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 Ph.D. in Statistics degree program. The degree may be valuable also 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.

This program admits once per year for fall term only. See instructions on how to apply:

Cost and Funding:

Please see the Office of Graduate Studies web page Financing Your Education for information regarding the cost of attending Portland State University and sources of funding. Several forms of departmental graduate support are available, including, but not limited to, Teaching Assistantships and Scholarships. The Department may be contacted for further details. Applicants desiring a teaching assistantship should apply to the graduate program by February 1st for entry the following fall quarter.

Degree 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.

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

Core Requirements (33 credits):

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

  • 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):

A total of 12 elective credit hours must be completed. The following list of courses is pre-approved for elective credit.

STAT 571, 572, 573, 576, 577, 578, 580, 661, 662, 663, 664, 665, 666.
STAT 567, 568.
MTH 667, 668, 669.
EC 572 Time Series Analysis and Forecasts
USP 655 Adv Data Anly: Struc Eq Modeling.

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

MS 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. It is possible for students to sign up for examinations up to 10 days before the exam is scheduled.  Students may cancel signups for MS exams up to 48 hours before an exam is given. 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. An information sheet detailing the  MS examination policy as well as syllabi for the two examinations may be emailed upon request. The last three years of previous MS examinations are also available upon request.  For clarity, below is the grading policy for the MS Exam in Applied Statistics.

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. Requirements for the course are listed separately on the handout: Guidelines and Deadlines for Stat 501 Statistical Literature and Problems.

Planning an MS Degree Program:

The department projects its future 600-level 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 Ph.D. 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.


For advising question: Dr. Jong-Sung Kim, MS Statistics Program Coordinator, (503) 725-3657,

For application questions:  Kathie Leck, Graduate Program Administrator,, 503-725-8244.