What is UC Davis Known For? Is UC Davis a Good School?

Established in 1905, UC Davis is one of the ten public schools making up the University of California system. The University of California — Davis’ campus is urban and spans an impressive 5,300 acres of Davis, nestled in the heart of Northern California’s central valley. 

A mere 15 miles away from Sacramento, the UC Davis features not only an airport, but also a fire department, lots of public art, and much more. The city of Davis is known as a lively college town, offering students a plethora of options for nightlife, dining, and recreational activities.

Originally intended as a farm school for UC Berkeley, the college has become a prestigious institution of higher education with an undergraduate enrollment of 31,162 students. 

According to US News and World Report’s annual list of the best colleges and universities in the country, UC Davis is currently ranked #38. 

A nod to the school’s agricultural history, UC Davis’ students are known as the “Aggies.” Of the college’s 25 intercollegiate sports teams, 17 compete in the Big West Conference. 

The football team, on the other hand, is a part of the NCAA’s Division I Football Championship subdivision, competing in the Big Sky Conference. 

Being a well-revered undergraduate and graduate university, it is more likely than not that you have heard of UC Davis. 

For any students or parents of students who are interested in learning more about what this illustrious school is so widely known for, we have collected some of the most important information to know about UC Davis. 

Read on to learn more about what this university has to offer its students, including its most highly-esteemed academic programs, athletic teams, traditions, and more. 

What Majors & Academics Are UC Davis Known For?

UC Davis
Venprof, Animal Science Building, UC Davis, CC BY-SA 4.0

Although the college offers excellent academic programs in a vast array of different areas of study, UC Davis is, without a doubt, best known for its world-class agricultural programs. 

According to the 2019 edition of the annual QS World University Rankings, the widely-acclaimed agriculture and forestry program is ranked not only first in the nation, but also second in the world.

According to the Center for World University Rankings, UC Davis has also been ranked first in the area of agricultural economics and policy research. 

On top of that, College Factual has dubbed the school #1 in terms of value for its animal behavior and ethology program, according to College Factual.

Additionally, US News and World Report has named UC Davis as the best university in the world for its superb plant and animal science program.

It is clear to see that UC Davis’ agriculture-related offerings are second to none. 

Further supporting the school’s world-famous reputation, UC Davis has also earned acknowledgment for several of its other academic offerings.

Another one of UC Davis’ most highly-esteemed academic programs is the veterinary medicine program, which has also been named the best program of its kind among all colleges in the United States. 

In fact, UC Davis has claimed the #1 spot five times since veterinary science was added to the rankings in 2015. 

Is UC Davis a Good School?

There is no question about it: the University of California — Davis is more than a good school. In the most recent edition of the US News and World Report’s annual college rankings, UC Davis was ranked the #38 best university in the country 

As we have already covered, UC Davis is one of the best possible schools to attend for any students who are interested in pursuing a degree in agriculture or any related field of study.

In line with the school’s general commitment to agricultural science and nature as a whole, UC Davis has been named the top university nationwide in terms of the sustainability of its campus.

The university boasts a first-year retention rate — a broadly accepted measure of how satisfied students are at a given college — of just over 90%. 

For comparison, this rate is 18% higher than the average for the state of California at 74%, and 23% higher than the national average of 69%. 

UC Davis Traditions

Over the course of its more than a century-long history, the University of California — Davis has come to establish numerous quirky, exciting traditions.

A part of UC Davis’ annual Picnic Day, one of the most well-loved traditions at this school is the Doxie Derby. 

During this event, dachshunds from Sacramento and surrounding areas compete against one another in a highly-anticipated, high-intensity race to the finish line.

Another cherished UC Davis tradition is Pajamarino, a late-night parade during which students and alumni, along with the UC Davis marching band, march to the yearly UC Davis homecoming bonfire on campus through downtown Davis — all while donning their pajamas.

Pajamarino is among the oldest of the school’s traditions, dating all the way back to 1912. The tradition began when students, dressed in their pajamas, snuck out of their dorms to go to the train station in order to greet alumni. 

Over the course of the school’s history, Pajamarino has come to involve a number of festivities, such as food, live music, and the Pajamarino Parade.

Prominent Clubs & Extracurricular Activities at UC Davis

UC Davis
Daderot, Earth and Physical Sciences building – University of California, Davis – DSC03316, CC0 1.0

At the University of California — Davis, students have the opportunity to become a part of any of the more than 800 student clubs and organizations at the school. 

The largest student spirit organization in the United States, the Aggie Pack is one of the most prominent extracurricular activities on UC Davis’ campus. 

Established in 1992, the Aggie Pack was created as part of a quite successful effort to get more people to attend the school’s sporting events.

During sports games, students in the Aggie Pack support the school’s athletes with cheers, some which have been passed down from previous generations of students and the rest of which are invented by members yearly. The Aggie Pack dresses in the school’s colors, which are yale blue and gold.

Some particularly fanatic Aggie Pack members, who are known as Aggie Pack Extremists, even attend sporting events wearing dairy cow makeup. Membership in the Aggie Pack is open to all students automatically and at no cost.   

Greek life is also a significant element of student life at UC Davis, with over 60 different fraternity and sorority chapters for students to choose from. More than 3,000 students — or over 10% of the total student body — at UC Davis are a part of one of the school’s 68 Greek life organizations. 

What Sports Are UC Davis Known For?

The University of California — Davis is home to a number of fiercely competitive athletic teams

One of these is the school’s water polo team, for example. First placing in the NCAA championships in 1996, the UC Davis water polo Aggies have since enjoyed great success, including a 10-year long winning streak from September 30 to November 4 of the 2017 season.

UC Davis is also known for having a strong baseball team. Up until 2005, the baseball Aggies competed in the NCAA’s Division II, making seven appearances at championships at this level. 

During this period of time, they made it to the College World Series twice, coming in fifth place on both occasions.

From 2005 to the present, the baseball Aggies have been a part of the NCAA’s Division I. The team has made only a single appearance in this division’s championships, which took place in 2008.

According to an analysis done by College Factual, the men’s water polo team is ranked eighth out of the 16 intercollegiate water polo teams in their division.

The UC Davis football team is another one of the school’s strongest athletic programs. Among the 117 college football teams analyzed by College Factual, it has been ranked #37. 

Why UC Davis?

Although there are many different factors that influence how content any given student will be at one particular school versus another, it is safe to say that UC Davis has a lot to offer its students. 

UC Davis is known as a Public Ivy League school, a designation bestowed upon public universities whose prestige, academic rigor, competitive admissions processes, and overall undergraduate experience are similar to that of the elite, private Ivy League schools. 

The college’s location in Davis, CA, offers students close proximity to the California state capital, as well as many other urban hubs such as San Francisco. 

Davis is known as an amazing college town to live in, featuring a vibrant, bustling atmosphere with many options for nightlife, entertainment, dining, and other forms of recreation. 

Beyond its extremely advantageous location and its strong reputation, the school also has a robust, active alumni network with over 250,000 current members, all of whom are a part of one of the 23 alumni networks in the United States, the 19 networks in foreign countries, or the ten miscellaneous networks dedicated to specific special interests. 

UC Davis’ alumni, many of whom have gone on to become prominent public figures in a variety of areas, are known for generously providing financial, professional, and academic support for current students.

In short, there are many, many reasons students elect to attend this prestigious institution for their undergraduate education experience.