PhD Application Requirements

PhD Application Requirements

Thank you for your interest in our Ph.D Program. The application for admission for Fall 2021 closed on Tuesday, December 15, 2020.  We do not offer spring admissions. 

The application for Fall 2022 will be available in September 2021.

The application process is entirely online. All supplemental materials such as your transcripts, the descriptive list of courses, publications and/or resumes should be uploaded as PDF files. Please do not mail copies of your transcripts, statement of purpose, letters of recommendations, GRE and TOEFL scores, resumes, or any other documents as they will not be included with your application.

Once you upload and submit supplemental material, you will not be able to update it so please make sure you are submitting the correct material. Due to the high volume of email during the admissions season, we are not able to update and replace already submitted material.

Required Materials

 
A complete application consists of the following:

1.  Submission of the Graduate Application
2.  Application Fee Online 
3.  Unofficial Transcripts
4.  Three Letters of Recommendation
5.  Statement of Purpose
6.  Personal Statement
7.  C.V./Resume
8.  GRE (Optional for Fall 2021)
9.  TOEFL score
10. Descriptive List of Math & Statistics Courses

We require at least 3 letters of recommendation. Please follow the detailed instructions in the online application and remember to inform your recommenders that the department's deadline to receive supplemental materials is the same as the application deadline. Your recommenders must submit their letters online via the Online Graduate Application for Admissions and Fellowships.
Upload copies of unofficial transcripts for the departmental initial review. If admitted, official transcripts of all college-level work will be required and must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) you have attended. Transcripts that are not in English should include translations from the school that issued the original transcripts. If you graduated from a university outside of the U.S. you should also upload a copy of your degree certificate if your transcripts do not show the awarding of your degree.

New: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GRE is optional for applicants applying to the MA or PhD program in the Fall of 2020 (i.e. applying to be part of the entering class of Fall 2021).

The GRE is required for all applicants. It is composed of three sections:

  • Analytical Writing
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning

For more information about the test, as well as locations, test dates, and the time it will take for score reports to reach Berkeley, please consult the Educational Testing Service (ETS). 

Official scores must be sent directly from ETS. The institution code for Berkeley is 4833.

We encourage you to take the GRE no later than October to ensure that your scores arrive by the deadline. To be valid, the GRE must have been taken within the past 5 years. For applicants for Fall 2020 admission, test scores taken before July 1, 2015, will not be accepted.

Please include a Descriptive List of Upper Division/Graduate Statistics and Math Coursework. List the department, course number and title, instructor, grade, school, texts used and subject matter covered for all upper division and graduate level statistics and math courses you have taken. You should also include courses outside statistics and math departments that have a significant quantitative component. This list should be uploaded as a PDF document via the online application.

All applicants from countries in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This requirement applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, Israel, the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most Eurpoean countries, and non-English-speaking countries in Africa.

If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a U.S. university, you do not need to take a standardized test. Instead, you must upload an official transcript from the U.S. University.

Applicants must receive a score of 570 on the written test. The computer-based TOEFL must have a minimum score of 230. The minimum score for Next Generation TOEFL (iBT) is 90. Take the TOEFL at least 30 days prior to the deadline. The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. There is no department code for the TOEFL.

For applicants for Fall 2020 admission, the oldest acceptable exam date: June 1, 2016

See more information on English Language Proficiency »

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Prospective PhD Applicants

What are the minimum admission requirements?
  1.  A bachelor's degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution. If you are in your final year of studies, and you expect to earn your degree by mid-August of the following year, you may apply. If you are admitted, you will be required to provide proof at that time that you have earned your bachelor's degree, usually in the form of a final official transcript.

  2. If you attended a university that uses a 4.0 grade-point average (GPA) scale, a satisfactory scholastic average with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (B) is required. If you attended a university that does not use the 4.0 GPA scale, please do not try to convert your grades to the 4.0 scale for the application.

  3.  Background in mathematics, statistics, or a quantitative field

Are specific classes necessary?

Statistics classes in particular are not necessary, however we look for mathematical and computational preparations at the undergraduate level to ensure that students are well-prepared for our graduate course sequence. Typically, this means good performance in real analysis or an equivalent class, or a similar level of mathematical preparation in another major such as physics. Students with superb computing skills or experience in applied statistics or data science are a plus and can pick up more mathematical skills after arrival if necessary.

Is past research experience necessary?

Past research is overall a positive, but we also admit students based on other dimensions, such as academic excellence or strong letters of recommendation.

What if I’m currently working rather than enrolled as a student?

We welcome applicants with industry experience, especially if it has helped prepare you for your desired program of research.

Is it possible to apply to two departments?

The University does not allow applicants to apply to two departments simultaneously unless there is an established concurrent degree program between the two departments or schools (http://www.grad.berkeley.edu/programs/concurrent.shtml). Statistics does not have a concurrent degree program.

Is it possible to apply to both the M.A. and Ph.D. program?

No, applicants may only apply to one program.

Will my application be considered for the M.A. program if I'm not admitted to the Ph.D.?

No, unfortunately, you must decide to which program you would like to be considered for.

Does Statistics admit applicants for the Spring semester?

No, we only admit students for the Fall semester.

Do you offer Part-Time, Distance and Evening Programs?

We do not offer any part-time, evening or distance learning degree programs. All our degree programs are full-time.

How many students are admitted each year?

We receive around 350 applications for admission to the PhD program each year and typically admit between 18-22 PhD students to achieve an incoming class of 10-12 PhD students. 

Can I apply if I already have a MA or Ph.D. degree?

For more information, please see the Graduate Division website for their policy on the Duplication of Degrees: http://grad.berkeley.edu/policy/admissions-policy/#b13-evaluation-of-applicants

Does the Department require applicants to contact faculty before submitting an application?

No, this is not required. Instead, on the application, you will list faculty members who you would like to work with should you be admitted to our graduate program. You can view the list of all our faculty on our website.

Application Questions

Do I need to pay an application fee?

Yes, you must submit an application fee by the application deadline for your application to be reviewed. The application fee is not refundable. Please view the Application Fee rates.

Are application fee waivers available?

U.S. citizens or permanent residents who can demonstrate financial need are eligible to apply for an application fee waiver. Please see the eligibility requirements and deadlines for Requesting an Application Fee Waiver.

For international applicants, we are pleased to offer a limited number of need based fee waivers each year to eligible applicants. The form to request a fee waiver is included in the payment section of the online application.

How high should my GPA be?

We do not use a GPA cutoff. Most successful applicants have a high GPA, especially in technical courses. However, lower GPAs can be overcome with exceptional recommendation letters, especially ones related to successful research experiences.

Will I be required to calculate and list my grade-point average (GPA) on the application?

Yes. Applicants who received their undergraduate degree at an American university or college are required to list their cumulative GPA, major GPA (all courses completed in their major area of study), and advanced GPA (all course work excluding the first two years of study). If you attended a university that does not use the 4.0 system, please do not try and convert your grades to our system; just leave that section blank.

Do my transcripts need to be translated if they are not in English?

International transcripts and degree certificates that are in a language other than English must have an official English translation of the transcript uploaded to the application along with the original transcript. Translations should be prepared and issued by the school the student attended or an ATA certified translator.

My fall grades will be released after the application deadline, will I be able to submit an updated transcript?

No, unfortunately, you cannot submit a new transcript after you’ve submitted your application. If you are currently finishing your undergraduate degree, please upload the most current version of your transcript.  The application will provide a space for you to list any additional courses that you are currently taking or plan to take in the future.  The department will also reach out to you directly for an updated transcript if the committee is interested in seeing your Fall grades.

Do I need to take the GRE?

New: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GRE is optional for applicants applying for Fall 2021 admission and will not be a major factor in considering applicants. 

What are the average GRE scores obtained by those who were admitted to your program?

NEW: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GRE is optional for applicants applying to the PhD program in the Fall of 2020 (i.e. applying to be part of the entering class of Fall 2021).

Admissions is based on all aspects of the application, not just GRE scores.  While there is no minimum requirement for the GRE, admitted applicants generally score in the high percentiles especially on the quantitative section of the exam. The following are the average scores of those admitted last year: 

PhD admitted applicants (in percentiles): Verbal 83%, Quantitative 94%, Analytical Writing 60% 

Is the Math Subject test required?

We do not require the Math subject test but if the scores are available you may submit it as part of your application.

My online application says that my official test scores have not been received, can you confirm my test scores have been received?

At times the online application has difficulty matching official test scores especially if your name does not match.

Unfortunately, due to the large volume of applications, we cannot confirm the receipt of scores. However, we will use your self-reported scores for the admissions review and, if admitted, we will match your official scores or contact you directly if we are unable to locate them.

Can the TOEFL be waived?

If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a recognized U.S. institution, you do not need to take a standardized test.  Instead, you must submit an official transcript from the recognized U.S. institution. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:

courses in English as a second language courses conducted in a language other than English courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and courses of nonacademic nature. For more information: http://www.grad.berkeley.edu/admissions/admis_require.shtml#4_2

How important are letters of recommendation?

Letters of recommendation are an important part of our overall evaluation. These can come from research mentors, instructors, or employers, but should speak to your intellectual maturity, creativity, and determination and drive.

Can I submit more than three letters of recommendation?

The online application will allow you to submit more than three letters of recommendation. However, due to the number of applications we receive, there is no guarantee that more than three letters will be read.

Can recommenders upload their letters after an application has been submitted or after the application deadline?

The system will allow recommenders to submit their letters after you have submitted your application and after the deadline. However, the review process begins immediately after the application deadline. If the admissions committee has already reviewed your application before your recommender has submitted their letter, it is not guaranteed that your application will be reviewed again. Therefore, it is highly advised that you contact recommenders well in advance of tthe application deadline to give them ample time to submit their letters by the deadline.

Are the research statement and personal statement important?

Yes, these help us assess your maturity and drive, to better understand your research interests and how they fit in with Berkeley faculty, and help provide additional context for holistically evaluating your application.

As part of the application, we require applicants to submit both the statement of purpose AND personal statement (also known as the personal history statement). For the statement of purpose, be concise; an ideal essay should say everything it needs to with brevity. Approximately 500 to 1000 well-selected words (1-2 single space pages in 12 point font) is better than more words with less clarity and poor organization. Personal statements are typically one page or shorter, though some are longer.

What should I include in the descriptive list of courses and books?

Please make sure to include courses and books for all statistics-relevant courses, including those in related areas (e.g. math, computer science). Since the course title by itself usually doesn’t convey much information, including the books used helps give us a better idea of what the courses contained. It helps to be complete and include all the information requested.

When will applicants be notified regarding the admission decisions?

All applicants will be notified via email by the end of March.

How will your admissions policies change in light of COVID-19?

We understand that Spring 2020 grades are less meaningful due to the wide variation in individual circumstances from the COVID-19 pandemic. We plan to take this into account when reviewing applications, but also encourage people to indicate in their personal statement if they had particular challenges that would have affected their academic performance. Since many institutions switched to pass/fail for that semester, we expect many grades will be on a pass/fail basis and will not penalize students who took a pass/fail option.