Admissions Process

Below we provide details on the inner works of the admissions process we use to help applicants understand better what is going on at each stage of the process.  

Step 1: Prospective students use the internet to learn about different graduate programs and identify HSGG as a possible venue. Visit the website of the UC Davis Office of Graduate Studies to learn the official Steps to Applying.

Step 2: Prospective students use the HSGG website to learn about faculty who may have common research foci, and then investigate the faculty of interest more using faculty’s individual web pages and publications.  Once the online information is exhausted, then you should contact individual faculty to introduce yourself and learn if they are taking new students in the coming fall.  You are encouraged to include your resume in your initial contact email and to personalize your message to demonstrate your understanding of the faculty’s research and teaching in relation to your own interests.  There is nothing more discouraging in the process for a faculty member than receiving a form-letter email that clearly demonstrates no understanding of who the faculty member is and what s/he is an expert on. If an applicant lacks the energy and ability to engage a faculty member knowledgeably, then that is an indicator that they will not perform well as a graduate student.

Step 3: Prospective student submits an online application and arranges for all required documents to be sent to UC Davis.  Transcripts from every higher education institution must be submitted, among other things. HSGG cannot make an admissions decision until your application is complete.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that their application is complete. 

Step 4: UC Davis fellowship and scholarship applications must be complete and received by January 4 for an applicant to be considered for a variety of potential fellowships.  This deadline does not apply to fellowships granted directly by HSGG or to research-driven funding from external sponsors to our faculty.

Step 5: As soon as an application is submitted online, it is available for individual HSGG faculty to review.

Step 6: The HSGG admissions committee ranks fellowship applications and submits rankings to Graduate Studies by required deadline.

Step 7: The HSGG admissions committee ranks all HSGG applications by mid-January. This ranking determines which applicants will be invited to the Showcase. As more applications come in, these are slotted into the existing rankings, but they may be too late to invite for the Showcase.  Other students may visit HSGG on their own or at the request and funding of an individual faculty member.

Step 8: Unqualified applicants who do not meet University and HSGG admissions requirements are identified in applicant rankings.

Step 9: LAWR hosts the “Graduate Showcase” for the highest ranked applicants in mid February.

Step 10: The general application deadline is April 30.

Step 11: The Applicant rankings are sent to all HSGG faculty members periodically as they are updated in February and March for consideration as a guide to faculty to help them decide who to choose to accept.  Each faculty member decides which applicants are most qualified for the specific research projects they have funding for.  Most students have their educations funded by research grants from individual faculty.

Step 12: Applicants check with potential faculty mentors to learn what their admissions decisions are.  Faculty may contact their top-choice students with more information, funding updates, questions, and/or further encouragement to accept at UC Davis.

Step 13: The general deadline to apply for HSGG admissions for the following fall quarter is April 30.

Step 14: In March the UC Davis Office of Graduate Studies reports to HSGG the list of any applicants who have garnered a fellowship offer.  These offers are then announced to the applicant.  Most applicants are notified of their selection by April 1.

Step 15:  In accordance with Council of Graduate Schools Resolution subscribed to by UC Davis, admitted applicants cannot be required to accept admissions prior to April 15.

Step 16: Faculty inform the HSGG Admissions Committee of the list of applicants they intend to admit and mentor.  This is an ongoing process March through June.  HSGG encourages faculty to review all relevant applications and make timely decisions. If an applicant does not hear anything during this time, it most likely means that no faculty have the funding to pay for the applicant's education.

Step 17: The HSGG Admissions Committee works with individual faculty to use HSGG fellowship funds as part of funding packages for students to be admitted.

Step 18: HSGG notifies Graduate Studies of students to be admitted on an ongoing basis during February through June. The final decision on admission is the responsibility of the Dean of Graduate Studies upon recommendation of the HSGG. Graduate Studies sends formal admissions letters.  HSGG sends offer letters explaining the details of who the faculty mentor will be, what the funding offer is, and what other sources of potential funding exist.

Step 19: As applicants accept or reject offers and as new research funding becomes more certain, faculty may accept more students.  Consequently, qualified students may continue to be considered through June.

Step 20: By June 30 all students are either admitted or rejected.