Statistical science is regarded as one of the oldest and most successful information technology (IT) subjects. It focuses on the conversion of raw data into information. In this graduate program, students are trained in the theory and practice of statistical methodology, particularly as it relates to high-technology applications.

Admissions

In addition to satisfying general admission requirements for graduate study, all applicants are expected to have basic computer literacy. They also must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in a field that includes coursework in multivariable calculus, matrix or linear algebra, statistics, and calculus-based probability. Applicants with degrees in such fields as mathematics, statistics, and some engineering programs usually meet these requirements. For applicants with degrees in other fields, these requirements are normally satisfied if students have successfully completed courses equivalent to the following Mason courses:

MATH 113Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)4
MATH 114Analytic Geometry and Calculus II4
MATH 213Analytic Geometry and Calculus III3
MATH 203Linear Algebra3
or MATH 321 Abstract Algebra
STAT 250Introductory Statistics I (Mason Core)3
or STAT 344 Probability and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists I
STAT 346Probability for Engineers3
or MATH 351 Probability
Coursework taken to correct deficiencies in undergraduate preparation is not counted toward the degree.

Specific application deadlines and requirements are available through the Office of Graduate Admissions. 

Banner Code: VS-MS-STAT

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 30

In addition to meeting general requirements that apply to master's degrees at Mason, all students must complete the 12-credit core requirements for the degree. Grades of B- or better are required in two of the core courses: STAT 544 Applied Probability and STAT 554 Applied Statistics I. Students build on these core requirements by choosing 12 credits of methodology courses and 6 credits of electives.

Students select either the professional or research option, depending on career ambitions. This choice must be made no later than the end of the semester in which 15 credits have been completed. The professional option provides MS degree qualifications to those seeking an expanded knowledge base in modern statistical theory and practice but do not wish to pursue a research career. The research option is for students planning to continue with a PhD degree, or begin/continue careers in statistical methodology research. 

Professional Option

The professional option focuses on completing coursework in modern statistical theory and practice. 30 credits are required for the degree: 12 credits of core courses (taken by all MS students), 12 credits of methodology courses, and 6 credits of electives. Students electing this option are encouraged to pursue a broad background in statistical science, and they may seek to concentrate on applications of statistical methodology to other disciplines.

Students who select the professional option may elect to complete a master's research project resulting in a technical report. This report is not an original research report but a scholarly essay on a topic of current interest in the statistical science discipline. The technical report is usually about 20 to 25 pages long and demonstrates the student's ability to read and synthesize current technical literature into a scholarly essay. The report is evaluated by the student's adviser, taking into account the comprehensiveness of the coverage of the scientific literature, the accuracy of presentation and interpretation, and the literary style. Students are notified of their evaluations, and they may be required to revise their report to further develop their skills in preparing reports on technical subjects. The report is usually written in the context of 3 credits of STAT 798 Master's Research Project, which count as elective credits.  Students opting not to complete a research project must take 30 credits of coursework.

Research Option

The research option requires 30 credits, including 6 credits that must be in independent research (thesis). Research is done under the guidance of a faculty member. Research may be carried out at Mason or, if appropriate, at nearby facilities. For example, students may pursue research at their place of employment on topics of interest to their employer, provided the research meets the standards of the university. The thesis is usually written in the context of 6 credits of STAT 799 Master's Thesis, which count as elective credits. The remaining 24 credits include the 12 core credits and 12 methodology credits.

In addition to satisfying general university requirements for a master's degree, candidates who select the research option must submit a thesis based on the research to the student's thesis committee, which must give preliminary approval. The composition and appointment of this committee follows graduate program policies.

Candidates also must pass a final oral exam that concentrates on, but is not limited to, the area on which the thesis is written. The exam is administered by the student's thesis committee, and all interested members of the graduate faculty are invited to attend and participate in the questioning. The thesis committee makes the final decision on whether the candidate passes or fails.

Core Courses

The core coursework covers the basic elements of statistics at the graduate level. STAT 544 Applied Probability covers the major mathematical framework for statistical theory and practice. STAT 652 Statistical Inference provides basic statistical theory. After completing this course, students have the theoretical basis from which statistical methods are derived.

STAT 554 Applied Statistics I is a survey of statistical methods that have become the backbone of statistical practice. Focus in this course is on techniques that quantify random behavior. The final core course is STAT 654 Applied Statistics II, which provides an overview of principles of statistical modeling.

STAT 544Applied Probability3
STAT 554Applied Statistics I3
STAT 652Statistical Inference3
STAT 654Applied Statistics II3
Total Credits12

Methodology Courses

Methodology courses may be chosen from any STAT courses numbered 540-77512
Total Credits12

Electives

Select 6 credits of elective courses from the following:6
Digital Signal Processing
Statistical Communication Theory
Econometrics I
Actuarial Modeling I
Actuarial Modeling II
Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models I
Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models II
Analytics and Decision Analysis
Operations Research: Deterministic Models
Operations Research: Stochastic Models
Stochastic Processes
Queuing Theory
Reliability Analysis
Reliability Analysis
Graphical Models for Inference and Decision Making
Graphical Models for Inference and Decision Making
Bayesian Inference and Decision Theory
Bayesian Inference and Decision Theory
Total Credits6

Notes:

  • Credit toward the MS in Statistical Science will not be given for both STAT 515 Applied Statistics and Visualization for Analytics and STAT 663 Statistical Graphics and Data Exploration I.
  • Credit toward the MS in Statistical Science will not be given for both MATH 654 Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models II and STAT 668 Survival Analysis.
  • A student concurrently enrolled in the Actuarial Sciences Graduate Certificate and the MS in Statistical Science may count MATH 555 Actuarial Modeling I and MATH 556 Actuarial Modeling II as elective courses and may count MATH 653 Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models I and MATH 654 Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models II as methodology courses. The Graduate Certificate in Actuarial Sciences must be completed prior to or concurrently with the MS in Statistical Science. Otherwise, at most two of MATH 555 Actuarial Modeling I, MATH 556 Actuarial Modeling II, MATH 653 Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models I, and MATH 654 Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models II can be counted toward the MS in Statistical Science as elective courses; none can be applied as methodology courses.

Mathematics and Statistical Science Dual-Degree MS

This program allows students to earn an MS in Mathematics and an MS in Statistical Science by completing 48 credits of coursework in both areas instead of the 60 that would be required if the degrees were sought independently.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy admission requirements for both the MS in Mathematics and the MS in Statistical Science programs. A joint faculty committee from the Department of Mathematical Sciences and the Department of Statistics make final admission decisions into the dual-degree program.

MS-MATH/STAT Dual-Degree Requirements

Total credits: 48

MATH 621Algebra I3
MATH 675Linear Analysis3
MATH 677Ordinary Differential Equations3
or MATH 678 Partial Differential Equations
MATH 685Numerical Analysis3
STAT 544Applied Probability3
STAT 554Applied Statistics I3
STAT 652Statistical Inference3
STAT 654Applied Statistics II3
Total Credits24

Electives

Select 12 elective credits in MATH courses numbered 615 or higher 112
Select any STAT courses numbered 540-77512
Total Credits24
1

Excluding MATH 653 Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models I, MATH 654 Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models II, MATH 655 Pension Valuation, and MATH 799 MS Thesis 

Notes:

  • Students in either the BS/Accelerated MS in Mathematics program or the BS(selected)/Accelerated MS in Statistical Science program cannot get a reduction of 6 credits toward this dual degree. Students who want to proceed to a PhD degree will only be able to waive the number of credits specified in the associated PhD degree requirements, even though they will have 48 credits at the MS level.
  • If a student decides not to complete the required 48 credits, a single MS degree will not be granted unless the student fulfills the requirements for either the MS in Mathematics or the MS in Statistical Science.
  • Once a student receives one of the MS degrees from either department, the student will no longer be eligible for the reduction in credit (i.e., will need to complete 30 credits) if the student later decides to earn the other MS degree.

Operations Research and Statistical Science Dual-Degree MS

This program allows students to earn an MS in Operations Research and an MS in Statistical Science by completing 48 credits of coursework in both areas instead of the 60 that would be required if the degrees were sought independently.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy admission requirements for the MS in Operations Research Program and the MS in Statistical Science Program. A joint faculty committee from the Statistics and Systems Engineering and Operations Research Departments make final admission decisions into the dual-degree program.

MS-OPRS/STAT Dual Degree Requirements

Total credits: 48

Required Courses

OR 541Operations Research: Deterministic Models3
OR 542Operations Research: Stochastic Models3
OR 635Discrete System Simulation3
OR 699Masters Project3
STAT 544Applied Probability3
STAT 554Applied Statistics I3
STAT 652Statistical Inference3
STAT 654Applied Statistics II3
Total Credits24

Elective Credits in OR Courses

Select 12 elective credits in OR courses at the 600 level, including at least one deterministic methods course and at least one stochastic methods course:12
Deterministic Methods Courses:
Linear Programming
Integer Programming
Network Modeling
Nonlinear Programming
Stochastic Methods Courses:
Stochastic Processes
Queuing Theory
Dynamic Programming
Reliability Analysis
Bayesian Inference and Decision Theory
Total Credits12

Elective Credits in STAT Courses

Select 12 elective credits from any STAT courses numbered 540-77512
Total Credits12

Notes

  • Students currently enrolled in one of the MS programs must declare pursuit of the dual MS within one year of matriculation into the first MS program.
  • A maximum of 6 credits across the two disciplines may be in independent research (thesis). The requirements for independent research are the same as detailed for the associated MS program.
  • Students in either the BS (selected)/Operations Research, Accelerated MS program or the BS (selected)/Statistical Science, Accelerated MS program cannot get a reduction of 6 credits toward this dual degree. Students who want to proceed to a PhD degree will only be able to waive the number of credits specified in the associated PhD degree requirements, even though they will have 48 credits at the MS level.
  • If a student decides not to complete the required 48 credits, a single MS degree will not be granted unless the student fulfills the requirements for the MS in Operations Research or the MS in Statistical Science.
  • Once a student receives one of the MS degrees from either department, the student will no longer be eligible for the reduction in credit (i.e., will need to complete 30 credits) if the student later decides to earn the other MS degree.

BS (selected)/Statistical Science, Accelerated MS

Overview

Highly-qualified students in selected BS programs (see below) have the option of obtaining an accelerated Statistical Science, MS. Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfill all university requirements for the master’s degree.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Admission Requirements

Students enrolled in a BS degree in any one of the Volgenau School major areas, in the Mathematics, BS program from the College of Science, or in the Economics, BS program from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences may apply to this option if they have earned 90 undergraduate credits with an overall GPA of 3.00. Criteria for admission are identical to criteria for admission to the Statistical Science, MS program, which include successful completion of the following Mason courses each with a grade of C or better:

MATH 113Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)4
MATH 114Analytic Geometry and Calculus II4
MATH 213Analytic Geometry and Calculus III3
MATH 203Linear Algebra3
or MATH 321 Abstract Algebra
STAT 250Introductory Statistics I (Mason Core)3
or STAT 344 Probability and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists I
STAT 346Probability for Engineers3
or MATH 351 Probability

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students must complete all credits that satisfy requirements for the BS and MS programs, with 6 credits overlapping with grades of B or better in two 500-level STAT courses selected from STAT 544 Applied Probability, STAT 554 Applied Statistics I, and STAT 574 Survey Sampling I.

Degree Conferral

Students must apply the semester before they expect to complete the BS requirements to have the BS degree conferred. In addition, at the beginning of the student's final undergraduate semester, students must complete a Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form that is submitted to the Office of the University Registrar and Graduate Recruitment and Enrollment Services. At the completion of MS requirements, a master's degree is conferred.