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The Statistics MS program offers students rigorous training in many areas of statistics and probability.  The program is flexible enough to accommodate students with different technical backgrounds and subject matter interests, and allows students to pursue a variety of coursework in theory, methodology, computation, and applications.

The MS degree provides a valuable complement to a number of PhD programs in the sciences and social sciences, and enhances the credentials of students in these programs seeking academic or industrial jobs.  Over the years, students have completed the Statistics MS degree concurrently with a Ph.D. in areas such as Economics, Sociology, Psychology, Mathematics and Physics.  Terminal masters students, who seek employment after completion of the degree, have had little difficulty finding jobs in industry or government.

The Statistics MS degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, and the preparation of a Masters Essay.  Students can choose from a wide variety of courses within the Statistics program, as well as a limited number of courses from outside the Department.




Applicants to the M.S. program should have completed basic undergraduate coursework in statistics and mathematics.  Statistics coursework should  include an introductory, calculus based course in statistics (similar to STOR 155), an intermediate level course in inference and regression (similar to STOR 455), and a calculus based probability course (similar to STOR 435).  Mathematical coursework should include single and multivariable calculus, as well as an intermediate level course in linear and matrix algebra.  Students interested in theoretical statistics or probability should have prior coursework in advanced calculus or real analysis.


Summary: Completion of the MS degree requires 30 semester hours of graduate coursework. The Graduate School requires that at least 24 of these credits must be taken *after* admission to the MS program: at most six credit hours may be transferred from another accredited institution, or from within UNC-CH, for courses taken before admission to the MS program. (This policy on transferring credits applies to courses taken in the STOR Department as well.)

All students need to take or exhibit competency in STOR 435 and 555. Students can place out of these courses with the consent of the course instructor or their graduate adviser. Under the degree requirement for the MS, students must:

  • Take and pass STOR 664 (Applied Statistics I).
  • Take and pass 4 additional Statistics Program courses from the following list of STOR courses:  555, 556, 565, 634, 635, 641, 654, 655, 665, 754, 755, 756, 757, 765, 831, 832, 833, 834, 835, 836, 851, 852, 853, 854, 855, 856, 857, 890, 891, 930, 940, 950, and 960.
  • Take and pass 12 additional semester hours of statistics-related coursework either inside or outside the Statistics Program; outside courses need to be approved by the Statistics program’s Curriculum Committee.
  • Take at least 3 credit hours of STOR 992 (MS essay).  A maximum of 3 credit hours of 992 registration may be counted as part of the 30 credit hour minimum.
  • Pass all ten required courses with no more than one grade of L.
  • Complete an M.S. essay (see below).

Examinations: There are no written comprehensive exams for the MS degree.


Masters Essay and Examination Committee:

As part of their study, MS students complete a Masters Essay. The Masters Essay usually consists of a review of the literature in a particular area of study related to statistics, but it may also include new theoretical results, data analysis, computational methods, or simulations. Acceptable essays are typically 20-30 pages in length.

The Masters essay is completed under the supervision of a faculty adviser in the Statistics Program. If a student has two or more co-advisers, at least one should be a member of the Statistics Program faculty.

MS degree candidates should, in consultation with their faculty adviser, assemble a Masters Committee consisting of at least two faculty members.  One member of the committee should be the student’s faculty adviser in Statistics.  Other members may be from other programs or departments at UNC.  Satisfactory completion of the MS essay is based in part on an oral presentation and defense of the work before the MS Committee.  Presentations are typically 40-60 minutes in length, and are usually closed to the public.

The current policy of granting MS degrees to doctoral students in Statistics after the successful completion of their Preliminary Oral Examination will be maintained.

Time Limit: All work credited toward MS degrees, except transferred course work, must be completed within a period of five years from the first date of registration.