Boots and books

How to Apply

UC Davis

Online application for Graduate Admission to UC Davis.

Virtual Recruitment Week
Earth and Planetary Sciences virtual recruitment is February 16-19, 2021.

There will be synchronous events on February 16th and 19th and asynchronous events during the week.
Emails will be sent to invited students in early February 2021.
All those invited are expected to attend.

Important Application Deadlines

The Earth and Planetary Sciences Department application deadline for admission for the 2020-2021 academic year:

  • Priority Deadline: December 15
    The Priority Deadline is the date by which all materials should be submitted  - please aim for this deadline.  Internal UCD fellowships are also due December 15th, 2020 (see below).
  • General Deadline: January 15
    All materials received by the General Deadline will receive full consideration by the Geology Graduate Program. We typically fill all available positions from the pool of applications submitted by this deadline.
  • Space Available Deadline: May 1
    The Space Available Deadline is provided for cases in which an opening becomes available after our normal review process is complete. Potential applicants who miss the General Deadline should contact prospective faculty advisors to determine if they should submit an application.

Internal Fellowship Application
The Internal Fellowship Application must be completed as part of the online application. In the online application, when asked if you will be applying for fellowships, please answer “yes”. Internal fellowships are due December 15th, 2020.

How to apply to the Geology Graduate Program at UC Davis

Admission the Geology Graduate Program is a 5-step process, beginning with contacting potential mentors in our program and culminating with a visit to out department for a selection of candidates:

Step 1. Before submitting an application to the program, you will need to determine if the faculty with whom you are interested in working will be accepting students during the upcoming admissions process. To do this, you need to send an e-mail to each of the faculty with whom you are interested in working. Our faculty are expecting to receive these e-mails and will respond.  A template for this e-mail is attached. This e-mail also serves as an opportunity for you and the potential faculty mentor to learn about each other. A good time to send these e-mails is starting in early September up through the application deadline.  To learn more about the faculty who are generally accepting graduate students see this list of Thesis Advisors. Our people pages contain brief descriptions of the research interests of our faculty and scientists. You can also read about the primary research groups in the department.

Step 2. Complete and submit the online application.

  • The application portal opens in mid-September
  • All application materials must be received by UC Davis by January 15 (except for space available applications)
  • We recommend that you follow up on all application materials to make sure they have been sent and received

Note that as of July 2020 the UC Davis Geology Graduate program no longer requires GRE scores.

Step 3 Starting in late December/early January the Admissions Committee reviews all parts of the written application materials to identify a pool of candidates with outstanding academic credentials and research experience. Our admissions rubric is available for review. The Admissions Committee creates a list of applicants who meet the requirements for admission and shares this with the faculty.

Step 4. In this part of the process, the faculty evaluate the list of applicants to find strong ‘matches’ between the prospective students and their research program. Finding the right match involves first and foremost identifying faculty who share research interests with the prospective student, but also who have space in their laboratory group and can contribute to the financial support of the prospective student. For this step to be successful, it is essential that prospective students contact faculty whose research groups they are interested in joining and inquire about whether the faculty member is planning to accept new student (see step 1 above)

Step 5. Candidates who are successfully identified as matching the research interests of one or more potential faculty advisors (who have also expressed to the GGP Admissions committee their serious interest in having the prospective student join their research group), will be invited to campus during the recruitment weekend. This recruitment weekend is typically in February. This in-person visit is an essential final step in determining if the hoped-for match between prospective student and sponsoring faculty member exists. It is an opportunity for both the applicant and the potential faculty advisor to check each other out. During this visit we are also assessing the student’s ability to communicate about science, engage constructively in scientific critique and discussion, work collaboratively in a research lab or group, and conduct themselves in a professional manner.

Please note that the Geology Graduate Program only accepts students for whom the program and/or faculty advisor can provide academic year funding in the form of a Teaching Assistant (TA) and/or Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) stipend or other fellowship. Academic year GSRs and summer GSR stipends are provided by the faculty advisor. Therefore, the number of admitted applicants will be limited by the funding resources available.

Offers of admission to the Geology Graduate Program are generally sent out approximately one week following the recruitment weekend visit.

Please direct any questions regarding admission to the Geology Graduate Program to the Graduate Program Coordinator at 530-752-9100 or

We wish you every success!