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Population Biology Graduate Group

Photo: Alternate description of photo goes here

Kirsten Sellheim at Quail Ridge during the Feb 16, 2008 Recruitment Weekend field trip.


The UC Davis Graduate Application for Admissions and Fellowships for the 2019-2020 academic year is now open. Please access the application here:

How to Apply

Application Deadline

The Population Biology Graduate Group (Pop Bio) application deadline is December 1, 2018.

The Population Biology Graduate Group Recruitment weekend for those invited will be held on February 8-10, 2019.

Application Process

The application for admission is exclusively available through the online application system. The application must be completed by the stated deadline. Use this link to access the online application:

Application Elements

Your application will not be considered complete until Pop Bio receives all of the following items. The Admissions Committee starts reviewing applications immediately after the application deadline so it is to your benefit that all items are received by the deadline.

Application fee. . The fee must be paid before your application will be considered complete, and the fee must be paid for each graduate program application you submit.

Letters of Recommendation. Three letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically through the online application's letter submission system.

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

GRE Scores. Pop Bio requires the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general aptitude test. Your application will not be reviewed until we receive your general GRE scores. Please use this code for reporting electronic scores from the Graduate Record Examination: UC Davis Institution Code: 4834. Visit our Graduate Studies test score requirement page for further details:

TOEFL/IELTS Scores. English language testing is required for all applicants whose native language and primary language of instruction is not English. UC Davis accepts both the TOEFL and IELTS examinations. For more information about these tests, please go to the TOEFL/IELTS Requirement section here:

Personal History and Statement of Purpose. Include your full statement of purpose and personal history in the appropriate fields on the online application. It is also wise to mention the names of faculty you have contacted and are interested in working with. All applicants are very strongly encouraged to submit a fellowship application with their application for admission. Once you submit the online admissions application, you will be prompted to complete a fellowship application.

Fellowship Application

All applicants are very strongly encouraged to submit a fellowship application with their application for admission. Once you submit the online admissions application, you will be prompted to complete a fellowship application.

Also, it is important that you complete the FAFSA. Please be sure to complete your FAFSA application by appropriate deadlines.

Further Information


Sherri Mann

Population Biology Graduate Group Coordinator

(530) 752-1274

Alan Hastings

Population Biology Graduate Group Chair

(530) 752-8116


What is a graduate group?

At UC Davis, some graduate degrees are offered by interdepartmental "graduate groups," which unite faculty with common research interests from across the campus. The Population Biology Graduate Group was formed in 1992 by faculty committed to the study and teaching of population biology as a broad discipline that blends ecology, evolution, population genetics, and systematics into a unified field.

Can I apply to more than one graduate program at UC Davis?

Yes. The new online admission application will allow you to identify the various programs you wish to apply to. Follow the instructions accordingly. Remember that you will be required to pay an application fee for each program selected. Example: If you are applying to our program and to the Plant Biology Graduate Group, you will be required to pay an application fee for each application.

What happens to my application after the deadline?

Complete applications only will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee and relevant faculty. All components of the application must be complete for consideration. From the applicant pool, a short-list will be created.  In mid to late January, the students on the short-list will receive an invitation to visit UC Davis for a recruitment weekend with the program.

What if my GRE scores, transcripts, or letters of reference don't get to your office by the application deadline?

Applications will not be reviewed by the Admissions Committee until all required materials are received. The key is to plan early. Remember that you can use your online account to track the status of required materials. It is to your advantage to check frequently to insure compliance with our December 1 deadline. The admission committee begins reviewing applications immediately following our deadline.

Learn how long it takes for your academic institutions to provide certified transcripts; don't wait until the last minute to order. Sadly, the program receives late transcripts long after the committee has made its deicisions on interviews.

ETS has specific dates for the GRE exam. Be sure to take the exam as soon as possible to insure timely distribution of your scores to the graduate programs you are applying to. Have ETS submit your scores electronically for faster processing.

Provide early notice to your three referees that you will be asking for letters of recommendation. This way, each referee will know to look for the online notice in their e-mail. Inform them of when the letters are due and how each institution may require a different method of letter submittal. Fall can be a busy time for your referees and advance notice is always appreciated.

What are the minimum GPA and GRE requirements for entrance into Pop Bio?

The Office of Graduate Studies has set a minimum requirement of a B grade average (3.00) in prior coursework. The Population Biology Graduate Group has not set any additional minimum GPA or GRE entrance requirements.

What if I didn't take the GRE biology subject specific exam?

The subject test in biology is not required for Population Biology admissions application review.

What is the required preparatory coursework for admission?

The following courses are required* for admission:

  • a one-year course in introductory biology for biology majors (e.g. BIS 1 or BIS 2 series or equivalent)
  • a one-year course in calculus (e.g. MAT 17 series or equivalent)
  • a course in statistics (e.g. STA 13 or STA 100 or equivalent)
  • an upper-division course in general ecology or population biology (e.g. EVE 101 or equivalent)
  • an upper-division course in genetics (e.g. EVE 102 or equivalent)
  • an upper-division course in evolution (e.g. EVE 100 or equivalent)

*Must I complete all preparatory coursework prior to admission?

Applicants who are offered admission with missing entrance requirements will be notified prior to matriculation. Once enrolled in the program, students will be required to complete missing entrance requirements in the first year of residence in the program. First year students will meet with their First-Year Guidance Committee to determine how the missing entrance requirements will be completed. Entrance deficiencies in upper division courses must be taken for a letter grade; lower division courses may be taken for an S/U grade. (We may recommend taking courses on campus, a community college, being a teaching assistant in a specific course, or other arrangements as deemed appropriate.)

Do you have a recruitment weekend?

Yes. The recruitment weekend is by invitation only. Invitations will be sent via e-mail in mid to late January. The Population Biology Graduate Group Recruitment weekend for those invited will be held on February 8-10, 2019.  Candidates will have one full day to interview with multiple faculty members and current graduate students (Friday).  During the visit, candidates will lodge with Pop Bio students, and on the second day (Saturday), candidates will visit one of the nearby nature reserves.

When will I know if I have been accepted or denied admission to the Pop Bio program?

Those students eliminated during the first round of reviews will be notified in the last week of February if not sooner. Students from the second round will be notified of either admission or denial approximately one week after the recruitment weekend. Please track your status using the online application system.

Why do I have to apply for fellowship?

To be eligible for program support (grants and fellowship) and other UC Davis fellowships, you must complete both the internal fellowship application and a FAFSA (note separate deadlines).

  1. You will be prompted to complete the "UC Davis Internal Fellowship Application for New Students" as you progress through the online admission application.
  2. U.S. citizens, permanent residents or immigrants must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online NO LATER THAN MARCH 1 to meet the California State deadline . (Earlier is better.)

    * International students are exempt from filing a FAFSA as international students are not eligible for federal financial aid.

Do you provide funding to graduate students?

Yes, the Population Biology Graduate Group offers five years of support in the form of Teaching Assistantships (TAship), Graduate Student Research assistantships (GSRs) and Block Grant Fellowships, assuming continued satisfactory progress to degree. More information on funding is provided here.

What is the normative time to degree completion for the Pop Bio Ph.D. program?

Four to six years.

What if I only want a Masters degree?

Our graduate group accepts Phd students only as we normally offer only the doctoral degree. Exceptions may be made for mid-career applicants in professional agencies or education who seek a Masters degree to strengthen their backgrounds in population biology. Such applicants will be expected to meet the same admission standards as Ph.D. candidates.


General application advice:

How the admission process works (link to

Preparing for Grad School: An Overview (link to

Diversity Resources

The University of California, Davis values the diversity of viewpoints, backgrounds, and experiences in its graduate student population. The Population Biology Graduate Group encourages diversity in the application and recruitment process by participating in programs to improve graduate diversity, such as the University of California Office of the President Historically Black Colleges and Universities Initiative. Our admission criteria also include each candidate's potential for leadership in the university mission for diversity. The Population Biology Graduate Group strongly values diversity in all forms (the field in itself is very much a study of diversity at multiple levels of biological organization). The selection of students is very much influenced by the desire to train a diverse group. An important fundamental principle for the Population Biology Graduate Group Program is that it is student focused with students encouraged to be as independent as possible with as much support from the faculty as needed.

To assist in achieving these goals, the Population Biology Student Diversity Committee exists to increase and support student diversity in the graduate group. Specifically, the Diversity Committee aims to:

  1. Identify and implement methods of increasing student diversity in the program.
  2. Create a positive culture of diversity within the program that highlights and supports student and faculty diversity.

If you have further questions about the application process, please feel free to contact any of the Population Biology Diversity Committee student mentors, listed here

* Visit our diversity resources page for further information.