GGIP Student Handbook

Where is Davis?

Davis is a centrally located, small northern California city with a small-town feel. It has a population of 69,000, so you are likely to run into someone you know while buying fresh bread, fruits, and vegetables at the farmers’ market, riding your bicycle around town, or participating in one of the numerous intellectual and cultural activities offered by the city and the University. The climate in the Northern Central Valley is fairly temperate—summers are hot, sunny, and dry; winters are generally mild and rainy, but can occasionally be chilly. Davis is 15 miles from Sacramento, the state capital, an hour and thirty-minute drive from the excitement and culture of San Francisco, and two and a half hours from the snow and camping at beautiful Lake Tahoe. 

Airport Information

Davis is twenty miles from the Sacramento International Airport (SMF) and ninety miles from the San Francisco International Airport (SFO).  It is easier to fly into Sacramento since transportation into Davis is less expensive and more straightforward.  An Uber/Lyft ride from the Sacramento airport will cost about $50. 

Even less expensive than the Davis Airporter is the Yolobus service.  Yolobus line #42B leaves the Sacramento airport every hour between 7:05 a.m. and 11:43 p.m. and arrives at the Memorial Union on campus about one hour later.  The ride costs $2.25 per person.  Undergraduate students incur a bus fee in their tuition that enables them to show their Aggie Card and ride ‘for free’. Graduate students do not incur this fee and must pay.  

In addition to Sacramento International Airport, there are two additional airports in the Bay Area.  Oakland International Airport is located 77 miles from Davis and San Francisco International Airport is located 85 miles from Davis.  Less expensive flights may be found in these two airports.  


Housing can be one of the biggest headaches for a new graduate student who is unfamiliar with Davis or lives far away.  However, don’t worry!  We’re here to help.  The vacancy rate in Davis is extremely low, so competition for the best houses/apartments/duplexes/etc. is stiff and housing prices are expensive.  

The UC Davis Student Housing Office (530) 752-2033 will provide you with on-campus living and married/family student housing information.  If you are an international student, be sure to organize housing as soon as possible.    

Many property management companies in Davis rent out houses, duplexes, condos, and apartments.  King Properties (530) 753-0121; Zabace Properties (530) 757-2818; and Tandem Properties (530) 756-5075 are three of the most popular.  

Craig’s List Sacramento, DavisWiki, and the Incoming UC Davis Graduate Students Facebook page are additional housing resources.

Most returning students begin looking in March or April for places to live in the fall.  However, don’t worry if you don’t decide to come to UC Davis until later in the spring or even the summer.  People are always looking for someone to fill a vacancy in a house or apartment or seeking someone with whom to share a house or apartment.  Just check the resources above. 

Initial Costs


If you have been offered a research (GSR) or teaching (TA) assistantship, you will not get your first paycheck until about five weeks after you begin work (November 1). This is because you must work an entire monthly paycheck cycle before being paid, and paychecks are only issued once per month, so you will need to budget wisely. For more resources regarding fall quarter payment solutions, see  If you have been awarded a GGIP fellowship (or other internal fellowship) which includes a monthly stipend, you get your payment based on the disbursement schedule shown here. Employment as a GSR includes full fees, tuition, and health insurance. Employment as a TA includes full tuition, fees, and health insurance. TA positions do not cover NRST. Fellowships will state what is included in the student financial support letter. More information on student financial support can be found here.


2023-2024 Tuition and fees (including health insurance) are $20,745.50 annually ($6,915.17 per quarter). Non-residents incur an additional $5,034 per quarter.  These costs are always subject to change by the California Legislature.  It is recommended to have at least $1300 per month set aside for monthly living expenses.  Credit cards are not accepted by the University Cashier’s Office for payment of tuition and fees.  

You can visit for the most up-to-date information on tuition and fees and a detail of what the student fees cover including mandatory student health insurance (covered in the fees) 

Document Fee

All new students admitted for academic year 2024-25 will be charged a one-time, lifetime Document Fee of $150. 

The Document Fee affords several benefits to covered student and alumni groups such as:

  • Current prices of documents and services are locked in, with lifelong access to covered documents.
  • Improved service; transactions aren’t slowed by payments or billing.
  • Document requests are fulfilled in one to three business days; additional time is needed for mailing.
  • E-transcript service.

The Document Fee provides the following to students and alumni in covered groups:

Getting around town


Davis is sometimes referred to as “The Bicycle Capital of the United States” because of the large number of people who use the bicycle as their main form of transportation.  The city is ideal for bike riding with its flat terrain and its wide bike lanes, which can be found all over town and on campus.  Davis has many bicycle shops to buy new bicycles and used bicycles can be found in the local newspaper (the Davis Enterprise) and on bulletin boards on campus and throughout the town.  Bicycles are stolen fairly frequently if not locked, so be sure to invest in a good U-lock and try not to leave your bicycle overnight on campus.  One more bike tip:  buy fenders.  They go over the wheels and prevent water on the ground from creating what is known affectionately as the “Freshmen Stripe” on your back.  Bicycling is the most efficient and least expensive way to get around campus. Biking accidents do happen, so please protect your brain! Helmet Hair Don’t Care will provide you with a FREE helmet! If you choose to drive a car to campus you should become familiar with the parking lot restrictions and costs for student parking permits and be prepared to walk from the lots to the inner campus.  

Public Transportation

The other major form of transportation is the bus.  Unitrans is the student-run bus line that runs throughout the city.  Buses leave directly from the Memorial Union (MU) or Silo on campus and go to most parts of town. Information on routes and fares can be found onlineYolobus serves Yolo County and links Davis to downtown Sacramento and Woodland.


There are multiple places on campus and around Davis where you can pick up a zip car and drop it off. What is Zipcar? It is an hourly-based car rental. It is a great alternative to public transportation if you are going on a short trip or have errands to run around town.