Statistical Science Contiguous BachelorsMasters Pathway

The Department of Statistics offers a Statistical Science Bachelor’s/Master's pathway. Undergraduate students with majors in computer science, economics, mathematics, and physics can apply to the pathway in order to earn a B.S. degree in their own major together with an M.S. degree in Statistical Science. Depending on the student’s progress, the B.S./M.S. pathway can be completed in five years.

Admission process to the contiguous pathway

Students must declare their interest in pursuing the B.S./M.S. contiguous pathway no later than their ninth quarter of study at UCSC, and more typically at the end of the sixth or seventh quarter of enrollment. All students who apply to the pathway will be admitted into it, provided they satisfy the requirements. However, approval of an undergraduate student into a five-year bachelor’s/master’s path does not automatically guarantee admission into the one-year master’s program.

Students apply for admission into the M.S. program during their senior year using the same procedure and timeline as all other applicants to the program, and they will be considered for the M.S. program along with regular applicants. In addition to all other criteria used to evaluate M.S. applicants, students in the pathway will not be admitted into the M.S. program unless they achieve a grade of at least A- in both STAT 131 and STAT 132. The path assists qualified enrolled students with a simplified graduate application process that does not require students to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. This will be made clear to students admitted into the pathway, as early as possible.

Course Requirements

Students pursuing the contiguous pathway are expected to have a strong quantitative background. At the time they apply to the pathways they will be expected to have completed the following coursework:

Basic Requirements

To be admitted into the contiguous pathway, students must have completed this series of courses with an average GPA of 3.0 or above.

Advanced Requirements

During their junior year (or before, if appropriate), students in the pathway will be expected to take two courses:

STAT 131Introduction to Probability Theory


STAT 132Classical and Bayesian Inference


Students must obtain a grade no lower than A- in both courses to remain eligible for the pathway. A grade of A- or higher in STAT 131 will waive the M.S. requirement of taking STAT 203, Introduction to Probability Theory. Instead of STAT 203, students in the pathway will need to take an additional elective course to satisfy the credit requirements for the M.S. program (see sample plan below). 

Students who pass STAT 131 and STAT 132 with a grade of C or higher but lower than A-, although not eligible to continue in the contiguous pathway to the M.S., will still have the opportunity to complete a minor in statistics

Senior Year Requirements

Students apply for admission into the M.S. program during their senior year using the same procedure and timeline as all other applicants to the program. In addition, during the senior year, students in the pathway will be required to take three graduate-level courses:

STAT 204Introduction to Statistical Data Analysis


STAT 206Applied Bayesian Statistics


STAT 207Intermediate Bayesian Statistical Modeling


Note that all three courses satisfy requirements for the Statistical Science M.S. program and therefore cannot be counted as part of the minimum 40 credits of upper-division courses required by the undergraduate major.

Students who are accepted into the M.S. program but fail any of the three senior-year graduate courses will revert to the regular two-year M.S. timeline and will be allowed to retake them

M.S. Year Course Requirements

Students will complete the remaining required courses (STAT 200, STAT 280B, STAT 205 and STAT 208) and electives (three, one of them in lieu of STAT 203) for the M.S. program, as well as their capstone project, during their fifth year in the program.

A student enrolled in the 4+1 contiguous program will complete a total of 45 credits in classroom courses, just like students in the standard M.S. program, with 15 of those credits having been completed as part of their undergraduate degree.

If for any reason a student cannot complete the M.S. requirements during their fifth year, they will revert to the standard M.S. timeline.

STAT 205Introduction to Classical Statistical Learning


STAT 200Research and Teaching in Statistics


STAT 208Linear Statistical Models


STAT 280BSeminars in Statistics



STAT 131 and STAT 132 are requirements to qualify for the program, but do not satisfy any M.S. requirement (except, in the case of STAT 131, waiving the requirement of taking STAT 203). An M.S. elective is required in lieu of STAT 203.

Sample Planner for Bachelor's/Master's Pathway

Fall Winter Spring
STAT 131 STAT 132
STAT 204 STAT 206 STAT 207
M.S. Year STAT 200
(3 credits)
STAT 205 STAT 208
M.S. elective M.S. elective STAT 296
(10 credits)
M.S. elective STAT 296
(2 credits)

Capstone Requirement

This is a Plan II Capstone. For the M.S. degree, students conduct an individual capstone research project (up to three quarters) and in the spring participate in a seminar in which results from their project are presented. Examples of capstone research projects include: review and synthesis of the literature on a topical area of statistical science, application and comparison of different models and/or computational techniques from a particular area of study in statistics, and comprehensive analysis of a data set from a particular application area.

Students must submit a proposal to the potential faculty sponsor no later than the end of the fourth academic quarter. If the proposal is accepted, the faculty member becomes the sponsor and supervises the research and writing of the project. When the project is completed and written, it must be submitted to and accepted by a committee of two individuals, consisting of the faculty adviser and one additional reader. The additional reader will be chosen appropriately from within the graduate program faculty or outside of it. Either the adviser or the additional reader must be from within the graduate program faculty.