NEW: M.S. Option in Statistics at Newton Satellite Campus (Boston Area), Evening Degree
M.S. Option in Statistics
The Fifth Year M.S. Option in Statistics
Ph.D. Option in Statistics
Certificate in Data Science
Note: Through June 30, 2020, we are now accepting applications for the Fall 2020 class on a rolling basis for the Newton campus only.
For information regarding this program, please see the following link:
Within the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, students may choose options which concentrate in Statistics. This page summarizes the main features of the Statistics options, and contains the most up-to-date information. The information on this page supersedes the information in the Axioms (Handbook), which are in the process of being updated.
The M.S. option provides students with training in statistical applications, statistical computing and theory, preparing them for statistics and data science careers in industry, government, educational organizations, consulting firms, health care and research organizations, or for moving on to a Ph.D. in Statistics or Biostatistics. The Ph.D. option provides a combination of theory and application preparing students for positions in academia, industry or government. The Certificate in Statistical and Computational Data Science is a joint program with Statistics and Computer Science. Each of these programs is described in more detail below.
Note: the information below is the most updated information, and supersedes the Axioms (Handbook), which are in the process of being updated.
The M.S. option in Statistics is designed to prepare students for statistics and data science positions in industry, government, educational organizations, consulting firms, health care and research organizations. It also serves as a basis for future work towards a Ph.D. in Statistics or Biostatistics. This program is designed to provide the student with a background in basic theory along with experience in various applications, including computational aspects. As part of their training, students will receive comprehensive exposure to popular statistical software packages. In addition to courses offered within the department, the program allows room for the students to take statistics courses in other departments on campus.
Prerequisites: Students entering the M.S. option are expected to have had Linear Algebra and Calculus up through Multivariate Calculus (this is typically covered by a three-semester sequence in U.S. schools).
The requirements for the M.S. option in Statistics involve coursework, a project and qualifying exams.
The student must complete 30 hours of coursework with grades of C or better, including at least 24 hours with grades of B or better (pass or fail grades cannot be used to satisfy this requirement). In addition, the student must have at least an overall B average.
The required 30 hours must include
- Stat 625: Regression Modeling,
- Stat 607-608: Probability and Mathematical Statistics I, II,
- Stat 535: Statistical Computing,
- At least five other courses which are either Statistics courses numbered 526 or above, from within the department, or some courses outside the department numbered 500 and above subject to prior approval by the Statistics coordinator.
Students completing the M.S. option in Statistics are required to pass two of three basic exams we offer: applied statistics, probability, and statistics, which are based on ST625 and ST535, ST607, and ST608, respectively. The Basic Exam is given twice a year, in January and in August.
The project is completed under the guidance of a faculty member. This project must have prior approval of the Statistics coordinator and involves 3 credit hours which may be used to satisfy the 30 hour coursework requirement. The project can take many forms; an expository report on a particular area, an examination of methods through simulations or a detailed statistical analysis of real data. A final report is required. This requirement is typically satisfied by the successful completion of the project seminar course Stat 691P.
This section explains how a Five College student can complete the M.S. option in Statistics in a fifth year.
Entering the fifth year M.S. option in Statistics
In order to enter the fifth year M.S. option in Statistics, students need to
- Start taking graduate courses in the fall of their senior years, typically Stat 535, Stat 607, Stat 608, and/or Stat 625. Since
- no credits may be counted toward both the M.S. option in Statistics and the baccalaureate degree, and
- at most nine credits of graduate work taken while enrolled as an undergraduate may be counted toward the M.S. option in Statistics,
- apply by February 1 of their senior years to the regular M.S. option in statistics program by following instructions here.
Finishing the fifth year M.S. option in Statistics
After being accepted into the program, students
- need to take additional 21 credits and fulfill the requirements for the regular M.S. option in Statistics in the fifth year
- may use courses taken as an undergraduate to fulfill the requirements of the M.S. option in Statistics, although no more than nine credits may be counted toward the M.S. option in Statistics. For example, if a senior takes all four Stat 535, Stat 607, Stat 608, and Stat 625 graduate courses, the student can use one of the four to count toward both the credits for the baccalaureate degree and the requirement for the M.S. option in Statistics.
- are not obligated to finish the program in the fifth year, although financial assistantship, if any, is only guaranteed for the fifth year
Please note that students who are interested in the fifth year M.S. option in Statistics should start planning during the fall of the their junior year and contact the Coordinator of the Statistics Program if there are any questions.
The Ph.D. option in Statistics prepares students for academic positions or positions in Academia, or as applied statisticians in industry or government. Entering students are expected to have had Linear Algebra, Calculus and Advanced Calculus. Typically an incoming student in the Ph.D. option in Statistics will have had an introductory course or two in Statistics at the undergraduate level. Student seeking the Ph.D. option in Statistics must complete the following: coursework, qualifying exams, language requirement and dissertation.
- The student must complete successfully 36 hours of coursework, including Math 523 (or Math 623, or Math 605), Stat 535, 607, 608, 625, 705, and 725.
- The student must also complete five elective courses, including two 600 level statistics courses, and 3 courses of the student’s choice, which require prior approval by the statistics coordinator.
There are two tiers of exams, Basic and Advanced, which are intended to measure a student's overall mastery of standard material. The exams are administered during the week preceding each semester (August and January).
Basic Exams: The student must pass three Basic Exams at the Ph.D. level: the Applied Statistics exam, and the Basic Probability and Basic Statistics exams, which cover the material from Stat 535 and Stat 625, Stat 607 and Stat 608 respectively.
Advanced Exams: The student must pass the Advanced Exam in advanced statistics and the oral literature-based exam. The advanced statistics exam version I is based on advanced topics in Stat 607 and Stat 608, and topics from Stat 705. The advanced statistics exam version II is based on advanced topics in Stat 607 and Stat 608, and topics from Stat 725. The two versions are offered in alternate years depending which of Stat 705 and Stat 725 is offered in a year.
For the literature-based exam, students need to choose a topic from the list of topics in the Axioms and form an exam committee that includes the primary faculty of that topic and two secondary faculty. Students are then given reference papers on the chosen topic to read. The exam is in the form of oral presentation and responding questions in front of the exam committee. A student may select a non-standard exam topic, in which case, the student must have the agreement of their committee members on the topic and the reading list.
In order to take the literature-based exam, a student is responsible for forming an exam committee by the end of September for a January exam, or by the last day of spring classes for an August exam. Decisions on passing the exam are by unanimous consent of the exam committee. A student who does not pass will have one more chance to pass the literature-based exam. The second attempt may be on the same or a different topic.
After passing the Advanced Exam, the student becomes a Ph.D. option in Statistics candidate. The student must write a satisfactory dissertation and pass a final oral examination (primarily a defense of the dissertation), and must satisfy all other requirements of his or her dissertation committee. The student is required to register for a minimum of 18 dissertation credits.
The Certificate in Statistical and Computational Data Science is offered jointly between Statistics and Computer Science. The Certificate can be completed in one year and requires 5 courses total, with a minimum of 2 courses in each of Statistics and Computer Science. For more information, please see the following link: