Prospective Undergraduate Majors

What is Statistics?

Statistics is the mathematical and computational study of randomness and variability of data. Professionals trained in statistics collect and analyze data based on samples from larger populations, then calculate and interpret results methodologically in order to make inferences about those entire populations. They use quantitative abilities, statistical techniques, and computing and visualization skills to draw and communicate conclusions. 

Who uses Statistics? 

Statistics is one of the few major disciplines in which the expertise of a professional can have significant effect in fields as diverse as bioinformatics and medicine,  finance and insurance,  telecommunication and manufacturing, management and marketing, astrophysics and climatology, agriculture and forestry, as well as economics and education. Wherever one can gather data, the field of statistics is used.

What does the media say about the professionals working with Statistics? 

The Statistics Major

There are six options/emphases within the Statistics undergraduate program.  

Bachelor of Arts 

Applied Statistics Track  

Emphasizes statistical applications. This major track is recommended for students who are interested in applications of statistical techniques to various disciplines, especially the social sciences. 

Bachelor of Science 

Applied Statistics Track  

Emphasizes statistical applications. This major track is recommended for students who are interested in applications of statistical techniques to various disciplines including the biological, physical, and social sciences. 

Computational Statistics Track  

Emphasizes computing. This major track is recommended for students interested in the computational and data management aspects of statistical analysis. 

General Track  

Emphasizes statistical theory and is especially recommended as preparation for graduate study in statistics. 

Machine Learning Track 

(EFFECTIVE FALL 2020) Emphasizes algorithmic and theoretical aspects of statistical learning methodologies that are geared towards building predictive and explanatory models for large and complex data. It is recommended for students interested in pursuing graduate programs in statistics, machine learning, or data science, as well as for students interested in learning statistical techniques for industry. 

Statistical Data Science Track  

Emphasizes data handling skills and statistical computation. This track is recommended for students interested in statistical learning methodology, advanced data handling techniques and computational aspects of statistical analysis. 

Department Rankings

  • Between #1 and #6 among 60 programs (National Research Council 2010)
  • #27 (U.S. News & World Report’s “America's Best Graduate Schools 2015”)
  • #31 (U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Statistics Programs”) 
  • Between #12 and #24 among 61 programs (National Research Council 2010)
  • Statistics and operational research: #50 (QS World University Rankings 2015)
  • #4 Largest Statistics Program in the Country (Amstat News, December 2019)  

Why should you study Statistics at UC Davis? 

  • Internationally renowned faculty
    The UC Davis Statistics Department has a number of internationally renowned faculty, and as a statistics major, you will have the opportunity to study with these experts at the cutting edge of the field.
  • Outstanding undergraduate teaching
    Our faculty are extensively involved in teaching in addition to research. Most recently in 2019, Professor Ethan Anderes received a College of Letters and Science Award for Distinguished Teaching. Two current Statistics Professors Hans-Georg Müller and George Roussas have been recognized by the UC Davis Academic Senate’s Distinguished Teaching award. This award honors UC Davis faculty who combine extraordinary scholarship with outstanding undergraduate teaching.
  • Interdisciplinary and collaborative learning environment
    Statistics at UC Davis is also an interdisciplinary program. Many of our students combine their statistics studies with another major or minor such as biological sciences, computer science, engineering, economics, psychology, or sociology, depending on the student’s area of interest. This double major makes use of the need for statisticians across a large and increasing number of fields.
  • Close interactions with faculty, staff, and peers
    Because the undergraduate program in statistics is relatively small at UC Davis, students interact more regularly with faculty, staff, and peers to develop knowledge, skills, and important relationships.  

Student Perspectives

"Being a part of the statistics program here at UC Davis was a fantastic experience. Double majoring in Statistics and Economics taught me a lot about how useful statistics is in a wide array of fields. I'm incredibly thankful for the amazing faculty and lecturers that made learning statistics so much fun. I would highly recommend everyone take a few statistics courses while they are here at UC Davis."
--Sangeetha Ranamurthy, '19

"I have been so lucky to have called the UC Davis Statistics program, including all of its supportive students, faculty, and staff, home for the past four years. Studying statistics not only teaches many important skills necessary to succeed in today's data driven society, but also helps develop individuals capable of critical thinking, problem solving, and hard work."
--Brian Goebel, '16

"The amazing thing about statistics is how it can be applied in almost any field. What makes statistics at UC Davis special is the community. The professors and staff here genuinely care about your well being and want you to succeed."
--Lydia Tse, '16