Master's Program - pre-Fall 2014 requirements

Please note: the following page contains the old requirements for the M.S. program in Statistics. These have now been superceded by the new requirements effective Fall 2014 (please go to the M.S. page), but are presented here for those students admitted prior to Fall 2014 under these requirements. Those students will be 'grandfathered', that is, can complete their program using these old requirements if they so wish.

M.S. Degree Requirements (prior to Fall 2014)

Admission Requirements

STUDENTS PLEASE NOTE: It is expected that effective Fall 2014 the M.S. Degree Requirements will be changed from those currently published. We are awaiting approval for the changes. For more information on the proposed requirements, please contact the M.S. Coordinator Melany Miners (mjminers(at)

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. Students without sufficient coursework in mathematics may be admitted with the expectation that sufficient mathematical background will be acquired during the first year of study. The program does not accept part-time students.

Program of Study

The program of study will be developed and approved for each student by the Graduate Adviser in consultation with the student. The program will consist of at least 36 units of coursework, at least 18 of which must be at the graduate level. This is a M.S. Plan II program (no thesis).

Course Requirements for the master's degree:

Required Courses:

  • Probability Theory & Mathematical Statistics: STA 131A-131B-131C (4 units each)
  • Multivariate Data Analysis: STA 135 (4 units)
  • Applied Statistics and Multivariate Analysis: STA 232A-232B (4 units each)
  • Introduction to Statistical Programming: STA 242 or Computational Statistics: STA 243 (4 units)
  • Seminar in Statistics: STA 290 (taken twice; 1 unit)
  • Methods in Teaching Statistics: STA 390 (taken once at the first available offering; 2 units)
  • Methods in Statistical Consulting: STA 401 (once during program; 3 units)

Required Electives (8 units):

  • Two courses selected from
    • Time Series Analysis: STA 137 (4 units)
    • Analysing Categorical Data: STA 138 (4 units)
    • Reliability: STA 142 (4 units)
    • Sampling Theory of Surveys: STA 144 (4 units)
    • Bayesian statistical Inference: STA 145 (4 units)
    • or any graduate course in Statistics

Other Electives (6 units):

Further elective units at the upper division or graduate level may be taken in the following areas: (a) statistics, (b) Fields of statistical application (eg, economics, genetics), (c) fields having applications in statistics (eg, mathematics, computer science) in order to meet the minimum unit requirements.

The following courses can be used to substitute these requirements:

  • STA 231 A, B, C for STA131 A, B, C;
  • STA 232C for STA135;
  • and a data analysis project conducted under STA299 (independent study) for STA401

If a required course for the MS program is substituted in this way, the substituting course cannot be used to simultaneously satisfy any other requirement.

Course descriptions can be found here (upper division) and here (graduate level).

M.S. Comprehensive Exam

Every M.S. Plan II student needs to pass a comprehensive exam, taken at the end of the Winter quarter in the second year of graduate studies, to continue in the program. The M.S. Comprehensive Examination is a written examination, based on concepts and methods in linear models, whose duration is about 3-4 hours. The examination will usually include the use of statistical software and may be administered in a computer lab. The chair of the Graduate Program in Statistics (GPS) will appoint an examination committee that will be responsible for preparing, administering and grading the examination. This committee will forward its recommendation to the GPS, which will make the final decision on each student. Should a student not pass the written comprehensive exam, they will be offered an oral examination at the end of the Spring quarter of the second year in graduate studies which will focus on the areas the student did poorly on in the written examination. If a student does not attempt the oral exam, it will be counted as a failure.

Failure to pass either the written or the oral exam by the end of the second year of graduate studies will result in a recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies for disqualification of the student from the graduate program.

Advancement to M.S. Candidacy

Plan II M.S. Candidates must file an advancement to M.S. candidacy (Plan II) form prior to taking the written comprehensive examination in Winter of their second year of graduate studies. Candidates must have taken at least half of the required coursework for their degree requirements (18 units).


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 six quarters (two years).

Sample Study Plan

Every full-time student at UC Davis is required to take 12 units of coursework per quarter. Financial support, if granted, is contingent on normal progress towards the degree goal. In addition to the coursework as outlined below, students will take Statistics 290 (Seminar) and generally will take additional electives later on, in consultation with their major professor.

The following would be a typical program for a student seeking an M.S. degree.

Year 1




Statistics 131A

Statistics 131B

Statistics 131C

Statistics 106 or 108

Statistics 141

Statistics 135

Statistics 390

Statistics 106 or 108

Mathematics 167

Year 2




Statistics 232A

Statistics 232B

Statistics 138

Statistics Elective

Statistics 401

Statistics Elective

M.S. Comprehensive Exam

Degree Requirements approved by Graduate Council May 17, 2010. Now superceded by Degree Requirements approved August 14, 2014.