Master of Science

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Programs 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, and are described more fully below.

Course requirements:

  • All in a list of required courses. (15 credits)
  • At least three core elective courses. (9 or more credits)
  • At least two free elective courses. (6 or more credits)

Examination requirements:

  • Computer Language Exam.
  • 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 5430, STAT 6120, STAT 6190, STAT 7100, and STAT 7995.

At least three core elective courses from the following list: STAT 6130, STAT 6160, STAT 6170, STAT 6250, STAT 6260, STAT 6440, STAT 7180, and STAT 7130.

At least two free elective courses from the following list: STAT 5310, STAT 5140, STAT 5330, STAT 5265, STAT 5266, STAT 5340, STAT 5630, and STAT 8320.

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 6130, STAT 5330, and CS 5014. A student who takes both STAT 5330 and STAT 5630 may count STAT 5630 as a core elective course. SYS 6018 may substitute for STAT 5330; SYS 6016 may substitute for STAT 5630."

Biostatistics Concentration

The M.S. student who wishes to complete the biostatistics concentration must take STAT 5140 plus at
least one of STAT 5310 or STAT 8320. PHS 7950 may substitute for either of STAT 5310 or STAT 8320..

Examination Schedule

Computer Language Exam: The purpose of this exam 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, and is typically coordinated with STAT 5430.

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 Language Exam may sit for the examination again at the discretion of the faculty.

Sample MS Program