UCD Exchange Program

UCD Exchange Program


I am studying Theoretical Physics and I did my first year of Masters at UC Davis. I actually ended up in Davis by chance because studying at my dream university didn’t work out. When I had to find an alternative university at very short notice, I decided on UC Davis because of the relaxed life in California, the good reputation of UC Davis and the easy application process via MicroEDU. In retrospect, I’m also very happy that I studied in Davis. According to Abbreviationfinder, UCD is the abbreviation of University of California Davis.

Application and enrollment

Big compliments to MicroEDU because it was so easy to apply ! I only applied in June and started in Davis in mid-September. All the necessary application forms can be filled out in a few hours. Regarding language certificate I am not well informed because I have a TOEFL test had thus to submit any further evidence or language had to do language tests. You should definitely plan 4 weeks and $ 250 for the visa. Enrollment at the UCD was done quickly and I had no bureaucratic difficulties throughout the year.

It should be noted that UC Davis Extension offers a wide variety of programs ! Basically, the UC Davis Extension Center, which incidentally is a bit remote from the campus, only offers English courses that I have not taken. Therefore, apart from enrollment and a few counseling sessions, I was never at the UC Davis Extension Center. Instead, I completed the ‘Open Campus Program’, which enables you to study on the normal UCD campus. However, this program was recently changed and I am not sure how the new version is regulated. (Note from the MicroEDU editor: The program is now called “Global Studies Program” and the application process has changed a bit, but it is still possible to apply through us for a term abroad at UC Davis.)

In principle, it’s just a matter of finding a program that allows you to study on the entire campus, but still be enrolled at the Extension Center. Although this does not give you an official degree, you pay significantly less tuition fees.

Studying at UC Davis

First of all: It is very expensive to study in Davis! Tuition about $ 5600 per quater, housing and living about $ 700-1000 per month! There are also some unexpected costs; for example, every quater has to buy books for the lectures (math / physics books are very expensive at graduate level!).

Then you can study very well and more pleasantly than in Germany (LMU Munich)! This is not surprising, since American students pay an insane amount of tuition fees and therefore expect a lot from their university. Unrestricted access to computers, printers and books in the entire UC system, many library spaces, a huge range of sports facilities and organizations, and the very best: very good contact with the professors, which is especially important in the master’s degree! In addition, UC Davis is a very large campus university with lots of green spaces, various food stands and the special flair of a student city.

The lectures are a little different, but in my opinion better structured than here in Germany. In Davis, employees in projects, doing homework and midterm tests are required and graded, but at the end of the quater you usually don’t have a big exam. In other words, instead of relaxing during the lecture period as in Germany and writing an important exam at the end , the workload in Davis is evenly distributed over the entire trimester and thus appears much more relaxed.

Regarding the Physics Department, it should be said that although it cannot keep up with UCB, UCLA and UCSB, it still has some very well-known professors. However, the Mathematics Department (also includes the String Theory Department) is very good and very well known even in Germany!

There are many international students at UC Davis, but most of them come from Asia and less from Europe. That’s why I spent almost all of my time in Davis with Americans and Asians. This differs from other universities in California where you could probably only speak German most of the time.


Housing in Davis is a major problem in Davis due to the large number of students. American flat shares are usually dirty and have too many people. Single apartments are very expensive (around $ 1000 per month) and difficult to find. In general, the university can be reached in less than 30 minutes from anywhere in Davis thanks to the many cycle paths and the relatively good bus system.

I opted for the relaxed and actually inexpensive option and stayed with a host family. My tip: James – www.DavisHousingServices.com. However, host families should also be treated with caution. I was lucky and was able to live with a super nice American family and get to know Thanksgiving and other special features of the American lifestyle.


Although the city of Davis does not offer too many attractions or nightlife options, Davis is still an attractive location as a starting point for travel. The UC Berkeley Shuttle takes you quickly and cheaply to San Francisco, which I personally consider to be the most beautiful city in the United States. Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park are also within 3 hours. We recommend cruising the California coast with stops in Monterey, Santa Barbara, LA and San Diego. This can also be combined well with a visit to Las Vegas. I didn’t like Sacramento, 20 minutes away, though.

There are many opportunities for such excursions. On the one hand you can go on an excursion with other exchange students and on the other hand you can take part in organized trips of the UC Davis Outdoor Adventure Center.

Within Davis, joining a student organization is advisable as most Americans spend their free time in university organizations. You get to know a lot of new people and have a lot of fun. I did UC Davis Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh! Played the trumpet and have to say, that was probably the best thing I’ve done in America!


If you are looking for a great starting point for excursions, would like to experience the typical American student life at a renowned campus university and sunshine almost every day, then UC Davis is the right place for you. I had an unforgettable time in California and can definitely recommend UC Davis !

By the way: You can swim in the sea in California without a wetsuit only in the summer in San Diego and maybe LA…

University of California Davis Exchange Program

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