Master of Science in Statistics

The Master of Science in Statistics program is designed for students who wish to pursue careers as practicing statisticians in industry, government, or academia. It is also designed to prepare students for community college teaching or entry into a PhD in Statistics degree program. The degree is also valuable for people working in other fields who need mastery of a broad range of statistical methods.


Program Prerequisites 

Transcript must show successful completion of at least the following undergraduate courses:  advanced statistical methods, introductory analysis/advanced calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations. These courses are equivalent to PSU's STAT 452 or higher, MTH 311, MTH 261, and MTH 256.

In addition to program prerequisites, applicants must meet the university's minimum admission requirements including English language proficiency.

Application Deadline

This program admits once per year for fall term only. Applications must be submitted by February 1.

Application Instructions

Cost and Funding

Refer to the University Student Finance web page for tuition and financial aid information.  

The department offers a limited number of Teaching Assistantships, Research Assistantships, Fellowships, and Scholarships.  Program applicants are able to indicate their interest in an assistantship as part of the online program application. 

Degree Requirements

Planning a MS Statistics Degree Program

The Course Projection Guide (CPG) lists the projected future 600-level course offerings. These projections enable students to plan programs that include any necessary 500-level prerequisites. Students also need to plan a program that will prepare them to pass the two MS examinations. Students entering the program with core courses STAT 561, 562, 563 and STAT 564, 565, 566 successfully completed and considering future pursuit of the PhD are encouraged to take MTH 511, 512 and in addition to the required 600 level sequence, at least one additional sequence from among STAT 661, 662, 663, Stat 664, 665, 666, and MTH 667, 668, 669. All students are urged to meet with the graduate program advisor regarding degree requirements and for help with program planning. 

Course Requirements

Candidates must complete an approved 45-credit program, which includes at least 33 core credits in courses with the STAT prefix. These 33 core credits must include courses distributed as follows:

  • Two 9-credit sequences:
    • Stat 561, 562, 563 Mathematical Statistics I, II, III and
    • Stat 564, 565, 566 Applied Regression Analysis and Experimental Design
  • One 9-credit sequence chosen from
    • Stat 661, 662, 663 Advanced Mathematical Statistics I, II, III or
    • Stat 664, 665, 666 Theory of Linear Models I, II, III or
    • Mth 667, 668, 669 Stochastic Processes and Probability Theory I, II, III or
    • Stat 671, 672, 673 Statistical Learning I, II, III
  • Stat 570 Topics in Statistical Consulting, 3 credits (this course is currently offered during Spring term only)
  • 3 credits of Stat 501, Statistical Literature and Problems.

Electives (12 credits):

Approved Electives. All courses are 3 credits each.
Course Subject Number Course Title
Stat 571 Applied Multivariate Statistical Analysis
Stat 572 Bayesian Statistics
Stat 573 Computer Intensive Methods in Statistics
Stat 576 Sampling Theory and Methods
Stat 577 Categorical Data Analysis
Stat 578 Survival Analysis
Stat 580 Nonparametric Methods
Stat 661 Advanced Mathematical Statistics I
Stat 662 Advanced Mathematical Statistics II
Stat 663 Advanced Mathematical Statistics III
Stat 664 Theory of Linear Models I
Stat 665 Theory of Linear Models II
Stat 666 Theory of Linear Models III
Stat 567 Applied Probability I
Stat 568 Applied Probability II
Mth 667 Stochastic Processes and Probability Theory I
Mth 668 Stochastic Processes and Probability Theory II
Mth 669 Stochastic Processes and Probability Theory III
Stat 671 Statistical Learning I
Stat 672 Statistical Learning II
Stat 673 Statistical Learning III
CS 545 Machine Learning
Ec 572 Time Series Analysis and Forecasts
USP 655 Advanced Data Analysis: Structural Equation Modeling

Other statistically orientated courses outside the Department and other mathematics courses may be substituted, but must be approved as electives by the MS Statistics program advisor. "Approved as elective" means that it is approved inside the 12 elective credit hours but not inside the 33 credit hour core requirements. A course or sequence cannot be counted both within the 33-credit core and as an elective course or sequence.

Master's  Examinations

Students must pass two examinations, one in Mathematical Statistics which covers Stat 561, 562, 563 and one in Applied Statistics which includes the core topics covered in Stat 564, 565, and 566. Examinations are scheduled twice per year, the week before the Fall term and during the first week of Spring term.  Students may take any examination at most two times. Students must be registered for and complete at least one graduate credit during the term in which they take an exam. Refer to the MS Exam Policy for further details. 

Grading Policy for the MS Exam in Applied Statistics

The Applied Statistics Exam is comprised of two components:

  1. Applied regression analysis
  2. Design of experiments and ANOVA

Both components consist of a written exam portion and a separate, in-laboratory, statistical computing applications portion.  The Applied Statistics Exam may be repeated once; that is, a maximum of two tries is permitted. 

A Pass (P) or Fail (F) is given on each component. 

  • Two P's equal a PASS on the exam.
  • One P equals a CONDITIONAL PASS on the exam.  The Examination Committee will inform the student of the requirements for removal of the Conditional.
  • Two F's equal a FAIL on the exam.  In this case the entire exam must be retaken.

STAT 501 Statistical Literature and Problems

In this required course for the MS in Statistics, a student works under the supervision of a faculty member in an area of probability and statistics in which the student has acquired the background needed to read current probability and statistical literature, prepare a research paper, and present this research in a colloquium. Refer to Guidelines and Deadlines for Literature and Problems Seminar for course requirements.


A student must have a minimum 3.00 GPA on the courses applied to the program of study, as well as a minimum 3.00 GPA in all graduate-level courses taken at PSU. Although grades of C+, C, and C- are below the graduate standard, they may be counted as credit toward a master’s degree with the specific written approval of the department if taken at PSU after the term of formal admission to the graduate program.

Graduate Policies and Procedures

Students are responsible for knowing University-level graduate policies and procedures for obtaining the degree. These policies and procedures are in Graduate School section of the University Bulletin. Several of the most frequently asked about University-level graduate policies and procedures can also be found on the Graduate School web site.