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MSBA Admissions FAQs
The most frequently asked questions about MSBA admissions

About MSBA Admissions

When should I apply?

The UC Davis MSBA has multiple rounds of admissions.  Given the high volume of applications, candidates who are seeking priority consideration for scholarships, as well as international applications, should apply by Round 3 or earlier. The program admits on a rolling basis, and Round 4 is space-available for international applicants.

How much is the application fee?

The application fee is U.S. $125, you may pay with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover or electronic check.

What factors are considered in admissions decisions?

The Admissions Committee evaluates your academic potential, professional promise and personal qualities. These factors are not listed in order of importance, and we look at each candidate individually. Ourgoal is to assemble a class of students who will bring diverse perspectives to the learning environment.

What is required for application to the MSBA program?

  • Current resume
  • List of outside activities, awards and honors
  • Essay (300 words)
  • Transcripts from all institutions attended
  • Two recommendations in sealed envelopes or submitted online
  • Official GMAT or GRE score
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS (international applicants)
  • $125 application fee

Am I required to take the GMAT or GRE  exam ?

In recognition of potential testing challenges posed by COVID-19, for the fall 2021 MSBA application, prospective students are eligible for a GMAT/GRE waiver. If you choose to exercise the waiver, you will indicate this in the application for admission. You will also need to indicate the reason for the waiver. 

Please note, this will mean that your coursework taken would then form the sole basis for assessing your academic readiness for the program.  

Similar to all components of the application, your goal should be to submit the strongest application to represent your candidacy.  Candidates are welcome to supplement additional quantitative and computing coursework with on-premise as well as online coursework. 

How do I report my GMAT and GRE Scores?

Test scores are valid for five (5) years.

Option 1: GMAT

You may register for the GMAT test by contacting the Graduate Management Admissions Council directly.

You must request that your official scores are sent directly to UC Davis Graduate School of Management Admissions using the following code: Master of Business Analytics BIS-VF-90

Option 2: GRE

You may register for the GRE test by contacting Educational Testing Services (ETS) directly.

You must request that ETS send your official scores directly to UC Davis Graduate School of Management Admissions using the Designated Institution (DI) code: 7887.

I don’t have an undergraduate degree in statistics, computer science or engineering. Can I still apply to the UC Davis MSBA?

Yes, we have alumni from many different backgrounds in the program, including accounting, business, economics, the liberal arts and more. We seek students who show a passion for analytics via academics, professional engagements and/or volunteerism. The requirements to qualify for the MSBA program are:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Successful completion of prerequisite coursework in these primary areas:
    • Computing
    • Mathematics
    • Statistics
  • The prerequisite courses may be “in progress” at the time of applying, but must be completed before beginning the MSBA program in the fall. Prerequisites cannot be taken concurrently with the MSBA curriculum.

What is the language testing requirement?

Applicants must submit official TOEFL or IELTS examination scores unless they have earned or will be earning a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from either: 

  • A regionally accredited U.S. college or university where English is the sole language of instruction, OR 
  • A foreign college or university which provides instruction solely in English. UC Davis Graduate School of Management will only approve waivers for foreign colleges and universities that list English as the sole language of instruction in the IAU World Higher Education Database. We will not review or accept any other documentation.

Minimum score requirements for the TOEFL are 600 on the paper test, 250 on the computer-based test, or 100 on the internet-based test. The minimum score for the IELTS is 7.0 out of 9.0. Although candidates who do not meet the score requirement are welcome to submit an application for admission, we rarely offer admission to someone with a score below the minimum.

What is required for admissions for international candidates?

International candidates should refer to the language testing requirement immediately preceding to see if it is applicable. In addition, international candidates must have completed a four-year undergraduate degree or the equivalent. We require a degree equivalent to a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree—16 total years of education. We see a large number of international applicants with three-year undergraduate degrees; generally speaking, these applicants usually need to complete a one-year postgraduate diploma to meet the degree requirement. There are a number of organizations that perform academic credential evaluations. We recommend using one of these services to determine the exact standing of your degree/s. For example, you may want to visit World Education System at

If I have a transcript from abroad, do I need to have it translated?

We accept transcripts from foreign schools in English without any translation/transfiguration.

If a transcript is not in English, and thus is in need of translation, UC Davis accepts translation from three sources:

  • WES (World Education Services)
  • ECE (Educational Credential Evaluations)
  • IERF (International Education Research Foundation)

Is work experience required for admission to the MSBA program?

Work experience is not required for admission, but will certainly be considered as part of your overall applicant profile if you do have an employment history. The UC Davis MSBA program admits students with a range of experience as well as students who enroll directly from an undergraduate program without traditional work experience. Not having post-undergraduate work experience will not put an applicant at a disadvantage for admission. However, internships and leadership activities are a critical element of the application for candidates coming straight from an undergraduate institution.

Do I need to submit official copies of my transcripts and test scores along with my MSBA application?

You can submit unofficial copies with your application, transcripts and test scores can be electronically uploaded with your online application. If you are offered admission, UC Davis will require official, sealed copies of transcripts from all institutions attended (including coursework taken after applying to the MSBA program) and official score reports sent from the testing service.

What is the institutional code for UC Davis so that I can have score reports submitted?

For GMAT: B1S-VF-90
For GRE: 7887
For TOEFL: 4834 (Department Code 02)
For IELTS: You must request that the testing center send your official scores directly to the UC Davis Graduate School of Management; no code is required. For more information on the IELTS, please contact IELTS International at (323) 255-2771.   

What is the mailing address for MSBA Admissions?

UC Davis Graduate School of Management
Gallagher Hall
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
Attn: MSBA Admissions

Is it possible start the program in the winter or spring?

The program has one start date per year and starts each August on a full-time basis. However, applications are accepted through multiple rounds throughout the year. Please note, round 3 is the priority for scholarship consideration and international applications. Following round 3, applications from international candidates are accepted and reviewed on a space-available basis.

When will I hear back?

While there may be some variation from round to round due to the applicant volume, the program aims to return a decision to candidates within 10 weeks of the round deadline under which they submitted their application.

About the master of business analytics Program

How long does it take to complete the UC Davis MSBA program?

The MSBA is 44 units of graduate courses and includes a program-spanning practicum with an active corporate partner. Classes start in August and end in June of the following year.

What are the days and hours of the MSBA program?

Classes meet on Friday approximately between (noon–9 p.m.) and Saturday (9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.), as well as most Wednesdays. Working professionals have priority registration for evening classes on Wednesdays.

Financing the MSBA

Does the Graduate School of Management offer scholarships or grants?

Both the University of California and the Graduate School of Management have financial aid available for students, including grant funding.

The application for admissions doubles as the scholarship application. GSM scholarships are merit-based and are offered at the same time as offers of admission. You will be notified in your admissions letter if you have been selected for a GSM scholarship.

For more information about financial aid, please see: UC Davis Financial Aid and Scholarships.

Are there other scholarships or grants available from other sources?

There are a range of scholarships available through both public and private sources. You are ultimately responsible for securing funding for your MSBA, however there is an abundance of information about scholarships. Students should explore general scholarships as well as scholarships from affinity groups. Consider what kind of package best fits both your needs and your unique qualities.

Are international students eligible for financial aid from UC Davis?

Most types of financial aid are not available for students with the following visa types: F-1 or F-2 Student, G Series, H Series, J-1 or J-2 Exchange Visitor. International students may be eligible for scholarships, alternative loans and short-term loans.

For more information, visit the UC Davis Financial Aid and Scholarships website.

MSBA Career Development

What kind of career development opportunities does the Graduate School of Management offer?

The School’s Career Development department has a proven track record of successfully assisting our students with their career search. Our experienced team is a resource for MSBA students as they plan their entry into the exciting career field of business analytics.

Click here for the placement report.

Services include:

  • Individual counseling to sharpen job search strategies
  • Career development workshops
  • Group meetings with career development staff
  • Mock interviews
  • Access to national and international job listings
  • Participation in national conferences
  • Corporate site visits, guest speakers and information sessions with industry leaders

International Students and Opportunities

What resources are available for international students?

Visit the UC Davis Services for International Students & Scholars Office (SISS) or call (530) 752-0864.

What are the chances of working in the U.S. after I receive my MSBA?

International students should be aware there are challenges to securing employment postgraduation due to the cost of sponsoring a working visa (H-1B visa). This program is qualified as a STEM degree. With that said, it is possible for highly-qualified international students to be offered positions in the U.S. Details are available on the current placement report.

The most successful candidates:

  • Demonstrate a very strong fluency in English, both written and spoken
  • Are comfortable with and have a clear understanding of U.S. culture and ways of interacting in a professional setting
  • Take advantage of all resources offered by the GSM and UC Davis career services
  • Are flexible and open minded with regard to their opportunities for employment

Is this degree STEM certified?

The Masters of Science in Business Analytics is a STEM-certified degree. Qualified graduates of the program will have the opportunity to work for 36 months in the U.S. using Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

Why did UC Davis add questions pertaining to gender identity and sexual orientation to our graduate application?

On October 8, 2011, then-California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 620, which includes a request that the University of California provide the opportunity for students, faculty and staff to report their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression on any forms used to collect demographic data.

In 2012 then-UC President Mark Yudof created and charged the Task Force & Implementation Team on LGBT Climate and Inclusion (LGBT Task Force) with developing priorities, strategies and expected resource requirements to advance recommendations submitted by the LGBT Working Group of the President’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate and Inclusion. On May 30, 2014, the LGBT Task Force presented a report to UC President Janet Napolitano with a recommendation to implement AB 620.

In September 2014 UC President Janet Napolitano formed the President’s Advisory Council on LGBT Students, Faculty and Staff, which comprises faculty, LGBT Center staff, students and community experts. They were charged with making the UC system a gold standard for LGBT issues and to provide recommendations for the implementation of AB 620 by collecting data on gender identity and sexual orientation through the admission application. 

Providing the LGBT community with the option to self-identify supports the university’s priorities of creating an inclusive and welcoming campus environment across the UC system. Including these questions on the graduate application signals to applicants that UC is an inclusive environment and that the LGBT community is part of it. As with all other demographic questions on the admission application, providing gender identity and sexual orientation data is voluntary, optional and as required by law, and does not impact admission decisions.

What is the wording of the gender identity and sexual orientation questions?

Gender Identity

1) How do you describe yourself?

  • Male
  • Female
  • Trans Male/Trans Man
  • Trans Female/Trans Woman
  • Genderqueer/Gender Non-Conforming
  • Different Identity (please specify)

2) What sex were you assigned at birth, such as on an original birth certificate?

  • Male
  • Female
  • Decline to state

Sexual Orientation

Do you consider yourself to be:

  • Heterosexual or straight
  • Gay or lesbian
  • Bisexual
  • Not listed above (please specify)

How were the gender identity questions developed?

The Transgender Health Advocacy Coalition in Philadelphia, Penn., developed the two-step question protocol for gender identity data collection in 1997. The Center of Excellence for Transgender Health and UC San Francisco began advocating the use of the two-step protocol in 2007, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adopted it in 2011. The two-step method was also cognitively tested by two research teams as part of the Williams Institute’s research on best practices to identify transgender people and other gender minorities through population-based surveys.

Why is the gender identity measure comprised of two questions?

The two-step question protocol for gender identity data collection involves first querying the respondent’s current gender identity, followed by a second question that asks the respondent to state their sex assigned a birth. Research has shown that together, these two variables work well in identifying transgender and other gender minority respondents. The two items are cross-tabulated to identify those who currently identify with their assigned sex (non-transgender) and those who do not currently identify with their assigned sex at birth (transgender and other gender minorities).

How was the sexual orientation question developed?

The Williams Institute at UCLA recommended the question regarding sexual orientation after a five-year study of sexual orientation measures. The question has been thoroughly tested and is currently in use in the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), and other state-level surveys. In keeping with approaches employed by NHIS and CHIS, respondents are provided a space to self-identify if the available answer options do not suit them.

How will UC Davis use responses?

Data collected on gender identity and sexual orientation provide UC Davis with meaningful population data necessary for targeting resources and other student support services (e.g., scholarships and themed housing). These data also enable campuses to develop curricular and co-curricular offerings that reflect students’ diverse perspectives and that promote a safe and welcoming learning environment for all students.

As a recipient of federal Title IV financial aid funds, UC Davis is required to gather and report demographic data for undergraduate and graduate students, including gender data. For federal reporting purposes (i.e., IPEDS), it is recommended that Trans Female/Trans Woman be reported as Women, and Trans Male/Trans Man be reported as men. In addition, genderqueer and gender non-conforming individuals are reported as their sex assigned at birth.

Data collected is included on the student record, unless the student opts for “only aggregate” reporting. If a student opts for exclusion from their personal record, these data are maintained in aggregate form at the campus and student classification levels.

Students are provided with an avenue to update or change their gender identity or sexual orientation data through online campus student portals or an alternate method determined by the campus.

What is the definition of the terms used in the data collection questions?

  • Bisexual – A person whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same and other genders, or toward people regardless of their gender.
  • Gay – A sexual and affectional orientation toward people of the same gender.
  • Gender – A social construct used to classify a person as a man, woman or some other identity.
  • Gender Expression – How one expresses oneself, in terms of dress, mannerisms and/or behaviors that society characterizes as “masculine” or “feminine.”
  • Gender Non-Conforming – People who do not subscribe to gender expressions or roles expected of them by society.
  • Gender Queer – A person’s whose gender identity and/or gender expression falls outside of the dominant social norm for their assigned sex, is beyond genders, or is some combination of them
  • Heterosexual/Straight – A sexual orientation in which a person feels physically and emotionally attracted to people of a gender other than their own.
  • Lesbian – A woman whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same gender.
  • Transgender – Used most often as an umbrella term; some commonly held definitions: 1) someone whose gender identity or expression does not fit within dominant group social constructs of assigned sex and gender; 2) a gender outside of the man/woman binary; 3) having no gender or multiple genders.
  • Trans Man/Trans Male – A female-to-male (FTM) transgender person who was assigned female at birth, but whose gender identity is that of a man.
  • Trans Woman/Trans Female – A male-to-female (MTF) transgender person who was assigned male at birth, but whose gender identity is that of a woman.

For additional terms, visit the UC Davis LGBT Resource Center website at:

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