engineering

New Student Orientation

The UC Davis College of Engineering provides an undergraduate engineering education based on strong fundamentals, giving students the tools they need to prepare for careers and continue to grow and adapt in a quickly changing technical world. Our students have many opportunities for hands-on engineering through undergraduate research, design competitions, student clubs, internships and, of course, classroom projects, with access to a large, well-equipped student shop, a rare resource in engineering schools today.

Important Links for New Engineering Students

Placement Exams

Registration

Summer Orientation

Academic Advising

The College of Engineering’s Academic Advising Mission is to provide timely and accurate advising to cultivate connections, success, and advancement in engineering excellence. We empower and support students with achieving their educational, professional, and personal goals; and we advocate for our students and programs through campus partnerships. 

Academic advisors are here to help you get the most out of your undergraduate engineering education and prepare for a successful career. Questions about majors, courses, holds, degree requirements, dismissals, or readmission?  Click here for answers. Advisor contact information can also be found on  this page

We are excited to support you with your academic success in the College of Engineering here at UC Davis! One of the ways we demonstrate that support is by providing you with academic advisors available to assist you. If you are in the LEADR program, pursuing Computer Science & Engineering, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, and/or are an international student you will have the opportunity to meet with an advisor every quarter during your first year. You will also have the opportunity to meet with your major advisor annually to discuss your progress toward graduation, your academic plan for the next three quarters, and to ask any questions you may have.  

All students will have advising holds that can be seen in the student records section of myucdavis to remind you to schedule meetings with your advisor. If you do not schedule your meeting by the following deadlines you will not be able to register for your courses or adjust your schedule. For your annual meeting with your major advisor, holds are assigned alphabetically as follows based on the first letter of your last name: 

  • A–G, meet with an advisor by December 15
  • H–N, meet with an advisor by March 15
  • O–Z, meet with an advisor by September 15

See an advisor in the Engineering Undergraduate Office if you have any questions, including – degree progress, general education, simultaneous enrollment, transfer credit articulation, change of major, late drops, academic difficulties, withdrawal, and much more! If you have a question and don’t know who to ask, come to the Engineering Undergraduate Office in 1050 Kemper. We’re happy to help! 

Video Introductions of Department Major Advisors

International Students 

First-year international students enrolled in the College of Engineering get to meet with international student advisor Jordan Dade (jwdade@ucdavis.edu) each quarter. These meetings last about 30 minutes and enable you to ask questions and get connected with an advisor in the college. An advising hold will be placed on our record to remind you about each of these quarterly meetings, which take place in the Engineering Undergraduate Office in 1050 Kemper Hall.   

College of Engineering Catalog Requirement  

Because engineering is a rapidly developing profession, the things an engineer needs to know may change rapidly! To respond to this, the faculty makes changes to the curriculum on a regular basis. To ensure that students graduate with the most current engineering knowledge, College of Engineering students must complete the degree requirements in effect in the academic year of graduation or in the immediately preceding academic year. 

First-Year Students 

Students in the class of 2022 will need to complete the degree requirements for the 2020–21 or 2021–22 academic year. These requirements have not been developed yet. 

Transfer Students 

Incoming transfer students who graduate in two years will need to complete the requirements for the 2018–19 or 2019–20 academic year. 

When degree requirements change, a transition plan is put in place to ensure that students who are getting regular advising and following recommended course sequences will be able to graduate within four years. Contact your program advisor or the Engineering Undergraduate Office in 1050 Kemper Hall for more specific information or questions. 

First-Year Curriculum

Incoming students are always eager to know what their first classes are going to be. The first-quarter class list for all engineering majors looks very similar. The major emphasis of the first year is to learn the language of instruction for all future courses. The primary emphasis during the first year should be on success in prerequisite courses in mathematics, English, and other major related subjects.

MATHEMATICS 

The goal for first-year students should be to master calculus and be prepared to start calculus-based physics courses. 

Prior to the start of fall quarter, students take a Mathematics Placement Exam. The results of the exam will tell you the proper course to enroll in during your first quarter. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Students who do not satisfy the requirements for placement into an entry-level math course will be dropped from the course by the mathematics department, so make sure to register for the correct course. Your advisor can assist you with ensuring you enroll in the appropriate course. 

UNITS 

Students need to take a minimum of 12 units a quarter to be full-time, and for financial aid reasons. However, it is recommended that students complete 15 units a quarter in order to graduate in four years. 

 

Want to explore the different majors in Engineering? 

Engineering is a profession in which mathematics and physical, biological and social sciences are applied in a practical way for the benefit of humankind. As an engineering undergraduate, you will learn to observe and describe technological problems and to seek useful solutions to these problems. Click here to learn more about the variety of engineering majors available here at UC Davis.  

Nuts and bolts, ENG 001, is a 10-week seminar series that provides an overview of each major in the College of Engineering. It is designed to help students understand the interconnections of the different engineering majors and to determine the major that best fits each of their personal interests. Contact the Engineering Undergraduate Office in 1050 Kemper Hall to find out when this seminar is offered. Even if you are sure of your major, this seminar series is a great introduction to engineering! 

Changing majors in engineering generally takes one year as students must complete MAT 21A, MAT 21B, and MAT 21C; CHE 2A; and PHY 9A with a grade of C- or better in each class and a grade point average (GPA) in these courses of 2.0 or better (a 2.8 GPA is required for students changing into Mechanical Engineering or Biomedical Engineering). In addition, students must have a 2.0 GPA in any engineering courses completed at the time they change majors. Refer to the major advisor in the desired major for more specific information about changing your major. 

Things to consider 

Pay Attention to Prerequisites. Prerequisites are courses or skills that an instructor believes should already have been mastered by a student before enrollment. The General Catalog and myucdavis Schedule Builder provide a description for every course at UC Davis and lists both the required and recommended prerequisites.  

Faculty members have the option to enforce prerequisites and drop students who have not met the prerequisites (or a prerequisite of a prerequisite) for a course. A student should have a grade of C- or better in any course listed as a prerequisite prior to registering for the subsequent course. Prerequisites can change during a catalog period, so students should check the department’s website for current prerequisite course information. 

It is strongly recommended that students who receive below a grade of C- in any course required for their major repeat that course as soon as possible. Do not move to the next course in a sequence if you do not have a C- or better in the prerequisite. 

Writing requirements 

The ability to write well and communicate effectively is cited as one of the most desirable traits sought by prospective employers. Because engineers must be able to explain complex ideas, it is critical that students develop effective writing and communication skills. 

Once the Entry Level Writing Requirement has been satisfied, there are two distinct composition requirements for engineering students: 

  • Lower-division composition: Can be satisfied by completion of an Advanced Placement (AP) English exam with a score of 4 or 5; International Baccalaureate (IB) credit for English 3; or completion of one of the following courses with a grade of C- or better: University Writing Program 1, English 3, Comparative Literature 1–4, or Native American Studies 5.
  • Upper-division composition: Requirements vary by major. Please see your departmental advisor to determine the coursework that has been approved for your major.

Please note that when coursework is used to satisfy either of the composition requirements, a grade of C- or better must be earned. 

Get Involved! 

Student Clubs, Design Teams, and Activities. Interested in meeting and working with other students on engineering projects? Joining a student club can be a great way to explore interests in science and engineering. Many clubs also host social events and invite faculty and businesses to speak with their members. These can be unique opportunities to prepare students for the workforce. Click here to explore the many different involvement opportunities in the College of Engineering.  

The annual Ice Cream Social is a friendly welcome for incoming College of Engineering students hosted by the Engineering Undergraduate Office. Engineering student organizations and teams are on hand to answer questions about how to get involved.

Study Abroad: Engineers Can (and Should) Do It.  In an era of globalization, studying abroad can give you a competitive edge in your future career. Engineering students can participate in a study abroad experience and still graduate in four years. The College of Engineering has had students participate in engineering programs around the world: Australia, England, France, Singapore and South Africa, just to name a few. There are also fantastic summer abroad programs for engineers that combine UC Davis coursework with the opportunity to immerse yourself in another country’s history and culture. 

Stop by the Study Abroad office early in your first quarter and complete the “First Steps” workshop. 

Undergraduate Research Opportunities. Whether you’re interested in laboratories or libraries, at UC Davis you can get hands-on research experience. And you’ll be working with top-notch faculty mentors and some of the best graduate students in the world.

Undergraduates are encouraged to dive into research at UC Davis. You can do it through internships on campus, at the UC Davis Medical Center, with local industry or under the guidance of a professor.

First-Year Seminars 

First-Year Seminars provide the opportunity to explore unique and interesting topics. The classes are small and are taught by some of our best instructors around a topic they are passionate about. Past topics of particular interest to engineers: Sustainable Practices for the Built Environment, Chemicals in the Environment, Introduction to Flight Testing and Simulation, How Satellites Work and many more. You can find a comprehensive list of topics online at fys.ucdavis.edu/student

Some additional seminars offered by the College of Engineering include: 

Fall Quarter 

Nuts and Bolts: A First-Year Student’s Guide to Engineering The seminar meets one hour a week and explores a different engineering major each week. This course offers good information for all engineering students and those thinking about engineering. This seminar series may also be offered during winter quarter. First-year students are encouraged to take Nuts and Bolts. 

Winter Quarter 

Gearing Up for Grad School 

The seminar meets one hour each week to help students determine if graduate school is a good choice for them (your first year is the best time to think about this) and to outline steps students can take to prepare for graduate school. 

Contacting and Connecting with Faculty 

Education at all levels is greatly enriched by the ability to approach faculty. Make sure you take advantage of office hours.  Introduce yourself to the instructor early in the quarter and ask for advice about how to approach the course material. Remember that if you do run into difficulty with the material, faculty can often help where books can’t. If you don’t have course-related questions, ask about the faculty member’s research, the major you are pursuing, or possible internship, research, or career opportunities.  

ENGINEERS DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY! 

A final reminder that each college on the UC Davis campus has some requirements that are different from the other colleges. Here are a few College of Engineering differences you need to be aware of: 

  • Prerequisites are enforced in the College of Engineering.
  • Engineering students cannot elect to take a major requirement course pass/no pass. Every course used to satisfy a major requirement must be taken for a letter grade (unless the course is only offered pass/no pass). There are also limitations to the use of pass/no pass grading for General Education and unrestricted electives, so check with an advisor in the Engineering Undergraduate Office before enrolling in those courses pass/no pass.

Remember, our academic advisors are here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact your major advisor or an advisor in the Engineering Undergraduate Office when you have questions, concerns, etc. 

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