SAM PhD/MS Programs

The Applied Mathematics and Statistics Department at UCSC offers master’s and doctoral programs in Statistics and Applied Mathematics, or Applied Mathematics and Statistics, depending on chosen emphasis. The goal of these programs is to help students develop into independent scholars who are prepared for productive careers in research, teaching, and industry. The department also offers a designated emphasis in Statistics.

Applications for admission are handled by the Baskin School of Engineering.

Academic questions can be addressed to the current Graduate Director.

Administrative questions can be addressed to the Graduate Advisor.

Statistics and Applied Mathematics MS/PhD Requirements
Applied Mathematics and Statistics MS/PhD Requirements
Financial Support
Designated Emphasis in Statistics
Graduate Exam Committees

Requirements for a Graduate Degree in Statistics and Applied Mathematics

This track is for students emphasizing Statistics. All students must complete the core courses described below.

M.S. Program and Ph.D. Program
AMS 200
AMS 203
AMS 204
AMS 205B
AMS 206B*
AMS 207
AMS 256
AMS 280B

*AMS 206B is required for Ph.D. students. Students in the M.S. program are required to take AMS 206 instead.

In addition to these 35 units, M.S. students must complete two additional 5-unit courses from the approved list, for a total requirement of 45 units. Ph.D. students must complete four additional 5-unit courses from the approved list, for a total requirement of 55 units.

Requirements for a Graduate Degree in Applied Mathematics and Statistics

This track is for students emphasizing Applied Mathematics. All students must complete the core courses described below.

M.S. Program and Ph.D. Program
AMS 200
AMS 211
AMS 212A
AMS 213A
AMS 213B
AMS 214
AMS 280B

In addition to these 30 units, M.S. students must complete three additional 5-unit courses, inlcuding a first-year elective from the approved list, for a total requirement of 45 units. Ph.D. students must complete five additional 5-unit courses from the approved list, for a total requirement of 55 units.

First-year electives in the Applied Mathematics track are designed to prepare students for their ultimate research emphasis within the Applied Mathematics track. They must be taken during the first year, and must be selected from the following list: AMS 203, 209, 216, 217, 227, 230, 231, 232, 238, 250, 260, and 275.

For both emphasis tracks, M.S. students will be allowed to substitute up to two courses with their required research project in which they conduct a research program in one or two of the quarters of their second year. The project will consist of solving a problem or problems from the selected area of application and will be presented to the sponsoring faculty member as a written document.

Ph.D. students will be required to serve as teaching assistants for at least two quarters during their graduate study. Certain exceptions may be permitted for those with extensive prior teaching experience or those who are not allowed to be employed due to visa regulations.

Qualifying Examinations

At the end of the first year, all students will take a pre-qualifying examination covering the six (non-seminar) core courses. This examination will have two parts: an in-class written exam, followed by a take-home project involving data analysis. Students who do not pass this exam will be allowed to retake it before the start of the following fall quarter; if they fail the second examination they will be dismissed from the program.

Ph.D. students must complete the oral proposal defense, through which they advance to candidacy, by the end of the spring quarter of their third year. The proposal defense is a public seminar as part of an oral qualifying examination given by the qualifying committee.

MS Capstone and/or Dissertation Requirements

A capstone project is required for the M.S. degree and a dissertation for the Ph.D. degree.

For the M.S. degree, students will conduct a capstone research project in their second year (up to three quarters). Students must submit a proposal to the potential faculty sponsor by the start of the fourth academic quarter. If the proposal is accepted, the faculty member will become the sponsor and will supervise the research and writing of the project. The project will involve the solution of a problem or problems from the selected area of application. When the project is completed and written, it will be submitted to and must be accepted by a committee of two individuals, consisting of the faculty adviser and one additional reader. Additional readers will be chosen appropriately from within the Applied Mathematics and Statistics Department or outside of it. Either the adviser or the additional reader must be from within the Applied Mathematics and Statistics Department.

A dissertation is required for the Ph.D. degree. Ph.D. students must select a faculty research adviser by the end of the second year. A written dissertation proposal will be submitted to the adviser, and filed with the graduate secretary. A qualifying examination committee will be formed, consisting of the adviser and three additional members, approved by the Chair of the Graduate Program and the Dean of the Graduate Division. The student will submit the written dissertation proposal to all members of the committee and the graduate secretary no less than one month in advance of the qualifying examination. The dissertation proposal will be formally presented in a public oral qualifying examination with the committee, followed by a private examination. Students will advance to candidacy after they have completed all course requirements (including removal of all incompletes), passed the qualifying examination, and paid the filing fee. Under normal progress, a student will advance to candidacy by the end of the spring quarter of her/his third year. A student who has not advanced to candidacy by the start of the fourth year will be subject to academic probation. Upon advancement to candidacy, a dissertation reading committee will be formed, consisting of the dissertation supervisor and at least two additional readers appointed by the Graduate Program chair upon recommendation of the dissertation supervisor. At least one of these additional readers must be in the Applied Mathematics and Statistics Department. The committee is subject to the approval of the Graduate Division. The dissertation will consist of a minimum of three chapters composed of material suitable for submission and publication in major professional journals in statistics and stochastic modeling. The completed dissertation will be submitted to the reading committee at least one month before the dissertation defense, which consists of a public presentation of the research followed by a private examination by the reading committee. Successful completion of the dissertation defense is the final requirement for the Ph.D. degree.

Relationship of Masters and Doctoral Programs

The M.S. and Ph.D. programs are freestanding and independent, so that students can be admitted to either. Students completing the M.S. program may proceed into the Ph.D. program, and students in the Ph.D. program can receive a M.S. degree upon completion of M.S. requirements, including the capstone research project. Each Ph.D. student will be required to have knowledge of statistics and applied mathematics equivalent to that required for the M.S. degree. In addition, Ph.D. candidates will be required to complete coursework beyond the M.S. level.

Transfer Credit

Up to three School of Engineering courses fulfilling the degree requirements of either the M.S. or Ph.D. degrees may be taken before beginning the graduate program through the concurrent enrollment program. Ph.D. students who have previously earned a master's degree in a related field at another institution may substitute courses from their previous university with approval of the adviser and the graduate committee. Courses from other institutions may not be applied to the M.S. degree course requirements. Petitions should be submitted along with the transcript from the other institution or UCSC Extension. For courses taken at other institutions, copies of the syllabi, exams, and other course work should accompany the petition. Such petitions are not considered until the completion of at least one quarter at UCSC. At most, a total of three courses may be transferred from concurrent enrollment and other institutions.

Review of Progress

Each year, the faculty reviews the progress of every student. Students not making adequate progress toward completion of degree requirements are subject to dismissal from the program (see the Graduate Handbook for the policy on satisfactory academic progress).

Program Learning Outcomes

PhD PLOs (Program Learning Outcomes):
1. Mastery of the fundamental knowledge in applied mathematics or statistics.
2. Ability to use analytical and computational methods to solve a problem.
3. Ability to develop and apply mathematical or statistical methods to model a
real-world problem in an application area, and understand its relevance within
the research context.
4. Ability to communicate concepts and results to both other experts in the
field and to people outside the field.
5. Ability to conduct independent research.

Assessment:
Each student must take the first-year exam, which tests for mastery of the fundamental knowledge, and the ability to use analytical and computational methods (PLOs 1 and 2). The QE provides a formative assessment of PLOs 3, 4, and 5. The thesis document and defense provide a summative assessment of PLOs 3, 4, and 5.

MS PLOs (Program Learning Outcomes):
1. Proficiency with the fundamental knowledge in applied mathematics or statistics.
2. Ability to use analytical and computational methods to solve a problem.
3. Ability to apply mathematical or statistical methods to model a real-world
problem in an application area.
4. Ability to communicate concepts and results to those with or without subject
matter knowledge.

Assessment:
Each student must take the first-year exam, which tests for mastery of the fundamental knowledge, and the ability to use analytical and computational methods (PLOs 1 and 2). The MS project provides an assessment of PLOs 3 and 4.

Financial Support

The department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics attempts to provide financial support, in the form of Fellowships, Teaching and Research Assistantships, to all students admitted into its graduate programs, with priority typically given to Ph. D. students. Thanks to the generous support of the National Science Foundation the department is also able to offer scholarships through the S-STATSMODEL program. For more information check out the program's webpage here.

Requirements for a Designated Emphasis in Statistics

Students from another degree program who meet the following requirements can have the designated emphasis of "statistics" annotated to their degree title. For example, a Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering who meets the requirements would get a certification that read "Ph.D. Electrical Engineering with an Emphasis in Statistics". The course requirements are:

Designated Emphasis in Statistics
AMS 203
AMS 206 (or AMS 206B)
AMS 207

and one other statistics course from a list of approved courses in AMS (currently 202, 205B, 221, 223, 225, 241, 245, 256, 261, 263, 268, 274 and 291 although others will be added in the future).

 

Graduate Exam Committees

The Master's Capstone Reading Committee, Qualifying Exam Committee and Dissertation Reading Committee require Applied Mathematics & Statistics (AMS) Department approval. These are the current AMS policies on the committee membership. These policies are in addition to the Graduate Council requirements described in the Graduate Handbook.

MASTER'S CAPSTONE READING COMMITTEE

The members of the Master's Project Reading Committee must include the following:

  1. A ladder rank AMS faculty member
  2. A ladder rank UCSC faculty member or a recognized expert in the student's research area as judged by the Graduate Director.

Additional members may be added to the committee. Students should consult their faculty advisors about the membership of their committee.

QUALIFYING EXAM COMMITTEE

The qualifying exam committee must consist of at least four examiners, one of whom is not a member of the student's department. The members of the committee must meet the following conditions:

  1. The chair of the committee must be a tenured ladder rank SOE faculty member who is not the student's advisor.
  2. A ladder rank AMS faculty member (may be the advisor).
  3. A ladder rank UCSC faculty member or a recognized expert in the student's research area as judged by the Graduate Committee.
  4. The outside member must be a tenured ladder rank faculty member from a department other than AMS at UCSC or a recognized expert in the student's research area from outside UCSC. The outside member may not be the student's advisor. In the event that the outside member is not from UCSC she/he must have credentials equivalent to a tenured faculty member as judged by the Graduate Committee and the Graduate Dean. The outside member's CV must be submitted along with the exam committee nomination form.

Additional members may be added to the committee. Students should consult their faculty advisors about the membership of their committee.

DISSERTATION READING COMMITTEE

The members of the Dissertation Reading Committee must include the following:

  1. The advisor or supervisor of the student. This is the chair of the committee.
  2. A ladder rank SOE faculty member who is not the student's advisor. This member must be from AMS at UCSC if the advisor is not from AMS at UCSC.
  3. A ladder rank UCSC faculty or a recognized expert in the student's research area with credentials equivalent to a ladder rank UCSC faculty member as judged by the Graduate Committee.

If you have two advisors you should list both as co-chairs. Additional members may be added to the committee. Students should consult their faculty advisors about the membership of their committee. The Dissertation Reading Committee must be appointed in order to advance to candidacy.

Tips

If you are inviting someone from outside to serve on your committee and it is not clear whether their credentials will satisfy the requirements for the outside member, then it is advisable to list them either as the third member or an additional fifth member of the committee to avoid embarrassing them and delaying the appointment of the committee.

A ladder rank faculty (Academic Senate member) holds the title of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor. Associate Professors and Professors have tenure.