UC Davis vs Amherst: A Comprehensive Look at the Two Universities

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Male student using a laptop while sitting on a table.

UC Davis vs Amherst: A Comprehensive Look at the Two Universities

When making a big decision like where to attend college, it’s important to consider all factors and compare different options. In this article, we take a comprehensive look at two top universities: UC Davis vs Amherst. We will compare these institutions across multiple areas to help prospective students understand the differences between them and make an informed decision.

Location and Campus Features: UC Davis vs Amherst

The first factor to consider is the location and campus features of both universities. UC Davis is located in Davis, California, about an hour’s drive from San Francisco and Sacramento. The campus spans over 5,000 acres and features a mix of modern and historical buildings. Amherst College, on the other hand, is located in Amherst, Massachusetts – a small town in the heart of the Pioneer Valley.

The campus is about 1,000 acres and features a mix of modern and traditional buildings. While both campuses are beautiful and unique, the main difference is the setting. UC Davis is located in a suburban area, while Amherst is in a rural setting.

Another important aspect to consider is the climate of the two locations. UC Davis enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters. In contrast, Amherst experiences a humid continental climate with warm summers and cold winters. This difference in climate can greatly impact the overall experience of attending either university, as it can affect outdoor activities, clothing choices, and overall comfort level.

Academic Programs: UC Davis vs Amherst

When it comes to choosing a university, the academic programs available are a critical factor. UC Davis offers over 100 majors and is known for its programs in agriculture, veterinary medicine, and environmental science.

Amherst College, on the other hand, offers 38 majors and is known for its strong liberal arts program. Both institutions offer undergraduate and graduate degrees, but the range of programs and the areas of focus differ between the universities.

Male student typing in a table with his classmates.

UC Davis is also home to several prestigious research centers, including the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Center for Neuroscience. These centers provide students with opportunities to work alongside leading researchers and gain hands-on experience in cutting-edge research.

Additionally, UC Davis offers a unique program in viticulture and enology, which is the study of grape cultivation and winemaking. This program is highly regarded and attracts students from all over the world.

Amherst College, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary studies. The college offers several interdisciplinary majors, such as Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, which combine courses in political science, philosophy, and law.

Amherst also has a strong focus on undergraduate research, with opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members on research projects. The college also offers several study abroad programs, allowing students to gain international experience and broaden their horizons.

Admission Requirements and Acceptance Rates of UC Davis vs Amherst

Admission requirements and acceptance rates are also crucial factors when comparing universities. UC Davis has an acceptance rate of roughly 34%, while Amherst has a much lower acceptance rate of 9%. Both universities consider factors like test scores, GPA, extracurricular activities, and essays in their admission decisions. However, the criteria for admission and the standards for acceptance differ between the universities.

UC Davis requires applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores, while Amherst is test-optional. Additionally, UC Davis places a strong emphasis on community service and leadership experience, while Amherst values intellectual curiosity and academic achievement.

It is important to note that acceptance rates can vary depending on the program or major. For example, UC Davis’ highly competitive veterinary medicine program has an acceptance rate of only 8%, while Amherst’s computer science program has an acceptance rate of 18%. Prospective students should research the acceptance rates and admission requirements for their specific program of interest before applying to either university.

Student Life at UC Davis vs Amherst: Social Activities, Clubs, and Sports Teams

Student life is an essential aspect of college, and both UC Davis and Amherst offer a range of social activities, clubs, and sports teams. UC Davis has over 800 clubs and organizations, ranging from academic and professional groups to cultural and community service organizations.

It also has a strong athletics program, competing in NCAA Division I sports. Amherst College has over 100 student organizations, including cultural, political, and sports groups, and competes in NCAA Division III athletics. Both universities offer a vibrant campus life, but the types of activities and the level of competition may differ between the two.

However, UC Davis and Amherst also differ in terms of their outdoor recreational activities. UC Davis is located in Northern California and offers a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and surfing. The university also has its own outdoor center, which provides equipment rentals and organizes outdoor trips for students.

On the other hand, Amherst College is located in Western Massachusetts, which has a more temperate climate and is known for its fall foliage. The college has its own nature reserve, which offers hiking trails and outdoor education programs for students.

Cost of Attendance at UC Davis vs Amherst: Tuition, Fees, Housing, and Meal Plans

One of the most significant factors when choosing a university is the cost of attendance. UC Davis is a public university, and tuition varies based on residency status. The 2021-2022 estimated cost of attendance for in-state students is around $36,108, while out-of-state students can expect to pay around $67,479.

Writing in a notebook in a white table.


Amherst College is a private institution, and the 2021-2022 cost of attendance for all students is around $79,250. This cost includes tuition, fees, room, and board. While cost is a major consideration, it’s important to factor in financial aid and scholarships, which can significantly reduce the cost of attending either institution.

It’s also important to consider the location and surrounding area when choosing a university. UC Davis is located in Davis, California, a small college town with a strong sense of community. The town offers a variety of restaurants, shops, and outdoor activities and is just a short drive away from Sacramento and San Francisco.

Amherst College, on the other hand, is located in Amherst, Massachusetts, a small town in the Pioneer Valley. The area is known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities, as well as its vibrant arts and culture scene. Both locations offer unique experiences and opportunities for students to explore and engage with their surroundings.

Faculty and Staff Quality Comparison: UC Davis vs Amherst

The quality of faculty and staff is a crucial factor when comparing universities. UC Davis has over 2,000 faculty members, and over 80% of them hold a terminal degree in their field. Amherst College has a faculty of around 200, and approximately 100% of them hold a terminal degree. Both universities have excellent professors, but the size of the faculty and the ratio of students to faculty may differ.

Another important aspect to consider when comparing the faculty and staff quality of UC Davis and Amherst is the diversity of their faculty. UC Davis has made significant efforts to increase diversity among its faculty, with over 30% of its faculty members identifying as underrepresented minorities.

Amherst College has also made strides in this area, with around 25% of its faculty identifying as underrepresented minorities. Both universities prioritize diversity and inclusivity in their hiring practices, which contributes to a more well-rounded and enriching educational experience for their students.

Research Facilities and Opportunities: UC Davis vs Amherst

Research facilities and opportunities are also essential for students interested in pursuing research. UC Davis is a research-focused institution with over $836 million in research funding in 2020. It has a range of research centers and institutes, including the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and the UC Davis Institute for Transportation Studies. Amherst College also has opportunities for research, but on a smaller scale.

However, Amherst College has a unique advantage in its close proximity to other top-tier research institutions, such as the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Five College Consortium.

Using a laptop in a table.

This allows Amherst students to access a wider range of research facilities and collaborate with researchers from different institutions. Additionally, Amherst College offers research opportunities through its various departments and programs, including the Center for Humanistic Inquiry and the Science Center.

Career Services and Alumni Networks at UC Davis vs Amherst

When choosing a university, it’s important to consider the opportunities available for career development and alumni networks. UC Davis has a robust career center with resources for job searching, networking, and interviewing skills. It also has an active alumni network with over 250,000 alumni worldwide. Amherst College also has a strong career center and alumni network, with over 23,000 alumni worldwide.

However, UC Davis has a unique program called Aggie Job Link, which is an online job board exclusively for UC Davis students and alumni. This platform allows students to search for job and internship opportunities, as well as connect with potential employers. Additionally, UC Davis hosts several career fairs throughout the year, providing students with the chance to meet with recruiters from various industries.

On the other hand, Amherst College offers a program called the Alumni Sponsored Internship Program, which provides funding for students to pursue internships in their field of interest. This program is exclusively available to Amherst students and is a great opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in their desired field. Amherst also has a strong alumni mentorship program, where students can connect with alumni in their field for guidance and advice.

Diversity and Inclusion: UC Davis vs Amherst

Another key factor to consider is diversity and inclusion. UC Davis has a diverse student population, with over 40% of students identifying as a minority. Amherst College also has a diverse student body, with over 50% of students identifying as students of color. Both universities are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion on their campuses, but the ways in which they approach this goal may differ.

At UC Davis, there are a variety of student organizations and clubs that focus on promoting diversity and inclusion. These groups provide a space for students to connect with others who share similar experiences and backgrounds. Additionally, UC Davis has a number of programs and initiatives aimed at supporting underrepresented students, such as the Center for African Diaspora Student Success and the Chicanx and Latinx Retention Initiative.

Amherst College also has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. The college has a number of resources available to students, including the Multicultural Resource Center and the Queer Resource Center. Amherst also offers a variety of courses and programs that focus on issues related to diversity and social justice, such as the Critical Social Thought program and the Black Studies department.

Campus Safety Measures Comparison: UC Davis vs Amherst

Safety is a top priority for students and their families when choosing a university. UC Davis and Amherst both employ a range of safety measures to ensure a secure campus environment.

UC Davis has a police department with 24/7 patrols and a variety of safety programs for students. Amherst College has a campus security department, and the college also partners with the Town of Amherst for additional safety measures.

Students walking in the campus while talking.

However, UC Davis has implemented a unique safety measure called the “Aggie Guardian” app, which allows students to quickly and discreetly contact campus police in case of an emergency. The app also has a feature that allows students to set a safety timer, which will alert campus police if the timer expires and the student has not checked in. This innovative safety measure has been well-received by UC Davis students and has contributed to the overall sense of security on campus.

Sustainability Efforts Comparison: UC Davis vs Amherst

Sustainability is becoming an increasingly critical factor in higher education, and both UC Davis and Amherst have made a commitment to sustainability. UC Davis has made strides in areas like sustainable agriculture, energy efficiency, and transportation.

Amherst College has a variety of programs and initiatives focused on sustainability, including a biodiesel project and a green building program. While both institutions have made progress in this area, the types of sustainability efforts may differ between them.

UC Davis has implemented a comprehensive recycling program that diverts over 70% of campus waste from landfills. The university also has a water conservation program that has reduced water usage by 25% since its implementation. Additionally, UC Davis has a student-run farm that provides fresh produce to the campus community and local food banks.

Amherst College has a sustainability coordinator who works with students, faculty, and staff to develop and implement sustainability initiatives. The college has a composting program that diverts food waste from landfills and uses it to fertilize campus gardens. Amherst also has a sustainability fund that provides grants for student-led sustainability projects on campus.

Campus Location Effect on Student Life: Suburban (UC Davis) vs Rural (Amherst)

The location of a university can significantly impact student life, and this is certainly the case for UC Davis and Amherst. UC Davis is located in a sprawling suburban area, offering easy access to nearby cities and attractions. In contrast, Amherst College is located in a rural area, providing a more secluded and intimate campus experience.

Despite the differences in location, both UC Davis and Amherst offer unique opportunities for students. At UC Davis, students can take advantage of the nearby cities of Sacramento and San Francisco, as well as the beautiful Napa Valley wine region.

On the other hand, Amherst’s rural location allows for a strong sense of community and a focus on nature and outdoor activities. Students can explore the nearby mountains and forests and participate in outdoor clubs and organizations.

Campus Tour Guide: UC Davis vs Amherst

For prospective students who want a more in-depth look at campus life, taking a campus tour is essential. Both UC Davis and Amherst offer campus tours that showcase their unique features and culture. These tours provide a chance to see the facilities, meet current students, and get a feel for the campus atmosphere. Prospective students should take these tours to explore each university and determine which one is the best fit for them.

Students walking during a campus tour.

After a comprehensive look at UC Davis and Amherst, it’s clear that both universities have a lot to offer. Each institution has its strengths and areas of focus, and the best choice depends on individual needs and preferences. The factors mentioned above provide an excellent starting point for prospective students to compare these universities and make an informed decision.

One of the unique features of UC Davis is its focus on agriculture and environmental sustainability. The university has a renowned College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, which offers majors such as Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Science and Management.

UC Davis also has a student-run farm where students can gain hands-on experience in sustainable agriculture practices. Additionally, the university has a commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and has implemented various sustainability initiatives on campus.

On the other hand, Amherst College is known for its rigorous academic programs and small class sizes. The college has a student-faculty ratio of 7:1, which allows for personalized attention and mentorship from professors.

Amherst also has a unique open curriculum, which allows students to design their own course of study and take classes across various disciplines. The college has a strong emphasis on critical thinking and writing skills, which prepares students for success in various fields.

If you’re set on getting into a world-class college but aren’t sure how to make it happen, we can help! AdmissionSight is a leading college entrance expert with over a decade of experience helping students just like you get into the schools of their dreams.

At AdmissionSight, we focus on offering a wide range of services, all aimed at helping students perfect their applications to catch the attention of admissions officers. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about what we offer.

College Admissions

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.