MS in Statistics


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

The Master of Science in Statistics program is ideal for students who are preparing for professional positions or doctoral programs in statistics and other quantitative fields.

Thesis and non-thesis options are available, and students may enroll in full time or part-time. The use of statistical software packages, available in all university computer labs, is required for most courses.

Program of Study

The MS program offers a combination of mathematical statistics, applied statistics, and statistical computing tailored to each student. Before signing up for classes, all new students must meet with the MS program director to design an individualized program of study. The program of study should take into account the student's strengths and deficiencies, as judged from transcripts and interviews. It is recommended that students continue to seek advice throughout their time in the program.

Students must also maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of B (3.0) in all coursework.

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Credit Transfers

MS in Statistics students may transfer up to two approved courses (six credits) taken outside the Statistics Department for credit, but they must be in related fields (e.g., economics, management and finance, computer science, engineering, mathematics, or public health). To begin the transfer process, students should talk to their advisors and complete the Graduate Student Transfer Credit Request Form available on the CCAS website. The CCAS Master’s Student Handbook also provides additional guidance and information on degree requirements.

Rolling Credits Into Ph.D. Option

If desired, a student may complete the MS in Statistics program prior to admission to the Ph.D. program, in which case no more than 24 credit hours from the MS degree may be applied to the Ph.D. requirements. In this instance, the student will be required to take a minimum of 27 additional credit hours of coursework. The distribution of these courses between statistics and public health would depend on the nature of the master's degree and whether the transferred credit hours would be used to defray statistics or public health coursework. Full information is available in the online Graduate Admissions Application. 

Optional Thesis

All candidates for the MS in Statistics complete at least 30 units of graduate credit approved for the department. For students who wish to complete a thesis, the department can approve a program of study consisting of 24 credit hours of coursework plus a thesis. 

  • Non-thesis option: Students complete six credits in required courses and 24 credits in elective courses for a total of 30 credits.
  • Thesis option: Students complete six credits in required courses (STAT 6998-6999), six thesis credits, and 18 credits in elective courses, also totaling 30 credits.

All master’s theses must be supervised by a director plus one reader. It is up to the student to find a topic and a thesis advisor. Ask your academic advisor for guidance. Only after you find a thesis advisor you should register for STAT 6998 and STAT 6999 over two semesters.

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Course Requirements

Prerequisites: These courses (or equivalents) are prerequisites for admission consideration and MUST appear on your transcript. Submit your MS in Statistics program application only after you have completed all of the required courses.

  • MATH 1231: Single-Variable Calculus I (3 credits)
  • MATH 1232: Single-Variable Calculus II (3 credits)
  • STAT 2118: Regression Analysis (3 credits)

General prerequisite: coursework in multivariate calculus, matrix theory, and at least two undergraduate statistics courses.

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

30 credits. For non-thesis option—6 credits in required courses and 24 credits in elective courses. For thesis option—12 credits in required courses, including 6 credits in thesis, and 18 credits in elective courses.


  • STAT 6201 Mathematical Statistics I
  • STAT 6202 Mathematical Statistics II
  • Required for students pursuing the thesis option
    • STAT 6998 Thesis Research
    • STAT 6999 Thesis Research


For non-thesis option: 24 credits in electives, at least 18 of which must be in STAT courses. For thesis option: 18 credits in electives, at least 12 of which must be in STAT courses.

Elective courses outside statistics may be taken in related fields, such as economics, mathematics, finance, management, computer science, engineering, public health, and data science.

 *Students must have departmental approval in order to pursue the thesis option.

Application Process

Applicants must first go through the university's general admissions process. The department does not accept direct applications, nor does it keep the required forms. Applicants who meet the Columbian Collge of Arts & Sciences' minimum requirements will be forwarded to the department for evaluation.

  • Fall semester: April 1
  • Applicants seeking funding: February 1
  • Spring semester: October 1

"I have benefited from the program in many ways. I especially appreciate the program accommodating those like me who have a daytime job since all master’s-level courses are offered in the afternoon."

Wenliang Yao
MS ’08, Statistics; Ph.D. ’13, Biostatistics
Principal Statistician, MedImmune

Last updated Jul 2020

About the School

At GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, research thrives, critical thinking is endemic, collaboration is constant, and real world training go hand-in-hand with learning.

At GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, research thrives, critical thinking is endemic, collaboration is constant, and real world training go hand-in-hand with learning. Read less