M.S. Program in Statistics

The M.S. degree in Statistics is based on a mixture of theoretical and applied coursework, a comprehensive exam, and a statistical consulting requirement. For more information please contact the Graduate Programs Coordinator Jillian Hancock (jrhancock(at)ucdavis.edu).

The Graduate Adviser for M.S. students is Prof. Chris Drake (cmdrake(at)ucdavis.edu); all plans of study must be approved by Prof. Drake or your assigned M.S. adviser. The other members of the M.S. Advising Committee for 2019-20 are Thomas Lee, Miles Lopes, James Sharpnack, and Jane-Ling Wang.

M.S. Degree Requirements

Approved by Graduate Council June 11, 2019

Admission Requirements

An undergraduate major in mathematics or statistics is typical for statistics graduate students, but is not required. However, because of the mathematical nature of some of the graduate coursework, students should be able to demonstrate good mathematical ability. The applicant must complete the Office of Graduate Studies online application, with fee, by the stated deadline and include: one official transcript for each school attended, three letters of recommendation, and GRE scores taken within the last 5 years. TOEFL or IELTS scores are also required if the applicant’s native language is not English. The program does not accept part-time students.

a. Prerequisites: The prerequisites for entrance into the master's program are as follows: a bachelor's degree with 3.0 overall grade-point average; one year of calculus; a course in linear algebra; facility with a programming language; and upper-division work in mathematics and/or statistics.

b. Deficiencies: Students admitted with deficiencies must make up the coursework within the first academic year, and must achieve a grade of at least a B in each course.

Double-Major M.S.

If you are a current UC Davis graduate student and are considering adding Statistics as a double-major master's degree, the minimum admissions requirements still apply, however there are different guidelines for the application process. Please see Double Major MS Application Guidelines for more information.

The Admissions Chair for the M.S program is Prof. Jie Peng. For more information, please see our Admissions Section.

Program of Study

The program of study will be developed and approved for each student by one of the Graduate Advisers in consultation with the student. This is a M.S. Plan II program (no thesis). A minimum of 44 units is required, of which at least 18 must be at the graduate level (according to university regulations). A comprehensive final examination in the major subject is required of each candidate. No thesis is required. The comprehensive final examination fulfills the capstone requirement.

Course Requirements for the Master's Degree
Core and Electives:

Standard Track (total 44 units)

Core Courses (total 32 units):

  • STA 200A Introduction to Probability Theory
  • STA 200B-200C Introduction to Mathematical Statistics (4 units each)
  • STA 135 Multivariate Data Analysis (4 units)
  • STA 206, 207 & 208 Statistical Methods and Research (4 units each)

One of the following two courses:

  • STA 242 Introduction to Statistical Programming (4 units), or
  • STA 243 Computational Statistics (4 units)

Elective Courses (total 12 units): 

At least three courses, with at least one course at the graduate level, selected from:

  • STA 137 Applied Time Series Analysis  (4 units)
  • STA 138 Analysis of Categorical Data (4 units)
  • STA 141B Data & Web Technologies for Data Anlysis (4 units)
  • STA 141C Big Data & High Performance Statistical Computing (4 units)
  • STA 142 Reliability (4 units)
  • STA 144 Sampling Theory of Surveys (4 units)
  • STA 145 Bayesian Statistical Inference (4 units)
  • STA 260 Statistical Practice and Data Analysis (3 units)

or any four-unit letter grade graduate level course in Statistics.

The following courses can be used as substitutes:

  • For students who enter the graduate program as Ph.D. students, successful completion of STA 232ABC substitutes for STA 206, 207, 208 as a requirement for the M.S. degree.
  • With the permission of one of the Graduate Advisers, an internship coupled with STA 299 can substitute for one elective

Emphasis in Data Science Track (total 48 units)

Core Courses (36 units)

  • STA 135 Multivariate Data Analysis (4 units)
  • STA 141A Fundamentals of Statistical Data Science (4 units)
  • STA 200A Introduction to Probability Theory
  • STA 200B Introduction to Mathematical Statistics (4 units each)
  • STA 206, 207 Statistical Methods and Research (4 units each)
  • STA 208 Statistical Methods in Machine Learning (4 units)
  • STA 209 Optimization for Big Data Analytics (4 units)

One of the following two courses:

  • STA 242 Introduction to Statistical Programming (4 units), or
  • STA 243 Computational Statistics (4 units)

Elective Courses (total 12 units): 

At least one course selected from the following:

  • STA 137 Applied Time Series Analysis  (4 units)
  • STA 138 Analysis of Categorical Data (4 units)
  • STA 141B Data & Web Technologies for Data Anlysis (4 units)
  • STA 141C Big Data & High Performance Statistical Computing (4 units)
  • STA 144 Sampling Theory of Surveys (4 units)
  • STA 145 Bayesian Statistical Inference (4 units)
  • STA 260 Statistical Practice and Data Analysis (3 units)
  • Or any graduate level statistics course (4 units)

At least one course selected from the following:

  • ECS 122A, B Algorithm Design and Analysis (4 units each)
  • ECS 165A, B Database Systems (4 units each)
  • ECS 170 Artificial Intelligence (4 units)
  • ECS 171 Machine Learning (4 units)
  • ECS 289G Special Topics in Computer Science (4 units)

A third elective course taken from Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, or related disciplines (with approval of the Graduate Advisor). (4 units)

Link to Course Descriptions: 100 level (undergraduate) - 200 level (graduate)

Summary:

Full-time students must enroll for 12 units per quarter including research, academic and seminar units. Courses that fulfill any of the program course requirements may not be taken S/U unless the course is normally graded S/U. Once course requirements are completed, students can take additional classes as needed, although the 12 units per quarter are generally fulfilled with a research class (299) and perhaps seminars, or additional electives, approved by one of the Graduate Advisors. Per UC regulations, students should not ordinarily enroll in more than 12 units of graduate level courses (200) or more than 16 units of combined undergraduates and graduate level (100, 200, 300) courses per quarter.

Standard Track: 32 units of core coursework and 12 units of electives are required for a total of 44 units.

Emphasis in Data Science Track: 36 units of core coursework and 12 units of electives are required for a total of 48 units.

M.S. Comprehensive Exam

Every M.S. student needs to pass a comprehensive exam, to continue in the program. The M.S. Comprehensive Examination is a written examination. The examination may include the use of statistical software and may be offered in a computer lab. The examination is taken at the end of the Winter quarter (during Spring Break) upon completion of STA 206 and STA 207. If a student does not attempt the examination upon completion of those courses, and does not receive prior approval from the exam committee, it will be counted as not passing the comprehensive exam.

Should a student not pass the comprehensive exam at this time, the student will be offered a second examination during the Spring quarter following the first exam. If a student does not attempt the second exam, it will be counted as a failure. Failure to pass the exam at the second attempt will be counted as a failure of the comprehensive exam.

Failure to pass the comprehensive exam will result in a recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies for disqualification of the student from the graduate program.

Students who entered the graduate program as Ph.D. students and subsequently change their degree objective to the M.S. program are considered to have passed the comprehensive examination for the Master’s if they passed the STA 232AB part of the program’s pre-qualifying Ph.D. written exam.

Advancement to M.S. Candidacy

Plan II M.S. Candidates must file an advancement to M.S. candidacy (Plan II) form prior to completion of the program. Candidates must have taken at least half of the required coursework for their degree requirements (18 units).

Thesis

Since the M.S. in Statistics is a Plan II program, no thesis is required. Research experience can be gained by electing Statistics 299 under the guidance of a faculty member. This course may be related to work for the project or data analysis to be presented at the M.S. Comprehensive Exam.

Normative Time to Degree

The Normative time to Degree for the Statistics M.S. program is four to five quarters. A well-prepared student typically completes the program in four quarters.

Typical Time Line and Sequence of Events

Graduate Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units every quarter. These 12 units can be made up of both required courses and 299 variable unit courses.

For a well-prepared student it is possible to complete the core course requirements by the end of the first year. Students may take longer if they take required electives in the fourth or fifth quarter. The following would be a typical program.

Year 1

Fall

STA 206 (4)
STA 200A (4)
Elective (4)

Winter

STA 207 (4)
STA 200B (4)
STA 135 (4)
M.S. Comprehensive Exam
Advance to Candidacy

Spring

STA 200C (4)
STA 208 (4)
STA 242/243 (4)

Year 2

Fall

Elective (4)
Elective (4)
Elective or 299 + internship (4)

The following would be a typical program for a student requiring two full years.

Year 1

Fall

STA 106 (4)
STA 200A (4)
STA 141A (4)

Winter

STA 108 (4)
STA 200B (4)
STA 135 (4)

Spring

STA 200C (4)
Elective (4)
Elective (4)

Year 2

Fall

STA 206
Elective (4)
Elective (4)

Winter

STA 207
Elective (4)
Elective (4)
M.S. Comprehensive Exam
Advance to Candidacy

Spring

STA 208 (4)
STA 242/243 (4)
Elective (4)

*STA 200ABC is the requirement effective Fall 2017, replacing STA 131ABC.

For the PDF of our official requirements, please see "Statistics Graduate Program Degree Requirements".

***MASTER'S STUDENTS ADMITTED BEFORE FALL 2019: Please refer to the 2017 M.S. Degree Requirements.***

***MASTER'S STUDENTS ADMITTED BEFORE FALL 2017 & IDP students: Please refer to the 2014 previous M.S. Degree Requirements.***

Degree Requirements approved by Graduate Council June 11, 2019