Statistics, MA

Program Category: MA Programs
Chair: Tian Zheng
Degree Programs: Full-Time/Part-Time: Free-Standing MA
MA Program Director: Gabriel Young

The Department of Statistics offers programs of instruction that include theoretical and applied statistics and probability. The department also offers cooperative programs in Data Science with the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, in the Mathematics of Finance with the Department of Mathematics, in Actuarial Science with the School of Professional Studies, and in Quantitative Methods in Social Science with the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. Columbia University and the New York area are notable for wide-ranging opportunities for the application of statistics. The department maintains ties with industry, Wall Street, and medical and basic science researchers in New York and also helps to serve the statistical needs of the University community. There is a continuing demand for well-trained statisticians, and the department has been successful in placing its graduates in positions at universities and research institutes as well as in government, business, industry, and Wall Street.

MA in Statistics

The MA program is designed for students with the goal of enhancing their knowledge of statistical theory and applications. Although some students in the MA program are preparing for doctoral study in statistics or other quantitative fields, most are preparing for, or are working in, positions that use statistics, and do not plan on applying to a PhD program. The program has a full-time and part-time option for domestic students. International students fulfill the program requirements full-time.

The MA program consists of four required courses and six or more electives. The required courses include basic probability theory and mathematical statistics as well as courses in standard statistical methods. Many of the courses entail practical experience using statistical software. The majority of our full-time students satisfy the minimum requirements for the MA degree in three semesters. Required courses are scheduled, as much as possible, for early evening times to accommodate students with full-time employment. Students who complete the free-standing MA program and apply to the PhD program will be considered on the same basis as other applicants.

Graduates of the MA program have found employment in a variety of areas, including pharmaceutical research, finance, insurance, market research, public health, and government. Professionals with strong interest in broadening their knowledge of applied statistics to prepare for a new career or advance in their current positions are particularly encouraged to apply. For more information please visit the department website.

Additional MA Programs

The Department of Statistics also participates in the following GSAS MA programs. Click the links below for more information.

Special Admissions Requirements

Preparation for the Statistics MA program should include a thorough knowledge of linear algebra (through the level of MATH UN2020 at Columbia) and advanced calculus (through the level of MATH UN1201). Experience in theoretical or applied probability and statistics is advantageous. Familiarity with computer programming is also helpful.

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a statement of academic purpose, a personal statement, three letters of recommendation from academic sources, and a list of undergraduate coursework, including grades received, in the following areas: calculus, linear algebra, probability and statistics, and advanced mathematics and statistics. Additionally, fall grades may be required from all Statistics MA applicants who have not yet received an undergraduate degree.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to our Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages.

*GSAS will accept up to four recommendations, regardless of the number required by your program of interest. However, to be eligible for admission at GSAS, at least TWO letters must be submitted by academic recommenders.

All applicants who submit applications that include all required supporting materials by the early deadline of January 31, 2024 may expect to receive decisions by the end of March.

All applications received after January 31, as well as applicants that were waitlisted during the first round, will be reviewed during the second admissions review window. The deadline for Fall 2024 Admissions is May 2.