What is a Holistic Review?
UC Davis’ Graduate Studies supports public access to education in all its forms. We oppose all forms of discrimination that marginalizes, discriminates and limits persons based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, citizenship, religion, ableism, and other backgrounds.
At UC Davis we participate in multiple projects and initiatives that focus on holistic review for graduate admissions that include,
- Humanities and humanistic social sciences disciplines (Alliance for Multi-campus and Inclusive Graduate Admissions project, AMIGA, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation),
- STEM fields (the California Consortium for Inclusive Doctoral Education C-CIDE, and the Inclusive Graduate Network, both funded by the NSF), and
- Long-standing holistic review practices at UC Davis’ School of Medicine led by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
These resources demonstrate equitable and inclusive graduate admissions practices that also address social justice access to graduate education.
Holistic review, whole file review, or comprehensive review, all refer to the consideration of quantitative and qualitative criteria and background, such as GPA, coursework, and personal motivations, values, and experiences without applying specific criteria as cutoff points, such as an overall GPA or test scores, to quickly reduce the number of applications to consider for admissions. To address equity, inclusiveness and social justice, graduate program faculty define a common set of criteria, participate in faculty admissions training and employ rubrics to maintain consistent and equitable admissions outcomes.