Entry Requirements

Major Professor

It is required that a student identify a major professor who is a faculty member of the Graduate Group in Ecology, who is willing to support the student’s application, and who would be willing to accept the student into their lab. Therefore, students should contact potential major professors early and maintain consistent communication with them throughout the application process.

Eligibility Requirements


The minimum cumulative GPA required for admission to graduate study at the University of California, Davis is 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale. However, most students accepted into the Ecology Graduate Group have a GPA of at least 3.25 over their undergraduate career. The most recent scholastic record receives greater weight; only cumulative GPA's from a completed or in-progress degree are used. Students coming from universities where a GPA is not calculated are evaluated using other aspects of their file and letters bearing on class performance when available.

Students with a sub-3.0 GPA may apply to the program and can potentially be admitted into the GGE with sufficient support of a GGE faculty member. Admission requires an appeal to Graduate Studies from said faculty member. Appeals are submitted after a student has submitted their application and been recommended by the GGE for admission into a faculty member’s laboratory.


Courses listed below are prerequisites for admission into the Graduate Group in Ecology. Students with course deficiencies should satisfy them prior to starting their graduate work at UC Davis (community colleges are often a good option). In rare cases where deficiencies remain, they must be addressed at the earliest possible time following a student’s arrival at UC Davis. Delayed completion of entrance requirements sets students behind and should be avoided whenever possible. The program tracks deficiencies and when they are completed.

If an entrance course taken at a past university or community college was deemed inadequate during the application and admission process, an appeal may be made to the GGE office. This process requires documentation including a course syllabus and/or course description that will be reviewed by the GGE Chair and GGE Staff Graduate Coordinator. 

Please note, courses listed are UC Davis equivalents. The course designations listed below correspond to UC Davis courses. 

  • Introductory Biology: 1 course from the following options: Biological Science 2A, B, C, or equivalent if taken elsewhere
  • Introduction to Chemistry: 1 course General Chemistry 2A or B or equivalent if taken elsewhere
  • Physical Science: 1 course: Principles of Physics 1A or B; or equivalent if taken elsewhere; or 1 upper division course for which physics is a prerequisite.  
  • Calculus: Mathematics 19A Short Calculus or equivalent if taken elsewhere
  • Statistics: Statistics 13 Elementary Statistics or equivalent if taken elsewhere
  • Introduction to Ecology: ESP 100 General Ecology or EVE 101 Introduction to Ecology or equivalent if taken elsewhere. It's very important that this requirement is satisfied prior to entrance in the program, it is required for Ecology 200 A,B courses, normally taken in the first year. Although ESP 100 or EVE 101 may be taken concurrently with Ecology 200A, students without a prior grounding in ecological concepts may be at a disadvantage.