Department of Statistics, U.Va.

Master of Science in Statistics

Programs of Study

The Department of Statistics administers programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science
and Doctor of Philosophy. These programs provide diverse opportunities for advanced study and
research in all areas of applied and theoretical statistics, and practical experience in statistical

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree requires 30 credits of coursework, or 10 courses.
Candidates for the M.S. degree complete course requirements covering the breadth of applied
and theoretical statistics, and statistical consulting, and pass certain general examinations
based on those courses.

Overview of Requirements:

The successful completion of the following courses and examinations are required for the M.S.
in Statistics, and are described more fully below.

Course requirements:

  • All in a list of required courses. (16 credits)
  • At least two core elective courses. (8 or more credits)
  • At least two free elective courses. (6 or more credits)

Examination requirements:

  • Computer Language Exam.
  • Master’s Final Exam.


Students should have 3 semesters of calculus (including multiple integrals), linear algebra
(comparable to UVa’s MATH 3351 or APMA 3080), and an introductory probability and statistics
course sequence such as MATH 3100/STAT 3120 or APMA 3100/3120.

Course Requirements

The M.S. student must take a minimum of 30 credit hours stipulated as follows.

All of the following required courses: STAT 5410, STAT 5510, STAT 6120, STAT 6190, STAT
7110, and STAT 7995.

At least two core elective courses from the following list: STAT 6130, STAT 6160, STAT 6170,
STAT 6260, STAT 6250, STAT 6440, STAT 7180, and STAT 7130.

At least two free elective courses from the following list: STAT 5310, STAT 5140, STAT 5330,
STAT 5265, STAT 5266, STAT 5340, STAT 5430, and STAT 8320.

Other graduate level, three credit courses from statistics or another department may substitute
as a free elective course, subject to approval by the Director of Graduate Studies. Duplications
are not allowed between 5000 and 6000 level versions of the same topic.

Biostatistics Track

The M.S. student who wishes to complete the biostatistics track must take STAT 5140 plus at
least one of STAT 5310 or STAT 8320. PHS 7950 may be substituted for either of STAT 5310 or
STAT 8320.

Examination Schedule

Computer Language Exam: The purpose of this exam is to assess whether the student is
prepared for hands-on, data-intensive study of statistical methodology and applications,
especially regarding the use of statistical software. The content is elementary data set
management and elementary statistical analysis applications using SAS and R. The student is
presented with a problem whose solution requires substantial manipulation of a large or
complicated data set. This is a written exam whose format is timed and open-book;
the student’s solution would consist of written comments, computer code, and possibly printouts of graphics and statistical output. The exam is offered at least once per year, near the end of the Fall or
Spring semester, and is typically coordinated with STAT 5410.

Master’s Final Exam: The purpose of this exam is to assess the student’s professional maturity
and aptitude in using statistical techniques to produce sensible answers to dataanalysis
problems. The student is examined in three areas: (i.) skills in data manipulation and exploration
(ii.) use and understanding of statistical methodology (iii.) skills in the presentation of
data-analysis results. The Master's Final Exam is administered as a “Statistics Poster Fair,” in
which all M.S. students gather in a single public event to present results of an assigned project.
Students present their results individually in the format of a poster, and remain available for the
duration of the fair for detailed questioning from statistics faculty and other participants. The
exam is scheduled once per year, near the end of the Spring semester.

A student who fails the Master's Final Exam or Computer Language Exam may sit for the examination again at the discretion of the faculty.

Sample M.S. Programs


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