Master of Science in Statistics

Information for student who registered prior to Fall 2023

2024-25 Application Found Here

Updated 09/05/2023

1. Overview

The Master of Science in statistics requires 32 s.h. 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 g.p.a. 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.

2. Courses

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

Course List




All of these:


DATA:5400 / STAT:5400 / IGPI:5199

Computing in Statistics



ALPHA Seminar



Statistical Inference I-II



Applied Statistics I-II



Statistical Consulting



Probability and Stochastic Processes I





At least 9 s.h. from these:



DATA:4540 / STAT:4540 / IGPI:4540

Statistical Learning


DATA:4580 / STAT:4580 / IGPI:4580

Data Visualization and Data Technologies


STAT:4520 / IGPI:4522 / PSQF:4520

Bayesian Statistics



Probabilistic Statistical Learning



Mathematical Methods for Statistics



Probability and Stochastic Processes II


STAT:6530 / IGPI:6530

Environmental and Spatial Statistics


STAT:6547 / IGPI:6247

Nonparametric Statistical Methods



Introductory Longitudinal Data Analysis



Applied Time Series Analysis



Topics in Statistics



Readings in Statistics (two consecutive enrollments)


A PhD-level course numbered 7000 or above, including seminar courses


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.

3. Master of Science Final Examination

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.

4. STAT:6990 (Readings in Statistics)

All students are encouraged to fulfill 2 s.h. of STAT:6990, engaging in a project that aligns with their application and career interests. Typically, students register for two consecutive 1 s.h. 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.

5. Plan of Study

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 4th semester and a copy is placed in your mail box in 241 Schaeffer Hall.

If a student makes a change in his or her Plan of Study (i.e., adds or deletes a course), he or she must file an Application for Change in Plan of Study (see program coordinator or your advisor).

6. Application for Degree

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 s.h. with their advisor's approval.

7. MS Timeline

The timeline below describes the key milestones in the MS program. Meeting these milestones on time constitutes "adequate progress" toward the MS degree. See also the sample schedule below.

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 for MS Students in Statistics

Year Fall Semester Spring Semester
1 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

2 [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 s.h.)

STAT:6220 Statistical Consulting

STAT:6530 Environmental and Spatial Statistics, or an elective

STAT:6990 Readings in Statistics (1 s.h.)