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Experience University of California, Davis

<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:UC_Davis_campus_buildings_and_scenes_(16188061937).jpg" title="via Wikimedia Commons">UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden</a> / <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0">CC BY</a>
UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden / CC BY

Nestled between I-80 and SR113 in Davis, California resides the campus of University of California, Davis (UCD). UCD, a public university is one of the 9 UC campuses known for its top-notch academics and bucolic setting. Davis is located 15 miles west of Sacramento and can be an easy or a rough drive from Sacramento or San Francisco depending on the traffic and the time of the day. The area around UCD is beautiful, with fruit orchards lining the highway and some gorgeous California sunshine. Davis is a small and safe college town whose heartbeat is pretty much UCD and the orchards and farming near Davis

UCD has always been famous for its agricultural and veterinary programs and now is also well regarded for its programs in engineering and arts and sciences. The campus is known for its arboretum, mature tree lined bike friendly roads, and the only UC campus to have an equestrian center. Take a virtual tour of the campus to see for yourself.

Campus Life

Over 78% of the campus comprises of undergraduates, with nearly 31,000 undergraduates enrolled on campus. It is a very large campus and it feels like too. The 8600 graduate students include both full time and part time students. UCD offers Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D degrees, as well as other professional degrees.

Almost all the incoming freshman live on campus. There are 23 residence halls spread across 3 areas named: Segundo, Tercero and Cuarto. Freshman who enroll from fall pretty much have a guaranteed housing for the year, whereas freshman enrolling from winter/spring quarters may be waitlisted depending on the housing situation. Freshman can also stay at the Solano Park apartments if they are not eligible for residence halls. By sophomore year, students stay off campus, or in residence halls, campus apartments or in cooperatives. Many students like the on campus housing and the amenities. Off campus housing is expensive in Davis but can come out to be more cost effective for returning students, as many roommates share the accommodations. Students can bike or drive to campus, or take the Unitrans to go around Davis.

Most students have a very positive view of UCD, often describing it as a welcoming, inviting and an inclusive campus.


UCD has 4 undergraduate colleges:College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, College of Biological Sciences, College of Engineering and College of Letters and Sciences. The graduate colleges are dedicated to nursing, veterinary medicine, medicine, management, education and law.

UCD is an academically competitive and the quarter system can be quite fast paced. Students find that professors are available for office hours. There is a fair bit of support available to students through on site academic advising at the housing halls, peer tutoring and a big student health and wellness center. There are over 100 majors distributed across the 4 undergraduate colleges. Students are required to take core courses in Arts/Fine Arts, English, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences. The teaching is performed by mostly full time and some part time faculty, almost all of whom hold a doctoral degree in their areas of expertise. The class or group discussion teaching assistants are graduate students in the discipline. Some class sizes have students less than 20 students, though there are quite a few classes with nearly 200 students in the class.

The most popular majors at UCD are biological sciences, engineering, social sciences, agricultural sciences and psychology. This is not surprising given its reputation in these disciplines and the proximity to the SF Bay Area and Sacramento and its location in the midst of an agricultural area not far from the wine growing areas in California.

With over 380 faculty members and nearly 7900 strong undergraduate population, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is a force to be reckoned with in the areas of agriculture, forestry, energy science, plant and animal sciences. The research spans from grassroots learning to informatics, genetics, supporting California’s agriculture and environmental concerns. The college boasts of many research facilities such as the Centre for Aquatic Biology and Aquaculture, Harry H. Laidlaw Honey Bee Research Facility, Agricultural Sustainability Institute, Energy Center, Plant Breeding Center and more.

The College of Biological Sciences graduates nearly 1300 students annually. Almost every sub-branch of biology is available to undergraduates for advisement. Some of the popular majors are neurobiology, molecular biology and general biology. There is plenty of opportunity for research in biology that can be conducted via wet labs, dry labs and fieldwork. A great way to figure out your area of interest in research is to enroll in the BioLaunch program. The College of Engineering is quite a presence on the campus with over 220 faculty and nearly 4700 undergraduate students with over 730 students graduating annually across 12 engineering majors. The engineering departments offer numerous student led and participated activities and organizations. COE offers undergraduates research opportunities in Sustainable engineering, Engineering and manufacture, Information Technology and Engineering in Medicine. COE also is home to the student design center and the student startup center.

Finally, their College of Letters and Sciences is the largest college in UCD offering a choice from 55 majors. Some of their most popular majors are social sciences, economics and psychology. Almost all the general education credits are taught ta the college of letters and science. The college is home to many centers of innovation and research spanning from Center of Quantum Mathematics and Physics to Center for Poverty Research to Humanities Institute and more.

Career Placement: Given UCD’s proximity to both Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Area and its strength in biological sciences and engineering, UCD graduates tend to find employment with Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis Medical Center, Sutter Health, Genentech, Apple, Google, Cisco, Facebook, Oracle, Salesforce…the list is extensive. UCD also has a robust internship pipeline that the students and employers can access via Handshake. Students have commented that they are able to find entry level positions at many of the “local” companies after being an Aggie.

Extra-Curricular Activities

There are many activities, clubs and organizations where students spend a lot of their non academic times at UCD. There are nearly 800 clubs. Find your fit by visiting their information on clubs. Additionally, UCD also offers participation in Pep Band, Jazz Band, Concert Band, Model UN, Literary Magazines and Newspapers, Dance, Musical Theatre, Musical Ensemble, Orchestra, Campus Ministries, Choral Groups, Film Society and Radio and Student Government.

Party Scene

Students say that it is a reasonably quiet campus. However, there are many activities, clubs and organizations where students spend a lot of their non academic times.


UCD Aggies are a Div. I sports school and the games are well attended. However, many students have mentioned that sports is not a huge part of the campus culture.

Cost and Finances

UCD charges in state and out of state tuition. They offer need-based aid and a few merit scholarships. 67% of their enrolled students were some form of need based aid and the reported average aid amount is $20,450. A better determination of any students financial aid can be assessed through the net price calculator rather than relying on the average aid amount.

34% of the enrolled students were also offered loans towards their net cost of attendance. The median debt ranges from $11,000-17,000. 36% of 2019 graduating class had Federal loans. These graduates can look forward to a salary of $17,600-$76,000 based on their major and employment.

Aerial view of UC Davis

This is just a bird’s eye view of University of California, Davis. Check out the virtual tour, look at the Google photos of UCD , and remember this fun fact along with others that we wrote about: there are cows on and near the campus they seem to like the campus as much as the students love UCD!