Broadly speaking, an M.S. in Applied Statistics is designed to provide you with hands-on, practical experience in statistical methods – methods you can apply to solving real-world problems. Think sabermetrics (see below), election prediction and more.
The key word here is “practical.” In contrast to programs that focus on pure theory, this degree is designed to equip you for a big-data career in the public or private sector. To that end, educational programs may supplement statistical knowledge with courses in interdisciplinary data science, research and other essential business skills.
Applied statistics degrees are a mix of foundational theory and elective topics. In addition to exploring problems of statistical design, analysis and control, you’ll often be required to complete a practicum or capstone project. Degrees usually take one to two years to complete.
Typical courses include:
- Mathematical statistics
- Statistical methods
- Advanced SAS programming
- Data mining
- Predictive analytics
- Applied data analysis
Admission requirements vary from school to school. Although a degree in statistics or mathematics is not always required, candidates are expected to have a relevant bachelor’s degree, knowledge of computer programming and coursework in calculus, linear algebra, probability theory, and statistics.
Sabermetrics – the statistical analysis of baseball performance – has moved on from Moneyball. Data analysts are constantly refining old metrics (e.g., “stolen bases” is now just one component in the “speed score”), and inventing new markers.
- For the latest, check out Beyond the Box Score. Here you’ll find research on everything from the future of top prospects to predicting strikeouts.
Although it’s tricky to generalize sabermetrics to sports where performance depends on team play, statisticians are doing their best. In recent years:
- The website Football Outsiders has developed measurements such as Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA).
- John Hollinger has pioneered statistical methods for the NBA, including the Player Efficiency Rating (PER).
If politics is more your style, keep an eye on Nate Silver’s website, Five Thirty Eight. Known as the guru of predictive analytics, Silver made headlines in 2008 when he accurately predicted the result of the election. In 2012, he correctly pegged 31 of 33 Senate races.
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We found 41 universities in our directory offering Applied Statistics programs.
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Johns Hopkins University
Students in the online Master of Science in Applied Economics program at Johns Hopkins University can tailor their electives to concentrate in areas such as financial economics and the macroeconomy, spatial economics, environmental economics, health economics, or quantitative methods. The 10-course curriculum includes five electives, and part-time students can complete the program in about two years. Applicants should have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in undergraduate work. Applicants should have completed introductory courses in microeconomics and macroeconomics and at least one semester of calculus. CLEP exams can substitute for these courses. GRE scores are not required. Students entering with only one calculus course must take a prerequisite math course. Students may enter the program in the fall, spring or summer semester.
Johns Hopkins University offers a Post Master's Certificate in Quantitative Methods in Applied Economics that allows professionals with an advanced degree to update or expand their knowledge. Students can complete the four-course program in an entirely online format. Applicants should have a master's degree in economics or statistics, and they otherwise must comply with the admission requirements for the Master of Science in Applied Economics, which include submitting recommendations, a resume, official transcripts of all college work, and a statement of purpose. Students may start the program in the fall, spring or summer semester. To earn the certificate, students must successfully complete four courses selected from a list of nine acceptable courses.
Master's in Applied Statistics Online
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Colorado State University-Fort Collins
Colorado State University offers a Master of Applied Statistics that can be earned 100 percent online. The degree requires 31 credits, and full-time students can complete the work in one year. Part-time students typically complete the degree in two years. Students start the program during the summer term, when they take two non-credit prerequisite courses. Candidates end the program with a six-week capstone consulting course where they gain skill in applying what they have learned to an issue in any industry. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and an academic record that includes three semesters of calculus, a course in linear algebra and at least one undergraduate statistics course. Applicants must also submit Math Entrance Exam scores, which are preferred, or GRE scores.
Kansas State University
Students and professionals who need to develop a background in statistics can earn an online Graduate Certificate in Applied Statistics through Kansas State University. The curriculum requires students to complete at least five graduate-level courses, which can be selected from eight courses offered by the Department of Statistics. Students are allowed to apply up to three credits in coursework taken in another department or at another university toward the certificate. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher earned in upper-division coursework. Students can enter the program in the fall, spring, or summer semester.
Kennesaw State University
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
Penn State's World Campus and Eberly College of Science offer an online Graduate Certificate in Applied Statistics designed for professionals who want to gain skills in statistical analysis and learn industry software such as Minitab, R and SAS. Applicants should have a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Applicants should have completed at least one undergraduate course in statistics and should know matrix and linear algebra. GRE or GMAT test scores are not required for admission to this program. To earn the certificate, students must complete 12 credits, including two required courses and two electives selected based on career goals. The certificate can be a stand-alone credential or used as a first step towards a master's degree.
Students who earn the Master of Applied Statistics from Penn State online also have the opportunity to prepare for the SAS Base Programming certification exam or to become an Accredited Professional Statistician through the accreditation program offered by the American Statistical Association. The program is open to applicants who earned a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Applicants must have taken a standard three-course sequence in calculus and should know linear and matrix algebra. GRE scores are also required. Candidates can complete the 30-credit program entirely online with no need to come to campus. Typically, students complete the program in two to five years.
Purdue University's Department of Statistics has an online Graduate Certificate in Applied Statistics designed for scientists in any field who want to acquire an in-depth background in statistics. The coursework is also appropriate for people in industry who want to increase their understanding of statistics. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of at least 3.0. The curriculum includes four courses, or 12 credits, in statistics classes. Before beginning the program, students must meet the prerequisite of coursework in statistical methods and in applied regression analysis, which may be met by taking two classes through Purdue or by equivalent coursework.
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester Institute of Technology offers an online option for students who want to earn an Advanced Certificate in Applied Statistics. The program is appropriate for scientists, engineers, analysts and other professionals who need a statistical background for their work. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 and must show a background in math and statistics, including two courses in probability and statistics. GRE scores are not required but students may submit them if the scores strengthen their applications. Before entering the program, students need to be familiar with Minitab, R, or SAS statistical software. The curriculum includes two required courses plus electives for a total of 12 credits.
Students seeking a Master of Science in Applied Statistics may earn the degree online through Rochester Institute of Technology as either a full-time or part-time student. Candidates may concentrate in predictive analytics, data mining/machine learning, industrial, biostatistics, or theory. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and should have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. RIT does not require a specific undergrad major, but students must have had at least one year of college calculus and two courses in probability and statistics. GRE scores are not required but students may submit them if they are lacking in some requirements. The curriculum requires 30 credits, and students may complete either a capstone project or a thesis. Cooperative education options are available.
Texas A & M University-College Station
Students in the online Master of Science in Statistics program at Texas A&M University select an area of emphasis: Biostatistics, Applied Statistics, Applied Statistics with SAS Certification, or Business Analytics. The curriculum requires students to complete five core courses and take the M.S. Diagnostic Exam before proceeding on to the remaining coursework. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and must have taken two semesters of calculus and a class in matrix algebra. They must also submit GRE scores. There is no requirement to attend any on-campus meetings, but students must attend a weekly online class session for each course. The 36-credit program does not require a thesis, but all students must take a seminar class, participate in a consulting class, and complete a capstone project.
University of South Carolina-Columbia
The University of South Carolina offers a Master of Applied Statistics delivered completely online. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with at least a 3.0 GPA. Additionally, all applicants must have had at least two semesters of engineering-style calculus, through integration, and they must have earned at least a B in those courses. GRE scores are also required. The curriculum includes five required courses and five electives in a student's area of interest, such as SAS certification or industrial statistics. All students must take comprehensive exams covering core sequences. Most students start the program in the fall semester. Students have the option to view the online classes during a live stream of the face-to-face class offered on campus or view it later.
Master's in Applied Statistics On-Campus
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