Welcome Packet

Welcome to UC Davis!

In this packet, you will find a lot of important information.  Please read through it thoroughly and then ask if you still have questions (contact information at the end).  Also, we HIGHLY recommend you make note of the various deadlines in your calendar now.

What you will find in this packet

Welcome to UC Davis!. 1










Graduate Student Department Orientation: REQUIRED

The Department Orientation for new students will be held in September.  We will have a General Welcome and Program (MFA & PhD) Breakout Sessions, and other important information.  An orientation agenda with more information will be emailed to you in early September.

Office of Graduate Studies Orientations

You are all invited to participate in the Graduate Student Orientation (GSO), International Graduate Student Orientation (IGSO), and Holistic U sponsored by Graduate Studies. These events are social and academic orientation activities and workshops for graduate students and postdocs. These events will be held in mid-September. Registration generally opens in August, and more information and registration info can be found here.


Teaching Assistant (TA) Orientation

All students who are hired as Teaching Assistants (TAs) are required to attend the Campus TA Orientation. All students are highly encouraged to attend the TA orientation now in case they become a TA later in the year. More information, and registration, can be found here (Registration is open, and you MUST register by a date to be determined): 

I encourage you to read the TA’s Guide to Effective Teaching at UC Davis over the summer prior to the TA Orientation.


Mandatory Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Prevention Workshops

All students are required to complete the Mandatory Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Prevention Workshop. Please be advised that if you do not attend a workshop, your course registration will eventually be blocked. 

NOTE: Due to COVID-19, this training will not be in person this year and it is still being decided how this training can be completed. Stay tuned for more information.

The university’s policy on sexual harassment and sexual violence can be found here.



Much of this section, you may have already completed.  Please just double check on these!

Computer & E-mail Accounts

You have probably already established your UC Davis computing and email account when you submitted your Statement of Intent to Register (SIR).  If you ever need to change your password, click here.

If you have NOT set up your UCD computing account and email, you should do so immediately. Instructions can be found here.  If you need assistance setting up your computing account and email, contact IT Express. All university-related communications will be sent to your UCD email, so it’s important that you check it on a regular basis. Instructions here to redirect your UCD email.


Duo is a multi-factor authentication system which will better protect your UC Davis accounts.  Please take a moment to enroll now.

My UC Davis

my.ucdavis.edu is a portal you can use to access your email, your schedule, your bill, and has links to all sorts of resources.  Once you log in, you can edit the tiles on the main screen to have easy access to the things that are important to you.  I would recommend using myAccounting, mySchedule, and myQuicklinks.  In the Finances tab, you will also see a link to myAwards – please note that these are awards through the Financial Aid office, and completely separate from any funding through the department or college.  Academic appointments and departmental fellowship for example are not reflected in myAwards.

AggieCard - Student ID

All students will receive a student ID card called an AggieCard.

Final Transcripts

All students must submit their official transcripts to the Office of Graduate Studies. If you submitted your final transcripts before you graduated, you will need to order a final transcript with your degree posted, and resubmit your official transcript. The final transcript(s) should be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies, University of California-Davis, 250 Mrak Hall, One Shields Ave, Davis, CA 95616. More information can be found here.

Statement of Legal Residence Hold

The Office of the University Registrar will be contacting you regarding filling out a Statement of Legal Residence form. This form is online and the deadline to complete it is July 1, 2020. If you do not meet this deadline, you will be classified as a nonresident and will be assessed the Nonresident Supplemental Tuition. 

UC Davis Health Requirements

Be sure to submit your immunization records



International Student Orientation Program

International students are required to attend the International Student Orientation Program

Please be sure to read all the information on the “Newly Admitted Students” website.


For more information about requirements for international students, please contact SISS, email siss@ucdavis.edu, telephone (530) 752-0864 or website. You can find your SISS advisor based on last name here.


English Language Courses for International Students

Many international students will need to take UWP 225 / UWP 226 during their first academic year.  The policy regarding this requirement can be found here (pdf).

For more information about the English Course Requirement, click here.

This course will not count toward your degree requirements, or units needed for the degree.





Establishing California Residency for Tuition Purposes

If you are classified as a domestic non-resident, after one year, you can establish California Residency for Tuition Purposes, and not be charged the Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition.  While it takes a year to establish residency, it is important to begin the process early (before December) with steps such as:

  • Paying state taxes
  • Getting a CA driver’s license
  • Registering to vote in California
  • Registering your vehicle in California (if you have one)

Please take the time now to understand the steps required so you can start early.  




Faculty Advisors

PhD Students:   Each student is assigned a faculty mentor in their first year, usually by field of interest.  If you have any questions about who your faculty advisor is, please contact Aaron Barstow at ambarstow@ucdavis.edu.


MFA Students: Katie Peterson, as Director of the Creative Writing program, will be your advisor for your 1st year in the program (Also available your 2nd year).  She is a resource for: understanding the curriculum, choosing your classes, help understanding and balancing your roles and responsibilities as a grad student, reporting any concerns about faculty or cohort dynamics.


Class Registration

All full-time students are required to register for 12 units each quarter. For payroll purposes, students (with academic appointments) must register for at least 12 units before the first day of school

Go to Student Information System on the Web (SISWEB) and login to Schedule Builder. The Schedule Builder tool can be used to search and enroll in classes, view class details, find course materials, check for registration holds, adjust and view class schedules. Select Fall Quarter 2021 as the academic term then click Add/Search Courses. Choose “English” from the Subject drop down menu.  All available ENL Courses for Fall 2021 will populate (except hidden courses – such as research units – more information below).

Courses numbered 200-299 are graduate level courses, and 100-199 are upper division undergraduate level courses. Courses numbered 1-99 are lower division undergraduate classes, and will not count towards your graduate record.  Most, if not all, of your classes should be graduate level. Save the classes you want to register for to your schedule, and then click Register ALL. See the Class Schedule & Registration Guide for more details. 

The Course Search Tool is another resource to search for available classes on the Office of Registrar’s website.   Select “English” from the Subject Area drop down menu. All available ENL Courses for Fall 2021 will populate (the Course Search Tool is also very helpful for looking at historic offerings of courses). 

Note: ENL is the course prefix for English (& Creative Writing). All courses are assigned a specific 5-digit Course Registration Number (CRN), which is the number that you can use to search for courses and add them to your schedule. With this CRN number, you will also be able to enroll in courses using the old SISWEB system, by clicking “Login to SISWEB” (Most students prefer Schedule Builder to sisweb).


Course Offerings and Descriptions

Most Graduate Level Classes are offered once a year, or even once every other year. You can easily see which classes have been offered in previous years on our course page.  Our tentative course offerings for future terms will also be posted here, however these are subject to change without notice.

Find catalog descriptions of English courses here.


Taking Graduate Courses in Other Departments

Please note that some graduate level courses will have registration restrictions for graduate students outside of that department.  If you’d like to register for a graduate course and SISWEB/Schedule Builder restricts you from adding it, please contact the faculty instructor for the course to express your interest and ask about being added.  The Graduate Program Coordinator for that program cann issue you a Permission To Add (PTA) number at the instructor’s request. 


Fall 2021 Class Registration Tips

You must enroll in a minimum of 12 units, unless you are approved to be part-time.  Many students will take two to three courses, and then enroll in a seminar and/or research units as needed to reach the 12 unit minimum (more information about research units below). The deadlines to drop and add courses are listed here.

While most graduate level classes will have a 20 day drop deadline, be sure to check the drop deadline for every class.  We HIGHLY recommend you put the add and drop deadlines on your calendar now, as petitions for late drops are not generally approved.


Required Core Coursework

Information about the required core courses can be found on Program Planner (links from our website).  Because our graduate courses are generally offered only once a year, we highly recommend you start thinking about the core coursework now, and when you will take your required core courses. 


Registering in Research Units (ENL 299/299D)

All students will register in ENL 299 research units with your respective major professor (faculty advisor) at some point in their career. Every time you enroll in research units, you will want to talk to your faculty advisor early so you can discuss what will be expected of you to earn “satisfactory” grades in your research units. While these units are sometimes used to “fill” a schedule to the 12 unit minimum, you are expected to put in the time and work based on the number of research units you are enrolled in. Every ENL faculty member is assigned individual 299 and 299D CRNs each quarter. When you enroll, it defaults to 1 unit, and students may increase the variable units as needed. To do this, simply login to schedule builder and find the button that says “edit” next to “Units” which is listed below the title ENL 299. Please note these research CRNs change quarterly, are NOT published online and must be obtained from Andi Carr (abcarr@ucdavis.edu) each quarter you plan to enroll in them.  When emailing the staff to ask for research unit CRN’s, please cc your faculty advisor who needs to approve the units. 


Fall Instruction

Instruction begins on September 22 (Fall quarter begins September 20, but there are no classes on the 22nd or 23rd). The deadline to add courses is October 5. Be sure to note if any of your classes have a 10 day drop deadline of October 5 – most classes will have a 20 day drop deadline of October 19: https://registrar.ucdavis.edu/calendar/quarter




Look for information about the sessions available regarding funding during the campus Graduate Student Orientation. Also be sure to look through the financial support information on the graduate studies website – they have especially good resources related to external funding. Once you have determined who will serve as your major professor, that person will also be a good resource to discuss funding opportunities. 


Funding for graduate students usually comes in the form of:

  • External fellowships: You are strongly encouraged to apply for external fellowships on your own.
  • Internal fellowships and departmental fellowships: all new students are considered for these automatically with your application.  A few select students will be nominated by the department for Campus fellowships, which are extremely competitive.  Then students may also receive departmental fellowships, which are decided on by our faculty in each research area.  These have largely been decided on already for 2021-22.
  • Academic appointments:
    • Teaching Assistant (TA) and Associate Instructor (AI): You can be hired by our department, or apply with other departments for these positions. TA and AI positions pay a salary, and provide partial in-state fee remission (all in-state fees except about $200.  TA and Reader positions do NOT cover NRST although the department does have a limited number of scholarships to cover the NRST).
    • Graduate Student Researcher (GSR): You might be hired by a particular faculty member (your major advisor) to engage in research.  GSR positions pay a salary, and also provide tuition and fee remission (in-state and NRST).  


Note: If you are funded for fall quarter, the first payment (fellowship or academic appointment salary) is November 1.  Salary for academic appointments are paid in arrears (at the end of the month worked).  Some students may qualify for an emergency, short term, or assistant loan through the financial aid office to assist with the transition until payday.


Teaching Assistant (TA) Appointments

Any student who wishes to be a TA during their studies at UC Davis must attend for the TA Orientation.  The Department of English’s TA orientation is Tuesday September 29. Please register as soon as possible.

You can also contact other departments about possible TA and readership positions if you are interested. Each department will have its own process for selecting TAs and Readers – I highly recommend looking at both the department’s website, as well as checking for TA and Reader job postings on Handshake.


English Proficiency Requirements for TAs:

Depending on your Undergraduate Degree, TOEFL, and/or IELTS scores, you may be required to pass the TOEP test here at UC Davis prior to being employed as a TA (receiving a waiver for the TOEFL at time of admission does not automatically qualify you for a waiver of this requirement). 



All students eligible to fill out the FAFSA, should fill it out EVERY YEAR. There are a few awards each year, as well as work study opportunities which require a completed FAFSA, and it may qualify you for a small campus fee grant and loans. 


Work Study

Work study for graduate students is a way for a student to be hired as a GSR, with a cost savings for the hiring grant (faculty apply for work study on behalf of their students, however the student must have done the FAFSA). Faculty in our department apply for work study on the students behalf.



UCPath is the payroll system for UC Davis.  If you have an academic employment (GSR, TA, Reader position), you will be able to see your employment and pay in UCPath - log in with your Kerberos ID)


Funding Questions

Aaron Barstow & Andi Carr are good first points of contact for most questions related to funding rules/policy, funding and payment issues, what you see on your bill, fee remission policies, etc. Contact information at the end of the packet.



Graduate Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)

All registered graduate students are eligible for, and automatically enrolled in, the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP); it is included in the quarterly student fees. As long as you are registered and your fees are paid each quarter (whether that be individually or via an academic appointment such as a GSR or Teaching Assistant), you have student health coverage through SHIP.


Your health insurance will become effective the first day of the quarter. If you plan to continue to carry private insurance, you may submit the 2021-22 SHIP Waiver application online. The deadline to submit the waiver online is September 1 (to be effective in Fall quarter). 


Housing Information Web Sites

I hope you all saw the resources sent to you from the Office of Graduate Studies through their Incoming Graduate Student Digest (such as the housing facebook group).  If you are still looking, here are some other resources. Most leases in Davis will be for the full academic year, so be sure to do your research before signing a lease.

  • Student Housing Office (Official UC Davis information).
  • Community Housing Listing, operated by Associated Students of UCD. This site is especially helpful if you are interested in renting a room in a larger house.
  • Davis Wiki (not affiliated with UC Davis). Includes great resources about rental housing in Davis and Apartments.  Davis Wiki apartments page here.
  • Craigslist.org (not affiliated with UC Davis). Some apartments, and room leases will be listed here: 
  • Uloop.com (not affiliated with UC Davis). Like craigslist, has individual postings
  • Yelp.com (not affiliated with UC Davis). Includes reviews of apartments near Davis: 
  • Note: Always be cautious of scams or misleading information when searching for housing online.


Academic Calendar

Please make sure to look at the “Fees and Billing”, “Quarter Dates and Deadlines”, and “Graduate Student Deadlines” calendars, all linked on the left hand side of this page.  Take some time to copy these important dates into your personal calendar for the year (especially add/drop deadlines, and the graduate student final fee payment deadline).


Campus Map and Transportation

The online Campus Map.

Please note that the Department of English is housed in Voorhies Hall. 

TAPS is the UC Davis Transportation Services. Parking permits (yes – campus does ticket!), driving, and bicycling information can be found on their website.

The UC Davis Bus System is called Unitrans. It has routes throughout Davis, and cost $1.25 for a one ride fare. Discounted passes are available.


Still Have Questions?

Please contact Aaron Barstow with any questions. 

Aaron Barstow
162 Voorhies Hal

I am available for walk ins anytime the door is open.