Civil and Environmental Engineering

Graduate Program Admissions

Thank you for your interest in our program!

Welcome!  The CEE Graduate Program at UC Davis provides a setting in which students can develop their full potential to solve problems and become leaders in civil infrastructure and environmental engineering through individual and collaborative integration of research, education and professional service. We are a highly-ranked, vibrant program where students can develop knowledge through topical classroom experiences and with faculty and students who together carry out innovative research that aims to improve society. Our program values diversity as a core component of excellence. We believe that a diverse graduate student population enriches our research, scholarship, teaching, and the overall academic experience for all our students.

Students in CEE focus on one of five areas of specialization: Environmental Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Structural Engineering and Structural Mechanics, Water Resources, and Transportation Engineering

Below you will find requirements for admissions to our program and information about each aspect of the application. We thank you for your interest in our program, and we look forward to hearing from you. For a list of Frequently Asked Questions, please click here.

Applications for the 2018-19 academic year are now open. You can find further information on how to apply here.

Degrees Offered

The CEE Program offers graduate M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering. You can find about specific faculty research interests here and a list of the courses offered in the CEE department here. More information about specific degree requirements is available here.

The MS Degree

There are two pathways to achieve an MS degree. These are:

  • MS Plan I – Thesis: The MS I pathway requires that, in addition to 27 units of graded coursework, students engage in substantial, independent research that culminates in the writing of a Thesis. The MS I degree pathway is for students who have a strong interest in gaining or expanding their research experience. The ability to participate in the MS I pathway requires concurrence of a faculty member, either prior to or after arrival at UCD.
  • MS Plan II – Exam or Project: The MS II pathway requires students take 34 units of graded coursework, predominately at the graduate level. In addition, as a culminating experience students will take either a written comprehensive exam or complete a project (developed in consultation with their Major Professor). The MS II pathway is for students who are interested in expanding their knowledge in their area of specialization. Students on the MS II pathway may, with the support of a faculty member, transfer to the MS I (thesis) pathway.

The Ph.D. Degree

The Ph.D. degree is for those students who have a major interest in developing deep knowledge of and performing independent, extensive research in their area of specialization, conducted in close collaboration with faculty. Students may apply directly to the Ph.D. program whether or not they have already obtained an MS degree, and many students start at UCD on the MS pathway and later transition to the Ph.D. program. Admission to the Ph.D. program is highly competitive, and requires the support of a faculty member. If you are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. degree, it is recommended that you contact faculty members who have research interests that align with yours.

Application Process

All applicants must indicate an area of specialization on the application from among:  Environmental Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering,  Structural Engineering and Structural Mechanics, Water Resources, and Transportation Engineering.

Required Application Materials for Fall 2018:

1. Graduate Application, Statement of Purpose and Personal History

2.  Application Fee:  $105 Domestic, $125 International. Note: students who have participated in or are affiliated with certain programs (e.g. CAMP, LSAMP, UC LEADS, McNair Scholars) may be eligible for a fee wavier. See the Grad Studies website for details.

3.  GRE Scores

4.  Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended

5.  Three Letters of Recommendation

6.  TOEFL or IELTS score (for nationals of non-English-speaking countries) Note:  minimum score required is 550 on paper-based TOEFL, or 80 on internet-based TOEFL, or 7.0 on IELTS.

Application Guidelines

  • The application fee is $105 for the domestic application and $125 for the international. The fee may be paid by Visa, Mastercard or e-check. The fee must be paid before the application will be considered as complete, and the fee must be paid for each application submitted.
  • 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 must be sent electronically to Institution code 4834. A specific department code is not necessary.
  • TOEFL scores must be sent electronically to Institution code 4834 and Department code 65.
  • Letters of Recommendation must be submitted electronically by the referee through the online application. Please do not have recommenders send letters in hard copy, but rather to submit all recommendations online through the online service. The online application will automatically notify the referee and provide instructions on how to submit the letter.

Domestic applicants are strongly urged to submit a completed FAFSA during the application process.  This form is used to assess your eligibility for financial assistance from  federal sources.  It should be submitted even if you are not applying for any federal grants yourself, as the department sometimes has fellowship aid from federal sources that you might be eligible for. Failure to file the FAFSA by its deadline automatically disqualifies you from receiving any federal aid.

All application and admission inquiries can be sent to the Civil and Environmental Engineering Staff at ceeghelp@ucdavis.edu.

Deadlines and Admission Schedule

It is the policy of UC Davis to only admit graduate students for first enrollment in the Fall Quarter.  Early application is encouraged; initial admission decisions begin in January and admissions are limited.
Application deadlines:

Priority Deadline – 12/15/2017
Prospective Student Fellowship Deadline – 12/15/2017
General Deadline – 2/1/2018
Space Available Deadline – 6/1/2018

*Applicants who apply by the Space Available Deadline (but after the General Deadline) are not guaranteed to have their application reviewed by the graduate program. Their application will be reviewed only if the graduate program determines that they have additional space available.

After gaining admission for the Fall, it is sometimes possible to request a deferment of enrollment until the Winter or Spring Quarter, if circumstances prevent you from starting in the Fall.  Approval is not automatic; a sound reason must be given. Under rare circumstances, the department will accept applications after the deadlines. Your chances for late admission increase if a faculty member in the department has expressed an interest in you joining the program or their research group.

Admission Criteria

Admission is competitive. Your undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better, graduating institution, your GRE scores, and your letters of recommendation will all be evaluated by a committee of faculty in the department, including at least one professor from your area of specialization.  While all of these components of your application are important, there is no substitute for a strong undergraduate GPA. For those students interested in the MS I or Ph.D. degrees, research experience is a plus.

Occasionally, the admissions committee will recommend admission for an applicant whose GPA and/or GRE scores would not normally warrant admission.  This may happen if other aspects of the applicant’s  background which are not reflected in the GPA and/or GRE scores  strongly indicate a potential for success in our graduate program. A typical example is extensive and relevant work experience with excellent performance.  Under these circumstances, the student may be admitted on a “Course Work Only” (CWO) basis initially. While in CWO status, the student may not hold an academic appointment (i.e. a Teaching Assistantship or a Research Assistantship).  During the quarters spent in CWO status, the student must fulfill an agreement with the department that is made upon admission. This agreement usually involves a specified level of performance in a list of courses.

Applicants who already have an MS degree in civil engineering from another  institution are admitted to pursue a PhD degree. Admission into our PhD program is based, in part, on the availability of a faculty member to serve as the student’s major professor in the area of specialization proposed by the applicant.

Financial Support

Financial support for first-year graduate students may take one or more of four forms:  Fellowships, Graduate Student Research positions (GSR), Teaching Assistantships (TA), and Readerships.

All graduate applicants who are US citizens, permanent residents or immigrants should file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as possible. This form, submitted directly to the Federal Student Aid Program Office, Iowa City, Iowa, is used to determine financial need only, a component of the eligibility criteria for many fellowships, and for all forms of financial aid.  The FAFSA can be obtained from the Financial Aid Office or by accessing the free FAFSA Web site .

Fellowships are competitive and vary widely with regard to stipend and/or tuition support they offer.  In addition, UC Davis offers a special graduate opportunity program for qualified minority and/or economically disadvantaged students that offers a twelve month stipend based on financial need, as determined by the Financial Aid Office.

Graduate Student Research positions are based on research grant funding, and are arranged with individual faculty members. Applicants interested in a GSR position should make early contact with individual faculty members in their areas of interest (see faculty web pages) to discuss possible research funding opportunities. GSR positions are primarily available to MS I and Ph.D. students. Graduate Student Research positions provide full remission of the in-state fees and the non-resident supplemental tuition (NRST).

Teaching Assistant positions are allocated by the department, include partial remission of instate fees, and are normally awarded only to domestic students.  Readerships involve marking homework solutions submitted by students, and are arranged with individual instructors prior to the beginning of each quarter.  Readerships are hourly positions, and include partial fee remissions for in-state fees.  Readership positions should not be considered as a sole means of support.

For international and non-California students, non-resident tuition often poses the greatest financial difficulties. TAs, Readerships and regular fellowships do not necessarily include support for out-of-state tuition.  Full or partial Non-Resident Tuition Fellowships (NRTF) may be offered by the department. US citizens and permanent residents are expected to become California residents after one year of study.  For international students there is a a waiver of the non-resident tuition for three years following advancement to candidacy for the PhD degree (after completing the qualifying exam).

Additional questions can be directed to ceeghelp@ucdavis.edu

 

Frequently Asked Questions

The links below will direct you to answers regarding various aspects of the application process.

General Admissions Questions

Application Deadlines

Application Materials

GPA

GRE

TOEFL/IELTS

Transcripts

Letters of Recommendation

Financial Aid

 


General Admissions Questions

Q. What are my chances of being accepted into the Civil and Environmental Engineering Program?

A. Students are reviewed based on their entire application including their statement of purpose, personal history statement, cumulative grade point average of degrees earned, transcripts, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and TOEFL/IELTS scores. Please read these Admissions FAQs to help you determine if you meet the requirements for admission.

 

Q. When are admissions decisions made?

A. Our admission decisions are released on a rolling basis. Typically, the majority of our admissions decisions will be released between March and May.

 

Q. How many students typically apply to the CEE Department at UC Davis and how many are offered admission?

A.

Ph.D. Submitted Ph.D. Admitted M.S. Submitted M.S. Admitted Total  Submitted Total Admitted
2014 234 41 502 207 736 248
2015 241 31 469 195 710 226
2016 199 35 448 198 647 233

 

Q: Do I need to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering to apply?

A: No, a previous degree in engineering is not required for admission, and there are not any required course prerequisites. If you are admitted without a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in engineering, you would be required to take some background courses to help you prepare for the graduate level work – those courses are listed on page 8 of this Guidance Manual For Graduate Students and their Advisors .

In this situation, some students will be admitted directly into the program, while others may be admitted on a “Course Work Only” basis initially where you would fulfill an agreement with the department which usually involves a specified level of performance in a list of courses, after which you would transition to be a degree seeking student.

 

Q. As an Undergraduate student, I lack work experience. Will this affect my chances of getting admitted?

A. Work experience is not a minimum qualification for admission. Applications are reviewed holistically by the faculty, and any work experience is one factor that may be considered (other factors might include internships, student leadership, research, competitions, awards, publication, etc.). Lacking work experience alone will not automatically decrease your chance of being admitted into our program.

 

Q. I am applying for the PhD program, how do I find a faculty member who is willing to serve as my PhD Faculty Adviser?

A.  Students are welcome to contact a faculty member they are interested in working with. Once you have applied, you may contact the faculty member to express your interest and state that you have completed your application for review. Faculty members typically will wait until they have reviewed a student’s completed application before they confirm their willingness to serve as an adviser.

 

Q. Can I apply to start in the Winter or Spring quarter?

A. No. We only have one admission cycle each year. If admitted to a Fall term, a student can request to defer to a later term (up to one year).

 

Q. I was admitted to the program. Can I request to defer my admission?

A. Students can request to defer up to one year. Please contact the graduate program coordinator to discuss this option.

 

Q. How long does it generally take for students to complete the MS or PhD program?

A. In 2013, the average Time-to-Degree for a Master’s – Plan I (thesis option) was 2.28 years, the average Time-to-Degree for a Master’s – Plan II (exam option) was 1.76 years, and the average Time-to-Degree for a Doctorate was 5.84 years.

Q. Should I be in contact with any of the faculty members at this time?

A. We encourage students to reach out to a faculty member they would be interested in working with after submitting their application. Many of our faculty will wait to see a students’ full application prior to engaging in a more detailed conversation about admission and our program. Prior to reaching out to a faculty member, please be sure to do some research about which faculty has research interests that align with your own. You can start the search on the page that corresponds to your general research interests here: http://cee.engr.ucdavis.edu/research/ Please note: Our faculty members do receive a high volume of inquiries from prospective students, and may not be able to respond to all; please be courteous of our faculty time. All general inquiries should be directed to the program staff.

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Application Deadlines

Q. When are applications due?

A. December 15: Priority Deadline. January 15: Student Fellowship Deadline. February 1: General Deadline. June 1: If space remains available, we will consider applications until this deadline.  We do not consider incomplete applications for admission.

 

Q. What if I turn in my application by the deadline, but my letters of recommendation or test scores arrive late?

A. Our Department cannot mark your application as complete until we have all your application materials, including letters of recommendation, transcripts and test scores. Your application will be considered as soon as it is marked complete – if this is after the deadline, other applicants will be considered and admitted before your application is reviewed. If your application is not complete with all materials submitted by Jan. 5th, you will not be considered for any of the UC Davis campus wide fellowships.

 

Q. What are the deadlines for Winter and Spring admission?

A. We only accept applications for Fall quarter admission. If you wish to begin during Winter or Spring quarter, you must apply for Fall admission. If accepted you can request to begin early or defer your admission for up to one year. Such requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

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Application Materials

Q. How much does it cost to submit an application?

A. The cost is $105 for domestic applicants and $125 for international applicants. See the application for payment details.

 

Q. Can I apply for a fee waiver?

A. There are circumstances in which applicants are eligible to apply for a fee waiver. You should view the information available on the Office of Graduate Studies website for more information regarding a fee waiver: gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/prospective-students/admissions-application/steps-applying

 

Q. What should I include in my Statement of Purpose and Personal History and Diversity statement?

A.  Please see the Office of Graduate Studies website for detailed descriptions of these two essays.

 

Q. What happens if I exceed the 4000-character limit?

A. The online system will only accept 4000-characters, so your application reviewers will not see anything beyond the 4000th character.

 

Q. Do I need to submit transcripts from all the schools I attended?

A. 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.

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GPA

Q. What is the minimum GPA required for admission?

A. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (out of 4.0) is required to be admitted to our program.

 

Q. What is the average GPA of admitted CEE students?

A. The average undergraduate GPA of admitted CEE students vary each year. In 2015, the average undergraduate GPA for admitted M.S. students was 3.57 (out of 4.0). The average undergraduate GPA for admitted Ph.D. students was 3.56 (out of 4.0) and the average graduate GPA was 3.71 (out of 4.0).

 

Q. Will I still be considered if my undergraduate GPA is below 3.0?

A. The 3.0 undergraduate GPA is actually a requirement of UC Davis. As our faculty complete a holistic review of our applications, there are rare cases where the faculty will recommend admission for an exceptional candidate with below a 3.0 GPA. These cases will be reviewed by the Office of Graduate Studies, who make the final admissions decision. So while this is rare, it is possible.

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GRE

Q. What are the minimum scores expected on the GRE?

A. We do not have a minimum score for the GRE since applications are reviewed holistically.  However, a low GRE score can be very detrimental to an application.

 

Q. What are the average GRE scores of admitted CEE students?

A. The average GRE scores of admitted CEE students varies each year. In 2016, the average GRE scores for M.S. students admitted to our program were: verbal 154, Quantitative 163, and Analytical writing 3.85. In 2016, the average GRE scores for Ph.D. students admitted to our program were: verbal 156, Quantitative 164, and Analytical Writing 3.68.

 

Q. Can I waive the GRE?

A. No, all students must submit GRE scores. Your application will not be considered complete without official GRE scores.

 

Q. When do I need to take the GRE?

A. Applicants should take the GRE at least one month before their desired deadline to allow adequate time for processing.

 

Q. How do I submit GRE scores?

A. GRE scores must be sent electronically directly from ETS to UC Davis. The UC Davis campus code for GRE scores is 4834. It is not necessary to list a specific department code.

 

Q. How long are my GRE scores valid?

A. GRE scores are acceptable for up to 5 years after the date of examination.

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TOEFL/IELTS

Q.  What are the minimum scores required on the TOEFL?

A. A minimum of 80 on the internet-based test and a minimum of 550 on the paper-based test are required for admission. Official scores must be sent directly from ETS. However, a score of ~100 is typically considered competitive.

 

Q. I attended and English speaking institution, do I need to submit TOEFL scores?

A.  If you received a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an accredited school in which the language of instruction was English, then you do not need to submit a TOEFL score. Please see the Graduate Studies website for more information.

 

Q. How do I submit TOEFL scores?

A. TOEFL scores must be sent electronically, directly to UC Davis.  Send scores to: Institution code 4834; Department code 65.

 

Q. How long are my TOEFL scores valid?

A. TOEFL scores are acceptable for 2 years after the date of examination.

 

Q. Can I submit an IELTS score instead of a TOEFL score?

A. Yes.

 

Q. How long are my IELTS scores valid?

A. IELTS scores are valid for 2 years after the date of examination.

 

Q. What are the minimum scores required on the IELTS?

A. A minimum BAND score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale is required for admission. Official scores must be sent directly from IELTS.

 

Q. What are the average TOEFL/IELTS scores for admitted students?

A. We do not keep statistics on TOEFL/IELTS scores. Higher TOEFL/IELTS scores can influence admission, however applications are reviewed holistically and this is only one component. Depending on your TOEFL or IELTS scores, you may be required to take an English course requirement after admission, and/or pass additional English tests to become eligible to be a Teaching Assistant.

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Transcripts

Q. Where do I submit transcripts?

A. 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. Upon admission, you will be required to submit official copies of all your transcripts.

 

Q. Do I need to submit transcripts from institutions in which I did not receive a degree?

A. Yes. UC Davis requires academic records from each college-level institution you have attended.

 

Q. What if my transcripts are missing my final grades?

A. It is okay to submit an incomplete transcript if you are still completing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree (or other coursework).  If you are admitted you will be required to submit a final degree transcript.

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Letters of Recommendation

Q. How do I submit letters of recommendation?

A. Letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically through the online application.

 

Q. Can I submit hard copies of letters of recommendation?

A. No. Hard copies of letters of recommendation are not accepted by the CEE Department. Letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically by the referee through the online application.

 

Q. How will the recommender be notified about the letter of recommendation?

A. The online application system will automatically notify the referee and provide instructions on how to submit their letter.

 

Q. How many letters of recommendation can I submit?

A. Three letters of recommendation are required to complete your application. We are unable to accept more than three letters of recommendation, and less than three letters will result in an incomplete application.

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Financial Aid

Q. Do I need to submit a FAFSA?

A. All applicants who are US citizens, permanent residents or immigrants should submit a completed FAFSA as early as possible. The FAFSA is used to assess your eligibility for financial assistance from federal sources. Failure to file a FAFSA by the deadline of March 2nd automatically disqualifies students from receiving any federal aid.

 

Q. Do students receive funding from the department?

A. The department recognizes that providing financial aid is necessary in recruiting the best students. Thus, top admitted students will be offered financial aid packages.  In order to be considered for UC Davis Campus Fellowships, make sure to submit a completed admission application and fellowship application by January 5th.

 

Q. How many students receive funding from the department?

A. The amount of students who receive funding from the department vary each year. In 2013, 61% of MS students and 84% of PhD students were funded in some way.

 

Q. What type of funding is available to new students?

A. First-year graduate students may receive financial support from Department and Internal Campus Fellowships, Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) positions, Teaching Assistantships (TA), and Readerships.

 

Q. What is a department fellowship?

A.  Students who demonstrate scholarship and the promise of outstanding academic and professional achievement may be awarded departmental fellowships.  These fellowships are competitive and vary regarding the type (stipend and/or tuition support) and amount of support they offer. Consideration for department fellowships is automatic upon completion and submission of the admission application by January 5th. No separate application is necessary.

 

Q. What is a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) position?

A. GSR positions are arranged with individual faculty members and are based on research grant funding. Applicants who are interested in a GSR position should contact individual faculty members in their areas of interest to discuss possible research funding opportunities. GSR appointments of at least 25% provide full remission of fees and Non-Resident tuition.

 

Q. What is a Teaching Assistantship (TA)?

A. TA responsibilities include running discussion sections, supervising laboratory experiments, grading, etc. These positions are typically 25% appointments which include partial remission of in-state fees.

 

Q. What is a Readership?

A. Readers grade homework, labs, exams, etc. These positions are typically 25% appointments which include partial remission of in-state fees.

 

Q. I’m an international student, am I eligible for Internal Campus Fellowships?

A. Yes. Please review each Fellowships eligibility criteria on the Graduate Studies website. Only United States Citizens and Permanent Residents are eligible for Fellowships to Support Campus Diversity.

 

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Contact

Q. Who should I contact if I still have questions?

A.  Please contact us at ceeghelp@ucdavis.edu

 

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