Frequently Asked Questions

The following are frequently asked questions about applying for our programs. You may also refer to the Admissions FAQs page from the Office of Graduate Studies for general application help. If after reviewing our website you still have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our Graduate Program Manager.

  • What is your minimum GPA requirement?
  • 3.0/4.0 (or equivalent) undergraduate GPA or 3.5/4.0 graduate GPA. The average GPA of each new class is typically between 3.4 and 3.5.
  • Where should I have my transcript(s) sent?
  • You are not required to send hard copies of transcripts with your initial application. See

    Submitting Your Transcripts for instructions for preparing your transcript(s) for digital upload.

  • Do you require the GRE General Test?
  • No.
  • Do you require the GRE Subject Test?
  • No.
  • How do I report my GPA if my university uses a different grading scale?
  • You may report your GPA as your university would. Please do not attempt to convert your GPA from, for example, a 5.0 scale to a 4.0 scale, or if your university uses an entirely different system.
  • What is my probability of admission if I have "x" GPA, etc.?
  • Your probability of admission depends on the strength of your application relative to the current application pool, as well as when you submit all required materials (your chances are higher the earlier you apply in the season). This varies from year to year. We are unable to evaluate your credentials outside of the formal application process.
  • Does the department offer application fee waivers?
  • Application fees are only waived for applicants who have participated in or are affiliated with one or more of the graduate preparation programs listed below. Unfortunately we are not able to offer application fee waivers on any other basis (financial circumstances, participation in programs not listed below, etc.). 

    Applicants who are affiliated with these programs are required to indicate their participation AND must provide the name and contact information of their program coordinator in the "Other Information" section of the online application system. The application fee waiver will be applied immediately upon submission. Confirmation of the applicant's program participation takes place during application review.

    AGEP (Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate)
    BUILD (BUilding Infrastructure Leading to Diversity - NIH)
    Cal-Bridge Scholars
    CAMP (California Alliance for Minority Participation)
    Envision UC Davis program participants
    Gates Millennium Scholars
    GEM (National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science)
    Guardian Scholars Program (or if you have ever been in foster care)
    HSI Pathways to the Professoriate
    IMSD (Initiative for Maximizing Student Development - NIH)
    IRT (Institute for Recruitment of Teachers)
    LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation)
    MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers - NIH)
    MBRS (Minority Biomedical Research Support)
    McNair Scholars
    MMUF (Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship)
    NIH Bridges to the Baccalaureate
    NIH Bridges to the Doctorate
    PREP (Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program - NIH)
    RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement - NIH)
    Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar (CSU)
    UC Davis AB540 and Undocumented Student Center Mentorship & Professional Development (MPD)
    UC Davis College of Engineering Equity Program participants
    UC-HBCU Initiative Summer Research Program
    UC LEADS (Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees)
    UCDGAP (Graduate Admissions Pathways)
  • Who should my letters of recommendation be from?
  • Your letters should be from science-related faculty or employers who can comment on your research and academic abilities. Letters from soccer coaches or family members, for example, are not valuable and have little merit.
  • Do I need to make contact with faculty before submitting an application?
  • This is strongly encouraged if you are applying for the M.S. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry program. Applicants to the Ph.D. program, on the other hand, are welcome to inquire with various faculty members about their research, but it is not a requirement for admission. Students admitted for the Ph.D. will have the opportunity to individually meet with faculty and select a research lab to join within their first quarter in the program.
  • Do you offer a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Chemistry?
  • We do not offer a terminal M.S. degree in Chemistry. Students apply and are admitted for the Ph.D. only. You may earn a M.S. along the way to a Ph.D. or in the rare case that a Ph.D. cannot be acquired. The M.S. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry is a separate degree program with different admission requirements.
  • Do you offer rolling admissions?
  • No, students may only apply to begin their studies in the Fall. Exceptions are made only in rare circumstances.
  • If I am admitted and decide to take a year off, may I defer admission?
  • We do not offer the option of deferring admission. Exceptions may be made in rare cases of personal hardship, but you will likely be asked to reapply the following year as a new applicant. 
  • If admitted, will I have the opportunity to visit the Department?
  • Yes, we have two visitation weekends, which are typically in February and March. Students traveling from within the United States are invited to tour the department and campus, as well as meet with faculty and current students.
  • When will I receive a decision on my application?
  • Applications are reviewed only after all required materials have been received. The bulk of our offers will be extended in late December to early February.  Due to the large volume of applications we receive, denials are typically not processed until after April 15.

International Students

  • What is your minimum TOEFL score requirement?
  • 100 for the TOEFL iBT or equivalent. Applicants with a score below 90 are unlikely to be considered.  Strong English proficiency is critically important in order to be an effective TA to the large and diverse number of undergraduate students who enroll in our courses. We do not have minimum score requirements for individual sections on the TOEFL.
  • Who is exempt from submitting TOEFL scores?
  • International students whose native language is English or those who have completed two full years at a university where English is the primary language of instruction at the time in which they apply.
  • May I apply if I score lower than 100 on the TOEFL?
  • We evaluate applicants by more than just quantative measures. If you are serious about pursuing graduate study in our program, we encourage you to put forth the best application you can.

Application Tips

  • Review our website. Take the time to learn about our program and faculty to find out if we are conducting research in areas of interest to you.
  • Apply early. We encourage you to start your application as early in the admissions season as possible to give yourself ample time to get all of your required materials together.
  • Follow up with your letter writers. Sometimes they need a gentle reminder to submit your letter of recommendation.