MS Degree Regulations

The objective of the Master’s Degree requirement is to satisfy the Department that the candidate has the potential to be a practicing statistician, it being understood that a practicing statistician must also have a proper grasp of statistical theory. The Master’s Degree program and the PhD program are distinct. The student can obtain a PhD without first obtaining a Master’s Degree. A Master’s Degree is regarded as evidence of having the skills of a practicing statistician. It confers a specific status on the recipient and it is hoped that most students will obtain a Master’s Degree, regardless of whether or not they proceed to a PhD The requirements for a Master’s Degree in Statistics are:

  • Satisfaction of University requirements.
  • Adequate course performance (see last point and Criteria for Satisfactory Progress).
  • Passing a competency test of the candidate’s potential as a practicing statistician (again bearing in mind that this may include testing of theoretical competence).
  • There are five required courses: Stat 609 or 709, 610 or 710, 849, 850, and 998.
  • In addition, the student must complete six elective credits, selected from the following courses: Stat 641, 642, 701, 702, 741, 749, 751, 760, 761, 771, 775, 803, 809, 811, 824, 826, 829, 840, 851, 853, 860, and 992.
  • The student must obtain a grade of B or higher in every course used to satisfy the MS degree requirement.

See our page on How to Apply to our graduate programs.

Competency Test

After the candidate successfully completes 998 or the semester in which 998 is taken, the candidate must demonstrate to an examining committee of the faculty the potential to be a practicing statistician. The committee is given latitude to decide the details on each occasion as to how this will be done. See Masters Exam Schedule for details of the examination and report writing. The general form of the examination is as follows:

  • The candidate will be presented with one or more written problems or projects and asked to provide a brief written report involving a suitable statistical analysis seven days later.
  • The candidate will meet with the client briefly early in the examination period.
  • After a further period of time, not to exceed ten days, the candidate will go before a Committee of faculty members for an oral examination based on questions arising from the above problems or projects. It is understood that the area of questioning may be extended to cover additional aspects of the candidate’s theoretical or practical background on which satisfaction of competence is considered desirable by the committee.

The MS degree examination will be the responsibility of a committee of faculty members (usually four) appointed by the faculty. Typically, the appointment will be for two years and half the committee will be reappointed each year to provide overlap and continuity. A candidate may attempt the competency test at most twice. If a candidate initially attempts the MS degree exam in the fall and does not pass, a second attempt must be made in the following spring or fall. If a candidate initially attempts the MS degree exam in the spring and does not pass, a second attempt must be made in the following fall or spring. A candidate desiring to take this exam must register with the Examination Committee prior to the exam date. Picking up the exam constitutes an attempt regardless of whether or not the examination is submitted for grading.

Revised 5/02; reformatted 8/11.