Earn your MS in Statistics

The Master of Science in statistics requires 32 semester hours of graduate credit. The program prepares students for careers as professional statisticians or for entry into a PhD program. It includes a solid foundation in statistical computing, statistical modeling, experimental design, and mathematical statistics plus electives in statistical methods and/or theory. Students have the opportunity to concentrate on theory or applications or a combination of the two.

In addition to required course work, students must pass a two-part graduate final examination.

MS students in statistics must maintain a grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.00 in all work toward the degree and in additional relevant course work. Students must take a computer programming proficiency test during the first semester of study; those who display inadequate programming skills are assigned activities to build their proficiency.

Requirements and program planning

The Master of Science program in statistics requires the following work.

Course List
All of these:
DATA:5400 / STAT:5400 / IGPI:5199Computing in Statistics3
STAT:5090ALPHA Seminar1
STAT:5100-STAT:5101Statistical Inference I-II6
STAT:5200-STAT:5201Applied Statistics I-II7
STAT:6220Statistical Consulting3
STAT:6300Probability and Stochastic Processes I3
At least 9 semester hours from these:
DATA:4540 / STAT:4540 / IGPI:4540Statistical Learning3
DATA:4580 / STAT:4580 / IGPI:4580Data Visualization and Data Technologies3
STAT:4520 / IGPI:4522 / PSQF:4520Bayesian Statistics3
DATA:4750Probabilistic Statistical Learning3
STAT:5120Mathematical Methods for Statistics3
STAT:6301Probability and Stochastic Processes II3
STAT:6530 / IGPI:6530Environmental and Spatial Statistics3
STAT:6547 / IGPI:6247Nonparametric Statistical Methods3
STAT:6550Introductory Longitudinal Data Analysis3
STAT:6560Applied Time Series Analysis3
STAT:6970Topics in Statistics3
STAT:6990Readings in Statistics (two consecutive enrollments)2
A PhD-level course numbered 7000 or above, including seminar courses1-3

Note: MS students planning to enter the doctoral program may wish to include in their course selections STAT:5120 (Mathematical Methods for Statistics), STAT:6990 (Readings in Statistics), and at least one 7000 level courses, since these are parts of the required PhD core.

The MS final examination consists of two parts: one covers the topics presented in STAT:5100 Statistical Inference I and STAT:5101 Statistical Inference II; the other part covers the topics presented in STAT:5200/IGPI:5199 Applied Statistics I, STAT:5201 Applied Statistics II, and DATA:5400/STAT:5400/IGPI:5400 Computing in Statistics. Each part includes a few problems that test readiness for the PhD program.

Final examinations are offered the week before classes begin in August. Study guides are available.  Students who do not succeed the first time they take the exam may repeat it once, with the possibility of a retake the week before classes begin in January.

Students must complete all requirements and be granted the Master of Science degree within one calendar year of passing the MS final examination; those who do not meet this deadline are required to take the exam again.

Students entering the PhD program, who will choose either biostatistics, probability/mathematical statistics, or data science as their concentration area, and who already have taken the equivalent of the first-year courses, may take the MS final examination in statistics before beginning further studies.

All students are encouraged to fulfill 2 semester hours of STAT:6990, engaging in a project that aligns with their application and career interests. Typically, students register for two consecutive 1 semester hour enrollments in STAT:6990 during the fall and spring semesters of the second year. However, this can also be pursued one or two semesters earlier, based on the students’ readiness and motivation. Before enrolling in STAT:6990, each student is responsible for securing a faculty member who agrees to serve as their advisor for the project.  

The project entails writing an 8-15 page report on a suitable topic and then presented orally in a public seminar. A faculty committee, in consultation with the advisor, evaluates the work and the presentation, and assigns a grade of satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

Remark for students aiming to qualify for the PhD program: The project represents one piece of the body of work used to determine PhD qualification. STAT:6990 must be satisfactorily completed within one calendar year of passing the MS. It’s highly advantageous though not necessary that a student’s STAT:6990 advisor becomes their PhD dissertation advisor.

The applicant for a master's degree is required to file a plan of study, approved by the advisor and the DEO, with the Graduate College within the session in which the MS final exam is taken, and by a date to be established by the Graduate College dean.

The plan shall meet the requirements for the degree approved by the graduate faculty. The plan of study is completed by the faculty and is submitted for you. There is nothing you need to do, except review it. It is usually completed at the beginning of your fourth semester and a copy is placed in your mail box in 241 Schaeffer Hall (SH).

If a student makes a change in their plan of study (i.e. adds or deletes a course), they must file an application for change in plan of study (see program coordinator or your advisor).

The student must file an application for an anticipated degree with the Registrar not later than ten weeks after the start of the semester or one week after the start of the summer session in which the degree will be conferred. Failure to file the application for degree by the deadline may result in postponement of graduation to a subsequent session.

Students must be registered for the semester in which they graduate. Students who have completed their coursework may register for GRAD:6001 (000:001) Master's Final Registration for 0 semester hours with their advisor's approval.

The following timeline describes the key milestones in the MS program. Meeting these milestones on time constitutes "adequate progress" toward the MS degree.

Year 1

  • Complete at least 18 semester hours of coursework with a GPA of at least 3.0, including courses needed to prepare for the MS Final Examination.

Year 2

  • Take the MS Final Examination before classes start in the fall. If necessary, re-take the exam in January.
  • Complete the remaining coursework with a GPA of at least 3.0, meeting the requirements of the MS program.
  • If taking STAT:6990, draft the project by end of fall, polished and presented by mid-spring.
  • Complete the Plan of Study.
  • File the Application for the MS degree before Spring Break for Spring graduation. In the rare case of needing to graduate in a Fall semester, file the application before the second Friday of October.
  • Students in our MS program who want to continue into our PhD program should apply to the PhD program by the same deadline above or as soon as they have completed the MS final exam and presented their project for STAT:6990. Students in our MS program apply to the PhD program simply by notifying the Director of Graduate Studies. No additional application materials are needed.

Sample schedule
YearFall semesterSpring semester
  • STAT:5090 ALPHA Seminar
  • STAT:5100 Statistical Inference I
  • STAT:5200 Applied Statistics I
  • DATA:5400/STAT:5400 Computing in Statistics
  • STAT:5101 Statistical Inference II
  • STAT:5201 Applied Statistics II
  • STAT:5120 Mathematical Methods for Statistics or STAT:6560 Applied Time Series Analysis or an elective
  • MS Final Examination–prior to classes starting
  • STAT:4520 Bayesian Statistics or STAT:6970 Topics in Statistics or an elective
  • STAT:6300 Probability and Stochastic Processes I
  • STAT:6990 Readings in Statistics (1 semester hour)
  • STAT:6220 Statistical Consulting
  • STAT:6530 Environmental and Spatial Statistics or an elective
  • STAT:6990 Readings in Statistics (1 semester hour)

Create your academic path

You'll find degree overviews, requirements, course lists, academic plans, and more to help you plan your education and explore your possibilities.

Current course list

The MyUI Schedule displays registered courses for a particular session and is available to enrolled students. The list view includes course instructors, time and location, and features to drop courses or change sections.

Timeline for creative component

Important dates for second year MS in Statistics students

Fall 2023

  • MS Students: Monday, Aug. 14, 8:30-11:30 a.m. Applied Statistics Exam, S107 Papajohn Business Building
  • MS Students: Wednesday, Aug. 16, 8:30-11:30 a.m. Mathematical Statistics Exam, S107 Papajohn Business Building
  • Monday, Aug. 21–Classes begin. Be sure you are registered for Readings in Statistics STAT:6990. The sections number is your CC faculty ID number.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 23–Results of MS exams will be given to students (via e-mail). For each student, the faculty makes a recommendation (pass or fail). If you fail, or choose to retake the one or more exams the make-up dates will be offered Jan. 10 and 12, 2023. Sign up will be addressed later in the semester.
  • Be sure to register for STAT:6990 add the correct section (your assigned CC advisor) for 1 semester hour.
  • Monday, Sept. 18–Students should have met at least twice with their Creative Component (CC) advisor by this day.
  • Friday, Oct. 13–Students must submit a one-page description to their CC advisor and the Chair of the CC Committee, which gives a tentative title of their CC, lists the objectives of their CC research, and describes the methods to be used to achieve those objectives. Students and advisors will agree on objectives to be completed by the end of fall semester.
  • Monday, Dec. 4–Students must submit a written progress report to their CC advisor and the Chair of the CC Committee including results obtained so far and what remains to be done. CC advisors will assign a grade of I ("Incomplete") to their advisees if the Oct. 13 and Dec. 4 deadlines are not met, or if the progress report does not indicate satisfactory completion of agreed-upon objectives.​​​​​​​

Spring 2024

  • Be sure to register for STAT:6990 add the correct section (your assigned CC advisor) for 1 semester hour.
  • If necessary: Tuesday, Jan. 9−8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Second Opportunity to Pass: Applied Statistics Exam. Room to be announced later.
  • If necessary: Thursday, Jan. 11−8:30-11:30 a.m. Second Opportunity to Pass: Mathematical Statistics Exam. Room to be announced later.
  • Friday, Jan. 26−Students must submit a first draft of their CC to their advisor and to the Chair of the CC Committee; an ICON drop box will be set up for submission to the latter.
  • Friday, Feb. 2−Students must submit a final draft to the ICON drop box by 11:59 p.m.
  • Monday-Wednesday, Feb. 19, 20, and 21−Students give oral presentations of their CCs.
  • Friday, March 8−the CC Committee assigns a grade of satisfactory or unsatisfactory and informs students of their grades, by email. Those students who receive a grade of unsatisfactory will be informed as to what they need to do to improve their CC to a satisfactory level.