Forms & Policies

Forms and Policies

For a full list of available forms, please visit the Graduate Studies web site.  Return all forms to your Graduate Program Coordinator (Andi Carr).  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 see the official Degree Requirements. 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 at this time, however you will need to complete a Double Major Application (pdf). You must obtain the approval and signatures of both the M.S. graduate advisor and the admissions chair (for the current advisors, please click here). You may share up to 12 units between programs upon approval of the advisors. This form is then submitted to the graduate program coordinator. This form no longer requires the Dean's approval.

Changing Degree Objective / Changing Major

If a graduate student in another program at UC Davis wishes to join the Biostatistics Graduate Group, they must complete the Change of Degree Objective Form (pdf), and obtain the approval and signatures of the M.S. graduate advisor and the admissions advisor (for the current advisors, please click here). You may transfer up to 12 units between programs upon approval of the advisors. This form is then submitted to the graduate program coordinator. This form no longer requires the Dean's approval.

M.S. Students - Filing to graduate

For Master's Students and PhD students getting Master's degree "along the way."

How to apply for candidacy in GradSphere:

  1. Pay the candidacy fee and save a pdf of your receipt. You will need to upload your receipt in GradSphere as part of your candidacy application.
  2. Login to GradSphere using your CAS login. Under “Graduate Forms,” click the dark blue button labeled “Advancement to Candidacy.”
  3. Complete the “Student Information” and “Candidacy Information” sections. Be sure to upload your candidacy receipt.
  4. Coursework Required for Your Degree:
    1. You should only list courses required for completion of your degree. We prepare a degree worksheet in OASIS that lists these courses—please let Amy know if you have any questions or if the worksheet needs to be updated.
    2. You can view more information about your courses (including grade and instructor) in OASIS > Academic Record > Courses. View instructors by using the “Columns” drop down menu.
    3. Transfer coursework: In general, our students do not use transfer coursework for their degree. You will most likely answer “No” to the question about transfer coursework. (Transfer coursework includes classes you took at another university or through UC Davis Extension / Open Campus that has been approved by your Graduate Advisor to use towards your degree.)
  5. Review and submit your candidacy application or save and close to return to the application later.


Filing to graduate

To file to graduate, you will need to submit the Filing Process form in GradSphere. The deadline to submit the Filing Process form is the last day of instruction of the term for which you want to file.

Submitting the Filing Process form files you to graduate. When you complete the form, you provide information including your intended graduation term. Filing to graduate cannot be undone, so be sure that you specify the correct graduation term and submit only when you are ready to file.

When Graduate Studies files you to graduate, they will email you a PDF of your Degree Conferral Letter. This letter confirms you have completed all graduation requirements and will be awarded your master's degree on the date of conferral. Many employers, organizations, and government departments who require verification of degree will be satisfied with this letter in the time before your transcript is updated and your diploma is mailed.

When you graduate, please complete our department's Graduation Exit Survey. When you complete the survey, you provide us with the following information:

  • Your post-graduate career and/or education plans
  • Your feedback about our program, faculty, and your work/research experience
  • Your non-UCD email address so we can keep you informed of job postings and department news/events (optional)


This information is confidential and used only within the department. Any feedback you share will be kept anonymous.

Your answers help us improve our program and help future students in their studies and careers. We greatly appreciate your time in taking this survey!

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 emails the student’s Graduate Advisor, program coordinator (Amy McFarland), and the Group Chair (Danielle Harvey) informing them of the student’s exam result. After the Exam Chair confirms the student has completed any revisions and passed the exam, the program coordinator will send the Master’s Report Plan II form in GradSphere to the student’s Graduate Advisor for their approval (Exam Chairs no longer sign this form). Submitting the Master’s Report Plan II form confirms the student has passed the capstone comprehensive exam requirement and initiates the filing to graduate process.

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. Talk with your Graduate Coordinator (Andi) for instructions.  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 is automatically added to your account. Please see the PELP website for current fees. 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, i.e., 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 payable at the Cashier’s Office at Dutton Hall before the application is filed at Graduate Studies. Please see the Graduate Studies website for current fee cost. 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 research units

If you are enrolling in BST 299 independent research units, you and your instructor will need to complete a Variable Unit Course Contract and return it to Amy McFarland ( or Andi Carr ( for authorization, before the CRN can be released. To enroll in BST 299D (after you have advanced to candidacy), the form is not required; just ask Andi for the CRN.

Transfer Credit

Master’s students may request to transfer 6 units of required credit from an accredited non-UC campus, up to one-half of the quarter-units from another UC campus, or 12 units from UC Davis Extension to their graduate transcript. Only graduate and upper division coursework may be transferred; lower division coursework is not transferrable.

For doctoral students, some work taken elsewhere may be used to satisfy certain degree requirements with the consent of the Graduate Adviser and the Dean of Graduate Studies.
FROM UNDERGRADUATE: Up to 6 units of graduate work (that is, only 200-level courses) taken by an undergraduate student may be credited toward their graduate degree program. This does not apply if units were used to satisfy any requirements for the bachelor’s degree