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The following is a general step-by-step description of the admissions process.  

Step 1: Prospective students explore graduate programs and identify HSGG as a possible venue. The first step is to then visit the UC Davis Office of Graduate Studies website, which provides the official Steps to Applying.

Step 2: Using the HSGG website, applicants learn about faculty who may have common research foci, and then investigate the faculty of interest using faculty’s individual web pages and publications.  Applicants are encouraged to contact individual faculty to introduce themselves and learn if the faculty member is taking new students in the coming fall. When contacting faculty (usually by email), prospective students should include a resume and transcript copy and personalize their message to demonstrate their understanding of the faculty’s research and teaching in relation to their own interests. Prospective students that have their own scholarship to fund their graduate studies or that intend to self-fund their graduate studies (typically for a Master's II option) should clearly articulate that option when corresponding with faculty. For general questions, prospective students may also contact the Hydrologic Sciences Graduate Group office

Step 3: Submission of an online application. The following bullets should be carefully considered in the application as their completion affects how easily faculty will recognize potentially well-matched students.

  • GRE Requirements: GRE test results will no longer be required from HSGG applicants.

  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to first familiarize themselves with the HSGG Degree Requirements, including degree specialization options. HSGG has some general prerequisites (applying to all specializations) and additional specialization-dependent prerequisites.

  • We strongly recommend that applicants fill out the HSGG prerequisite spreadsheet. The sheet can then be  used to copy the information into the application website and for quick reference during the application review period, should questions arise. Importantly, the list of prerequisite courses provided in the application should include courses scheduled to be taken after the application submission but prior to the beginning of graduate school.

  • Election of the Areas of Interest: In the application form, areas of interest are organized by the degree specialties offered. We strongly suggest that applicants carefully  select options that encompass the breadth of their interests. It is not necessary (or advantageous) to only pick a top priority if other topics are of interest as well.

  • The prospective student must arrange for all required documents to be sent to UC Davis.  Transcripts from every higher education institution must be submitted, among other things. HSGG cannot make an admissions decision until the application is complete.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that their application is complete. 

Step 4: UC Davis fellowship and scholarship applications must be complete and received by January 15 for an applicant to be considered for a variety of potential fellowships.  This deadline does not apply to fellowships granted directly by HSGG or to research-driven funding from external sponsors to our faculty, although all applicants are strongly encouraged to meet the January 15 deadline.

Step 5: Once the application is submitted online, it is available for individual HSGG faculty to review.

Step 6: The HSGG admissions committee ranks fellowship applications and submits rankings to Graduate Studies by required deadline.


Step 7: The HSGG admissions committee ranks all HSGG applications by mid-January. This ranking are used to for scholarship recommendations to campus and for initial admissions. As more applications come in, these are slotted into the existing rankings, but they are not considered for college or campus scholarships, only for HSGG fellowships. 


Step 8: Unqualified applicants who do not meet University and HSGG admissions requirements are identified in applicant rankings.

Step 9: LAWR hosts the “Graduate Showcase” in mid-February.  If held virtually, all qualified applicants will be invited. If held in-person, only a limited number of students may be invited, usually based on their ranking. Other students may visit HSGG on their own or at the request and funding of an individual faculty member.


Step 10: The Applicant rankings are sent to all HSGG faculty members periodically as they are updated in February and March for consideration as a guide to faculty to help them decide who to choose to accept.  Each faculty member decides which applicants are most qualified for the specific research projects they have funding for.  Most students have their educations funded by research grants from individual faculty.


Step 11: Applicants check with potential faculty mentors to learn what their admissions decisions are.  Faculty may contact their top-choice students with more information, funding updates, questions, and/or further encouragement to accept at UC Davis.


Step 12: The general deadline to apply for HSGG admissions for the following fall quarter is May 1.


Step 13: In March the UC Davis Office of Graduate Studies reports to HSGG the list of any applicants who have garnered a fellowship offer.  These offers are then announced to the applicant.  Most applicants are notified of their selection by April 1.


Step 14: In accordance with Council of Graduate Schools Resolution subscribed to by UC Davis, admitted applicants cannot be required to accept admissions prior to April 15.


Step 15: Faculty inform the HSGG Admissions Committee of the list of applicants they intend to admit and mentor.  This is an ongoing process March through June.  HSGG encourages faculty to review all relevant applications and make timely decisions. If an applicant does not hear anything during this time, it most likely means that no faculty have the funding to pay for the applicant's education.


Step 16: The HSGG Admissions Committee works with individual faculty to use HSGG fellowship funds as part of funding packages for students to be admitted.


Step 17: HSGG notifies Graduate Studies of students to be admitted on an ongoing basis during February through June. The final decision on admission is the responsibility of the Dean of Graduate Studies upon recommendation of the HSGG. Graduate Studies sends formal admissions letters.  HSGG sends offer letters explaining the details of who the faculty mentor will be, what the funding offer is, and what other sources of potential funding exist.


Step 18: As applicants accept or reject offers and as new research funding becomes more certain, faculty may accept more students.  Consequently, qualified students may continue to be considered through June.


Step 19: By June 30 all students are either admitted or rejected.

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