Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Admission to the MAE Graduate Program

Welcome and thank you for your interest in our program! We strive to make this web page as comprehensive as possible in addressing questions that you may have regarding the admission process. Nevertheless, please feel free to contact the individuals listed at the end of this page if your question is not addressed here. We look forward to receiving your application.

Apply Here!

Application Deadlines:

We accept applications for Fall Quarter start only. Deadlines for Fall 2019 are listed below.  We do not accept applications for Winter or Spring start.

Priority Deadline: For full consideration for Financial Aid, all materials due by December 15, 2018.

General Deadline: January 5, 2019

Space Available Deadline (Applicants who submit their graduate application 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 reviewing Priority and General Deadline applicants.): April 1, 2019

Application Requirements for Fall 2019:

  1. Graduate Application (all parts of the application must be completed)
  2. Application Fee: $105.00 Domestic, $125.00 International. Note: students who have participate din or are affiliated with certain programs (e.g. CAMP, LSAMP, UC LEADS, McNair Scholars) may be eligible for a fee waiver. See the Graduate 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.

ALL application requirements must be submitted before an application will be reviewed.

Frequently Asked Questions:


General Questions about admission to the MAE graduate program

Do you admit students to the Certificate, M.Eng or D. Eng programs?

No. We currently only consider applications to the MS Plan 1 (thesis), MS Plan 2 (coursework/exam) and Ph.D. programs.

Do you admit students in Winter or Spring Quarters?

No, we only admit students for the Fall Quarter. However, after gaining admission for the fall, it is sometimes possible to request a deferment of enrollment until the Winter, Spring, or the following Fall Quarter, if circumstances prevent you from starting on time. Approval is not automatic; a sound reason for requesting the deferral must be given.

Can you give me an idea of my chances for admission?

As a matter of policy, we do not provide pre-evaluation of applications to our graduate program. Please read these Admissions FAQs to help you determine if you meet the requirements for admission. Please remember that in a large and competitive applicant pool, many applicants who meet all requirements will not be offered admission.

How many people are usually admitted into the program?

We reviewed 413 applications for admission in Fall 2017 (151 PhD applications and 262 MS applications). About one third of the PhD and MS applicants were offered admission.

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Requirements for the Ph.D. program

Do I need a MS to be eligible to apply to the Ph.D.?

No. Applicants intending to pursue a Ph.D. degree should apply directly to this program, even if an M.S. degree has not yet been obtained (note the GPA requirement below).

What is the GPA requirement for the Ph.D. program?

Applicants to the Ph.D. program should have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.5 (out of 4.0). A graduate GPA of at least 3.5 (out of 4.0) will also meet our minimum GPA qualifications.

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Information for applicants without a BS degree in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

I have a BS degree in a different major. Can I still apply?

The MAE admissions committee is primarily looking for individuals who have demonstrated excellent academic achievement in mechanical and aerospace engineering. However, we know that outstanding applicants with an undergraduate major in a related field (electrical engineering, mathematics, physics, etc.) can also be successful in our program, so you can still apply.


General questions about application materials

How do I submit an online application for fall?

The online application is available at the Graduate Studies website.

How do I pay the application fee?

The fee may be paid by credit card or e-check. The fee must be paid before the application is considered complete, and the fee must be paid for each application submitted (if applying for more than one graduate program). The application fee is $105 for the domestic application and $125 for the international application.

How do I submit 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   DO NOT send transcripts or other material via mail unless specifically asked to.

What should I include in my statement of purpose?

The statement of purpose plays a critical role in the review of an application. It should be well written and free from technical errors. It should define your background, and the interests and experiences that qualify you for graduate study. It must explicitly state your areas of interest for graduate study and detail how the program at UC Davis will help you attain your educational and research goals. The statement should reflect that you understand the on-going research in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at UC Davis and explain why you are qualified to contribute to that research.

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Questions about GPA

What are the GPA requirements?

For applicants to our MS program, our GPA criteria are those of the Office of Graduate Studies; “A minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent) from the institution where you have earned or will earn your bachelor’s degree.” It is expected that applicants to our Ph.D. program have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.50 on a 4.0 scale (or the equivalent) as well as a minimum graduate GPA of 3.50 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent) if applicable.

What are the typical GPA’s of admitted MAE students?

The average undergraduate GPA of admitted applicants to our graduate program varies from year to year but is typically around 3.5.

Are admission decisions made only on the basis of GPA and GRE scores?

No. ALL (required) material in the application package is considered in the evaluation process. All academic achievements and qualifications as measured by GPA and GRE scores bear significant weight. Nevertheless, the admissions committee will occasionally 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.

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Questions about the GRE

Am I required to take a GRE subject test?

No. Only the general test is required.

How do I submit GRE scores?

GRE scores must be sent electronically directly from Educational Testing Services (ETS) to UC Davis. Please use the following codes: Institution Code 4834 and Department Code 1502.

What are the minimum Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores required for the MAE program?

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

What are the typical GRE scores of admitted MAE students?

Average GRE scores for admitted applicants vary from year to year but are typically as follows: Verbal ~ 157, Quantitative ~163, and Analytical ~4.5.

When should I take the GRE to be considered for fall admission?

Applicants should take the GRE several months before their desired deadline to allow adequate time for processing.

How long are my GRE scores valid?

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

If I don’t provide official GRE scores with my application, will I still be evaluated for admission?

No. Official GRE scores must be submitted to the department directly from ETS in order for your application to be considered complete. Incomplete applications are not reviewed for admission.

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Questions about the TOEFL/IELTS

Do I need to submit TOEFL scores?

Applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL, unless they have earned or will be earning a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university or a foreign college of university which provides instruction only in English.  See the Graduate Studies website for more information.

How do I submit TOEFL scores?

TOEFL scores must be sent electronically, directly to UC Davis using the following codes: Institution code 4834 and Department code 68.

What are the minimum TOEFL scores required?

The University of California, Davis requires a score of at least 550 paper based test and a score of at least 80 on the Internet based test.

What are the typical TOEFL scores of admitted MAE students?

Average TOEFL scores for admitted students vary from year to year but are typically around 600 (paper based) and 90 (internet based).

How long are my TOEFL scores acceptable?

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

If I don’t provide original TOEFL scores with my application, will I still be evaluated for admission?

No. Official scores must be submitted to the department directly from ETS in order for your application to be considered complete. Incomplete applications are not reviewed for admission.

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


How long are my IELTS scores valid?

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

What are the minimum scores required on the IELTS?

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

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Questions about letters of recommendation

How do I submit letters of recommendation?

Letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically through the online application. The online application system will automatically notify the referee and provide instructions on how to submit their letter. Letters not submitted electronically will not be reviewed.

How many letters of recommendation can I submit?

We are unable to accept more than three letters of recommendation and an application with less than three letters of recommendation will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.

Do all letter writers need to be from academic sources?

It is highly recommended that at least two letters of recommendation are from professors or instructors who are familiar with the applicant’s academic potential.

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Information for international students

How many international Master’s degree students are typically admitted?

In 2017, 40% of admitted students were international students.

I am an international student and have questions about my visa, where should I go?

Please visit the Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) website. A major role for SISS is to assist international students and scholars with visa and immigration issues while they are at UC Davis. In addition to preparing the necessary documents to apply for a U.S. visa, SISS assists international students and scholars in maintaining their legal status while in the United States. SISS also provides orientation, assistance, information, and referral to international students, faculty, and researchers regarding financial, personal, cultural, and academic concerns.

Should I send in my financial paperwork for my visa with my application materials?

No, please do not send any financial paperwork to the department.  We do not process the financial paperwork at the department level.

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Information on contacting MAE Faculty

Can I contact faculty?

Yes. First, please be sure to visit the faculty contact information webpage and research those faculty with whom you wish to contact. In your e-mail, please be specific about your interest in their research or laboratory. Professors receive a large number of inquiries about admissions each year and may not reply if they do not have any available positions.

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Financial Aid Information

Do I need to submit a FAFSA?

All applicants who are US citizens, permanent residents or immigrants should submit a FAFSA as early as possible. The FAFSA 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 the deadline automatically disqualifies you from receiving any federal aid.

Do you support all of your incoming students?

We strive to provide financial support to our graduate students, but it is not always possible. Financial support can be obtained in the form of a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) position provided by the individual faculty member with whom the student chooses to work, depending on if the research is funded and if the grant/contract permits it. Financial support can also be obtained in the form of a Teaching Assistant (TA) position, depending on the availability of positions and student qualifications. Financial support is contingent on academic record, abilities in teaching and/or research, and availability of funds. In general, students will not find out if they receive a department fellowship or TA position until they are admitted.

What type of funding is available to new students?

Financial support for first-year graduate students may take one or more of four forms: Department and Internal Campus Fellowships, Graduate Student Research (GSR) positions, Teaching Assistantships (TA), and Readerships.  Not everyone is funded.

What is a department fellowship?

Departmental fellowships are awarded primarily on the basis of scholarship and the promise of outstanding academic and professional achievement. They are competitive, and vary widely with regard to stipend and/or tuition support they offer. About eight departmental fellowships are available and consideration is automatic upon completion and submission of the admission application. No separate application necessary.

What is a Graduate Student Research (GSR) position and how do I get one?

GSR’s 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 contact information webpage) to discuss possible research funding opportunities. Research Assistantships of at least 25% appointment provide full remission of fees and Non-Resident tuition. A monthly salary is also earned.

What is a Teaching Assistantship (TA) position and how do I apply for one?

TA positions are assigned for the upcoming academic year from a competitive pool of applications consisting of both current and new students. Once you have been admitted to the program, the department will send you a TA application. Typical responsibilities of a TA include running discussion or lab sections, supervising laboratory experiments, grading of lab reports, etc. TA positions in the MAE are typically 25% appointments which include partial remission of in-state fees (does not cover non-resident supplemental tuition) and a monthly salary.

How do I apply for a Readership?

When you apply for a TAship this automatically puts you in the running for a readership. There is no separate application process.

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UCD Fees and Tuition

What are the estimated yearly expenses for a graduate student?

Here are two websites that may offer information about the cost of attending UC Davis:

Tuition and Fees

Cost of Attendance

Is there funding available for non-resident supplemental tuition (NRST)?

Students at the University of California, Davis who are not California residents, are required to pay NRST. For international and non-California students, NRST often poses the greatest financial difficulty. For international students there is a reduction in NRST following advancement to candidacy for the PhD degree (after completing the qualifying exam). US citizens and permanent residents often become California residents after one year of study.

How do I establish California residency?

Domestic students (US citizens and permanent residents) may be eligible for California residency after one year if certain requirements are met. After residency is established, a student is no longer required to pay non-resident supplemental tuition. All students, regardless of residency status, pay educational fees. All questions regarding California residency must be directed to the Residency Deputy in the Office of the Registrar. For information, visit:

Certain non-resident students may qualify for in-state fees and a waiver of non-resident tuition if they attended at least three years and graduated from a California high school. International students on F-1 or J-1 visas cannot establish California residency and therefore are assessed non-resident supplemental tuition until they pass their qualifying exam and advance to candidacy. Some students on other visas may qualify for California residency after 12 months, but full time student status may violate visa provisions. All visa questions should be referred to Services for International Students and Scholars (

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I’m thinking of applying and I’d like to visit.

I’d like to visit the department before I apply, how can I make arrangements?

We strongly believe one of our best recruiting tools is a visit to our campus, so we welcome visitors! We encourage all prospective applicants to visit UC Davis any time of the year. We try to arrange appointments with representative faculty and a tour of our research facilities for each interested candidate. In addition, we attempt to arrange some time for applicants to meet with current graduate students. The department does not perform an interview as part of the admission process, and visiting the department will not influence the admission decision. Please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator to make arrangements.  Please allow for time for the department to arrange.

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I’ve just been admitted and I have questions.

I’d like to visit campus before I decide if I want to attend UCD. How do I arrange a visit?

We encourage all prospective students to visit UC Davis. We will try to arrange appointments with representative faculty and a tour of our research facilities for each visitor. In addition, we attempt to arrange some time for applicants to meet with current graduate students. Please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator to make arrangements.


When should I plan to arrive in Davis?

Most leases in Davis begin the first of September, but the academic quarter does not begin until the end of September. It is strongly recommended that you arrive in Davis well before Orientation. You will need time to settle into your new home, find a bicycle, figure out where things are, etc. before classes begin.

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Who should I contact if I still have questions?

Lisa Ronco
Graduate Program Coordinator

Paul Erickson
Faculty Advisor for Graduate Admissions