Master of Science

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Program of Study

The Department of Statistics administers programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). These programs provide diverse opportunities for advanced study and research in all areas of applied and theoretical statistics, and practical experience in statistical consulting.

The M.S. program requires 30 hours of graded coursework covering the breadth of applied and theoretical statistics, and statistical consulting.

The M.S. student must also pass examinations that assess data-analysis and presentation skills. The M.S. program is normally completed within three semesters.

Overview of Requirements

The successful completion of the following courses and examinations are required for the M.S. in Statistics. They are described more fully below.

Course requirements:

  • All in a list of required courses. (9 credits)
  • A course in professional skills for the MS (3 credits)
  • At least four in a list of core elective courses. (12 or more credits)
  • At least two in a list of free elective courses. (6 or more credits)

Examination requirements:

  • Computer Skills Confirmation Test
  • Master’s Final Exam


Students should have 3 semesters of calculus (including multiple integrals), linear algebra (comparable to MATH 3351 or APMA 3080), and an introductory probability and statistics course such as MATH 3100/STAT 3120 or APMA 3100/3120.


Course requirements

The M.S. student must take a minimum of 30 credit hours stipulated as follows.

All of the following required courses: STAT 6120 (Linear Models), STAT 6190 (Introduction to Mathematical Statistics), and STAT 7100 (Introduction to Advanced Statistical Inference).

A course in professional skills for the MS: STAT 7995 (Statistical Consulting).

At least four core elective courses from the following list: STAT 5160 (Experimental Design), STAT 5330 (Data Mining), STAT 6130 (Applied Multivariate Statistics), STAT 6140 (Survival Analysis and Reliability), STAT 6170 (Time Series Analysis), STAT 6260 (Categorical Data Analysis), STAT 6250 (Longitudinal Data Analysis), STAT 6390 (Exploratory Data Analysis), STAT 6430 (Statistical Computing), STAT 6440 (Bayesian Methods), STAT 6630 (Statistical Machine Learning), STAT 7180 (Survey Sampling Methods), and STAT 7130 (Generalized Linear Models).

At least two free elective courses the following list: STAT 5310 (Clinical Trials), STAT 5265 (Investment Science I), STAT 5266 (Investment Science II), STAT 5340 (Bootstrap and Other Resampling Methods), STAT 5559 (Modeling in Biology and Medicine), STAT 8320 (Topics in Biostatistics), or any from the list of core elective courses.

Other graduate-level, three-credit courses from statistics or another department may substitute as a free elective course, subject to approval by the Director of Graduate Studies. Duplications are not allowed between 5000- and 6000-level versions of the same topic.


Data-Analytic Methods Concentration

The M.S. student who wishes to complete the data-analytic methods concentration must take STAT 5330 (Data Mining), STAT 6130 (Applied Multivariate Statistics), STAT 6630 (Statistical Machine Learning), and CS 5014 (Computing as Research). A student in this concentration may substitute SYS 6018 (Data Mining) for STAT 5330 and SYS 6016 (Machine Learning) for STAT 6630.


Examination Schedule

Computer Skills Confirmation Test: The purpose of the Computer Skills Confirmation Test is to assess whether the student is prepared for hands-on, data-intensive study of statistical methodology and applications, especially regarding the use of statistical software. The content is elementary data set management and elementary statistical analysis applications using SAS and R. The student is presented with a problem whose solution requires substantial manipulation of a large or complicated data set. This is a written exam whose format is timed and open-book; the student’s solution would consist of written comments, computer code, and possibly printouts of graphics and statistical output. The exam is offered at least once per year, near the end of the Fall or Spring semester.

Every student is expected to take the Computer Skills Confirmation Test in the first semester of the program. Any student who does not take or pass the exam in the first semester is put on academic probation. A student who fails the Computer Skills Confirmation Test may sit for the test again at the discretion of the faculty.

Master’s Final Exam: The purpose of this exam is to assess the student’s professional maturity and aptitude in using statistical techniques to produce sensible answers to data-analysis problems. The student is examined in three areas: (i.) skills in data manipulation and exploration (ii.) use and understanding of statistical methodology (iii.) skills in the presentation of data-analysis results. The Master’s Final Exam is administered as a “Statistics Poster Fair,” in which all M.S. students gather in a single public event to present results of an assigned project. Students present their results individually in the format of a poster, and remain available for the duration of the fair for detailed questioning from statistics faculty and other participants. The exam is scheduled once per year, near the end of the Spring semester.

A student who fails the Master’s Final Exam or Computer Skills Confirmation Test may sit for the examination again at the discretion of the faculty.


Sample MS program