UC Davis is well-known for its leadership in plant, environmental and animal sciences. Founded in 1906 as the agriculture adjunct for UC Berkeley, Davis’ 5,200-acre campus, the largest in the UC system, is home to four undergraduate and six graduate and professional colleges. Over 70% of UC Davis undergraduates go to graduate school.
UC Davis has the largest number of engineers in the UC system, offering 16 majors to its 3,300 students. The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences is the oldest school at Davis, and has 18 departments! A complete list of majors, listed by college, can be seen here (read “Divisions” like Departments).
The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis brings together the departments of Food Science and Technology and Viticulture. Wine magnate Robert Mondavi gave over $20 million to fund this institute, which broke ground in 2005. The Institute has 3 buildings – all with LEED Platinum certification – where students learn in this academic research-based program.
UC Davis is proud of the many distinctions it has earned, including being named #6 in cutting edge research and #9 of public universities. Eight of its agricultural science programs are ranked #1 in their field. Additional rankings and awards can be seen here.
UC Davis is a very large campus with more than 30,000 students – 80% of whom use bicycles on campus (it’s a VERY bike-heavy campus!). Students are not assigned to a specific advisor; they must seek out advisory services to ensure they complete all of the courses required to graduate in their major.
Admissions officers note that taking more than the required minimum in math, laboratory sciences and language is highly recommended, as Davis has become more competitive. They also recommend that applicants name an alternate major, or list a less-impacted major as their first choice to increase their chances of acceptance.
UC Davis’ Arboretum has 22,000 plant species. The only bowling alley in the city of Davis is on campus, and housing is guaranteed but not required. Over half of the city of Davis’ 55,000 residents are either students, staff or faculty of the school.
The students I visited with liked the campus because it feels like its own little city. They liked the vibrancy and the bike culture, the green feel of the campus and the newer buildings. The school has a very friendly and comfortable vibe!
Admissions stats: Almost 90% of admitted students have a weighted GPA of 3.75 or higher – Davis has become very selective in the last few years.