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Best Master’s in Statistics

best statistics masters programs

Statistics is the study of data and the understanding of how data can reveal information about a subject, organization, or even the world. It’s little wonder that so many people with mathematically-oriented minds are drawn to statistics as a subject and may choose to claim it as a major during their higher education. Earning a bachelor’s degree in statistics gives you a thorough understanding of data analysis and can help you make sense of large data sets. But a master’s in statistics degree evolves your understanding even further and allows you to see and analyze data in much more detailed ways.

Statisticians can use their skills in a variety of situations. They can use them to develop experiments, describe the trends or tendencies of populations with different environmental pressures, predict the outcomes of political elections, and even explain the flow of the stock market. In a way, understanding statistics lets you understand the underlying “magic” of math, and grasp the connections between numbers like few others can.

Master’s in statistics degrees dive deeper into the specifics of the subject than a bachelor’s degree of the same major does. These degrees can normally be completed within two years but may also be completed within five years if taken on a part-time schedule. Program focuses can vary by school, but many master’s in statistics programs also include concentrations or emphases with which you can specialize your skills.

For instance, biostatistics is both a common graduate degree major and a concentration that statistics majors can select in many programs. Biostatistics involves the study and understanding of data sets in relation to medicine, biology, and large populations. This concentration is a great choice if you’re interested in understanding epidemiology, the healthcare system, or acting as an advisor to a pharmaceutical company.

This single concentration is just one example of the many pathways that a master’s degree in statistics offers you. Statistics is one of the most versatile and useful mathematical skills you can have, as many industries rely on statistical analysis to make large-scale decisions. Finance, stock trading, manufacturing, agriculture, and more all use statistics—and the experts that understand them—to chart courses for the future and understand the past. While it’s more mathematically focused than pure economics, statistics is arguably a more valuable major due to its emphasis on concrete data and raw numbers.

Master’s in statistics programs will normally include several key areas of study, including several analytical disciplines like the analysis of discrete data or multivariate analysis. Other topics and classes may include analysis of genomic data, sampling theories and various comprehension methods, and applied time series analysis.

Furthermore, many top master’s in statistics programs will include training with industry software like Minitab or SAS. Both of these software programs and others like them are commonly used in statistician professions across industries, so master’s in statistics degree programs can often prepare you for employment in this discipline better than a bachelor’s degree in the same major.

Master’s in statistics programs are typically Masters of Science, though Masters of Arts do exist here and there. These degrees can either be research-oriented or terminal/practical. Research-oriented degrees typically include a thesis component that must be completed in order to graduate, while terminal degrees are usually a little more hands-on and might include a capstone project instead.

The latter degree option is focused more on statisticians that want to jump into the workforce rather than proceeding to a Ph.D. in statistics or a related field. However, many statistics programs of either focus require an internship or fieldwork as a requirement for graduation.

All in all, master’s in statistics degrees are incredibly valuable, are academically rigorous, and can prepare you for a variety of professions and long-term careers across industries. They also lead to several high-paying careers without the focus on hardcore math or engineering like many other STEM degrees require.

Common Application and Admissions Questions

Regardless of major, all graduate degrees, including master’s in statistics degrees, have certain application requirements that must be met before a candidate will be considered for admission. The most basic of these is a bachelor’s degree.

For a master’s in statistics degree, having a bachelor’s degree in statistics or related field will make your application much more attractive to any college’s admissions team. It ensures that you already have some of the fundamental coursework under your belt that you would need to understand the graduate level statistics information included in any of these programs. While a bachelor’s degree in statistics is the best choice, alternative acceptable majors include mathematics, biostatistics, finance, and engineering.

Having a high GPA from your prior education is also a necessity. Most master’s in statistics programs have a general GPA requirement of 3.0 or above, although some programs are a little more relaxed with this requirement. Still, having as high a GPA as possible will increase your chances of acceptance, especially since statistics programs can be quite competitive.

Additionally, the vast majority of graduate programs, and especially STEM programs, require that students take the GRE, or Graduate Record Examinations. These tests are taken over the computer and measure your critical thinking across three major categories. Most universities and statistics programs have specific GRE thresholds that you need to reach in order to be considered for admission. You can take the GRE up to five times in a single year and can find multiple study resources online.

Other application requirements can vary slightly from school to school. Some of the most common requirements are letters of recommendation. Most universities require two letters of recommendation from your former faculty or your boss at your place of employment. More letters of recommendation are always helpful as well.

Furthermore, if you have any prior work experience in the statistics field, you can and should note this in your application portfolio. Letting the admissions team know that you have experience applying your statistical knowledge to real-world problems and analysis will go a long way to making you a more attractive candidate for the statistics program in question.

Statistics programs come in two scheduling formats: regular and cohort. Regular statistics programs might have up to three start dates every year—one for each semester. Cohort statistics programs may only have a single application deadline and start date every year because of their format. Cohort programs have all the students in the program proceed through a regimented schedule and take the same classes at the same time.

This facilitates better networking and peer collaboration, but it also means you need to have your application documents in order well before the application deadline. In short, make sure that you know when your ideal statistics program starts so you don’t miss a potentially narrow application window.

What About Financial Aid & Scholarships?

For financial aid for a master’s in statistics program, the first step is filling out the FAFSA, or Federal Application For Student Aid. The FAFSA takes economic needs and background into account when deciding which students get access to special government-subsidized loans and grants. These are some of the highest monetary awards you can receive for your graduate-level education, and most other financial aid resources require that you fill out this form before pursuing other avenues. 

Most students will need additional financial aid aside from the FAFSA, as most master’s in statistics degrees take place over two years and include between 30 and 60 credits. Therefore, all master’s in statistics students should check out the financial aid pages for their university or the school or college within that university. In many cases, universities have dedicated scholarship opportunities or award contests that students can participate in for monetary grants and prizes. These grants are usually in amounts ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars, but every little bit helps.

The American Statistical Association is a worldwide community of statisticians and they often provide several scholarships for statistics students both at the undergraduate and graduate level. Other scholarships can be found by researching one-time grant opportunities on the web.

There are other financial aid opportunities you can pursue, as well. Many top-tier universities offer teaching assistantships and internships for their statistics students. Teaching assistantships are very valuable and will have you work between 20 and 25 hours per week with one of your professors, handling their busywork for grading papers in exchange for a small stipend.

But even more importantly, teaching assistantships remove some or all of your tuition in exchange for your labor. Naturally, assistantships are quite competitive and there are normally only a few per year for any school that offers them. But they are extremely valuable if you can balance your schedule appropriately.

Internships can also be valuable, though they normally don’t come with payment. But internships for a company or organization associated with the university you attend may also come with tuition reduction or waiver in exchange for your work. Perhaps even more valuable is the work experience you can gain while at an internship; this may help you find employment after graduation and can make your post-school experiences less stressful.

Finally, some universities offer fellowships in the field of statistics for particularly bright and driven students. These often come with caveats, such as completion of internships or a Ph.D. at the university that offer the fellowship. But they also come with tuition waivers and excellent academic advantages and research opportunities.

How Much Can I Make with a Master’s in Statistics?

Those with a master’s degree in statistics can take up a wide variety of professions. The most obvious and common career endpoint for one of these graduates is a statistician or mathematician. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that statisticians and mathematicians can expect average annual salaries of around $88,000 per year. These professionals can work for private companies, the government, or in engineering and research firms. They might work alone, or they might collaborate with teams of fellow mathematicians and statisticians and other professionals across fields.

This profession, in particular, is looking to be quite valuable in the near future as available positions are expected to grow by about 30% over the next 10 years. This will result in another 14,400 jobs available for future graduates.

Alternatively, a master’s degree in statistics can qualify you to become a survey researcher. As the name suggests, these professionals both design and conduct their own surveys, then analyze the data they collect. They can also be used to carry out surveys for other researchers. They can be hired by research firms and companies, various corporations, and even nonprofit organizations. The government also makes heavy use of survey researchers to influence policy decisions. Survey researchers make an average salary of around $58,000 per year.

Though those with a master’s degree in economics are better-trained in many cases, master’s degrees in statistics can also qualify you to become an economist, depending on the concentration you choose and your bachelor’s degree major. Economists can collect and analyze data and identify trends in economic systems, which they can then use to advise corporations or individuals. Economists are also growing at a faster than average rate at about 8% over the next 10 years. They earned an average salary of around $104,000 per year.

Alternatively, master’s degrees in statistics also prepare you to become a postsecondary teacher like a college professor. In this case, you’ll likely want a research-oriented master’s degree in statistics like a Master of Science. College professors in statistics educate the next generation of statisticians and mathematicians and can work for their employing university in a variety of other contexts, including research and statistical advising for the college board.

Statistics professors and other postsecondary teachers enjoy an average annual salary of around $78,000 per year along with the possibility of tenure given enough time at a particular position. This career track is also expected to see 11% growth over the next 10 years, resulting in an additional 155,000 jobs by 2028.

Ultimately, it’s quite clear that master’s degrees in statistics are an excellent choice if you want a challenging and financially lucrative career path for your future. They’re further desirable because they don’t lock you into a specific career like many other graduate degrees can. Teaching, statistical analysis, and survey researching are all quite different from another and are all viable careers for those with master’s in statistics degrees. 

What Are the Best Master’s in Statistics Degrees?

We know that you have educational goals that you’re itching to pursue, but you may not know where to start. The editors of Master’s Programs Guide utilize a unique ranking methodology based on the following five aspects:

25% Overall Degree Affordability: Average cost of undergraduate and graduate tuition per school

25% Graduation Rate: Number of students who start at the university and actually finish there

20% Earnings Potential: Average mid-career salary of school alumni

20% Selectivity: The number of students who apply versus the number who actually get accepted

10% Online Graduate Offerings: The number of programs offered online in each department

At Master’s Programs Guide, we strive to do our best to guide you and your family toward a fruitful academic career. The pursuit of knowledge is a noble one, and we want to help you reach your goals.

Check out our ranking of the best master’s in statistics! 

#1. Texas A&M University

MS in Statistics Degree

Texas A&M is one of the most famous universities in the entire state. It’s also one of the most research-intensive universities in the country; it’s no wonder, too, as the university is placed right in the middle of the technologically innovative Houston/Dallas/Austin triangle. In other words, Texas A&M receives an influx of skilled professionals and new students every year from these development centers and major metropolitan areas.

The main campus in College Station is beautiful and sprawling and includes modern facilities and student housing options. Even better, statistics students will have multiple opportunities for financial support. Fellowships and teaching and research assistantships are all available and all statistics applicants are considered for financial support as soon as they are admitted to the program.

Texas A&M provides two tracks for its master’s in statistics degree: thesis and non-thesis options. The thesis option is a better choice if you want to keep the option for research work open for your future or if you want to proceed to a Ph.D. program. The non-thesis option is better if you don’t care about research and intend to proceed straight into the statistics industry after graduation.

If you pick the latter choice, you must complete two semester credit hours of consulting experience over the course of the program; internships or other work experience can’t count for these credits. A final oral examination rounds out the program for this track, instead of a thesis.

Either way, students will complete a general coursework list and be able to choose from three concentrations: biostatistics, computational statistics, and applied statistics. Each of these includes two to four main courses along with several electives that are up to the discretion of the student. This makes Texas A&M’s master’s in statistics program relatively flexible and customizable.

In addition, both paths include a master’s diagnostic examination at the end of the program. Students must take and pass this exam to receive their master’s degree; it’s offered twice a year prior to the beginning of the fall semester and the beginning of the spring semester. However, the schedule flexibility means that you don’t need to be in a huge rush to take the exam, though you’ll still want to finish it before the second half of the program as you dive deeper into your concentration.

This statistics program is also available online. Every course is 100% online and you’re able to start in any semester: spring, summer, and fall. This online option is a great choice if you need a more flexible curriculum format or need to continue working while finishing your education from a distance. The majority of the content is delivered asynchronously, although students can choose to work on a group project during their last two semesters. This project offers an opportunity to demonstrate your skills in a more grounded way and bolsters your credentials even before graduation.

Texas A&M also offers several statistics certificates for individual courses if you would prefer to try out their program before committing all the way. Even if you don’t decide to go for the degree, you can use the statistics certificates to obtain better jobs in your organization or qualify for certain positions.

#2. California State University-Fullerton

Master of Science Degree in Statistics

California State University in Fullerton is one of the most well-known universities in the entire CSU system. It’s well-positioned for economic development and social life alike, as the main campus is located in Southern California, where the weather is great and metropolitan centers like Silicon Valley and Los Angeles are never too far away. Aside from its ideal location, CSUF has collected several notable accolades over the years. U.S. News and World Report ranks it No. 3 on its Top Public School list, and Money ranks it in the top 3% for the best colleges for your money. In short, the school is both affordable and academically comprehensive.

Their Master of Science degree in statistics is a comprehensive and rigorous undertaking that emphasizes data science training and quantitative analysis. It’s also a little lighter in terms of admissions requirements than many other masters in statistics programs. It doesn’t require GRE scores and its GPA minimum is 2.5 rather than 3.0, although students must maintain a 3.0 GPA over the course of their studies to graduate. It’s built for both full-time and part-time students, with convenient class times for both needs. Most classes are offered in either late afternoon or evening timeslots.

Additionally, CSUF offers all students the ability to attend classes via live stream rather than show up to campus in person. In fact, this is the only program in the entire nation that allows the entire “on-campus” master’s degree to be live-streamed via a two-way video chat. This is different from regular asynchronous online learning, as students using the live stream method can still interact with their teachers and peers during the stream. Students intending to use this method must “show up” to class at the same time as their on-campus peers. All the program’s students benefit from additional flexibility thanks to this technological adaptation.

Even so, CSUF does also offer a dedicated online program to accommodate any nonlocal students. This is even more attractive, as several nonresident fee waivers are available for qualified applicants.

Regardless of attendance method, students can choose to jump into a Ph.D. track or a workforce track. These lead to research opportunities or practical applications depending on their preferences. Furthermore, students of this master’s in statistics program will be able to take advantage of teaching associate opportunities; these are like the teaching assistantship positions discussed earlier and include part-time instructor responsibilities where students will teach one or more elementary mathematics courses.

Over the course of the program, students will cover topics like statistical learning, probability and statistical inference, and Bayesian analysis. Statistical consulting is another major class that prepares students to act in advisory capacities for federal and private organizations. At the end of the program, students must write and finish a master’s thesis to be completed under a supervisor from the mathematics department. This also applies to any online students.

#3. North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Master of Statistics

North Carolina State University at Raleigh was originally a land-grant institution that focused on engineering and architecture. These days, NC State is one of the leading public research institutions in the entire country, particularly in STEM fields. It educates over 36,000 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. All students benefit from a diverse student body, a well-educated faculty, and several university partnerships with major corporations and organizations that can lead to internships and other networking opportunities.

NC State features a relatively low student to faculty ratio of 14:1, and the main Raleigh campus has 12 colleges across the major academic fields. If you live in North Carolina, there’s no public college better for your money, at least according to Money themselves! U.S. News and World Report agrees with this analysis, calling NC State the No. 6 best-valued college among public universities nationally.

They offer their Master of Statistics degree in both on-campus and online formats. The on-campus variety has a little more flexibility, as students are able to choose from several concentrations. There is a traditional concentration focusing on the core areas of statistics, biostatistics, environmental statistics, and statistical genetics, and an additional concentration in finance is available to some students depending on background and prerequisite courses completed.

The names of each concentration highlight their appropriateness for certain career paths in the future. Each concentration pathway includes the same core classes with a series of specialized electives that appropriately tailor the degree to your interest.

No matter which concentration you choose to complete, the entire thing can be completed in a single year of full-time study. Classes are finished at an accelerated pace by default, but you can also opt for a slower pace and complete the degree within a few years.

The online program includes the general statistics degree as well as two graduate statistics certificates: one of these is in applied science and data management and the other is in statistics education. The online degree is limited to the general statistics concentration. This is only due to fewer electives being offered online. Both online and on-campus degrees are comprised of 30 semester hours, with 21 hours of common coursework covering topics like linear models and statistical programming in SAS.

NC State offers additional flex ability for its students in the form of “co-majors”. If you have enough credits for another major, you can potentially study for two majors at the same time and receive a dual degree in a similar field like finance or mathematics. This does take longer and requires a more rigorous course schedule but it can make you a much more attractive applicant for competitive professional positions.

You can also do this using their online interface, so NC State is easily one of the most student-friendly universities when it comes to online educational options. Even better, NC State doesn’t require that you send in GRE scores or even pay an application fee.

#4. Eastern Kentucky University

Master of Arts in Applied Mathematics

Eastern Kentucky University is a much smaller school than you might expect to find one of the best master’s in statistics. As a regional university, it focuses primarily on general and liberal arts programs. The main campus is located near Richmond, Kentucky, which in turn is close to the heart of developed territory in the state. This makes it well-positioned for students arriving for the first time or seeking vibrant social atmospheres; Richmond, Lexington, Cincinnati, and Louisville are all less than a couple of hours away.

Since 2012, the school campus has been significantly revitalized over a multi-year building campaign. The result is an improved, aesthetically pleasing space with several new student centers, science buildings, and even a few gardens. The campus is home to over 230 resident student organizations, including several vibrant Greek chapters and Division I athletics teams.

Any math or statistics students interested in attending this university would do well to check out the “Coffee Time” series of presentations that are offered every year by faculty from the EKU Department of Mathematics and Statistics. These are conferences or talks where students and faculty can network with one another and discuss interesting statistical topics over coffee and snacks.

Eastern Kentucky’s master’s in statistics degree is actually a rare Master of Arts variety. The major is applied mathematics, so the statistics focus comes in the form of a concentration. This is called “applied mathematics and statistics”. This degree format and class list make for a degree that’s perfect for future statisticians and mathematicians thanks to its comprehensive look at a variety of mathematical disciplines. In other words, it’s a little broader than other statistics degrees, which might be valuable depending on your future career field.

All students regardless of concentration have to take several core courses, including Applied Linear Algebra and Combinatorial Optimization. The program culminates with an applied mathematics capstone course rather than a thesis, marking this as a practical or terminal degree rather than a research-oriented program. The capstone course includes a personalized project that allows you to demonstrate your statistical understanding and expertise both to the school and your future employers.

Additionally, all students will pick between either Statistical Methods Using SAS or Technology for Teaching and Research as part of their core classes. The program is 30 credit hours total.

The program is also notable because it offers hybrid class schedules to facilitate maximum flexibility for students with full-time responsibilities outside of school. One example schedule allows for three Saturday meetings for a class per semester or various e-Presence classes that let students attend an on-campus class via webcam. Some classes are offered in the evening and others are offered entirely online. What makes EKU notable is that you can mix and match these class offerings as you please; you aren’t limited to only on-campus classes if you don’t take the program entirely online, for example.

#5. South Dakota State University

Master of Science in Statistics

South Dakota is a big place with lots of room—its flagship State University is similarly large and the most important institution of higher education in the territory. SDSU typically takes in about 12,000 students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and offers online and on-campus courses, along with a few dedicated online-only programs. The school has a current student to faculty ratio of 18:1. They’re not as crowded as several other major universities, particularly those found in metropolitan areas.

SDSU is located in one of the safest college towns in America: Brookings, South Dakota. This beautiful town is relatively close to Sioux Falls and offers a quiet, meditative environment that’s reflected by the SDSU campus and communal, supportive student body.

Their MS in statistics program focuses on teaching students to develop sophisticated statistical models and then implement those models on high-performance computing platforms. As such, it’s a perfect program for students that want to obtain a career in finance or other tech-heavy industries, like automation or computing. Indeed, several of the classes teach students of the program to work effectively with statistical software and other technology.

The curriculum as a whole does balance applied statistical methods and theory, as well as allow students to emphasize three areas: biostatistics, informatics, and analytics. Classes include advanced numerical analysis, advanced calculus, SAS programming, and advanced data science. All in all, the curriculum is perfect for future graduate and research students or for analytical statistician careers.

SDSU is fairly flexible when it comes to graduation requirements. You have three options: write a thesis, a research paper, or take extra coursework. The last option requires that you complete 35 credits in total rather than 30 compared to the thesis option. The research paper option requires 32 credits in total, although the last two credits are included with the paper itself.

SDSU offers several assistantships and fellowships available to all of its applicants. While every admitted student to this program is considered for these positions, they are highly competitive, and acceptance is not guaranteed for anyone. The fellowships and assistantships are valuable as they include both a stipend and a tuition waiver.

Speaking of admissions, anyone interested in this program should get their application together for the fall semester before February. The program does not typically accept students starting in the spring semester because the first year of coursework is much more regimented than the second year. Some electives are only offered in some years, so significant time should be spent with your advisor formatting the perfect course list for your needs and interests.

SDSU also offers a special one year accelerated track for those currently enrolled in the university with a bachelor’s degree. This accelerated track will have you take 12 credits of graduate mathematics and statistics courses during the senior year of a bachelor’s program. The remaining credits are crammed into a final year of study, which can cut down both on your overall college costs and the time you spend before graduation. However, only students with exceptional grades will be allowed to take this opportunity.

#6. West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Master of Science in Applied Statistics

West Chester University of Pennsylvania is the largest public institution in the entire state and is close to the metropolitan area of Philadelphia. This allows students to benefit both from its well-developed campus and from its proximity to a major business and social hub. The campus itself is quite the sight, with several modern and aesthetically pleasing student centers, an extensive music library, a massive planetarium, and a few speech/hearing and reading clinics.

WCU has a vibrant student life with the largest NCAA Division II varsity program spanning 24 men’s and women’s sports. It hosts a relatively low student to faculty ratio of 19:1 and a diverse student body that hails from 74 countries and 29 separate states. 

Their master’s in statistics degree is a program that combines a wide variety of classes and topic focuses, including statistical theory, communication skills, and even computer science and scientific research. It works well as a program both for statistics students that want to proceed to a Ph.D. or those who want to get a career in applied statistics, of which there are multiple possible opportunities.

The curriculum is appropriately flexible, which lets you choose a series of electives in conjunction with several core courses. In fact, you can tailor this degree to concentrate your statistics knowledge in a multitude of disciplines, including biology, psychology, business, or even more specific disciplines like pharmaceutical product development. Students can pick between a full-time or part-time schedule depending on their needs.

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the coursework within the program, the admissions team for this program is a little more relaxed in terms of background requirements. They encourage students from all kinds of majors to apply for the program if they are interested in applying statistics in real-world contexts.

Additionally, WCU provides all of its graduate students with several paid internship opportunities. These combine the stipend and tuition waiving that most teaching assistantships include with the work experience and bolster to your resume that internships always offer. 

Other graduate assistantships are available without the work experience component and with a little more schedule flexibility. If a student of this program does want to proceed to doctoral-level study, they can optionally pursue an intensive study with one of their faculty members and complete a thesis option to graduate. If you decide not to pursue a thesis, you’ll need to complete 32 credit hours of coursework instead.

There are two main tracks to this program, despite its elective variety: biostatistics, and business and marketing analytics. An additional post-master’s certificate is available for students who want to really impress future employers. Many of the classes of this program can be taken online if that fits your needs more appropriately.

#7. Stanford University

M.S. in Statistics

Stanford University is a school on par with Ivy League universities in the eastern U.S. It was originally founded in 1891 and nowadays hosts typical student bodies around 16,000 students each year with a faculty of just over 2000 members. Stanford has been the site of many innovations and groundbreaking developments, including the ultrahigh-frequency vacuum tube, the founding of the Hewlett-Packard Company, and the invention of the MRI machine.

Stanford is also a great place to go to school because of its location. Its SoCal inspired architecture is a perfect complement to the sunny weather that dominates its climate. Stanford is close both to Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and San Diego; students attending school here will never want for a place to go for entertainment. After graduation, they’ll find a plethora of opportunities in surrounding metropolitan business centers.

Stanford’s M.S. in statistics is a rapidly growing program that has recently become more popular, both as a terminal option or as a stepping stone to a doctoral degree. It is a relatively difficult program to enter, with only a single application window on April 15, after which point the graduate admissions period is closed until the next September.

The program is comprised of 45 units of work, including nine statistics courses that are taken for a letter grade. Additional mathematics and programming courses are included in the curriculum; these make sure that you are prepared as a statistician or researcher to use statistical software and computing techniques common across industries. The available statistics elective courses can be taken for letter grades or for credit.

In addition to the regular schedule, students can also complete this program part-time through Stanford’s Honors Cooperative Program. This requires on-campus attendance, but it is better if you need extra time or flexibility to finish your degree.

Rather than requiring a thesis, Stanford requires that all students of this program submit a milestone program proposal. This program proposal essentially sets you up for a capstone project at the end of the year, which you will complete after gaining advisor approval. You must submit your program proposal before the end of your first quarter of enrollment within the program, however. This means that only students who know exactly what they want to use this degree for should apply.

Once accepted, students can benefit from their own sets of electives and can set their own pace of study. If pushed to the limit, the program can be completed within a single year, particularly if courses are taken during the summer semester. The program must be completed within three years, however, which is a bit shorter than many other graduate programs. The Honors Cooperative Program is an exception to this rule and allows students to finish within five years.

Stanford allows you to count some of your employment as credit through Curricular Practical Training. Basically, if you already work in a statistical context for your job, this may count toward some of your required credits for graduation. You can also take online courses from the Stanford Department of Statistics if you want to accelerate your program completion. Some courses are only offered online during the summer and only offered on-campus during the fall and spring semesters.

#8. Columbia University in the City of New York

MA Program in Statistics

Columbia University in the City of New York has been around for over 250 years, located in the heart of one of the most successful and iconic cities in the world. In fact, it is one of only nine colleges that were founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, so there’s plenty of history to be seen and felt as you walk among its stone-and-brick campus buildings. Five of the original Founding Fathers of the United States are among its alumni—a suitable legacy given its origin. Its academic value should be noted as well, with U.S. News and World Report ranking it No. 7 for the Best Global Universities.

Don’t discount the value of the school’s location in New York, either. New York is arguably the business capital for the entire world, so there’s no shortage of employment opportunities for students with excellent statistics degrees and the drive to succeed. Even beyond employment prospects, New York City is a great place to experience no matter your age; the city contains unlimited social and networking engagements that are only limited by your own initiative.

Their graduate statistics program is another rare Master of Arts. It provides instruction covering both the application and theoretical elements of statistics and probability. In addition to its main program and curriculum, students can also blend the curriculum with classes from other departments for a dual-degree in engineering, finance, or even social science. It’s one of the more versatile and student customizable program options out there.

The program is also offered either on-campus or in a hybrid online/on-campus format. The on-campus program emphasizes statistical theories and the applications of those theories. It’s tailor-made for students that are planning on seeking employment immediately after graduation, rather than focusing on doctoral study in statistics or other qualitative fields. The on-campus option can also be pursued either part-time or full-time.

It includes four required courses and six electives or more depending on credit requirements. The main courses cover topics like mathematical statistics and basic probability theory; many of these courses also include some practical experience in which students will use common statistical software. Most of these courses are taken in the early evening in order to accommodate students that need to work while completing their education.

Meanwhile, the hybrid format provides students with select courses during the first fall semester, then has students integrate into the on-campus program after completing those initial classes. Thus, it’s a great fit for students who need a little extra time to finish up work or other engagements before committing fully to their studies. In essence, hybrid schedule students complete the core courses through the online learning management system while the electives are completed on the Columbia University campus.

Do note that the application deadlines for the on-campus and hybrid programs are slightly different, though both start in the fall. You’ll want your application materials completed by April at the latest for either option.

#9. University of Pennsylvania

MBA, Statistics Focus

As an Ivy League school, the University of Pennsylvania is well known both in the U.S. and beyond. It was founded in 1740 and features one of the lowest student-to-faculty ratios in the world: 6:1. This ensures that every student receives the care and attention they need to succeed, and it helps Penn maintain an academically rigorous standard for all its programs.

It’s a school filled with history and many “firsts”, including the first schools of medicine and business in America and the first student union building. Forbes ranks it as the sixth-best university in the nation, as does U.S. News and World Report. It’s also the home of one of the oldest literary societies in the U.S.: the Philomathean Society. Beyond all these points, students who attend this school will enjoy its colonial and gothic architecture, its central location in Philadelphia, and its wide collection of student organizations, including an inclusive Greek club pantheon.

Their MBA with a statistics focus is a unique degree option amongst the others discussed. As a Master of Business Administration, it includes a core list of classes that focus on business topics and management fundamentals: an ideal mixture for training the business leaders of tomorrow. Meanwhile, the statistics focus is designed to provide students with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in statistics-focused industries rather than preparing them for research toward a Ph.D.

In particular, the program prepares students to interpret the vast quantities of data that today’s computers are collecting for organizations and companies. Thus, most of the courses offered over this program focus on the development of statistical insight and techniques students can use to effectively utilize statistical methods. As an MBA, graduates will be ideally equipped in terms of knowledge and experience alike to successfully run companies or advise business chief officers in their decisions or strategies.

19 course units are needed for graduation, and students can complete the entire program in two years or less if they are dedicated. The statistics concentration courses incorporate topics like actuarial statistics, sample survey methods, and data analytics and statistical computing. An independent study class is also needed for graduation, although your prior work experience in a statistical context may count for this credit depending on your advisor’s discretion. The MBA core requirements cover several major disciplines like finance, macroeconomics, marketing and more.

Penn also allows students to combine a second major into their MBA. This may allow them to concentrate on similar but distinct disciplines like strategic management or finance, making them all the more valuable to potential employers in the future. Because Penn grants each student plenty of time to complete their education, a student could collect a significant degree with multiple certificates, majors, and class competencies within a few years if they had the time.

#10. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Applied Statistics Master’s Program

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is the oldest university in Michigan, founded in 1817 and currently ranked as the No. 1 U.S. public university according to QS World University Rankings. Its accolades don’t stop there; it’s the No.1 university in research volume among all US public research universities and was the location of 22 new business startups in the last year alone. It features 29 NCAA Division I teams, over 900 student-athletes, a student to faculty ratio of 15:1, and 102 graduate-level programs in the top 10 according to U.S News and World Report. It’s truly a phenomenal university across all metrics.

Ann Arbor is also a great benefit to the school, ranked the No. 7 Best College Town in the U.S. according to Forbes. It allows students to enjoy the bustle of city life in a beautiful, centralized location. The school has a vast housing system that can accommodate about 10,000 students and which currently houses over 1400 student organizations. Fraternities and sororities play a big role here, affording all students opportunities for rich social experiences and networking.

Their master’s program is in applied statistics, which indicates its suitability as a degree for those seeking a terminal graduate credential. It’s a perfect degree choice if you want to jump into a career as an applied statistician for government agencies, private companies, consulting firms, or research organizations. The program is comprised of at least 10 courses over 30 credit hours, with a basic course list including several theoretical statistics classes. However, the program as a whole emphasizes data analysis and statistical modeling, arming graduates with the tools they need to provide actionable advice to CEOs, federal leaders, and researchers.

Several elective courses are included in addition to the core offerings. These include multidisciplinary classes across topics like computer science, biostatistics, engineering, and sociology. Because the program dives straight into theoretical statistics, the admissions team normally prioritizes students that have developed backgrounds in calculus and linear algebra and at least some statistics experience.

Because of the wide variety of electives available, students can specialize the degree, allowing for concentrations that aren’t explicitly reflected in the name. Examples include econometrics and forecasting, financial statistics and industrial statistics.

U-M allows for several other degree completion pathways beyond the typical route, of course. An accelerated master’s degree program in applied statistics is available if you’re already enrolled at the university for a bachelor’s degree with a strong quantitative background and a high GPA. This allows you to take a few of the master’s level courses during your senior year and complete both degrees in five years or less.

Similarly, U-M offers a “bridge” program for those students that do want to pursue a Ph.D. in physics after earning their master’s degree. The bridge program offers additional coursework and extra research training to master’s level students, which helps them jump into a Ph.D. program right off the bat rather than having to apply separately and potentially wait for one semester or more. It’s also a great boon to your record, making you a competitive Ph.D. applicant almost anywhere.

Other Notable Programs

#11. University of California-Davis

Location: Davis, California

Degree: Statistics – Master of Science

Net Price: $15,724


#12. Cornell University

Location: Ithaca, New York

Degree: Applied Statistics M.P.S.

Net Price: $28,890


#13. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Degree: MS program in Statistics

Net Price: $14,169


#14. George Washington University

Location: Washington, D.C.

Degree: Statistics Master of Science

Net Price: $39,600


#15. University of California-Santa Barbara

Location: Santa Barbara, California

Degree: MA in Statistics

Net Price: $16,912


#16. Yale University

Location: New Haven, Connecticut

Degree: Yale Statistics Terminal MA Program

Net Price: $18,748


#17. Fordham University

Location: Bronx, New York

Degree: MS in Applied Statistics

Net Price: $39,011


#18. New Mexico State University

Location: La Cruces, New Mexico

Degree: Master of Science: Applied Statistics

Net Price: $9,462


#19. Montana State University

Location: Bozeman, Montana

Degree: M.S. in Statistics

Net Price: $15,801


#20. The University of Texas at Austin

Location: Austin, Texas

Degree: M.S. in Statistics

Net Price: $14,156



Michael Templeton
Managing Editor

Kacey Reynolds Schedler
Contributing Editor