompanying English translations, and must arrive in envelopes sealed by the issuing university.
  • India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal
  • Mark Certificates for each annual exam taken during university level studies, showing date of the exam, subjects taken, marks awarded in each, maximum possible marks, and level of pass. Photocopies must be certified. Three-year first degrees do not qualify for graduate admission.
  • United Kingdom and Ireland
  • Subject and grade records if available. If your university does not issue such documents, submit three letters of recommendation as outlined above. The letters should include statements estimating the class or division in which your degree will be awarded. Submit a certified copy of your diploma to the proposed graduate program or Graduate Admissions Office as soon as possible.
  • France
  • Grade reports (marks, mentions, notes) for all exams taken during the first and second cycles at university level and for any subsequent studies; a certified copy of the Licence, Maîtrise, and other university diplomas, listing the subject and date the degree was awarded.
  • Germany
  • Official copies of all exam records (such as Vorprüfung, Hauptprüfung, Staatsexamen, etc.) and seminar reports (Seminarschein) showing subjects taken and grades awarded for all exams taken at university level and the diplomas showing the result of final written and oral comprehensive exams. If no grades other than Pass/Fail a Pass/Fail system is used, you must have three people familiar with your academic work provide three letters of recommendation (sent through an online application process) indicating your scholastic abilities and your potential for successfully completing a graduate program.
  • Iran
  • If your university has changed its name in the past 10 years, show the current name with the former name in parentheses.

All documents submitted are the property of UC Davis and may not be borrowed, photocopied, returned to you, or sent elsewhere. If you are admitted, you should have a complete set of transcripts in your possession when you meet with the graduate adviser.

English Language Requirement

Applicants whose native language or language of instruction is not English must take the TOEFL or IELTS.  However, if you have earned or will be earning a degree from a U.S. university, you will *not* be required to take the TOEFL or IELTS. 

There is no conditional admission for applicants who have not earned a passing TOEFL/IELTS score. The score report is required before application processing can be completed.  The English language testing requirement is waived for applicants from the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Ireland
  • Sierra Leone
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada (excluding Quebec)
  • Kenya
  • South Africa
  • Ghana
  • New Zealand
  • Tanzania

TOEFL Scores. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is given by Educational Testing Service (ETS).Their website address is

Official score reports must be sent from ETS electronically to UC Davis (our Institution Code is 4834).

The minimum score required for admission to graduate study at UC Davis is 550 for the paper test or a score of 80 for the Internet-based test. TOEFL scores expire after two years. Scores that are older than two years will not be accepted by Graduate Studies.

Although an 80 iBT score is the minimum required for admission, additional English language testing may be required for admitted students. Students with iBT scores of 104 or below will be required to take an additional ESL examination once they start their graduate program here to determine their level of English ability and whether they would benefit from additional ESL coursework at UC Davis.

IELTS Scores. As an alternative to the TOEFL, you may submit scores from the Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) designed by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate and administered by the British Council worldwide. Their website address is

You are responsible for providing your graduate program with an official test report form showing the score you earned on your IELTS examination. Remember to order the test report form when you register to take the test.

The minimum band score required for admission to graduate study at UC Davis is 7 on a 9-point scale.

IELTS scores expire after two years. Scores that are older than two years will not be accepted by Graduate Studies.

Student Visas

To apply for a visa, take your passport and Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 or DS-2019, usually issued by UC Davis Services for International Students and Scholars after you are admitted by Graduate Studies), plus proof of adequate financial resources for your studies and living expenses to a U.S. Consulate or Embassy. The types of visas available to you are the F-1 student visa and the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa.

The F-1 student visa is ordinarily given to individuals qualified to pursue a full course of study at an academic institution which is authorized to admit international students. The J-1 visa is sometimes given to students who are supported substantially by funding from any source other than personal or family funds, for example the U.S. Government, the students home government or an international organization. UC Davis Services for International Student and Scholars (SISS) can advise you on the appropriate visa for you.

Graduate students in F-1 or J-1 status must carry a minimum of 12 units or the equivalent of a full course of study as certified by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Non-immigrant students are not permitted to work outside the University without work authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. They are only allowed to work within the University on a part-time basis.

Before a U.S. Consul will grant a visa, you must prove that you will have sufficient financial resources to meet all your expenses while studying in the United States. You must show documented evidence of the source of your funds and guarantee that you will receive them while at UC Davis. Unless you show written evidence of having resources for your entire degree program, you will not be granted a student visa.

Financial Facts

International students are eligible for certain fellowships, scholarships, or grants during their first year at UC Davis. Please check the Student Financial Support section for details. There is no waiver of nonresident tuition or fees. However, graduate programs may offer merit-based Nonresident Tuition Fellowships to international students. Graduate programs may offer academic research or teaching appointments to graduate students their first year; however, there is no certainty that such appointments will be available in subsequent years. Unless you receive a definite offer of appointment or support in writing from the University, you must plan to pay your own expenses for the entire length of your degree program. Students who arrive in Davis without adequate financial resources may be unable to complete their degree programs.

International students who receive a Nonresident Tuition Fellowship should read carefully the new policy on reduction of nonresident tuition for doctoral graduate students who have advanced to candidacy.

Teaching and Research Assistantships. To apply for appointment as a teaching or research assistant, contact the department in which you wish to study or work at the same time you apply for admission to UC Davis. An application for an assistantship is separate and in addition to the application for admission. Earnings from assistantship appointments are subject to United States and California income taxes. Students appointed to assistantships should be aware that their first paychecks would be received five weeks after the beginning of the quarter. Therefore, plans should be made to pay initial expenses, including nonresident tuition, from your own resources.

Living Expenses. Graduate Student expenses are detailed at the Financial Aid site. Travel expenses to and from the University are NOT included in these costs. It is critically important that you obtain an adequate, reliable, continuing source of funding before you come to the U.S. to study.

Total expenses typically increase 5%-10% per year and are subject to change without notice.

Every student is responsible for having sufficient funds for initial expenses. You will need the amount of your tuition and fees, plus the initial down payment for housing (landlords often ask for the first and last month's rent plus a security deposit), books, etc. Students should have with them at least $5,000 in traveler’s checks (with $500 in small denominations) rather than in a bank draft. Davis banks will hold your bank draft for up to two weeks before the money is released for your use. An alternative, and cheaper, method is to use an automated teller machine (ATM), but students should check compatibility and maximum daily allowances before relying solely on this method of retrieving funds.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is a mandatory UC Davis enrollment requirement, and upon registration, students are automatically enrolled into the University of California Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP).

UC SHIP is a major medical insurance plan administered by Student Health and Counseling Services. Primary care services at Student Health and Counseling Services complement the healthcare resources of UC SHIP for UC SHIP enrollees. UC SHIP also includes dental coverage provided by Delta Dental.

You may opt out of UC SHIP if you have comparable health insurance coverage. You may complete or download the waiver application online. Please note that you must file a waiver application each year.

Student Health and Counseling Services' plans are supported by student fees to provide low student rates for primary healthcare services independent of UC SHIP. All registered students may use the healthcare services whether or not they waive UC SHIP enrollment.


The UC Davis Student Housing Office has information about on-campus housing. The Community Housing Listing can assist you in locating off-campus housing.

Community housing cannot be reserved in advance of your arrival. You are advised to arrive in Davis two to four weeks before the quarter begins in order to find off-campus housing. Housing on campus is limited. If you wish to apply for on-campus housing, request an application from the UC Davis Student Housing Office, and be certain to observe the deadline dates.

International Student Services

The office of UC Davis Services for international Students and Scholars (SISS) assists international students in their pre-arrival preparation and issues the I-20 or DS 2019 document needed towards obtaining your student visa. They also provide immigration advice, financial information, general advising and counseling and host a variety of cross-cultural activities. If admitted to graduate studies at UC Davis, please go to the SISS website and access the information for newly admitted students.

For more information useful for our international students, consult the Internship and Career Center's International Resources.