General Advice for Graduate School Applications

The students of the Animal Behavior Graduate Group (ANB, sometimes called the ABGG) have written a helpful blog post in The Ethogram about the overall process of applying to graduate school. This includes information that is not included in the official application instructions, like how to contact potential mentors before you apply. This is highly-recommended reading:  So, you want to go to grad school?  

Application Deadline

The Animal Behavior Graduate Group (ANB) accepts applications for fall quarter admission only. ANB accepts applications for the Ph.D. program only.

Program application deadline is December 1.

Application Process - What You Need to Know

The application for admission is exclusively available online through the online application system. To access the online application, use this link: http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/prospective-students/admissions-application.

  • UC Davis uses the online application only. No paper materials (other than transcripts) will be accepted or reviewed.
  • Apply early! Don't wait until the last day. Once the deadline passes and the application closes, it can't be reopened.

Application Elements

Your application will not be considered complete until ANB receives all of the following items. The Admissions Committee starts reviewing applications immediately after the application deadline so it is to your benefit if all items are received by the deadline or as close to the deadline as possible.

Application fee. The fee may be paid by credit card or e-check. The fee must be paid before your application will be considered complete, and the fee must be paid for each application you submit.

Letters of Recommendation. Three letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically through the online application's letter submission system.

  • UC Davis does not have the ability to accept letters through Interfolio or other electronic letter services. Hard copy letters will not be reviewed.
  • Have your recommenders' contact information ready while you're filling out the online application. You will be prompted to input this information while completing the application. Once you enter this information, the online application system will send your recommenders an email invitation to upload your letters.
  • If they do not receive it, ask them to check their spam folder. You may also resend the invitation through the online application system.
  • To avoid delays, set-up your recommenders in the online application system and send the letter submission invitations well in advance of the December 1 application deadline.
  • It takes two to three days business days after your recommenders submit your letters for the letters to load into UC Davis' application review database.
  • Many letter writers are very busy as fall semesters/quarters end and during the holiday season. As the application deadline approaches, follow up with any letter writers that haven't submitted your letters before your institution closes for the holidays.
  • A Confirmed Major Professor: Prior to admission, an ABGG faculty member in good standing must confirm that he/she is willing to act as the student’s faculty mentor.

Application review is performed by an Admissions Committee composed of three to four ABGG faculty members (volunteers appointed by the Chair of the ABGG) and one graduate student (elected by the ABGG graduate students). Shortly after the deadline for applications, files are reviewed and ranked by the Admissions Committee. Based on academic accomplishment and potential, this committee determines which of the applicants can be admitted into the group. Simultaneously, faculty members examine the files to identify students whom they are willing to sponsor. No student will be admitted to the group unless at least one faculty member in good standing indicates that they are willing to act as that student's major professor. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you contact potential major professors to discuss joining their lab before you apply to the program.

Transcripts. UC Davis requires academic records from each college-level institution you have attended.  You will be instructed to upload scanned copies of your transcripts after you have submitted your online application.  For more details visit https://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/submit-transcripts.

GRE scores. Please use these codes for reporting electronic scores from the Graduate Record Examination General Test. Institution Code: 4834 and Department code: 2010.

  • There is no department code titled "Animal Behavior." Instead, use department code 2010, titled "Physiological Psychology".
  • Be sure to retain your copy of your GRE scores for your records.

TOEFL or IELTS scores (International students only). Please use these codes for reporting electronic scores from the TOEFL or IELTS exam: Institution code: 4834 and Department code: 58.

Personal History and Statement of Purpose. Include your full statement of purpose and personal history in the appropriate fields on the online application.

  • The ANB cannot accept these items on paper so please include both of these essays on the online application.

Curriculum Vitae/Resume. Please upload your current curriculum vitae or resume when prompted to do so by the online application.

Fellowship Application

All applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a fellowship application with their application for admission. Once you submit the online admissions application, you will be prompted to complete a fellowship application. Learn more about financial assistance here.

Ready to apply? Download our convenient admissions checklist to help you collect and submit all the elements of your application.

Visit Grad Studies website to begin the application process

The graduate group cannot review an application until all of the above components are received.