Admissions FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the application deadlines?
2. How will I know when my application is complete?
3. How many letters of recommendation do I need?
4. When will I find out if I’ve been accepted or denied?
5. What if I am on the Wait List?
6. Does the department offer financial support?
7. If my background is not in Math or Statistics, should I apply?
8. Does the department offer part-time programs?
9. Do I need to apply for the MS before I can apply for the PhD?
10. Which GRE do I need to take?
11. Can I get a TOEFL waiver?
12. Which GRE and TOEFL codes should I use?
13. Can I send photocopies?
14. Does the program admit international students?
15. Which factor is most important when considering an application?
16. Can I enter the program in any quarter?
17. Am I qualified to be a Teaching Assistant?
18. Who will be my major adviser?
19. If my application is unsuccessful, what should I do?


1. What are the application deadlines?

Ph.D. applicants: the priority deadline for all application materials and fellowship applications is January 15. M.S. applicants can apply up to May 15th (please check first with the graduate coordinator to see if admission has been closed).

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2. How will I know when my application is complete?

When your application is complete, you will receive an email from the Biostatistics graduate coordinator, however you can check the online system to see that everything has been received. If you have items missing, you will be notified around the time of the admissions deadline. The admissions committee will begin its review shortly after the deadline, so please be sure to have your materials in by then.

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3. How many letters of recommendation do I need?

You need to electronically submit three letters of recommendation. These must be submitted online via the Office of Graduate Studies admissions site: http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/prospective/admissions_application.html. When you enter your recommender's name and email address into your application, they will receive an automated email with a password and URL instructing them how to upload the letter. Please do not send hard copies nor emailed copies of letters of recommendation to the program.

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4. When will I find out if I’ve been accepted or denied?

Ph.D. applicants: The Admissions Committee usually makes its preliminary offers of admission and financial support by late February, however the process often takes longer. If you are accepted or denied, the department will send you an email to notify you, and the Office of Graduate Studies will send an official email. Those who have been offered admission and/or financial support have until April 15th to respond and submit their Statement of Intent to Register.

M.S. applicants: the admissions committee will start its initial review around January 15th, and make its first admissions offers in February. However the committee will continue to review new applications and make decisions up to May 15th. Ph.D applicants who are denied may be reconsidered for the M.S. at the discretion of the committee.

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5. What if I am on the Wait List?

The Admissions Committee sometimes selects certain applicants to be placed on the Wait List. Those on the Wait List will be notified by mail by Graduate Studies and via email by the department. Decisions about whether to admit or deny wait-listed applicants are usually made by April 15; waitlisted applicants who have been offered admission have until May 15 to respond.

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6. Does the program offer financial support?

Ph.D applicants: The Graduate Group in Biostatistics offers financial support to the best ranked admitted Ph.D. applicants, usually in the form of fellowship stipendss or as employment within the Biostatistics Graduate Group as a Teaching Assistant or Graduate Student Researcher. TAs receive fee remissions that cover most of their in-state tuition. Students can also find employment as a Graduate Student Researcher, though these positions are usually taken by more advanced students. For internationals or non-CA residents, the graduate group also has a limited number of Non-Resident Tuition Fellowships, which cover in full the non-resident supplemental tuition.

M.S. applicants: we do not offer funding for M.S. students. However you are welcome to apply for fellowships through Graduate Studies.

We also encourage applicants to apply for the Internal Fellowships offered by Graduate Studies; details can be found here: https://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/prospective-students/financial-support/about-internal-fellowships

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7. If my background is not in Math or Statistics, can I apply for the program?

Yes. A strong background in these areas is important, but it is not the only determining factor for admission. Students without a strong mathematical / statistical background, if accepted, would be expected to build up these areas in the first year.

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8. Does the program offer part-time programs?

No, we only accept full-time students (registering for 12 units per quarter).

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9. Do I need to apply for the MS before I can apply for the PhD?

No, you can apply directly for the PhD without an MS; students intending on PhD study should apply directly for the PhD. You can obtain an MS while you undertake the PhD. However, those entering with an MS degree do not need to take the lower level graduate courses.

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10. Which GRE do I need to take?

We require that applicants take the General GRE test, and not the subject-specific test. It is important that your test scores are no more than five years old; if they were taken more than five years ago, you will be required to take the GRE again before you will be allowed to enter the program. Please note, we can review your application with self-reported scores if your GRE score cannot be sent in time for the deadline.

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11. Can I get a TOEFL waiver?

If you took your bachelor’s or master’s degree in the United States, your TOEFL requirement will be automatically waived. Similarly, if you are applying from a country whose first language is English, you do not need to take the TOEFL.

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12. Which GRE and TOEFL codes should I use?

Please use institution code 4834 for UC Davis, GRE department code 0799 for Biostatistics, and TOEFL department code 59. If the Biostatistics code is not available, please use code 0705 (Statistics). Your scores will still reach us.

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13. Can I send photocopies?

While we do accept copies (scanned & emailed is ok) of GRE and TOEFL scores for review purposes, you will be required to send originals if you are offered admission. In the review process we usually go by the self-reported scores in your application. For transcripts, you can upload copies into the system yourself. Please do not send us originals until offered admission. Please don't send photocopies nor email scans to the program as we cannot upload copies of transcripts for you.

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14. Does the program admit international students?

Yes; the program has many international students. Those in the PhD are generally offered full support.

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15. Which factor is most important when considering an application?

Everything is considered important. We look for a strong overall application. That said, we want to see that you have performed well in the relevant courses on your undergraduate transcript.

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16. Can I enter the program in any quarter?

No: we only accept applications for Fall quarter entry from new applicants. However, internal applications to double-major in the MS program are accepted quarterly from current UC Davis graduate students.

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17. What qualifications do I need to be a Teaching Assistant?

New Teaching Assistants must attend the T.A. Orientation held by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (click link for details). International students must also take the SPEAK Test. A strong score in your TOEFL speaking test is also required (preferably above 24).

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18. Who will be my major advisor?

The Graduate Advisor for Biostatistics PhD students is Prof. Fushing Hsieh, and for Masters students the advisor is Prabir Burman. While you are here, you will be given the opportunity to approach faculty to work with as your major professor.

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19. If my application is unsuccessful, what should I do?

If you are not admitted to the program this year, you are still welcome to apply for the following year. However, you will be required to submit a new set of application materials. Please note, the admissions committee reserves the right not to comment on why an application has been denied. Often even strong applicants are not admitted, sometimes due to not enough spaces in the program, or a greater degree of competition in that particular year.

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