Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take Food Science classes without being enrolled in the graduate or undergraduate program?

Yes, students may enroll through Open Campus via UC Davis Extension on the first day of class on a space-available basis, and with instructor permission. Note that to minimally understand our courses you must have completed course work or training equivalent to the listed course prerequisites.

Where else can I obtain training without being enrolled in the graduate or undergraduate program?

Students unable to come to campus for a full degree program may consider taking one or more "short courses" through UC Davis Extension. Courses range in duration from one day to three weeks and are completely separate from the courses offered through UC Davis. Note that short courses do not carry university credit and thus cannot be applied to a degree program. In addition, UC Davis Extension offers a Certificate Program in Applied Sensory and Consumer Science Certificate Program for distance learners.

I have a Bachelor's degree in an unrelated field, can I just apply for a second Bachelor's in Food Science?

No. The University of California has established a policy no longer allowing second Bachelor's degrees. However, a significant number of our Master's students have Bachelor's degrees from outside the field, and applicants looking to re-train from other fields or careers are welcome.

Does the Graduate Group require applicants to contact faculty before submitting an application?


Can I fulfill the prerequisite coursework once I begin the program?

The background coursework checklists are extensive and includes coursework that may not be available at every instutution. Not all prerequisites need to be complete by the time of application, depending on the extent of science preparation as well as the intended course of specialization during your graduate work. However, the prerequisites established for admission to the program reflect two main concerns. The first is that graduate coursework is rigorous and demanding, so that fulfilling too many prerequisites once enrolled can conflict with the program coursework. Secondly, the individual courses in the program will require these prerequisites as well, and they may or may not allow concurrent enrollment, so that students will not be allowed to enroll in their needed classes without having already fulfilled them.

Which GPA is used in the application?

The minimum 3.0 GPA requirement refers to the GPA earned at the institution that awarded the Bachelor's degree.

Does the Department have a supplemental application?

No, all you need to submit is the general UC Davis graduate online application form found at

Where do I apply for funding?

The fellowship application has been incorporated into the online graduate school application process. In addition, all admitted domestic students will file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application is essential in order to qualify for many types of financial assistance including departmental or campus fellowships. Information about student loans for graduate school is available from the Financial Aid Office.

International Master’s students are not eligible for fellowship funding from the Food Science Graduate Group.

How much are UC Davis tuition and fees?

You can find the most current fees and tuition through the UC Davis Office of Budget & Institutional Analysis.

How do you qualify for California residence?

The Office of the University Registrar makes determinations as to California residence for tuition purposes, more information is available at their Tuition and Residence page. All incoming students regardless of status must submit a Statement of Legal Residence (Form SLR). International students cannot establish California residence for tuition purposes. US citizens and permanent residents are considered California residents for tuition purposes if, among other things, they can document 366 days of physical presence in California prior to the first day of instruction, and an intent to make California their permanent home. The complete set of requirements and documentation ("indicia of intent") can be found in the University of California Residence Policy and Guidelines.

How is the GRE score used?

Only the general GRE consisting of the verbal, quantitative, analytical writing sections is required. No subject test is required. The admissions committee uses the percentile information from GRE score reports.

Does the Food Science Graduate Group admit applicants for the Winter or Spring quarter?

No, the graduate group only processes applications once a year for entry in the Fall.

When will I be notified of admission?

Once a completed online application and all supporting documentation (letters of recommendation, transcripts and test scores, and application fee) have arrived, the application will be reviewed by the graduate group Admissions Committee. The Committee reviews all applications and forwards their recommendations to accept or decline applicants to the Dean of Graduate Studies, who then verifies all admission requirements have been met. Applicants have the abililty to check the status of their applications online. Applicants will be notified by the Office of Graduate Studies via electronic mail that a decision has been made and instructed to return to the online application web site to see the decision. This will come in the form of an “electronic letter”. Applicants will be notified of their admission status starting in April at the earliest, and all notifications made by late June.

Once admitted, can I defer admission?

The Admissions committee will consider requests of deferment due to hardship on a case-by-case basis.

Should I have a major professor before being admitted?

That is not necessary. In fact, the Food Science Graduate Group strongly encourages students to enter our program uncommitted to any particular lab, and to make the choice of major professor only after spending some time in residence. The Graduate Group recommends this course because it is clearly in the student's best interest. The choice of a major professor is one of the most important steps one takes in a career, and is a highly individual one. This reflects the fact that the value of one's PhD training lies in the development of a certain way of thinking about and approaching research problems, and to some extent the exact topic is less important than the quality of the interaction between the student and the major professor (as long as the project is interesting, of course!). The way one professor tackles research may be suited perfectly to one student but might be a very poor fit for another, even if both students are equally interested in the broad topics addressed by the laboratory. We therefore encourage incoming students to spend a few weeks in a series of laboratories in order to get a feel for the training environment that each provides. This process often ensures a good match that is to the benefit of the student and major professor alike.

How do students fund their program of study?

Please recognize that admission into the graduate program does not guarantee any financial support.   Admitted students are eligible for financial assistance in the form of fellowships, teaching and research assistantships, as well as scholarships after their first year of study. All domestic students should plan to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) available on-line.

International Master’s students are not eligible for fellowship funding from the Food Science Graduate Group.