Master of Arts in Statistics | Quals

The STAT Prgram offers the Master's degree in statistics with the option to substitue a thesis for qualifying exams, based on both theoretical and applied course work. Students will find that the combination of rigorous classes, faculty-student Research Interaction Teams (RIT’s), computational support, and thesis research prepare them well for the job market.


All statistics graduate students take the departmental written comprehensive examination in statistics, probability, and a third area of statistics or mathematics. The program of study should include the core courses, a course sequence for the third part of the written examination, and other courses in statistics, mathematics, or applied areas to complete the program. In addition, candidates choosing the non-thesis option for the M.A. must prepare a scholarly paper.

In addition to satisfying the requirements applicable to all M.A. candidates, the student must:

  1. Take a total of 30 hours of courses carrying graduate credit, of which at least 18 are at the 600/700 level and not less than 12 hours are at the 600/700 level in statistics and probability (STAT). 

 2. Satisfy the master’s qualifying exam requirements in one of the following ways:

      • Method 1: Pass all 3 qualifying exams in statistics:
        1. Applied Statistics – topics covered in course sequence STAT 740/741
        2. Statistics – topics covered in course sequence STAT 700/701
        3. Probability – topics covered in course sequence STAT 600/601
      • Method 2:
        1. Pass any 2 of the 3 qualifying exams listed above in Method 1
        2. Complete course sequence of the exam you choose not to take
        3. Complete two additional courses from the list below:
          • STAT 650 (Applied Stochastic Processes)
          • STAT 702 (Survival Analysis)
          • STAT 705 (Computational Statistics)
          • STAT 730 (Time Series)
          • STAT 750 (Multivariate Analysis)
          • STAT 770 (Categorical Data Analysis)

All courses completed must be at least B (3.0) and the overall GPA must be at least 3.3 for the courses used to satisfy this requirement.

   3. Write a satisfactory scholarly paper (see Scholarly Paper information below).

   4. Pass a final oral examination (see Final Oral Examination information below).

Scholarly Paper: The student must complete an acceptable scholarly paper of an expository nature. Normally, the topic shall be related to an advanced course or seminar taken in partial fulfilment of the course requirements for the degree. The topic shall normally be agreed upon with the professor in the course, who shall become the student's advisor. If the paper is not written in connection with a course, some other appropriate faculty member may approve the topic and become the advisor. A second reader shall be appointed by the Statistics Program Director and both readers must approve in order for the paper to be accepted. A printed copy of the final approved version shall be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies. The scholarly paper shall be based on substantial use of at least two sources, including one journal article. The paper must include an abstract and references to all literature used.

Final Oral Examination: The final oral examination shall consist of a presentation of the material in the scholarly paper, plus questioning by the examiners based on the paper and whatever material in the approved M.A. program that has not been covered by the written examination. The examining committee shall consist of the two readers of the scholarly paper.

Progress expected of full-time students:

By end of:Ideal Progress:
1st Year Complete at least 12 credits at the 600 level with 3.0 GPA
2nd Year Complete course requirements, choose an advisor, and begin serious work on thesis

To convert credit hours to units:

  • 899, units = 18 × credits
  • 799, units = 12 × credits
  • 600 level, units = 6 × credits
  • 400 level, units = 4 × credits

(International students usually need to complete the Masters degree in 2 years because of visa requirements.)