It depends on what your goals are. The Master's program is designed to train statisticians for careers in industry or government, while the research focus of the Ph.D. program is more oriented towards academia (although the Ph.D. is also preparation for jobs in industry). Of course, the Ph.D. program is more difficult and takes longer to complete. For more information about our statistics options, see this page.
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Graduate Admissions FAQ
Which program / when to apply
At the Ph.D. level it's all one program; students interested in applied mathematics should apply for the Ph.D. in mathematics. The department has a large group of faculty working in applied areas who can direct a thesis.
Although the department does grant Master's degrees in mathematics, it is mostly intended for Ph.D. candidates who pass the basic qualifying exams but are unable or unwilling to complete the requirements for a doctorate. We do not have a Master's program in mathematics, and we do not generally admit students who only want a Master's.
We very rarely admit students to begin in the Spring semester. Many of our basic courses last all year, with the Spring semester being a continuation of the Fall semester. Starting a student in the Spring also causes difficulties with the qualifying exams. Also, we rarely have extra money for a new TA in the Spring. Applications received in the Fall for Spring admission will almost certainly be deferred and considered in February with the applications for admission the following Fall.
Although February 1 is the official deadline for applications to our graduate program, we do consider late applications. We accept students in several stages through February and into the middle or even late March, until we have filled our quota. Please keep in mind, however, that during the busy application season it can take several weeks for the graduate school to process an application and send it to us.
All application materials must be submitted to the Graduate Admissions Office. Without the application fee the Graduate Admissions Office will not process the application and will not forward the application to our department. The application fee must be paid at the time that the application is submitted. The application fee cannot be waived, except for U.S. citizens and permanent residents who qualify for a waiver of the GRE fee.
Examinations (GRE, TOEFL, TSE)
It depends on the program to which you are applying. The general GRE is strongly recommended for all applicants, but it is not required. The mathematics subject GRE is required only for applicants to the Mathematics Ph.D. program (unless you choose the Statistics subfield in which case it is not required). In other words, if you apply to the Applied Math M.S. program or any Statistics program, you are not required to take any GRE. The only required GRE is the mathematics subject GRE and that exam is a requirement only for applicants to the Mathematics Ph.D. program who are not specializing in Statistics.
UPDATE Fall 2020: Because of the impact of COVID-19 on ETS test administration, we will not require the GRE subject exam for application to the Mathematics PhD program.
The TOEFL is required of all foreign applicants, unless the applicant has one or more of:
- Citizenship of Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Guyana, Ireland, New Zeland, United States, an Anglophone country of Africa, or an English speaking country of the Caribbean.
- A college or university degree earned in the United States or in one of the countries listed above.
- A degree earned from the American University in Beirut, American University in Bulgaria, American College in Greece or from Boğaziçi University.
- Current enrollment as a full-time student who will have completed two academic years of college/university work in the United States prior to the date of anticipated entrance at the University of Massachusetts.
UPDATE Fall 2020: Despite the impact of COVID-19, we must require submission of a TOEFL score.
If ETS still considers the score valid, we will accept it. TOEFL scores expire within two years of the test date, and must be valid on the expected date you will enter the program.
Yes, we accept the GRE and TOEFL in whatever form they are administered.
The University requires a score of at least 213 on the computer test, 80 on the internet-based test, or 550 on the old, paper-based test for all applications who are required to take the TOEFL. This is a University-wide policy, and the department cannot make exceptions. In fact, since our students will do a fair amount of teaching, we usually want TOEFL scores to be quite a bit better than the minimum.
Score reports should be sent to the University, report code 3917. There is no specific code for the Math/Stat department
International students must demonstrate proficiency in spoken English in order to be a TA. Passing the TSE before you arrive is one way to do this. Alternatively, you can take the University's SPEAK test when you arrive.
Recommendations and transcripts
We require two letters, but if more letters will give a better picture of an applicant's strengths, it will certainly help; there is no upper limit on the number of letters allowed.
Letters do not have to be submitted with your application; the individual faculty can mail them themselves, and the graduate school will forward them to us.
Letters and all other application materials, should be sent to the graduate school:Graduate Admissions Office
530 Goodell Building
University of Massachusetts
140 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9333
The university will require official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools you have attended, where six or more credits were taken. Official transcripts are normally provided by the schools and should be sent in a sealed envelope.
Hearing from us
Yes, we will read and seriously consider all applications, even if not 100% complete. To ensure that your application is not disadvantaged, however, we ask that you explain the reasons for the omission of any of the required materials.
Since we do admissions in batches, there is no single answer to this. We make a large number of decisions during February, and most of our decisions are made by late March. At that point we reject the remaining applicants, except that sometimes we keep a short waiting list until after the April 15th deadline for students to accept or reject our offers. If more students than expected reject the offer, we can admit students off the waiting list.
You can check the status of your application online via the graduate school's website. We receive hundreds of applications each year for graduate study. Because of this, it is not possible to acknowledge receipt of all of them.