Forms and Policies

On the right is a list of the most common forms that are needed by Biostatistics graduate students. For a full list of available forms, please visit the Graduate Studies web site. Forms are filled out electronically, then printed, signed and submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies (250 Mrak Hall); please make sure that a copy is left with the Graduate Programs Coordinator (MSB 4118E) for your files. If you have any questions regarding these forms please ask the Graduate Programs Coordinator.


Below is a guide to some of the main policies related to these forms and certain aspects of the program. For more details on the course requirements, please visit the Degree Requirements page. For further details on graduate student policies, please consult the Graduate Student Handbook.

Applying for the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam

Ph.D. Students wishing to advance to candidacy must first take the Oral Qualifying Exam. This may be taken once the Written Pre-Qualifying Exam has been passed and all coursework successfully completed. The preparation for the exam will be done by working closely with a faculty mentor (independent study). The Ph.D. Qualifying Examination covers a special research topic assigned by an examining committee consisting of five faculty members. The major professor is not eligible to serve as chair of the examining committee. At least one committee member must be from outside the Graduate Group in Biostatistics. Once the committee has been decided, the student must complete the Application for Ph.D. Qualifying Exam form (pdf), which must be signed by the Graduate Adviser before being submitted to Graduate Studies. The Graduate Council rules on qualifying exams can be found here (pdf).

Graduate Studies guidelines for Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations apply. A student who passes the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination is eligible for promotion to Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree (see below for how to apply for Candidacy). Students taking the Qualifying Exam are requested to submit a title and abstract of the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination presentation to the Graduate Program Coordinator a week ahead of the exam, to be distributed to all faculty and students of the Graduate Group in Biostatistics, who are invited to attend the presentation portion of the examination.

Applying for Ph.D. Candidacy

Once a student has passed their Oral Qualifying Exam, they then proceed to apply for candidacy. Biostatistics is on Plan C, so the Plan C Application (pdf) must be completed. A student must choose a committee of three faculty members, who will read and sign the dissertation, and who will attend the final examination. The committee chair will act as dissertation adviser; this must not be the member who chaired the Qualifying Exam committee. Once the form is completed and signed, an application fee of $90 must be paid at the Cashier’s Office at Dutton Hall. The form will be marked as paid; students must then bring a copy of the form to the graduate coordinator, and submit the original to Graduate Studies.

International students must be sure to submit the form before the end of the quarter in which they passed the Qualifying Exam, in order to be eligible for the reduced Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition (NRST). NRST for PhD Candidates is reduced to 0% for three years. If after three years the student still has not submitted their dissertation, the NRST goes back up to 100%.

Changing Ph.D. Dissertation Committee Members

If you need to change the members of your dissertation committee, please submit the Request for Reconstitution of Committee Membership form (pdf) to Graduate Studies; please also leave a copy with the graduate program coordinator. Please make sure that new members are members of the academic senate. If you wish to include a member from outside campus, you must submit an External Committee Membership form (pdf), attaching a current CV of the member you wish to add.

Ph.D. Final Examination (Dissertation Defense)

Once you have completed your dissertation, you will need to defend it before the three-member dissertation committee. There are no forms to complete prior to this examination, but you must arrange a date and time with your committee and reserve a room (this can be done through the Statistics main office). The first half of the defense is public. Please be sure to send an email containing your abstract along with the date, time and location to the graduate coordinator seven days before your defense so that a public announcement can be made. After the exam, please make sure that your dissertation chair completes the Final Exam Report (Plan C) (pdf) and returns it to the graduate program coordinator. This will then be filed with Graduate Studies before you file your dissertation.

Filing your Ph.D. Dissertation

Please note: effective September 20, 2010 all theses and dissertations must be submitted electronically. Once the defense is completed, you may submit your dissertation at the Office of Graduate Studies. You must make an appointment at Graduate Studies to see the Graduate Program Liaison, Shelly Archer ( For information on the correct steps to file, as well as the forms required at filing, please see "Preparing/Filing your Dissertation" (Graduate Studies website). In order to be on the right degree list, be sure to file your dissertation by the correct date; you can check the Graduate Studies Calendar for filing deadlines.

See also: Information for Degree Candidates (Graduate Studies website).

Applying for a Double Major in Biostatistics (M.S.)

Current UC Davis graduate students can apply to enter the M.S. program in Biostatistics as a Double Major during any quarter. We do not require a separate application, however you will need to complete a Double Major Application (pdf). This form must be signed by the graduate adviser of your present program, as well as the M.S. graduate adviser for Biostatistics (Prof. Prabir Burman) or the admissions chair (Prof. Fushing Hsieh). You may share up to 12 units between programs. This form is then submitted to the graduate program coordinator. This form no longer requires the Dean's approval.

Changing Degree Objective / Changing Major

Students on the M.S. program can switch to the Ph.D. program by completing the Change of Degree Objective Form (pdf). Students must first consult with the graduate adviser for Statistics (Prof. Fushing Hsieh), whose signature is required for the form to be processed. Similarly, if a graduate student in another program at UC Davis wishes to join the Statistics graduate program, they must complete the same form, and obtain the approval of the M.S. graduate adviser (Prof. Prabir Burman), or the admissions adviser (Prof. Fushing Hsieh). You may transfer up to 12 units between programs. This form is then submitted to the graduate program coordinator. This form no longer requires the Dean's approval.

Applying for M.S. Candidacy

Before you are able to take the M.S. Comprehensive Exam, you must submit an Application for MS Candidacy (pdf). There is no fee for this. Biostatistics is on M.S. Plan II, which is the exam option, therefore you do not need to complete the ‘thesis committee’ section of the form. On page two you must list all upper division and graduate level courses that will be used to satisfy the requirements for the M.S. A total of 50 units are needed, including 18 at graduate level; if some of these units went towards a separate degree, please note that you may use no more than 12 units between programs. The form must be signed by the Graduate Adviser; a copy must be given to the graduate coordinator, and the original must go to Graduate Studies. Be sure to submit the form by the correct date, otherwise you may end up on a later degree list; you can check the Graduate Studies Calendar for filing deadlines.

Taking the M.S. Comprehensive Exam

Once you have completed all of the requirements and filed for M.S. candidacy, you are free to take the M.S. Comprehensive Exam, an oral exam with a written report component (for details please see the Master's Program page). Once the exam has been completed, the exam chair must complete and sign the MS Comprehensive Exam Report (Plan II) form (pdf), and return it to the graduate coordinator, who will check that all requirements for the MS, have been met. This will then be submitted to Graduate Studies.

The Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP)

The Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP) allows you to take an approved break from your study and be able to return at a later date to resume academic work. The process for going on PELP does not require a paper form, however you must submit your PELP request to your graduate adviser in the form of an email detailing which quarter you will be on PELP, your reasons for taking leave. This request is then forwarded by the program to Graduate Studies for approval. Please note: conducting research is no longer an approved reason to go on PELP. International students must get in touch with SISS in case there are visa issues. The fee for going on PELP is $60, which is added automatically to your account. See also PELP guidelines (Graduate Studies).

Students who need to extend their leave on PELP must complete and submit a Request for Time Extension form, to be signed by the graduate adviser submitted to Graduate Studies.

Please note that students may not use campus facilities, utilize faculty time, receive certain forms of financial support, nor advance to candidacy while on PELP. Academic appointments such as TA and GSR may not be held while on PELP. Students cannot go from one non-registered status to another, ie, from PELP to Filing Fee. Full PELP regulations are found in the University General Catalog.

Going on Filing Fee

Filing Fee is a non-registered status available to graduate students who have advanced to candidacy for their degree. Filing Fee status maintains your eligibility to complete your degree while not registered, and within your approved time limitations. You can use this option when all of your courses and research have been completed, your thesis or dissertation is in final draft form or you are ready to take the Master’s Comprehensive Examination.

The Filing Fee is $162, payable at the Cashier’s Office at Dutton Hall before the application is filed at Graduate Studies. To apply, complete the Filing Fee Application Form, have it signed by your dissertation chair and your graduate adviser, bring it to the graduate program coordinator for verification, and submit at Graduate Studies. The application must be submitted no later than the first day of the quarter the Filing Fee is to become effective.

Students on Filing Fee may not use campus facilities or utilize faculty time. Students may hold their dissertation defense while on Filing Fee. Once you go on Filing Fee, unlike PELP, it is expected that you will not register for course units again.

Taking 299 / 299D research units

If you are enrolling in BST 299 independent research units, or if you are enrolling in BST 299D dissertation research units (which are taken after advancing to PhD Candidacy), you and your instructor will need to complete a Variable Unit Course Contract and return it to Alejandra Garibay (MSB 4118B) or Pete Scully (MSB 4118E) for authorization, before the CRN can be released.