MS IN APPLIED STATISTICS

Applied Statistics graduate student presenting his research in class

In today's data-driven world, the need for talented statisticians has never been greater. Statistics, including the related fields of data science and analytics, is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States. Data-driven decision making is becoming increasingly crucial for government agencies, industries, and even small businesses. To meet this need, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics offers a flexible Master of Science in Applied Statistics graduate program built on six required courses and a wide range of specialized electives.

Students may complete their degree on a full or part-time basis, and have the flexibility to take statistics-related elective courses from areas such as Computer Science and Mathematics.

Our program accepts students from a wide-variety of undergraduate backgrounds beyond mathematics or statistics, including computer sciences, economics, chemistry, biology, psychology, foreign languages and more. However, as a pre-req to taking classes in our program, students should have taken multivariable calculus (often labeled Calc III) and a matrix or linear algebra course.

PROGRAM DETAILS

In 2019, U.S. News ranked “Statistician” as the second best job overall and the best business job. In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected “Statisticians” to be the seventh fastest-growing job before 2026, with a 10-year growth of 34% (about four times faster than the average job). Similarly, LinkedIn, CareerCast, Glassdoor, Harvard Business Review, Forbes and several other job-related sites have placed statisticians and data-related job titles in the top 10 in terms of openings, growth and need. 

If you are good with numbers and enjoy working with data, then becoming a statistician may be an ideal job for you.

Statisticians take on a variety of jobs in many different fields. Recent graduates from our program have accepted a variety of roles, such as:

  • Predictive health analyst helping to correct misdiagnoses of rare diseases
  • Fraud detection in large companies such as Comcast 
  • Biostatistician working with doctors on medical research at the University of Pennsylvania, CHOP and Main Line Health
  • Statistical programming at local pharmaceutical companies such as GSK and Merck
  • Teacher or statistics professor at schools and universities
  • Strategic marketing for a large travel company
  • Financial analyst at a variety of large finance companies and banks
  • Senior scientist at Johnson and Johnson
  • Data analyst with the Educational Testing Service

Mission Statement

The primary mission of the Applied Statistics graduate program is to prepare students for careers as statisticians and data analysts in industry, government, academia and nonprofit organizations. A key secondary mission is to prepare students for PhD work in statistics and biostatistics.   

Learning Goals

  • Our graduates will be comfortable using both SAS and R for data analysis and data management, and they will have relatively advanced programming skills in one of the two packages.
  • Our graduates will have a solid foundation in probability and the theory of statistical inference.
  • Our graduates will have a clear understanding of how and when to apply standard statistical methods such as one-sample and two-sample tests, confidence intervals for means and differences of means, ANOVA, linear regression, and chi-square tests.
  • Our graduates will be skilled at presenting and communicating statistical analyses in both written and oral form.
  • Our graduates will be competent users of advanced methods from multiple core areas of statistics that are related to their personal career goals.

During the academic year, classes are typically held one night a week, Monday through Thursday, from 6:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Times may vary during the summer. Students must complete six required and four elective courses.

Students in the Master of Science in Applied Statistics program must complete Statistical Methods, Regression Methods and Statistical Theory I within their first 15 credits. They must also complete Statistical Theory II within their first 21 credits.

While full-time students typically finish their coursework in two years, candidates for the master’s degree have six years to complete their degree after starting the program. Students are to consult with the Director of the Applied Statistics Graduate Program to formulate a program of study suitable to their individual needs. Degree requirements may be subject to change.

Required Courses

  • STAT 7404 - Statistical Methods (Fall only)
  • STAT 7500 - Statistical Programming 
  • STAT 8400 - Statistical Theory I (Fall only)
  • STAT 8401 - Statistical Theory II (Spring only)
  • STAT 8406 - Regression Methods (Spring only)
  • STAT 8412 - Linear Models (Fall only)

Elective Courses

  • STAT 8408 - Multivariate Methods
  • STAT 8410 - Bayesian Statistics
  • STAT 8414 - Categorical Data Analysis
  • STAT 8416 - Design of Experiments
  • MAT 8430 - Operations Research*
  • MAT 8435 - Mathematical Modeling*
  • STAT 8440 - Statistics Quality Control
  • STAT 8444 - Time Series and Forecasting
  • STAT 8446 - Survival Data Analysis
  • STAT 8448 - Clinical Trials
  • STAT 8450 - Longitudinal Data Analysis
  • STAT 8452 - Nonparametric Statistics
  • STAT 8454 - Sampling Methods
  • STAT 8462 - Stochastic Modeling
  • STAT 8480 - Data Mining & Predictive Analytics
  • STAT 8790 - Selected Topics I (e.g., Deep Learning, Stat. Gen.)
  • STAT 8795 - Selected Topics II
  • STAT 8800 - Independent Study

*These courses, along with a few others not listed here, are offered via the MA in Mathematics program, but can be counted toward the MS in Applied Statistics Degree. Applied Statistics students should take no more than two of these "crossover" courses and should check with the Director of Applied Statistics when interested in taking more than one.

Note: Certain courses listed under other graduate programs may serve as electives with prior approval from the Director of the Applied Statistics Graduate Program.

Director

Paul W. Bernhardt, PhD
Associate Professor


Full-Time Faculty

Peter Chi, PhD
Assistant Professor

Jesse Frey, PhD
Professor

Jiangtao Gou, PhD
Assistant Professor

Michael L. Levitan, PhD
Associate Professor

Paul J. Lupinacci, PhD
Associate Professor

Elise Pasles, PhD
Associate Teaching Professor

Michael A. Posner, PhD, PStat
Associate Professor

Le Wang, PhD
Assistant Professor

Yimin Zhang, PhD
Associate Professor

Course Requirements

During the academic year, classes are typically held one night a week, Monday through Thursday, from 6:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Times may vary during the summer. Students must complete six required and four elective courses.

Students in the Master of Science in Applied Statistics program must complete Statistical Methods, Regression Methods and Statistical Theory I within their first 15 credits. They must also complete Statistical Theory II within their first 21 credits.

While full-time students typically finish their coursework in two years, candidates for the master’s degree have six years to complete their degree after starting the program. Students are to consult with the Director of the Applied Statistics Graduate Program to formulate a program of study suitable to their individual needs. Degree requirements may be subject to change.


Comprehensive Exam

The Comprehensive Exam must be completed by all Applied Statistics students before graduation. The exam covers material from the Statistical Methods, Regression Methods and Linear Models Courses and is given twice a year - once in the fall semester, usually in November, and once in the spring semester, usually in April.

Exam Details

  • The exam covers the material taught in the Statistical Methods, Regression and Linear Models courses.
  • The Comprehensive Exam is given twice a year - once in the fall semester, usually in November, and once in the spring semester, usually in March or April. These dates often differ from the "comprehensive exam" dates on Villanova's academic calendar.
  • The exam is usually given on a Saturday morning starting at 9 a.m. Students have three hours to complete the exam.
  • Students should bring calculators to the exam, and statistical tables will be provided. Use of cell phones, books, notes and other resources is not permitted.
  • The exam is graded as a single exam.
  • In the event of failure, one re-examination will be permitted.
  • Students are encouraged to review together, to work problems from previous exams, and to consult with faculty as they prepare for the exam. 
  • For more details and copies of previous exams, visit the Applied Statistics SharePoint site.

Course Withdrawal

Occasionally, students need to withdraw from a course due to personal issues or a low grade in the course. While we usually do not encourage students to withdraw from courses, it may be better than going on academic probation (when a graduate student's GPA is below 3.0).

If a student chooses to withdraw within the first week or so of the semester, there is no paperwork needed. After the initial "drop/add deadline", students will need to fill out an official form to withdraw from a course (see the Director of the Applied Statistics program). The drop/add deadline and the date for withdrawing from courses without an academic penality are given on the Graduate Academic Calendar.


Textbooks

While some faculty email students directly or wait until the first day of class inform students regarding textbook requirements, students can generally find course textbook information at the University bookstore site.


Internship and Job Opportunities

We do not find internships or jobs for our students, however, throughout the year we send information to students about a variety of local opportunities for internships and jobs. Alumni, local companies and nearby universities often reach out with internship and job opportunities. 

Recently, our students have obtained internships at GSK, Merck, Comcast, the Montgomery County DA's office, the University of Pennslyvania Medical School, other local universities, and many other locations. Additionally, most of our students are employed in statistical fields, usually by the time of graduation or soon after. However, while the success rate is still high, international students sometimes find it somewhat more challenging to find a position.


Applying to Graduate

The Graduate Academic Calendar lists the deadlines by which applications to graduate must be submitted to both the Office of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences.

Information about how to apply is given through the Graduate Studies Office.

Admissions Process

Applicants to the Master’s program in Applied Statistics must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, and must have completed undergraduate work in multivariable calculus (usually calculus III) and linear algebra.

Those with degrees in areas other than mathematics and statistics are encouraged to apply. Students without a strong mathematical background will be advised to take additional undergraduate courses; these courses are not counted toward the graduate degree.

Please contact the Graduate Director Dr. Paul Bernhardt to discuss your interest in doing graduate work and the specifics of the course of study you wish to pursue.   

See admissions requirements and begin your application.


Non-matriculated Students

Prospective students interested in taking six credits as a special (non-matriculated) student must submit the following. 

  • Transcripts of previous undergraduate courses
  • Submitted application and fees
  • 3 letters of recommendation

Please contact the Office of Graduate Studies for additional information.


Transfer Credits

Students may transfer a maximum of six credits from other graduate programs toward their MSAS degree, provided these courses correspond to existing courses in the Applied Statistics curriculum and were taken within the previous six years.

The request for transfer must be presented and approved at the time of admission to the program as a matriculated student. This request should be written by the student and addressed to the Director of the Applied Statistics Program. It should identify the courses to be transferred, including detailed course descriptions and syllabi and the courses in the MSAS program to which they correspond. A minimum grade of B in each course is required for such a transfer.  A student with non-matriculated status may not transfer credits at the time of admission.


Admissions Standards

To be accepted into the program of Applied Statistics at Villanova, it is most important that a student had a successful undergraduate career. The Graduate Studies office at Villanova notes that 3.0 is generally a minimum undergraduate GPA for acceptance, though usually we expect significantly higher.

Additionally, both GRE General test scores and letters of reference are important, especially for international students and individuals interested in a funded position. In some cases, the GRE may be waived with the permission of the Graduate Director. While we recognize that the GRE test is not a perfect measurement of success in our program, we expect applicants to have solid quantitive scores; verbal and writing scores are also considered, though to a lesser extent. References are also very important, with successful applicants usually having at least one letter from an academic professor (except in cases where an individual has been working in industry for many years).

If you feel that additional information would be helpful in making a decision regarding your application (e.g. your GPA was lower because of a semester where you had serious medical issues), please write an explanatory statement to the Director of the Applied Statistics Program when you submit your application. CVs and resumes are also welcome.

International students need to score at least an 80 on the TOEFL test or a 6.5 on the IELTS, though higher is usually expected unless the rest of the application is very strong. Note that if an international student has previously attended an English-speaking school or has other evidence of proficiency, the language test may be waived.


International Students

Our program is made up of a diverse group of students, including local individuals employed in industry, recent undergraduates from around the United States, and international students from around the world.

The application deadline for international students is earlier (May 1) to make sure that there is time to obtain a student visa. Additionally, it may be harder to accept international students for a Spring semester start due to the requirement that students on a student visa be enrolled full-time. We may ask for such applications to be deferred to a Fall semester start in some cases.


Funding Opportunities

We do offer department funding, though it is very competitive. Each year, a few students receive a graduate assistantship that includes tuition remission plus a modest stipend. We are also usually able to offer one student per year a tuition scholarship in which the tuition is fully covered. Except in very rare cases, assistantships and scholarships cover two years of coursework up to 30 credits.

To be eligible to receive funding, you must have a complete application (including references) before March 1. While funding is very competitive, we encourage you to apply. Both United States citizens and international students are welcome to apply for funding.

In any years, we have students who are funded through other offices and programs at Villanova, such as the Graduate Studies, Campus Ministry, or Residence Life.


Application Material Waivers

In special cases, some application materials may be waived. If an applicant already has had success previously in a graduate program, if they attended Villanova as an undergraduate, or if their overall application is strong, the Graduate Director may sometimes waive the GRE upon request.

If an international student has previously attended an English-speaking institution or has other evidence of proficiency in the English language, the TOEFL test may be waived.

For students applying to the Applied Statistics Certificate program, GREs are not required and only two reference letters are required.

Please contact the Director of the Applied Statistics program if you have questions about waiving an application requirement.

    

Ready for the Next Step?

Department of Mathematics & Statistics
SAC Room 305
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085 

Chair:
Dr. Jesse Frey

Graduate Applied Statistics Director:
Dr. Paul Bernhardt

Graduate Mathematics Director:
Dr. Klaus Volpert

Staff:
Christine Gadonas
Maria W. Barrett

    

DEADLINES

March 1: For Fall admission with funding consideration

May 1: For Fall admission for international students without funding

August 1: For admission without funding for the fall

October 15: For Spring admission for international students without funding

December 1: For admission without funding for the spring

See more information and begin your application.

    

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