Advanced Degree Program for Corporate Employees (ADP)

Laura Shih in BME lab


About the ADP Program


The Advanced Degree Program for Corporate Employees was established at the University of California, Davis, to enable employees at regional biotechnology, biomedical, or bioscience corporations to pursue a doctoral degree in one of the following programs:

Biological Sciences:
Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology
Plant Biology

Chemical Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering

School of Veterinary Medicine:

College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences:
Pharmacology & Toxicology

This program is offered through the Biotechnology Program in conjunction with Graduate Studies, the College of Biological Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the School of Veterinary Medicine. It is designed to meet the special needs of corporate students while maintaining the campus’ high standards for graduate education:

  • Students spend at least three quarters on the UC Davis campus, enabling them to interact
    with a diverse group of faculty members and students.

  • Requirements of the program foster considerable subject matter breadth and depth.

  • UC Davis faculty members and corporate scientists provide mentorship.

  • Periodic meetings of students and mentors will be arranged.

  • Current PhDs offered are:
    Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology; Chemical Engineering; Materials Science Engineering; Genetics; Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology; Neuroscience; Plant Biology; and Pharmacology & Toxicology.

    Prescreening Application Checklist:
    Corporate employees who wish to be considered for admission into the Advanced Degree Program should contact the ADP Director a few months before the deadline for admission into a graduate program.  Send an email to Dr. Judy Kjelstrom ( along with a current CV of applicant and corporate mentor. If approved, use the Admission and Fellowship Online Application at:  Information on admissions and application to UC Davis can be found at:

    Corporate applicants are subject to the admission requirements of the graduate group that administers the chosen program.  These requirements include submission of complete undergraduate transcripts and Graduate Record Examination scores, basic and subject exams, taken within the last three years.  For required subject exams, see the specific graduate group.

    The graduate group prescreens all potential candidates for any academic deficiencies.  Any necessary remedial work must be completed before filing a formal application.  The program will admit only applicants who are capable of entering directly into the core curriculum.

    Corporate students take a course of study comparable to that of other students in the graduate group.  For specific requirements, please refer to each graduate group’s web page at:

    College of Biological Sciences
    College of Engineering
    School of Veterinary Medicine
    College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

    To complete the requirements, corporate students must, in general, spend at least three academic quarters on the UC Davis campus.

    Laboratory Rotations:
    Corporate students participate in laboratory rotations if required by the graduate group/program.  Students choose laboratory rotations that help broaden the research experience.  Most graduate programs require three to four rotations in different laboratories before the student joins the lab in which the thesis research will occur. Usually corporate students return to their sponsoring industrial laboratory for completion of their thesis research.  However, other arrangements are possible if approved by the thesis committee.

    Teaching Assistantships:
    Students may undertake a one-quarter teaching assistantship if required by the graduate group.  The corporate student can meet this requirement during the first year when he or she is a resident on campus.

    Qualifying Examinations:
    Corporate students and other graduate students in the degree program must successfully complete a qualifying examination to advance to candidacy for a Ph.D.  A qualifying examination committee appointed by Graduate Studies oversees the examination, which usually occurs at the end of the second year.

    Dissertation Committee:
    Each student in the degree program has a three-member dissertation committee.  In general, a major professor chairs the committee and the student’s corporate mentor serves as co-chair.  The remaining member of the committee is a faculty member in the graduate group/program. 

    Appointment of Corp. Scientists to Graduate Group (Optional):
    To supervise the thesis research of a corporate student, a corporate scientist may apply for membership in the graduate group to which the student will belong.  Review of the corporate mentor’s application and subsequent appointment) is contingent on the acceptance of the corporate employee into one of the graduate groups participating in the Advanced Degree Program. 

    It is expected that the corporate mentor will be involved in an on-campus teaching endeavor: team-teaching a course, leading a seminar, etc.

    Student Fees and Support:
    Corporate students in the Advanced Degree Program are responsible for the same enrollment fees as students in other graduate programs at UC Davis.  The campus will not offer financial support.  If the corporation will be paying the student's fees, it is the student’s responsibility to arrange for this.

    Corporate Gift Program:
    Each corporation makes an annual, unrestricted, tax-deductible contribution of $7,500 per student.  This contribution supports the graduate group enrolled in (seminars, graduate education programs, etc.).  A portion of the gift will be used for costs associated with administering the Advanced Degree Program.  The contribution should be endorsed to the University of California Board of Regents and mailed to the U. C. Davis Biotechnology Program (0301 Life Sciences Bldg, Davis, CA 95616).

    If you would like more information about the Advanced Degree Program, please contact Dr. Judith Kjelstrom at or by phone at: (530) 752-8228.

    Download the ADP Brochure here